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Dell Studio One Touchscreen Windows 7 PC Review

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Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Dell
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Windows 7 and Touchscreen are here

Last week I got a chance to spend a few days with a Windows 7 based PC from Dell, the Studio One.  This all-in-one PC is designed in to be nearly completely wireless (power still required) and integrates an optical touchscreen interface for a unique interactive experience.  I put together a short video review of the unit included below that looks at the Dell Studio One design, the touchscreen technology and how it works with Windows 7 today, general purpose computing on the machine and more. 

While the video above goes into a lot more detail that the images and provided text below, I have both available here for those of you that don't want to watch the video or can't because of your pestering boss hovering around behind you. 

This image, besides showing me with a distraught look on my face, is in place merely to show you the size and scale of the Dell Studio One.  The screen is a wide screen 19-in display with a large bezel around the outside for both appearances and to include the integrated stereo speakers. 

The system is very clean in its design and when paired with the matching wireless keyboard and mouse, only has a single power cord to destroy the appearance of it being a self-contained machine. The hardware itself is built around an Intel Pentium E5200 dual-core processor that runs at 2.5 GHz and an NVIDIA ION chipset (also known as the GeForce 9400M chipset) to provide the bulk of the processing power.  This is a similar combination to the Apple iMacs (though with a slightly slower CPU) and is noteworthy in that it DOES NOT use the crippled Atom CPU. 

Our model also included 3GB of memory, a 320GB 2.5-in hard drive and an DVD+RW bay seen here in its slot loading glory.  You can also get an idea from this shot how deep the PC is and how much room the satin silver stand takes up on your desk. 

The rear of the Dell Studio One includes four USB ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, audio output jack and the reset button. 

Over on the left side you will see an card reader slot along with another pair of USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone connections and the all mighty power button.

Along the top of the bezel you will see an integrated webcam and mic that allow you to very easily make video calls and video chats via programs like Skype.  In my testing I was able to do 640x480 video at 15 FPS on Skype with very good image quality - quite surprisingly.

Besides the integrated on-screen keyboard, Windows 7 includes a surprisingly impressive handwriting recognition program that you can use your finger with, or like me, use the back of a ball point pen.  That is one of the advantages of the NextWindow technology that allows you to use just about anything for a stylus or pointing device with extremely low pressure.

One of the better use cases for touchscreen technology came with the Microsoft Surface Globe application seen here - more video and application examples included in the video above.

Scrolling through browser windows was very easy in Internet Explorer 8 but was not working at all with FireFox.

These are a couple of other Windows 7 "Touch Pack" applications including the MS Surface photo tool and an interesting painting application.

Because the Dell Studio One does not use the Atom processor, it had no problem playing back very high bit rate Flash video.

Closing Thoughts

This is my first time with extended usage on a touchscreen computer and I have to say that it was a mixed experience.  In the applications where touch controls were implemented well, such as with the Surface Globe and Photo applications, the touch experience was well beyond that of a keyboard and mouse.  And even applications such as Internet Explorer
that had nice touches like the one and two finger scrolling would make a countertop-based PC a nice thing to have in any household. 

There were some hiccups though - touching anything at the very edges of the screen was VERY hard to do as the Dell Studio One has a raised bezel along the outer edge of the screen that hinders your finger from getting up right along the side.  That made hitting the X button to close windows pretty hard in non-touch-based applications and made scrolling in FireFox (that doesn't support the 1 or 2 finger scrolling) a pain in the neck (or hand).  The onscreen keyboard is also hard to "pull out" from the side of the display for the very same reason.  Microsoft needs to make sure it's own internal developers realize that not everyone using a touch PC is on a stylus-based notebook now.

Overall I have to admit that the idea of getting a touchscreen PC for the kitchen area is pretty appealing now after having used the Dell Studio One for a few days.  I would definitely recommend something with more power than the traditional "nettop" based touchscreen PCs with Atom processors if only to get support for Flash video of all types.  The Dell Studio One starts at $899 with multitouch support and Windows 7 - so its not exactly an impulse purchase like some of the nettops we have seen coming down the pipeline. 
Your mileage may vary but with Windows 7 right around the corner (okay, it's really here) touch applications may finally get the boost we have been waiting for to make these types of PC truly a must have.

There are lot more details with more commentary in the video review above, so be sure to check it out!

May 17, 2011 | 02:42 PM - Posted by NotLame001 (not verified)

That is the most fugly POS i have ever seen, i would NEVER promote an abomination like that ever, why does Dull feel the need to copy Apple's very excellant iMac desktop ?,
- Really lame ! ------ Epic Fail !

June 14, 2012 | 02:03 PM - Posted by Brandon R (not verified)

This computer is great for alot of online gaming but nothing like skyrim or mass effect but great for minecraft with 256x256x texture packs and runescape and world of war craft ect..

June 14, 2012 | 02:03 PM - Posted by Brandon R (not verified)

This computer is great for alot of online gaming but nothing like skyrim or mass effect but great for minecraft with 256x256x texture packs and runescape and world of war craft ect..

May 17, 2011 | 02:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What is that thing supposed to be, an iMac ? -- Hhahaahha ! Nice try Dell.

May 17, 2011 | 02:46 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You are so right notlame, i bet it will die in 1 week, -- viruses anyone ? LMAO

May 17, 2011 | 02:48 PM - Posted by TonyS. (not verified)

Is the case made of plastic ? Omg, hahaha.

July 5, 2011 | 04:06 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It is a good looking touch screen PC, I mean the wheel has been invented, and yes we can all take off our hats for Apple and the iMac. But never the less, great job Dell! Keep them coming!

May 24, 2012 | 04:38 AM - Posted by tino-tino (not verified)

In defence of Dell, they've had their ups and downs but have also lead the way in innovation look at the great XPS M1730 and the Alienware take-over - they are all outstanding. That said, this machine the studio ONE is actually a fine all in one. it's nowhere near, nor intended to be an apple copy and its actually a very attractive design in real life.. dont be fooled by the plastic back (what else would it be made of?)it has a very high quality build & feel. When the back is popped off (no screws)a full metal chassis is revealed. together with this, the heavy metal stand makes it a very sturdy, high quality computer & with a dual 2.93GHz processor too. Its actually a GREAT machine so much better in build than many of the HP's and lenovos out there.

October 5, 2012 | 01:37 AM - Posted by louie2114 (not verified)

Hi. I got this kind of pc about a year or two ago. Its now loaded with Win7 OS. Just wonder if it is possible for this one to set up with dual monitors? I tried looking links on the net but I could not find one. Could anyone has an idea and how?

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