Best all-in-one PC: the top one-box Windows 8 PCs compared

Desktop and tabletop all-in-ones compared

Best all in one PC top PCs compared

All-in-ones in general don't have a good reputation. Ever had a tinned all-in-one breakfast? Terrible. There's something about component parts being lumped together that screams daytime TV offer.

But that longstanding perception doesn't apply to PCs, even if it ought too. In an age of portable and minimalist consumable media, people want unimposing access to entertainment - gone are the days of the hulking high-tower PC that looks and sounds like an 80s wrestler.

Even if all-in-one PCs suffer in the spec department, they've made computing more family accessible than ever. Here we look at the best all-round all-in-one PCs that will deliver (mostly) everything you need in a home computer.

Best all in one PC top PCs compared

1. Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC - £1,500/US$1,600/AU$1,600

A hefty 27-inch all-in-one PC that triples up as a tabletop PC and mega tablet. Built as a piece of furniture to complement your front room rather than stand alone in the corner, the Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC looks like what the Microsoft Surface tablet should've been. It can be laid down flat or perched upright by an unimposing stand at the back, and used to play multiplayer games - it even comes with air hockey accessories.

A solid 8GB of RAM, a Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GT620M chip back up its gaming credentials. It runs Windows 8 but Lenovo has included a custom UI (Aura) that's optimised for using it as a tabletop PC, so that opening, closing and resizing multimedia and games are executed with simple swipes. Exceptionally cosmopolitan, verging on hipster, this is the all-in-one PC that other all-in-ones aspire to be like.

Read our full Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC review

Best all in one PC top PCs compared

2. Acer Aspire 7600U - £1,350/US$1,600/AU$2,150

Impossibly well designed, the 27-inch Acer Aspire 7600U is at the top end of Acer's all-in-one range with a solid 8GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT640M chip and a reasonable Core i5 processor, which provides but doesn't wow when faced with heavy gaming. The upshot is that it has a built in Blu-ray player, a very responsive touchscreen and a crisp 1080p display that fits with its sleek black design.

The added gesture control feature is a nice side-dish, if not frustrating at times - we recommend sticking with the drag-free touchscreen input. A multitude of ports including two HDMI, five USB and two audio jacks make this a very flexible PC that can act as a hub for your entertainment devices.

Read our full Acer Aspire 7600U review | Compare the best prices

Best all in one PC top PCs compared

3. Sony Vaio L Series - £1,100/US$1,300 (around AU$1,880)

The 24-inch Sony Vaio L Series is the Jessica Rabbit of all-in-one PCs, the hot cousin of the Sony Vaio Tap 20. Sleek, sexy and loves to be touched, because it's touchscreen. Eyes popping, heart pounding out of chest and our bow tie spinning, we thought we needed a chat up line just to turn the thing on. Then we found the on button on the top right-hand corner.

Running Windows 8, this is an all-in-one that has been built for the simplest of tasks, such as watching Netflix, browsing and playing Angry Birds. But it can handle much more. With a decent 2GB dedicated Nvidia GT6340M and reasonable Core i5 processor it will comfortably handle most games. It also has HD inputs, an interactive bezel and can be used with a TV - proper all-round, all-in-one stuff. The lack of responsiveness on the touchscreen is a worry, however, so expect to find yourself touching links multiple times before you get a response.

Best all in one PC top PCs compared

4. HP Compaq Elite 8300 - £1,050/US$1,350/AU$1,500

Aesthetically serious, the 23-inch HP Compaq Elite 8300 looks at home in an office, or at home, in your office. It's a business PC that also happens to be, as Cockneys say, 'the business'. With a powerful Core i7 3.4GHz processor, 1TB hard drive and 4GB of RAM, it handles multimedia and business functions comfortably - as you would expect.

The touchscreen is responsive and it helpfully comes with Windows 7 installed, for those averse to the Windows 8 learning curve. A solid all-rounder that has a crisp HD display, but falls down when challenged with a video game because it lacks a dedicated graphics card. It also has the added bonus of being relatively cheap.

Buy the HP Compaq Elite 8300