Conclusion: Start Over From Scratch

Dell's notebook team has been outdoing themselves over and over again lately. Whoever's running the show there has their head on straight, and the all-in-one team could stand to benefit a bit from their wisdom, because the Inspiron One 2320 has some very serious problems.

Amusingly enough, the one place where Dell succeeds over the competition is the software. Just by increasing the font scale and including an inobtrusive set of shortcuts with the Inspiron One, they've substantially improved the usability of the Inspiron One 2320 compared to HP's TouchSmart 610. It's true that you can manually increase the scale on the HP, but Dell thought to increase it from the factory. The MediaStage software is also much more my speed than HP's bloated TouchSmart interface. I don't want to have to swipe my fingertip across a 23-inch touchscreen; the real estate is there, let me just push the button.

I can also see where Dell was going with the variety of inputs on the back of the 2320, and the speakers are good enough that at least initially it seems like the unit could succeed at its intended purpose: being an all-in-one for everyone. There's a lot of flexibility and potential here.

The problem is that the rest of the Inspiron One 2320 is a mess. The screen sucks out loud, and that's an issue that's made worse by the knowledge that Dell's desktop screens are oftentimes excellent values. Dell pushed the prices of eIPS screens south and was one of the first out of the gate with them, so why can't we have one here? A TN panel does not a good television make.

And while there isn't anything fundamentally wrong with the Intel Core i5-2400S's performance, it feels like an odd decision for this machine; it's slow enough that I'd consider just going for an entry level mobile quad-core instead. That would at least free up some thermal headroom to put in a better GPU and balance the system out more. I almost wonder if Dell wouldn't have been better served by a desktop Llano, and that's made especially apparent when you look at how poorly the cooling system seems to be designed. It's noisy and inefficient and worse, it lets the hard drive pretty much bake inside the enclosure. CPU performance isn't the Inspiron One's strong suit, the GPU is too slow for the resolution, and there's no USB 3.0 connectivity. So yes, I'd rather have a Llano.

Ultimately I feel like while the software side is fine, the hardware probably needs to be redesigned from scratch. The cooling system needs to be made more efficient, and the hardware configuration should benefit from it. 50C is way too hot for a hard drive in any kind of desktop system to be running. The panel Dell chose for the Inspiron One 2320 is just dreadful; I've never liked large desktop TN panels and this one has been another example of why. If you're in the market for a touchscreen all-in-one, I'd be looking at HP's TouchSmart 610 line first. The 610 we reviewed may be $150 more than this Inspiron, but it's faster in almost every way but the hard drive, has a vastly superior screen, and is quieter and cooler running to boot.

User Experience, Heat, and Power Consumption
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  • tipoo - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    "more than adequate for even the most basic use."

    Doesn't really make sense.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    No, not really; I've corrected the sentence. Reply
  • Roland00Address - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    i7 2630qm Recommended Customer Price $378
    i5 2400s Recommended Customer Price $184 - $195

    That is a difference of a $150 dollars, or in other words a lot of profit.
    Reply
  • cknobman - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    Dell has always made overpriced under-powered machines usually accompanied with godawful ugly designs. Reply
  • melgross - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    At least they're consistent. Reply
  • melgross - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    You really are intelligent. Great response! I suppose you are a Dell customer for life. Reply
  • terraformer - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    My father has been through 3 of these very machines, and each one has suffered extreme heat issues that fried the HD. Dell has been accommodating, but read any user reviews around the 'net and see a majority of owners experiencing the same problems. Dell rushed this out the door without addressing the clear cooling problem that these systems have. I still see ads for these all over the place.

    So I talked my father into buying my one-year old 27" iMac, and walked him through the differences in terms of UI. He is thrilled with it now, loves how fast it starts, how it can largely run itself (e.g., updates).

    And I bought a new iMac, spec'd it out pretty highly and, dear kind Sir above, it plays games beautifully and flawlessly. This avid FPS gamer (since Quake days) finds this machine plenty good enough for gaming. And I can run BF3 at ultra settings - turning off AA and a few other things - at native resolution at just above 30 fps. And that is fine with me.
    Reply
  • dirtboy12 - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    We bought many of these (around 300) for a school district and have seen at least 1/3 of them have their hard drives just die. One poor teacher has been through 4 hard drives on the same machine, but Dell keeps thinking that the solution is to put another one in. What was that quote about insanity? Reply
  • dave_the_nerd - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    Insanity is the mother of invention? Reply
  • OwnedKThxBye - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - link

    Every time I read a review of a consumer/non-enthusiast laptop or all-in-one it seems like such a high value is placed on the screen quality. I sometimes wonder if people understand that these devices are used predominately by people who for the most part don't know what the word resolution means, let alone the differences between a TN and IPS panel. These machines are not aimed at the tech savvy power users, but the kind of people who tell me "everything on this screen looks too small. Is there a way I can make it larger?". A better quality screen with larger resolution isn't going to help them check Facebook and emails any better. In some cases high resolution can even seem like a disadvantage for those with bad eye sight. These kind of people are not going to choose to spend even $40 more on a better quality screen, however they might choose to spend the $40 if it made the screen larger. Customers have never told me they wish they could upgrade the screen on their all-in-one or laptop to a better quality one.

    This is a Dell Inspiron all-in-one that me and you are not going to go out and buy for numerous reasons. I'm reading this review on a 30" HP and have a 24" on either side of it. I will pay the extra for a better quality screen every time, but I know the kind of customers that make up the target audience for this device will not. If the customer chooses to love it and buy it or hate it and not buy it, either way not much if any of their decision will be based on the screen quality.

    Love the review Dustin
    Reply

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