From the beginning of 2012, when Windows 7 was still the generic operating system, the news of the Dell XPS One 2710 filtered out from the IT press favouring this massive computer with extremely positive feedback.
Aside from heaping on the praise, many of the early reviews of the One 2710 seem to draw the same conclusion - this was a winner that needed Windows 8 and a touch screen to put the cherry on the cake.
In the autumn of last year Windows 8 was released, albeit to a mixed bag of reviews. And Dell was one of the first mainstream manufacturers to get a full sized, Windows 8, all-in-one off the starting block and onto the shelves. The makeover of the One 2710, utilizing a touch screen and an operating system heralding in a new era for the domestic pc, added to the same high specs as before, meant Dell hit the provable jackpot. Here was a real contender, a personal computer that was to reach and even surpass the elusive edge of perfection flagged up by the Apple franchise.
The write-up of the screen alone was enough to entice me through the unquestionable learning curve of Windows 8 and draw me away from the svelte, sleek, grip of the IMac. I wasn’t looking for a tablet or an ultra-book, I’d boiled my need down to this coveted 27inch all-in-one - The XPS One 2710 Touch.
Each year, like clockwork, the latest round in software spawns another upgrade in processing power. I'm not immune, I buy into this consumer hype just like a million others. My excuse is simple, I'm reliant on computer speech recognition. Speech recognition software is super hardware intensive, or at least that’s what I told myself this time to justify the expense. My wife would inherit my old desktop replacement and I would move up to the next rung on the pc ladder.
Not wanting to sit in the shade, I placed an order for the highest spec XPS One 2710 - i7 3rd generation Ivy Bridge processor, 8GB of ram and 2TB msata raid cached hard drive - via the Dell website.
After a sleepless night of tossing and turning, wondering if I’d done the right and responsible thing, I bottled out and cancelled the order. I sat with this decision all morning until I caved in, late that afternoon, to my shameless desire and reordered the One 2710, this time with lower end specs. I repeated the same round of order and cancelation, vacillating between price and spec, over a period of days and nights, before the psychosis finally caught up with me.
In the end I phoned the Dell sales line, voicing my procrastination, at the same time looking to see if they could come up with a better deal than I had conjured up using voucher codes and savings found on the Dell website. I’m glad I made the call. Not only did I get a better deal, but the sales staff were exemplary, calling me back at every turn, making sure I still wanted to go through with the purchase, explaining all the cancelation options, right down to telling me I could refuse delivery, without charge, if I so desired, reassuring and helpful.
My flipping between decision and indecision wasn’t completely without reason. I live in Malta! Unless you go through the one and only authorized distributor in Malta, costing a good deal more than the direct purchase method Dell offers customers in the UK, there was no official way to get my hands on this very particular high-roller in this part of Europe. Seems like Amazon are the only major league company unfazed by shipping within the European Union!?
As far as I could see the cost effective way to find a home for my sought-after prize, was to get Dell to ship the computer (for free) to my sister in Norwich, then get my sister to forward it to Malta. The latter part of the journey would turn out to be the most nerve-racking.
For a favourable fee I managed to secure a deal with UPS through a shipping agent over the internet. Since UPS was being used by Dell, to ship the computer from their manufacturing plant in china to the UK, this seemed the simplest and most obvious option. My sister was put to a minimum amount of trouble; the package was checked, photographed and signed for by her and basically stayed on the van. Having such a fragile possession shipped out by courier from the UK was a risk. Damage occurred on this part of the journey would not be covered by Dell. Although I paid for extra insurance, the fine print made the insurance policy seem very unlikely.
I was sent new tracking information and within a couple of days saw that the computer was about to arrive at the hub at Malta airport. Since I’d been reading a hundred and-one horror stories, about packages like this reaching their destination smashed to bits, I decided, somewhat desperately, to fetch the computer from the airport myself. I phoned UPS in Malta, gave them the tracking number. “How is the package, is it still in one piece?” “Yes of course”, they said without hesitation. “All is fine”. I couldn't help but feel a tad suspicious. Unless they had my parcel on their desk right in front of them, how would they know whether it had or hadn’t arrived unscathed.
When I walked round the corner, into a small cargo shed on edge of Malta airport and saw a bruised and battered black box with half of one end ripped away, leaving a vulnerable edge of the computer screen dangerously exposed, my chest caved in.
The young man overseeing the UPS hub at this end picked up on my frustration and undoubted sadness and suggested, as I was about to throw in the towel, we take the computer out, of what was remaining of its cardboard carcass and give it the once over.
We carefully lifted the all-in-one, weighing a ton, onto a nearby bench, peeled away the dense polystyrene packaging, which was to prove its weight in gold, and pulled off the polythene wrapping. From back to front, there wasn’t a scratch anywhere. Just to be absolutely sure we plugged it into the mains. I could hardly contain myself, as the shiny black screen began booting into a magnificent stable of colour. The tight fitting construction of polystyrene wading, inside the box, had been sturdy enough to keep the screen, which was my main and most expensive concern, safe and untouched.
I was oh so lucky that my fickle decision, transporting the computer beyond the Dell boundaries, hadn’t turned the whole ordeal into a nightmare. If I ever toil with wanting to import such a valuable commodity again, I would make sure the existing box was placed inside another box and every seam was taped, re-taped and double-taped, leaving no edge unturned, nothing to catch on the conveyer belts and rollers on route - only then might there be a slim chance that I could receive such a precious gift unscathed.
There can be no doubt, if it hadn’t been for the design of the internal polystyrene covering I wouldn’t be sitting in front of this beautiful screen today, pinching myself with sheer relief and disbelief. After a few weeks spent with this unprecedented beast, still marvelling that it got here untainted, I can sum it up in a nutshell - I love the One 2710.
If I have one small caveat it would be that Dell don’t make it clear which version of Windows 8 comes with the machine on their UK website. I assumed that such a class act would come with Windows 8 Pro, but I was wrong, which meant I spent some wasted hours upgrading to a copy of Windows 8 Pro I already owned, only to be told that the operating system was active on more than one computer. After a few entanglements between the Dell and the Microsoft helpline the problem was sorted. Despite that small glitch I have been bowled away by Dell's customer support and by the sheer magic of this gorgeous 27" touch screen.
I've even felt relaxed enough to make some minor changes to the hardware. Contrary to what I’d read, Dell have made a machine giving easy access to the motherboard and hard drive. I have already increased the RAM to a whopping 16 GB and in some future date will upgrade the msata ssd and the processor.
From the premium aftersales service, high specs, and high resolution pixel perfect screen, Dell have got this all-in-one right in so many ways. For anyone who wants a computer that looks the business, works right out of the box and works seamlessly, the XPS One 2710 can’t be recommended highly enough.
I am happy for you that your 2710 arrived in good working order.
However I must recommend that you not do what I did which was to install the msata ssd, turn on Intel rapid storrage technology (IRST) and then update the bios. The result of this upgrade was to destroy my motherboard. I am writing this because I feel that the safest approach to this machine is teave the hardware and the bios alone. I am trying to decide whether to pay for a new motherboard ($225 on ebay) and install it myself or whether to ssll the machine as is. If I sell it as is, I plan to buy the i7 mac mini and a 27 inch ips high resolution (1920x1080) monitor. That will give me a near equivalent to an IMac, it will run windows 7, and there will not be Dell to deal with.