Hands on: Dell Inspiron 23 review

One of the most versatile, sharpest all-in-one PCs around

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

The Inspiron 23 didn't have to do much to remain a competitive all-in-one option, but a few improvements maintain its status.

For

  • Excellent design
  • Plenty of ports
  • Versatile use cases

Against

  • No 802.11ac

When it comes to all-in-one PCs, Dell is in that great place of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," but continues to refine its Inspiron 23 to keep ahead of the curve. Its latest model, the Dell Inspiron 23, now features a slightly larger screen and Intel's Real Sense 3D camera.

The chassis hasn't changed much at all, other than grow in size from 23 inches to 23.8 inches. So, you're still looking at one seriously thin and sleek all-in-one comprised mostly of a cool-feeling brushed aluminum with chamfered edges.

It's what's on the inside that counts

And, in this case, it counts for a lot. Namely, Dell is one of the few all-in-one makers that allows for a dedicated GPU, in this case the AMD Radeon HD 8690A with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. It won't get you through a Call of Duty session, but the kids can certainly game a bit on this thing.

Dell Inspiron 23 review

Along with up to an Intel Core i7-4700MQ chip the GPU powers Dell's 23.8-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 TrueLife LED with IPS and touch control. Rounding out the spec sheet here is up to 12GB of RAM and a 1TB spinning drive with an optional 32GB solid-state drive.

The unit has enough USB ports to be the hub of all your mobile devices - six, to be exact, four of which are USB 3.0. In addition to HDMI out, the Inspiron also sports HDMI in to double as a display for other devices, like your game consoles.

Dell Inspiron 23 review

All of the other I/O options you would expect are accounted for, however, the lack of 802.11ac Wi-Fi is a bummer. That said, all of this will cost you $1,599 to start (about £1,095, AU$1,985), which is mighty steep, but not outright awful considering the purpose it serves and its flexibility.

The fun (and work) hub

Both literally and figuratively, the Inspiron 23 proves to be flexible. The articulating stand allows the device to rest horizontally as a massive tablet. With that in mind, it's easy to see this rig as both the center of family game night and your home office.

However, in my experience with the device here at CES 2015, the articulating hinge is quite stiff, likely to support the sizable panel. Regardless, it made switching between modes more of an endeavor than it should be.

Dell Inspiron 23 review

The Real Sense camera, while it seemed iffy at best on the Lenovo B50, worked really well on the Inspiron 23, especially in a Lego racing game that used head tracking to control the steering. At any rate, this is likely more a matter of software than hardware.

Early verdict

All in all, thanks to the articulating stand, touch screen and option for dedicated graphics, the versatility of the Inspiron 23 is its major selling point. And sure, there are other "hybrid" all-in-one PCs out there, but few - if any- looked as sharp here at the show.

The Inspiron 23 has a steep price going against it, so might be worth waiting for the price to come down before diving in. But if you're going to buy an all-in-one PC, this rig should be one of your first stops. We'll have a more final say on the matter in our full review, so stay tuned.

Techradar's coverage of the future of tech at CES 2015 LIVE is brought to you courtesy of Currys PC World. View Currys' range of Smart technology here and computing here

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.