Dell OptiPlex 3011 review

The Dell OptiPlex 3011 all-in-one desktop is a no-nonsense work PC, updated with a 20-inch touch screen and Windows 8.
Photo of Dell OptiPlex 3011

There are plenty of business PCs on the market, but only recently have the desktops of the workplace begun to offer the flexibility offered by a touch screen. One such system is the Dell OptiPlex 3011, which gives you all the hardware of a basic work desktop system, with a 20-inch touch screen and Windows 8 Pro, in an all-in-one desktop form factor.

Design and Features
Made for the business user, the OptiPlex 3011 is a no-nonsense machine, designed to bring the flexibility of a touch screen and all-in-one desktop to the office, but not the entertainment options. As such, where most all-in-one designs feature extra-large displays with full HD or better resolution, the OptiPlex 3011 has a 20-inch touch screen with 1,600-by-900 resolution—it’s still large enough to multitask with side by side windows and the resolution will still deliver 720p content, but it has none of the 1080p goodness seen in consumer-focused alternatives.

The speaker quality is surprisingly good, given the all-business design, with decent bass and clear sound even at high volumes. Watching the newest trailer for Ender’s Game, everything sounded very clear, from the gravelly voice of Harrison Ford to the booming explosions of interstellar battle and the thrumming orchestral score.

The design itself is fairly utilitarian, with a simple black on black color scheme and single support arm hold the display aloft while allowing adjustments to angle, but not height. On the right side of the OptiPlex 3011 is a tray-loading DVD+-RW drive. On the left, you’ll find a card reader slot, two USB 3.0 ports, jacks for headphones and mic. Three buttons are also on the left side, one for turning the screen on and off and two for volume up and down.

On the back of the all-in-one are four additional USB 2.0 ports for connecting peripherals and storage, along with Ethernet, a case lock slot for a Kensington lock or similar physical security, and a power connector. The OptiPlex 3011 does have an external power brick, so you may need to plan accordingly if you have limited space to set it up. Internally, the OptiPlex 3011 is equipped with 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth for syncing a smartphone or connecting wireless peripherals, and an HD webcam for video conferencing.

Dell has outfitted the OptiPlex 3011 with a 500GB 7,200rpm hard drive. It’s the same size drive seen in the Lenovo ThinkCentre M71z and the Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 92z, but not as fast as the small but zippy 128GB solid-state drive found in the Editors’ Choice Dell Optiplex 9010 AIO. On the drive, Dell has installed Windows 8 Pro (64-bit), along with a guide to the new OS called “Getting Started with Windows 8,” and a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office 365. Beyond that, the OptiPlex 3011 is bloatware-free. Dell covers the OptiPlex 3011 with a three-year warranty, and limited onsite service after remote diagnosis.

Performance

Dell has equipped the OptiPlex 3011 with a third-generation 3.3GHz Intel Core i3-3220 dual-core processor. While it’s not as potent as the Core i5 found in the Lenovo ThinkCentre M71z, it is well suited to office work, scoring 2,836 points in PCMark 7, where the Lenovo M71z scored 2,134 points. This is in spite of the fact that the OptiPlex 3011′s processor itself isn’t quite as fast, scoring 3.27 points as compared with the 4.10 points of the Lenovo M71z.

In multimedia tasks like Handbrake and Photoshop, the OptiPlex 3011 proved adequate, finishing the tests in 1 minute 7 seconds and 5:04, respectively. The better equipped Dell Optiplex 9010 AIO (with a Core i7 and faster SSD) pulled well ahead, finishing these same tests in 33 seconds and 3:31, respectively.

While the integrated graphics solution built into the processor (Intel HD Graphics 2500) is more than capable of supporting your basic needs—like Web browsing, office tasks, and even occasional photo editing—it can’t top a discrete graphics processor, like the one found in the Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 92z. As a result, while it offered passable performance in 3DMark 11, scoring 712 points at Entry settings and 130 points at Extreme settings, it was easily topped by the Lenovo 92z, which more than double those scores thanks to an AMD Radeon GPU.

If high performance is essential to you, the Dell OptiPlex 3011 isn’t the best choice, but for a day-to-day office machine, it’s a solid choice. The OptiPlex 3011 is a simple, workaday all-in-one desktop for the small business user, and while it can’t match it’s Editors’ Choice sibling Dell OptiPlex 9010—thanks to a Core i7 processor and zippy solid-state drive—it’s considerably more affordable.

Specifications
Touchscreen Yes
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8 Professional
Storage Type HDD
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 2500
Type Business, All-in-one
RAM 4 GB
Processor Family Intel Core i3
Monitor Type LCD Widescreen
Primary Optical Drive DVD+/-RW (Plus Minus)
Screen Size 20 inches
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 500 GB

Verdict
The Dell OptiPlex 3011 all-in-one desktop is a no-nonsense work PC, updated with a 20-inch touch screen and Windows 8, making it a smart pick for businesses large and small.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc