Ah, the family computer, the Holy Grail for homework, media and browsing the web. It's a tradition, and one that Dell will help re-define with its upcoming entry-level Inspiron 20 all-in-one desktop.

That 20, as you can imagine, comes from its 1-inch thin, 19.5-inch HD+ display that comes in touchscreen and non-touchscreen flavors. The display sits on a kickstand, allowing it to go from lying flat on the table to a 45-degree tilt for desktop work and is perfect for basic productivity needs.

The idea behind the AIO is simple: make a cost-effective system for families that's adaptable enough for school work for the kids, web browsing for the adults, and media streaming for family time.

It's meant to stay inside the home, though, due to its lack of rechargeable battery. It's not too bulky to lug from room to room with you, but, unfortunately, requires the 65W AC adapter everywhere it goes.

Dell All-in-One
It may look that way, but you won't catch this computer lying down.

What's good for the goose

It's been said before, but it bears repeating: The Inspiron 20 3000 series will really excel as a basic computer.

When it hits store shelves, you'll be able to choose between either a Celeron N2830 dual core or Intel Pentium N3530 quad-core Bay Trail processor, and 2 or 4GB of DDR3, 1600MHz system memory.

It'll sport Windows 8.1, a 500GB, 5400rpm hard drive, and also has a front-facing 720p HD camera, a 4:1 media card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC) and three USB 3.0 ports on the rear of the panel. But this is all par for the course for an all-in-one.

Dell Inspiron 20 3000 Series
A photo from the back.

The touchscreen model weighs in at a slightly hefty 8 pounds, while the non-touchscreen version weighs a bit closer to 7 pounds. Considering the device is 19 x 12 x 1 (W x H x D), Dell did a good job maximizing screen space while keeping overall weight down. I liked that it's not too big for room-to-room transportation.

The price is right

What Dell really needs with its upcoming desktop-turned-tablet, though, is a competitive price stamp. And thankfully, in this respect, Dell really delivered.

The 3000 series will start at $350 (about £209, AU$378) for the non-touchscreen model and jumps up to a reasonable $450 (about £268, AU$486) for one with a responsive display.

720p Camera
A built-in 720p camera isn't shabby.

For $450 it would've been nice to include an optical drive for those of us still using rewritable media, but I suppose this is made up for by the inclusion of an 802.11n/Bluetooth 4.0 wireless combo card and HDMI In port.

As is typical with most AIO setups, Dell will include a standard mouse and keyboard with both models of the 3000 series.

Power Brick
Meet the Inspiron 20's best friend, the power brick.

Early verdict

By including Waves MaxxAudio into its plans, Dell has set the stage for a solid sounding device. This, coupled with the touchscreen technology, should make for a decent second computer in most homes. It's likely not a good pick for a primary setup – as the hardware is slightly on the weaker side – but for parents looking for an entry-level computer for kids, the 3000 series may be the answer.

Portable power fanatics looking for an offering from Dell may want to consider the Inspiron 11 3000 series of notebooks that offer plenty of oomf for its $449 (about £268, AU$483) barrier to entry.

An Intel i3 would've been a better pick for the imminent multi-threading that will happen, but doing so would've compromised the price. It's the battle of price point versus power that may haunt the Inspiron 20 if it panders too much to the price-conscious consumers. Without significant testing, however, it's a tough call whether this one will be worth your money when it hits homes later this year.