If you're a professional photographer working with high-resolution photos, you're going to need a high-resolution screen. The Dell XPS One 27 offers just that. And as an all-in-one PC, it won't take up the whole of the space on your desk.
There's no word on pricing or availability yet, but it's likely to be for sale before the end of the year.
The stand-out feature of the XPS One 27 is without doubt its screen. It offers an excellent resolution of 2,560x1,440 pixels, putting it streets ahead of the 1,920x1,080-pixel displays of all-in-ones like the Packard Bell oneTwo M and the Toshiba Qosmio DX730.
Such a high resolution might not be for all of you, but it lends itself perfectly to graphics applications. Editing photos and videos with so many pixels on screen at once makes life much, much easier -- especially if you're dealing with extremely high-res snaps from cameras like the Nikon D800.
If you're a graphics professional (or even just a keen amateur), you'll certainly find the extra pixels come in handy when you boot up Adobe Photoshop CS6, After Effects or Illustrator. Being able to fit so much onto your screen at once might mean that you won't need to use two monitors so it could come in handy if your home office space is restricted.
Of course, the downside is that for general media use, the resolution is a touch too high. The current standard for high-definition video is a 1080p resolution, which you'll find on some YouTube clips. As the resolution on the XPS One 27 is higher than that, your videos will have to be stretched to fit, which won't make them look as crisp as they would on a 1080p screen.
There's a Blu-ray drive included, but even Blu-ray tops out at 1080p, so you still won't get the best high-definition experience. Watching standard-definition DVDs will look even worse. Higher-resolution cameras (such as RED's Epic), are starting to become more common in film-making circles, but we're a while off seeing such high quality being offered on movie discs in the shops.
The display seemed bright and very vivid so your high-resolution snaps should look great. I only had a limited amount of time with the computer so I'll leave my final verdict on the quality of the screen for the full review, but it certainly seemed up to the task of tackling serious editing.
Interestingly, unlike most all-in-one PCs, the XPS One 27 doesn't offer touchscreen tech. While I'm perfectly happy with that for now (I never find myself using touchscreen with the current Windows 7 PCs), once Windows 8 rolls out with its touch-optimised Metro interface, the lack of touch ability might prove to be an unfortunate omission. Dell did mention to me that it may yet be offered with touch, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
If you want to get an idea of what the One 27 looks like in your office, borrow your friend's Apple iMac -- it looks almost identical. There's probably only so much flair you can put into an all-in-one PC's styling, but Dell has borrowed so many design tips from Apple that I was almost surprised not to see the Apple logo on the front.
The rear of the chassis is made from a single piece of machined aluminium that's been given a silver-grey colour -- almost the same shade you'd find on the iMac, in fact. It sits on an attractive stand that does at least look like Dell's own work. The stand felt particularly sturdy, which is reassuring, given the weight of that 27-inch screen.
The only things of real note on the back are the Dell logo, the vent slit at the top (again, taken straight off the iMac), and the ports at the bottom. The latter are tucked in behind the stand, which could prove awkward if you're quickly trying to swap in a USB stick. There's also some USB ports on the side for easier access.
In total, you get six USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet socket, an SD card slot, HDMI-out, HDMI-in (for using as a display for your games console), the slot-loading Blu-ray drive and headphone/microphone jacks. Having so many USB 3.0 ports will definitely come in handy if you're backing up a lot of files to external hard drives.
The sides and front bottom edge of the machine are made from a darker matte plastic, so it's here that we finally start to see some deviation from Apple's blueprints. The glass of the screen goes edge to edge, so there's no unsightly bezel cheapening the view.
It might be incredibly similar to the iMac, but there's no denying it looks good. The metal back and large expanse of glass on the front make it look particularly premium. It will no doubt be right at home in a fancy designer's office, surrounded by empty Starbucks cups. It's a much more stylish design than the entirely plastic Packard Bell.
Like all of Dell's products, the XPS One 27 will be open for as much customisation as you like before you buy it. The model I checked out packed an Intel Core i7 processor, which was the new Ivy Bridge variety that promises much better built-in graphics capabilities than the previous generation. That will prove particularly handy when some extra 'oomph' is needed for video rendering.
Dell wasn't able to tell me what different specifications will be on offer inside this machine, but given that it's aimed at creative uses -- which can often be extremely demanding -- I'm hoping for at least 8GB of RAM, solid state drives rather than the slower traditional hard disk drives and a dedicated graphics card.
I wasn't able to have a proper play with the machine -- I was told it was a pre-production model -- so any tests I could have run on it would have been meaningless anyway. But with the right specification, it should be a pretty powerful beast. I'm looking forward to giving it a proper test in the full review.
The Dell XPS One 27 offers a high-resolution display that's perfect for photo and video editing, although it's less suited for chilling out with a film. Its sleek styling will be instantly familiar to anyone who's used an iMac, and it will slot in well in a designer's office.