The hype over tablets and smartphones can't overcome this basic reality: For accessing CDs, multitasking or creating and managing massive spreadsheets or graphic files, the desktop computer is still king. And within this segment, the number of shipments of sleek all-in-one PCs -- loaded with DVD-RW drives, lightning-fast processors, gigantic hard drives and cinema-worthy screens -- will grow an estimated 20 percent this year over last. One look at our gorgeous selection, and it's easy to see why.
Asus ET2701 ($1,299)
The Asus looks and sounds pricier than it is, thanks to a bright, 27-inch LED-backlit touch display with a 178-degree viewing angle and a Sonic Master audio system that powers an external subwoofer. The substandard 1920 x 1080 resolution (which, by the way, still beats most flat-screen TVs) accounts for the lower price.
Key specs: 2 TB hard drive; 8 GB RAM; DVD/Blu-Ray read/write drive; four USB drives; 2 megapixel webcam; HDMI input; external subwoofer; optional TV tuner
HP Compaq Elite 8300 Touch All-in-One Desktop PC ($929)
Hewlett-Packard forgoes higher prices and top-shelf specs to grab more corporate sales with the Elite 8300. You should consider it as well. With a slimmer posture than other models, this 23-inch, 1920 x 1080 resolution touchscreen can handle portrait or landscape orientation. Its plastic housing may look dated, but its durable and reliable 256 GB self-encrypting solid-state drive means there's serious computing power under the hood.
Key Specs: 1 TB hard drive; 16 GB DDR3 memory; DVD+/-RW drive; six USB drives; 2 megapixel webcam
Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 ($1,949)
Either upright or lying flat (due to a clever pivoting stand), this 27-inch touchscreen seems tailor-made for the new Windows 8 interface. Instead, it packs Microsoft's older operating system and touch software. Why? Developers have yet to build business-centric desktop programs that capitalize on touch. When they do, the A720 will be ready.
Key specs: 1 TB hard disk drive; 8 GB DDR3 memory; DVD+/-RW Blu-Ray Combo drive; four USB drives; 720p HD webcam; HDMI in/out; optional TV tuner
Dell XPS One 27 ($2,000)
It's hard to tell if the 27-inch Dell is a TV or a PC, and perhaps that's the point. Equipped with a TV tuner, Blu-Ray drive and remote control, it's ideal for playing games or editing video. The 2560 x 1440 resolution display, gobs of RAM and an Nvidia 2 GB graphics card, along with an Intel Core i7 processor, prove brilliantly suited for the task. Bonus: optional touchscreen input means it can take advantage of Windows 8’s finger-worthy features.
Key specs: 2 TB hard drive; 16 GB DDR3 memory; DVD+/-RW Blu-Ray Combo drive; four USB 3.0 drives; 1080p HD webcam; HDMI in/out; optional TV tuner
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