Touchscreens, Blu-ray, TV Tuners, and More
With Windows 7, Microsoft built multitouch gestures directly into the operating system. And though touchscreens won't replace the humble mouse and keyboard anytime soon, they do let you use iPhone-like gestures to pinch, push, rotate, and scroll items on screen.
Many high-end all-in-one PCs (with screens typically around 23 inches or larger) include Blu-ray drives and double as Media Center HDTVs, while cheaper models cut costs by offering slower performance and smaller displays. Budget models also scale back to single-touch input (unable to take advantage of multifinger gestures) or forgo touch entirely to keep costs low and screen sizes reasonable (around 20 inches).
In this slideshow, we look at the latest all-in-one PCs. Click the arrow to begin.
For our rankings of all-in-one PCs, jump to our charts:
Sony VAIO L117FX/B
Like the VAIO LV180J it replaces, the new VAIO L117FX/B provides strong performance (for an all-in-one), a Blu-ray drive, an HDTV tuner, a media center remote control, and a gorgeous 24-inch display. This time around, however, Sony has included a multitouch screen, Windows 7, and a design that's sleek and modern.
The VAIO L117FX/B starts at $1300. We tested a high-end $2000 configuration with a 2.66GHz Core 2 Quad Q8400S processor, 6GB of DDR2-800 memory, and a 1TB hard drive.
Gateway One ZX6810-01
Gateway's 23-inch all-in-one starts at $880. We evaluated a $1400 configuration, and in our tests the ZX6810-01 delivered the best performance this side of the Core i7/Core i5 27-inch Apple iMacs. It also has the multitouch display and TV tuner that those Apple models lack. In addition, the Gateway sports a 2.33GHz Core 2 Quad Q8200S processor, 8GB of DDR3-1333 memory, and dual drives: a 64GB Samsung solid-state drive (the boot drive) and a 1TB Western Digital hard drive (for general storage).
A discernible, distracting backlight glow on the top and bottom of the screen, and the lack of Blu-ray, were our only real quibbles.
HP TouchSmart 600xt
Though Windows 7's gesture support is a major feature of this third-generation TouchSmart PC, HP's custom multitouch software is even more impressive. Version 3.0 is a significant upgrade, offering touch-friendly versions of Hulu, Netflix, Twitter, and other applications that have oversize buttons and that understand gestures such as swiping and pinching.
The 23-inch TouchSmart 600 series, which starts at $1000, is a step above the 20-inch TouchSmart 300 and the 18.5-inch Pavilion MS214. The $1460 TouchSmart 600xt we tested included a 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7450 processor, 4GB of DDR-1333 memory, a 750GB hard drive, and 1GB nVidia GeForce GT230M graphics.
Acer Aspire Z5610
Acer's Aspire Z5610 is kind of like a budget version of the similar-looking Gateway One ZX6810-01. Both have 23-inch, 1080p-capable multitouch displays and solid general performance, but the $900 Acer lacks the $1400 Gateway's gaming power--as well as extras such as a TV tuner and a media center remote control. The Z5610 has a paltry 320GB hard drive, too.
But here's the thing: It's only 900 bucks. This is the biggest screen we've seen for that price, and the machine's 2.6-GHz Pentium Dual-Core E5300, 4GB DDR3-1333 RAM, and DVD±RW drive aren't bad, either.
Apple iMac (27-Inch)
Apple's new high-end 27-inch iMacs are the first all-in-one PCs to use Intel's latest Core i7 and Core i5 processors, and are part of a complete refresh of the iMac line.
Priced at $2200 and $2000, respectively (with 4GB DDR3-1066 RAM, a 1TB hard disk, and 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics), they're also 20 percent faster in Windows 7 (Boot Camp) than the next best all-in-one performers, the $2000 Sony VAIO L117FX/B and the $1400 Gateway One ZX6810-01. Macworld's Speedmark tests showed a 16 percent difference between the Core i5 system and the Core i7 model under OS X.
If you can take a performance hit and you don't mind slightly smaller screens, you get a lot more bang for your buck with other all-in-one PCs, including multitouch displays, Blu-ray drives, more USB slots, and a greater variety of integrated ports. But for flat-out speed in an all-in-one, these iMacs are unmatched.
MSI Wind Top AE2010
The $650 AE2010 is one of our favorite new budget all-in-one PCs. It has a 20-inch single-touch display, Windows 7, 4GB of DDR2-800 memory, and a 320GB hard drive. It ditches the oft-used Atom CPU for a 1.5GHz Athlon X2 Dual-Core 3250e processor, and is among the better-performing budget all-in-one PCs (20 inches or smaller) we've seen.
HP Pavilion MS214
Like the MSI Wind Top AE2010, the $600 Pavilion MS214 uses a 1.5GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 CPU instead of the Intel Atom chips so common at this price point. However, while the MS214 is $50 cheaper than the MSI, it has a smaller display (18.5 inches versus 20 inches) and lacks touch capabilities; it also has only 802.11g Wi-Fi (not 802.11n), and 10/100 ethernet instead of gigabit speeds.
The Pavilion MS214's 2GB of DDR2-800 memory is half that of the MSI, but its performance is practically identical, as are the 320GB of storage and the DVD±RW drive.
Asus EeeTop PC ET2002
At 20 inches, the $600 ET2002 sits between the 15.6-inch ET1602 and the 21.6-inch ET2203 in Asus's all-in-one-PC range. And though this particular model lacks a touchscreen, Asus has an ET2002T touch variant, too.
We have to give the ET2002 props as the first all-in-one to come through with nVidia Ion graphics (smooth high-def Flash video playback, anyone?), and it also has an HDMI input so that it can function as a stand-alone monitor or TV for your game console.
Unfortunately, with its dual-core Atom N330 processor, 2GB of DDR2-800 RAM, and Windows 7 Home Premium OS, it performed abysmally in our benchmarks, and the display's picture quality seemed a little muted, as well.
Lenovo IdeaCentre A600
A lush 21.5-inch display, unmatched upgradability, and extras such as Blu-ray, an HDTV tuner, and a four-in-one remote make the A600 hard to resist. But the display isn't a touchscreen, and the system's performance slips slightly in comparison with that of some of the newer all-in-one PCs we've seen.
Configurations start at $700. Our $1150 test system included a 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo P7450 processor, 4GB DDR3-1066 RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. It also had Windows Vista at the time of our review, but Lenovo now preinstalls Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit as standard.
Dell Studio One 19
The 18.5-inch Dell Studio One 19 is by far the fastest sub-20-inch all-in-one PC we've tested, and it's also the only machine of its size to boast a multitouch display. Prices start at $700 and scale up to a $1200 Core 2 Quad Q8200-equipped model.
Back in July, we tested a $944 configuration that included a 2.5GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5200 processor, 4GB of DDR2-800 memory, a 320GB hard drive, and Windows Vista. Today, $934 will get you the same specs save for a slightly faster E5300 processor and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
The Studio One 19 is a great little system, but the faster, bigger (23 inches), and cheaper ($900) Acer Aspire Z5610 is currently the better buy.