For a few years, Dell had one of the most potent all-in-one PCs on the market with their high-end XPS 27. That system has not been overhauled in years, so it's great to see the all new XPS 27 that brings new concepts to the entertainment PC.

In short, Dell is taking its 4K Infinity Edge display and jamming it into a PC that is built around sound and high visual definition. In fact, there are no less than ten speakers packed into the new XPS 27 both for audio aficionados and those who like to create and work in music.

For the display, Dell is putting a 27-inch UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) InfinityEdge IPS touch display in this beast. Featuring 100% Adobe RGB display gamut and Dell's PremierColor software users can configure and remap the color spectrum to their needs. Plus, Windows Hello.

Built around sound

The XPS 27 always had a stunning display with the previous version (which I used for years) at QHD+. This time, however, the company is focusing heavily on sound for audiophiles and professionals too:

Working in coordination with multi-Grammy Award winning producer Jack Joseph Puig and the engineers at Dell, the XPS 27 creates a new standard for audio and video creation and consumption. The XPS 27 boasts the best sound for an All-in-one PC. The XPS 27 sound system has a distinctive integrated sound bar which includes ten discrete speakers powered and controlled by digital dynamic amplifiers producing 50W per channel. It's also the world's first PC with a pair of independent, down-firing full range speakers that augment front-firing speakers for heightened sound ambiance. These speakers are tuned to work in conjunction with the stereo drives to fill the room with sound. The results are unbelievable.

More specifically here is what those speakers are and what they do:

  • Two tweeters produce clean high notes and crystal clear voices with lively, yet accurate stereo imaging.
  • Four full range drivers provide a powerful punch and clear, accurate midrange.
  • Two passive radiators reinforce the lows, packing the rich, full sound of a larger speaker into the sleek built-in design and provide deep bass.
  • An additional pair of independent, down-firing full range speakers are tuned to work in conjunction with the stereo drivers to fill the room with sound.
  • Dynamic amplifiers sense the power used by the driver to adapt known speaker modeling parameters to the content being played and avoid excursions.

That all sounds a little crazy to me, pardon the pun, but it's surely going to pique the interest of people who work in video or music creation. Dell throws out some claims too including that this XPS 27:

  • Outperforms the HP Envy 27 and the 27-inch Apple iMac in total loudness and overall frequency response
  • Is louder than the HP Envy 27 and the 27-inch Apple iMac
  • Is 2x louder than 27-inch Apple iMac
  • Has more bass than HP Envy 27 and 27-inch Apple iMac
  • World's first PC with down-firing speakers that augment front-firing speakers for heightened sound ambiance

For now, we'll take Dell at their word. Clearly, though, they see this as a challenge to HP and Apple's all-in-one PCs, especially in the audio and video department.

Full Specifications

The rest of XPS 27 – like all Dell computers – is heavily user configured during the purchase process. This not only allows various price points, but also lets users get the most out of the device.

Here are the full specs:

Dell XPS 27 (2017)

Category Dell XPS 27 9560
Processor options 6th Gen Intel Core i5-6400 Processor (6M Cache, up to 3.3 GHz)
6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700 Processor (8M Cache, up to 4 GHz)
Display 27" 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) touch (300-nits)
27" 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) InfinityEdge (350-nits)
LED backlit
100% Adobe RGB (typical)
>1000:1 contrast ratio
IPS
Stand Articulating for touch
Tilt only for non-touch
Memory options 8GB – 32GB DDR4 SDRAM at 2133 MHz
4 SoDIMM slots – supports up to 64GB memory
Graphics options Intel HD Graphics 530
AMD R9 M470X 2GB GDDR5
AMD R9 M485X 4GB GDDR5
Storage options 1TB SATA hard drive
2TB SATA hard drive
2TB SATA hard drive + 32GB M.2 Solid State Drive with Intel RST
512GB or 1TB m.2 PCIe SSD
Wireless 802.11 ac (2.4GHz & 5.GHz) + Bluetooth 4.0
802.11 ac (2.4GHz & 5.GHz, 2x2) + Bluetooth 4.0
Webcam HD (720p) webcam with wide, quad array digital microphones
Hello Compliant infrared facial recognition camera
Ports and connectors Side ports - USB 3.0 with PowerShare
SD-card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC)
audio jack
Back ports - USB 3.0 (4), HDMI-out (1), DisplayPort 1.2 (1), Thunderbolt 3 (supporting Type-C, DisplayPort, USB3.1, PS) (2)
Gigabit Ethernet
audio out (1)
Expansion Up to 3 total bays: 2 2.5" HDD / 1 M.2 PCIe X4 SSD slot
Power supply Internal 360W PSU
Audio Ten speaker sound system powered by dynamic amplifiers capable of 50W per channel at <1% THD coupled with Jack Joseph Puig Signature Series powered by Waves MaxxAudio Pro Over 90dB SPL tightly controlled over 70Hz - 20KHz Stereo Power (watts) ~50W per channel @ 1% THD Frequency response ~70Hz – 20 KHz
Keyboard and Mouse Dell Premium Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
Starting weight Touch: 38.2lbs (17.3 kg)
Non-touch: 28.7lb (13 kg)
Chassis All-in-one constructed of CNC machined aluminum

Besides the fantastic display and audio system, Dell throws in a Windows Hello IR camera too for good measure.

The choice for 6th Gen Intel chips is no big deal as Kaby Lake on the desktop brings nothing to the table, but the choice of AMD over NVidia is a bit odd. For performance, you're talking an equivalent roughly to the NVidia GeForce 970 compared to the AMD Radeon R9 M485X. That does bring some GPU power, but the XPS 27 is still far from being anything like a gaming laptop.

Bottom line and Availability

Combined with the Windows 10 Creator's Update due this spring and it's not hard to see how this is Dell's take on the Microsoft Surface Studio.

Instead of competing directly with the Surface Studio's slant towards artists and engineers, Dell is going after a different group of creative professionals. That's a smart choice. While the Surface Studio is a great product it clearly has limitations that this XPS 27 does not. If you work in video production, the XPS 27 is what you will want to get.

Dell is looking to make the XPS 27 all-in-one available starting today, January 5, for orders. Pricing starts at $1,499 and goes up depending on configuration.