Dell’s putting its all-in-one bets on the XPS 27, a replacement of the XPS 27 Touch, a system we praised in our review, but which has gone awhile without an update. It boasts the second-newest generation of Intel processor, the 6th generation Intel Core i5-7400 (or i7-7700, if you pony up a bit extra). It also has AMD’s 400 series (M470X or M485X) graphics cards. And it supports up to 32GB of DDR4 SDRAM, two terabytes of hard drive space, and 1TB PCIe SSD storage.
But the most striking thing about the new XPS is its design.
A combination of two tweeters and four full-range drivers produce the bulk of sound, aided by 50-watt dynamic amplifiers that automatically adapt power level to content being played. The XPS 27 doesn’t have subwoofers — Dell said it lacked the physical space to accommodate them — but makes due with two of what the company says is a world first: passive radiators, with a pair of down-firing speakers that bounce sound downward, outward, and around the room.(Dell claims it’s louder than both the HP Envy 27 and 27-inch iMac.)
Unfortunately, the XPS 27’s upgraded sound system came at a cost. Thinness and lightness. It’s about two inches thicker than the XPS 27 Touch (3.16 inches versus 1.25 inches) and heavier (38.2 pounds versus 35.3 pounds). That’s not to say the XPS 27’s footprint is excessive — it’ll easily fit on all but the smallest (or most cluttered) of office desks. But it’ll take a little more effort to move it there.
In terms of ports and connectors, the XPS 27’s just about as well-endowed as its predecessor. On the side is a USB 3.0 port, SD-card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack, and around back are four additional USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI-out port, a DisplayPort 1.2 connector, a gigabit Ethernet port, an analog audio out plug, and a USB Type-C connector. The Type-C connector is the highlight, here. In addition to supporting Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 high-speed transfer tech, it acts as a DisplayPort, USB 3.1 port, or bidirectional power connector, depending on what sort of adapter’s present.
The XPS 27’s IPS display is the other headliner. It’s 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) in resolution, a palpable jump from last year’s 2K (2,560 x 1,440) panel.
The XPS 27 makes a strong case for Dell’s brand of all-in-one computer. It may not match the Apple iMac or Microsoft Surface in looks, but its hardware packs a powerful punch. And with a starting price of $1,500 for the non-touch model, it makes a compelling alternative to the cheapest 27-inch iMac ($1,800) and Surface Studio ($3,000).
- Bright and vibrant display
- Powerful sound
- Latest processors with optional AMD graphics
- Type-C support
- Thicker, heavier than competitors