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source: Mandi Ehman

Can an All-in-One Computer Replace a Laptop?

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Intel AIO PC

I pretty much love my job, which makes me one of the lucky ones, I suppose. From running Life Your Way to brainstorming new ideas for to teaching others how to publish ebooks, I really do look forward to work every day. And yes, while my businesses support our family, so money is a factor, I’m thankful that I’m able to do what I love and not just what pays the bills.

And occasionally there are really fun perks of this job (to offset the late nights and interrupted vacations!), like a trip to Disney World…or a new computer!

In our family, we have a running joke that I inherited the technology-loving gene from my step-dad. Oftentimes this love of technology and trying the latest and greatest products is at odds with the minimalist side of my personality, and I really don’t buy as many gadgets as I used to or as I’d like to. But I always spend some time drooling over them and imagining the possibilities.

But that’s why I jumped at the chance when Intel offered me the opportunity to try a brand new all-in-one PC!

We currently have two laptops — mine and my husband’s — plus a desktop. Unfortunately, we don’t really have a convenient place to keep the desktop in order for the girls to use it (I’m a big believer in computers being in the main living area, where there are no secrets), so we’ve been talking about getting a third laptop anyway.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from an all-in-one, but I figured it probably wouldn’t be the best work computer for someone like me — who sits on the couch for most of my work day — so we planned to set it up for the girls in the kitchen, which has become our main school area as well.

But here’s the thing…I’ve always wanted a tablet computer. I’m not a huge fan of the iPad for myself because I just prefer working on larger screens (my laptops are always 17″), but I love the idea of a machine that truly does double as a tablet and a computer.

Which meant I had to try out the Dell XPS 18 myself first, right?

As it turns out, I really, really like this thing, and I think I will be keeping it as my main work computer and passing down my laptop to the girls!

And that brings us back to the question in the title…can an all-in-one computer replace a laptop?

17" Laptop and 18" All-in-One Side-by-Side

I’m leaning toward yes, with a couple of caveats:

  • The all-in-one is literally a large, thin screen with two legs that flip out in the bottom corners, so it doesn’t work great on your lap. But as a portable computer to set on a desk, counter, table, etc., it works great. I work on the chaise in our family room most of the time, and I like that I can set the screen down on the chaise in front of or next to me and work with just a light keyboard on my lap or set the keyboard and mouse aside and work with the XPS 18 flat on my lap using the touch screen. I’ve also thought about looking for a breakfast tray of some sort so that I can occasionally work with it on my lap, but we’ll see.
  • By far, one of my favorite features is that the touch screen and peripherals can be used seamlessly. I can type one sentence with my wireless keyboard and stop in the middle and tap my screen to move my mouse cursor to another place and then use the on-screen keyboard to continue typing. I could even type every other letter using both keyboards (not sure why I’d do that, but I can). If using the touch screen required changing settings or any complicated maneuvers, I simply wouldn’t use it, which would defeat the purpose, so I really appreciate that it’s so well integrated.
  • When it comes to size, I love the 18″ wide screen! The screen itself is noticeably bigger than my 17″, while the all-in-one is still lighter and less clunky than my laptop.
  • I’ve heard a lot of complaints about Windows 8, and I can see how aspects of it would be frustrating on a regular computer, but I think this operating system is pretty much perfect for a touch screen device. Now that I’ve figured it out (which took me a little bit!), I actually really like it!

My only “complaint” thus far is that in order to use it for work, I really need more RAM because I tend to work in programs like Photoshop that can be resource hogs. I think it would be worth the money to get a model with 8GB RAM rather than 4GB, but I also can’t imagine that anyone in my family would be using programs that use so much memory.

Only time will tell whether this will really work for me as a work laptop, but either way, I think it’s an exciting bit of technology that’s here to stay!

I am working with Intel AIO PC and received a Dell XPS 18 in exchange for agreeing to share my experience, but all opinions are 100% mine!