Not everybody wants a laptop, especially people who are audiophiles and desire more than tiny speakers crammed into a slim form factor.
But that doesn't mean they want a tower setup either.
For those type of niche people, Dell has something new: the 2017 XPS 27 all-in-one. The company unveiled it at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and the first thing we noticed about is its whopping 10-speaker speaker array. It has four for mid and bass frequencies, with tweeters in both corners, plus two full-range speakers and two passive radiators.
Laptops and desktop PC-makers normally don't add this type of audio hardware to their machines, as they leave it up to customers to buy separate speakers or headphones if they want more than a basic listening experience. Dell's new AIO takes a different approach. According to Dell, it is two times louder than a 27-inch iMac and has 10 times the bass of an HP Envy 27, giving it "the absolute best sound for an all-in-one PC."
During our brief demo with the PC, which occurred on the busy show floor in a casino in Las Vegas, a Dell representative cranked music from the XPS 27 to show how loud it could get and practically everyone in a 25-ft radius turned to look at us as Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" blasted into the air. Not exactly our type of music, but we got the point: this thing is loud, and it sounds absolutely fantastic.
That's not the only thing we loved about the XPS 27. It comes with a standard 4K display or a touch 4K display and a stand that allows the computer to lay down to an almost flat position, just like the new Surface Studio from Microsoft. We played with the touch version and immediately noticed the 17kg weight when we tried to lift up the screen using the stand. Warning: it isn't exactly nimble.
We think it looks great, and could totally imagine music creators using it to effortlessly make and playback new tunes, as well as artists laying it down to draw and paint with their hands. Anyway, enough of the outside hardware. Inside you'll find Intel’s sixth-generation CPUs (Core i5-6400 3.3GHz with Intel Turbo Boost or Core i7-6700 4GHz) and up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM. But you can add more sticks to reach 64GB.
Storage choices start at 1TB of solid state storage and go up to 2TB plus a 32GB M.2 SSD. However, Dell also offers 512GB or 1TB M.2 SSD. There's AMD’s R9 M470X graphics chip you can get, too, and eventually the R9 M485X will be available. Dell basically told us you can completely customise the specs to your heart's desire. So, while the audio makes the XPS 27 stand out, spec-wise it is equally a beast.
Plus, it features an InfinityEdge display, machined-aluminum construction, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, five USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, headphone jack, SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet connector, audio output, and Windows Hello support.
Amazingly, you can get all that at a starting price of $1,499. Dell told us the top-out price should be around $3,500.