BOOM: Hands, and ears, on with Dell’s XPS 27

You’re probably thinking that the desktop PC is dead. Everyone buys laptops, unless they’re either power-hungry creative professionals who want to render a movie before they retire or gamers who know, in their bones, that if they don’t have the most powerful machine on the planet they will be reduced to jelly by the opposition. 

But it’s not true. In fact, for a lot of people the desktop computer remains the right choice, delivering better performance and – most importantly – a bigger screen than any laptop. Laptops are always at the periphery of the home, but a great desktop can be a centrepiece.

All-in-one excellence

And all in one PCs like Dell’s latest XPS 27 deserve to be the centrepiece of a room. Of course, the first thing you’re going to see is that 3,840 x 2,160 pixel 27in display which, Dell claims, delivers 100% of Adobe’s RGB colourspace. Of course, like virtually every machine these days (HELLO APPLE) you can have it as touch or non-touch versions. 

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Inside there’s plenty of power too, thanks to a 6th generation Intel core i7-6700 or i5-6400 and, if you really want to go to town on the graphics, AMD R9 M470X or M485X discreet graphics. You can also have up to 32GB of RAM and up to either 1Tb SSD or 2Tb spinning disk storage.

Sound and vision

So far, so good. But what makes the XPS 27 unique isn’t the screen, or the processor, good as they are. It’s the audio. In fact, this is a machine that was built audio-outwards, made from the ground up to deliver sound that Dell wants you to believe beats anything else on the market.

And boy does it sound good. The iMac, which remains the benchmark all-in-one PC, has really good sound. But side by side with the XPS 27, the iMac sounds like a tinny pocket radio. The 10 (count them) speakers in the XPS 27 deliver about double the volume of the iMac but, to my ears at least, much great clarity and depth to the sound. When listening to some classic tracks (and trying not to sing along to “New York, New York”, my karaoke favourite) I heard features of the familiar songs that I’d never heard on any PC before, unless it was hooked up to a damn good set of speakers.

The excellence of the sound is in part down to the involvement in the XPS 27’s design of Jack Joseph Puig, a multi-grammy award winning producer who has worked with everyone from Eric Clapton to Hole. Puig’s ears – way better than mine – have helped tune the sound so it delivers something really good. 

There is an option for an articulating arm for the XPS 27, but there’s no stylus support so don’t think of this as an alternative to Microsoft’s Surface Studio. But what you do get with the XPS 27 is a fantastic looking all in one with a great screen, which should have good performance given the specs, and which sounds like no other all-in-one on the planet. It’s available to buy now, and I’m looking forward to putting it through it’s paces soon. 

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