I am not a big fan of all-in-one (AIO) computers. An AIO is like a laptop grafted to a monitor. It has all the flaws of a laptop, such as the lack of expansion options and lower performance than an equivalent desktop PC, and without the mobility.
The Dell Inspiron 24 7000 Series All-in-One does little to change this opinion. Its processor and graphics chip are the mobile variants - good enough for mainstream users, but not fast enough to run even an older game like BioShock Infinite smoothly at medium setting.
But I must admit that AIO PCs do take up much less desk space than a typical PC. Unlike the Apple iMac, which has its computing bits in the bulge at the back, the brains of the Inspiron 24 are located at the base. This design makes for a slightly larger footprint. Overall, the Inspiron does not look as elegant as the iMac, especially since it has a separate power brick.
The Inspiron 24 does have a touch screen, which you do not get with an iMac. It is useful for touch-based games, but the glass surface has a bit too much friction to make swiping on it an effortless experience.
Another feature that you probably do not find in most computers: an Intel RealSense 3D camera.
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6700HQ
GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GT 940M 4GB GDDR3
RAM: 16GB DDR4
SCREEN: 23.8-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, HDMI-in, HDMI-out, Gigabit Ethernet, SD card reader, audio jack
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5
This camera works well with the face-unlock Windows Hello feature in Windows 10. It is easy to set up and takes mere seconds to recognise my face and unlock the Inspiron 24.
The 3D capabilities of the Intel camera are further explored in apps found online at the Intel RealSense app showcase. For instance, the camera is used to capture a 3D image of your face, which is then used to create a custom avatar in the NBA 2K16 game.
This face-scanning feature is also used by the 3DMe app, which puts your 3D face image on an action figure from the Star Trek and Ghostbusters movies. You can then order the resulting 3D printed figurine for around US$90 (S$120).
Games such as Lego Portal Racers use the Intel camera to track your hand and head movements, which are used to control a hoverboard in the game. But once the novelty of the unique controls wore off, I did not feel compelled to play.
The Inspiron 24 comes with a HDMI input connector, which means it can also function as a display for another device.
Those with limited desktop space can hook the Inspiron to a console and easily switch between the two devices by pressing a button.
• This handsome all-in-one PC is livened up by its 3D camera. While it is not powerful enough for gamers, mainstream users should have no complaints.