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Dell targets younger audience with 360-degree laptops and thin, light All-in-One PCs

Michael Brown | June 3, 2014
Dell needs an image makeover, according to Jonathan Guttell, Director of Global Consumer Messaging at the now privately held PC manufacturer. "Seventy percent of family computer-buying decisions are driven by high-school and college kids. And their perception is that Dell makes the products that they use in school or that their parents use at work," he said. "We're not fun." The new hybrids, all-in-ones, and tablets Dell announced on Monday at Computex in Taipei kick off the company's efforts get the kids excited about its brand.

Guttell described the 7000 series as "close to our XPS line, but priced less than $1,000. The XPS line," he said, "is meant to be best in its class, with no tradeoffs."

The 7000-series 2-in-1s will come with backlit keyboards, HDMI 1.4a video outputs, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, and media-card readers. Wi-Fi connections step up to either a Dell Wireless-N 802.11n or an Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 7265. This larger model will also be 0.76 inches thick, but as one would expect, it will be a little heavier at 3.68 pounds. The Inspiron 13 7000 won't be available until September, and Dell did not disclose pricing.

Dell struck a deal with Dropbox to give all Inspiron buyers 20GB of cloud storage. New Inspiron models will also come with Sensible Vision's excellent FastAccess Anywhere facial-recognition software that can automatically unlock your PC and log you into websites as soon as your webcam spots your visage. Dell is making an effort to deliver better audio experiences, too. All the machines I saw came with Waves' MaxxAudio high-definition audio software.

New all-in-one desktops

Dell showed me two new all-in-one desktop machines, including a long-overdue Haswell-refreshed XPS 18. But first I'll cover the revamped Inspiron 20 3000-series AIO. Dell has ditched the monitor-on-a-pedestal approach in favor of a picture-frame chassis. Although there's no battery option, Guttell said the all-in-one was designed to be easy to move from one room to another inside the house. But I think that'll be a hassle unless you upgrade to a wireless mouse and keyboard (wired devices come standard).

But that decision — and installing Windows 8.1 with Bing — helped Dell deliver an all-in-one with a 19.5-inch TN display for just $350. Granted it's not a touchscreen, and its resolution is only 1600x900 pixels, but that's still a pretty good deal for a desktop PC with a dual-core Intel Celeron N2830 processor. A touchscreen will be available as an upgrade, as well as a quad-core Intel Pentium N3530 CPU.

The Inspiron 20 3000 series will come with 500GB of storage and either 2GB or 4GB of DDR3L/1600 memory (although the CPU will run that memory at a maximum speed of 1333MHz). I/O ports include HDMI-in (so you can use it as a display for a laptop, video-game console, or set-top box), three USB 3.0 ports, 10/100 ethernet, and a media-card reader. Wireless networking will be limited to 1x1 802.11n, plus Bluetooth. It goes on sale July 1.

Dell made no changes to the form factor of its exciting XPS 18, but the battery-powered all-in-one will now be available with a Core i3-4030, a Core i5-420U, or a Core i7-4510U CPU. The machine will be available with either 4GB or 8GB of DDR3L memory (up to 1600MHz), and its storage options will range from a 500GB mechanical drive, a 1TB drive with a 32GB SSD cache, or you can go the full Monty with a 256GB SSD.


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