Thursday, 2 February 2012

Dell Inspiron One 2320 Review

Experts may suggest that the PC market is slowing down, but there are a ton of innovations being made on that front. Take, for example desktops – they no longer are large ugly boxes meant to sit in one dusty corner of your house. They can be sleek, powerful and fit right in the living room. All-in-ones are not a new phenomenon and they aren’t extremely common, but there’s a lot changing on that front with every single model. Dell has launched their new Dell Inspiron One 2320.

Design and build quality
The Dell Inspiron One 2320 isn’t bad to look at. It is pretty large because of its 23-inch display. The entire frame is made of plastic with extremely sturdy stands and a plastic extension at the rear that helps keep the PC stable and also alter its inclination. The plastic used is of decent quality, but there is some flex along the bezel panel surrounding the display itself. 
Large stand at the rear to support the massive screen
Large stand at the rear to support the massive screen

The frame at the bottom houses the speakers, that are JBL branded and there’s also the usual branding for Windows 7 and Intel’s Core i5 processor. On the upper panel of the bezel lies the webcam, which is hidden by a sliding protection panel. The quality of this plastic panel isn’t great and it doesn’t slide from side-to-side very easily. There’s also quite a gap between the screen and the side bezel. This being a touchscreen, all-in-one requires you to move your fingers on the screen. If you slide your finger along the edges, you’ll find this gap and it’s also a little sharp along the edges. As a whole, however, the display looks pretty good. The rear panel is made of plastic, too, press it hard enough and there are some squeaking sounds. We would’ve liked slightly better quality, in general.
Input connectors at the rear of the Inspiron One
Input connectors at the rear of the Inspiron One

The connectors and controls are placed on the sides of the display. The right side of the display has the DVD drive, while all of the rest of the connectors – volume, brightness controls and USB ports are located to the left.  The Inspiron One is powered by a large external power adapter. The bundled keyboard and mouse are of good quality, though. The keyboard is slim and lightweight – there’s not a lot of depth to the keys. The mouse is wireless and a little bulky. Still, it’s ergonomically designed, but the keyboard has no notches to adjust the stand to the height of your liking. The mouse is powered by two AA batteries and replacing them is really simple – the top of the mouse comes off and you place the two batteries in them.

At the heart of the Inspiron One is an Intel Core i5 2400S, a quad-core processor that’s clocked at 2.5GHz. Of course, with TurboBoost, it’ll spike up to 3.3GHz when needed. There’s 6GB of memory onboard the PC we received for review. As for storage, there’s a 1TB 7200rpm Seagate SATA3 hard drive. The unit we received also came with a standard Intel HD graphics solution. Bluetooth 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 802.11n are supported as part of the platform used as well.
Pretty expensive for the hardware it comes packed with
Pretty expensive for the hardware it comes packed with

The display is a 23-inch 1920x1080 touch capable display and feels like it’s a capacitive one and is very sensitive. Once calibrated properly, it does become quite accurate. There are a ton of software that are bundled with the PC that help take advantage of the touchscreen functionality. For example, there’s the Zinion eBook reader that can be used to browse magazines and scroll through pages like you would on a mobile or tablet. There’s also the bunch of games that come bundled with Windows as well as some music instruments.
The Inspiron One can also be used as a media centre PC and Dell bundles a remote control that can be used to control it. The remote is flat and compact, but it has a ton of buttons that makes it easy to use with an HTPC's software or even Windows Media Center software. The keyboard layout is decent, and it comes with a few multimedia keys on it, but some keys, such as the Pause, Scroll Lock and Num Lock keys are missing. 
Controls on the left side of the display
Controls on the left side of the display

There are 6 USB ports in all, a composite input as well as a coaxial conection, which means you can connect your TV input streams to the Inspiron One. There’s also an HDMI input that could come handy with gaming consoles, Blu-ray player or even a HD DTH service.  

The display on the Inspiron One is decent. It’s not stunning, but the viewing angles are pretty good. Contrast ratio is decent. Audio performance could have been better. It’s not very loud, so you can’t sit really far off from it while watching a movie, for example. Quality of the speakers, however is decent. The wireless keyboard works flawlessly. The wireless keyboard, although not the strongest performs flawlessly from over 10 feet. The mouse is shaped alright, but is quite heavy with the two AA batteries in it. 
An equally slimline keyboard and mouse bundled with the PC
An equally slimline keyboard and mouse bundled with the PC

In terms of performance, it performs rather well in the CPU and memory tests, thanks to the amount of memory as well as the quad-core processor onboard it. It's a shame the PC doesn't come with a decent graphics solution. The hard drive too is pretty impressive with both synthetic tests and real world tests showing write and read speeds of around 105 MB/s. 

PCMark Vantage Score8384
Memories Score4464
TV and Movies Score5400
Gaming Score4687
Music Score6713
Communications Score10622
Productivity Score6898
HDD Score5059
Cinebench 11.5 (OpenGL)6.01fps
Cinebench 11.5 (CPU)4.10pts
File write test (4GB)105.15MB/s
Video conversion - Avidemux (x264)50sec
SiSoft Memory Bandwidth12.88GB/s
SiSoft HDD read performance105.24MB/s
Random access time17.6ms
Resident Evil 5 (1280x720 HQ)16.4fps
Resident Evil 5 (1280x720 Medium)26.1fps
POV Ray (Woodbox) 28s

The Dell Inspiron Mini 2320 sells at a price of roughly Rs. 60,255 in the market, which makes it pretty expensive. There isn’t a graphics solution in this particular model, which means you won’t be playing any recent games on it, either. For the price, you get a proper media centre PC that can sit in your living room.
Made specifically for use at home
Made specifically for use at home

The touchscreen works fairly well, but we’re not particularly sure how practical it will be in the long run. Apart from a few apps that are interesting, most of them are not more than entertainment. Still, it’s a nifty feature to have, if you have kids at home or elderly people who haven’t had much experience with PCs. 

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