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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  • mbmack - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    I have enjoyed reading all of the posted comments regarding the Dell Inspiron 2320 and the HP All-In-One models. Clearly you guys know your computers! I am a stay-at-home mom of 4 kids and I am looking to purchase an all-in-one touchscreen computer. I think I have narrowed my choices down to either the Dell Inspiron One 2320 or the HP TouchSmart 610x, but am not quite certaint. I am a general everyday multi-purpose - email, web browsing, photo storage/editing, word processing, video watching - user who does not do any "real" gaming. My young boys like to play basic games though, and will no doubt venture into more hardcore games as they get older. I would like a system which has a strong & fast processor, has plenty of memory for data & photo storage, can handle semi-advanced gaming, and will live a good long life. I want to cover my needs fully, but without going overboard. I am also sensitive to energy efficiency & want a system with a good built-in fan to keep it from over heating, which I understand can be a problem with some AIO models. I am not a very tech-saavy consumer, so I would really appreciate any advice & guidance on the must-have system requirements to fit my bill. If there is a machine you particularly like or dislike, please let me know.

    Also, can anyone tell me the notable difference/advantage between an Intel Core processor & an AMD Athlon processor? Which is a better choice?

    Thank you so much for your guidance!
    Reply
  • mbmack - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    I meant I am not certain.... not certaint! Reply
  • heyyu - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    I've had my 2320 for a few days now. I love everything about it, except for the screen quality. My wife's description of the problem is that it seems like it has a film of plastic over it, causing the screen to be quite dim. I just got back from Best Buy, hoping I got a lemon, but unfortunately, the floor model there had the exact same problems. Stupid TN panel.

    If you are still wanting to take the plunge, I'd suggest trying the Dell Outlet. I got a fully loaded one for around $700. Too bad the screen stinks.
    Reply
  • jpa813 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    is it possible to change the service tag in the bios. i changed the motherboard over the weekend and the service tag number doesnt match the one on the back of my machine. Reply
  • andy6134 - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    Please help.. URGENT !! No GRAPHIC CARD ? Reply

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