Dell Inspiron One 23 review

Need to hook your VCR up to a Windows 8 touch screen PC? Dell has the PC you want in the Dell Inspiron One 23.
Photo of Dell Inspiron One 23

The Dell Inspiron One 23 is an adequate all-in-one desktop PC; what sets it apart is an extraordinary set of input ports. If you have a need for composite AV in and VGA in on a touch screen all-in-one desktop, the Inspiron One 23 should be on the top of the list. If you don’t need this admittedly specialized set of inputs, then there are other more attractive AIO PC choices out there for the same amount of money.

Design and Features
Every so often we get a system that seems specialized to cater to people still using older technologies, and this time around it’s the Inspiron One 23. At first glance, though, the Inspiron One 23 looks like a modern Windows 8 all-in-one desktop PC with a 23-inch 1080p touch screen. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll see a lot of old-school inputs that will allow you to connect older tech to this 2012-2013 model. The back panel houses composite AV input for video and audio, a S/PDIF connector for digital audio out, both VGA in and VGA out, and in a concession to modern times, a HDMI-in port. Using the various inputs you can connect older PCs, VCRs, sound bar speaker systems, along with vintage and modern game consoles. The presence of all these ports can help people holding on to these older technologies accept the new while still supporting legacy devices. It also gives the space-constrained tech fan a screen that can display older video formats while standing firmly in the modern era.

Speaking of older tech, the system comes with a DVD burner, but no Blu-ray. The latter would make more sense on a 1080p screen like the one on the Inspiron One 23. If you have a Playstation 3, however, that would cover Blu-ray when connected to the HDMI-in port. A row of buttons on the right side of the system lets you control which input is active. VGA-out is a nice touch, but this would only work for multi-monitor use if you have an older VGA monitor lying around. Some newer monitors only come with DisplayPort, HDMI, or DVI.

The system’s 1080p (1,920 by 1,080) resolution 23-inch panel has 10-finger capacitive touch input, so you can use both hands or share the screen with someone sitting next to you. The single-hinge-and-arm design of the system lets you tilt the screen a bit, but the arm lacks a height adjustment that would give you the most flexibility for standing or reclining users. All in all the screen works fine for part time touch use. The screen itself is a little darker and duller than others we’ve seen in this price range, including the Editors’ Choice Apple iMac 21.5-inch (Late 2012)
($1,199) and the Sony VAIO Tap 20 ($999.99). While the differences are mainly visible in a side-by-side comparison, colors on the Start screen’s live tiles don’t seem to “pop” like they do on systems like the Vizio 24-Inch All-in-One (CA24T-A4) ($1,299).

In addition to all the video-oriented ports, the Inspiron One 23 comes with four USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports. The USB 2.0 ports work best for peripherals like printers, keyboards, and mice. You’ll have to be a bit vigilant, however, as Dell doesn’t provide a way to visually distinguish between the USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. The USB 3.0 ports are the same color as the USB 2.0 ports, so you’ll have to use your keen eyesight to find the ones marked with the USB SS logo for USB 3.0 speeds. Not a huge deal, but you may inadvertently plug a USB 3.0 device into the slower USB 2.0 port. Systems like the Vizio CA24T-A4 solely use USB 3.0 ports, so there’s no confusion.

The Inspiron One 23 comes with a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and a 1TB hard drive. The amount of memory will help for multitasking to your heart’s content, not worrying if you have 50 opened tabs in your browser. Likewise, the Core i5 processor helps with multitasking and taking care of multimedia tasks (see performance below).

The 1TB is a decent amount of drive space for a student or family, and you can add external storage with the system’s speedy USB 3.0 ports. The two ports on the left side of the system are more convenient to get to than the ones in the back. There were a few added tiles on the Inspiron One 23′s Start screen, including Amazon, Kindle, Skype, Dell Shop, eBay, and Movie Maker. The actual desktop mode was pretty free of third-party programs, except for a shortcut to Amazon in the task bar. The desktop comes with a 15-month subscription to McAfee Security Center, a plus. It comes with a standard one-year warranty including in home service.


The combination of the Intel Core i5-3330S processor with Intel integrated graphics and 8GB of memory helped the Inspiron One 23 perform day-to-day tasks about as fast as systems with Core i7 processors like the Toshiba LX835-D3380 ($1,399) and the pricier HP Spectre One 23-e010se ($1,610), as shown by their similar PCMark7 results. The Toshiba LX835 and HP One 23 both outperform the Inspiron One 23 on the multimedia tests (Handbrake and Photoshop CS6), but it’s not a rout, as the Dell remains competitive there. The Inspiron One 23 stumbled in 3D performance tests. Its low 3DMark 11 and gaming test numbers show that you’d get a better gaming experience by hooking up a console to the HDMI-in port. Basically, if you’re not going planning to compete on the PC game grid, the Inspiron One 23 is fine on all other fronts.

The Dell Inspiron One 23 performs adequately, but has a very good set of ports for connectivity to a plethora of devices. Aside from that niche market, however, other competitors in the cutthroat mainstream all-in-one field overshadow the Inspiron One 23. Both the Apple iMac 21.5-inch (Late 2012) (our Editors’ Choice for mainstream all-in-one PCs) and Vizio A24T-A4 have better, brighter screens than the Inspiron One 23. The Toshiba LX835-D3380 and iMac are better overall performers on the multimedia and 3D fronts. If you don’t need VGA and AV in, there are other mainstream all-in-ones that should be on the top of your buying list.

Check out the test scores for the Dell Inspiron One 23

Compare the Dell Inspiron One 23 with several other desktops side by side.

More desktop reviews:

Primary Optical Drive Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW
Processor Family Intel Core i5
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 2500
Screen Size 23 inches
Monitor Type LCD Widescreen
Type Mainstream, All-in-one, Touchscreen All-In-One
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 1000 GB
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8 Professional

If you have a need for composite AV in and VGA in on a touch screen all-in-one desktop, the Inspiron One 23 should be on the top of the list. If you don't need this admittedly specialized set of inputs, then there are other more attractive AIO PC choices out there for the same amount of money.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc