If you want a powerful computer that takes up minimum space, the best All In One PC is the right solution. This type of computer is among the leading options for enhanced performance for the professional user. Made with a large display that also stores all of the regular PC components, the AIO computer is a stylish solution we see in offices across the world.
Even creative love these as they often used them for sketching and other work that requires a specialized computer. This article explains why the best all in one PCs are truly the best and what you should look for when buying one for the first time.
Top 3 best all in one PCs
Best overall all in one PC – Apple iMac
Not technically a PC, the Apple iMac offers the same possibilities at a lower price.
Best all in one PC for professionals – Microsoft Surface Studio 2
When you aren’t shopping on a budget, Microsoft’s computer is the clear winner.
Best affordable all in one PC – Lenovo IdeaCentre A340 i3
For those just starting, Lenovo’s IdeaCentre offers the best value for money.
1. Apple iMac
Based on a realistic Retina display, the Apple iMac is often confused with the entire concept of an all in one PC. If you’re working in the creative industries, its screen is something you’ve already heard of. Based on 500 nits, the 1 billion colours display look realistic with good contrasts and detailed colour representation. The 21inch display is among the top options for 4K resolution when it comes to all in one functionality.
A 6-core 8th generation i7 version is available on the 4K 21.5inch version. But we also like the more powerful 8-core 9th generation i9 27inch version with 5K support that is already popular with users who need that extra-wide monitor.
Both these versions come with top elegance. Did you know the Apple iMac’s display panel is just 1.4mm thick? This is hard to acknowledge given its performance. But there are other benefits when it comes to small repetitive daily tasks which include connectivity.
We’ve already discussed Thunderbolt ports here on digihelpesk and we like to see them on the iMac. There are 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports on the computer alongside 3 USB-C ports so that you can connect your iPhones and the entire collection of Apple devices to it. You can even use these ports as a 4K or a 5K TV outlet. Of course, iMac comes with the Mac OS operating system and you need to ensure you’re familiar with it and with its software as opposed to those on Windows computers.
- Available in 21.5” and 27” versions
- 1TB storage
- Only weighs 5.6kg
2. Microsoft Surface Studio 2
As a true all in one PC, the new Surface Studio 2 is good for multiple tasks. It features a flexible hinge so that you can move it in different positions depending on the type of work you do. With its responsive touchscreen, it also represents a valuable asset when it comes to clean modern designs that rival those of the iMac.
The display we recommend for the all in one PC is the 28” with 3:2 aspect ratio. It comes with 10 point multi-touch and it’s capable of a high resolution of up to 4500 x 300. The large size of the touch screen also allows this desktop all in one computer to offer 4 USB 3.0 ports and an included SD card reader. If you’re a photographer, you get to save on digital camera memory cards as well.
But this all in one PC is also compatible with the Surface range of accessories. You can use it with the Surface Precision Arc Mouse with its unmistakable ergonomic design. You might be doing some serious editing on the PC since it comes with a choice of 16GB and 32GB DDR4 RAM.
In terms of performance, its 4K UHD screen with Nvidia GTX 1070 8GB DDR5 is also worth mentioning. These components help all in one PC run smoothly in almost any software. The colour settings of the PC cover sRGB, DCI-P3, and Vivid, apart from your calibration. If you don’t like Mac OS, the Surface Studio 2 might be the only comparable alternative.
- 1TB HDD or 2TBHDD storage
- Made with a 28-inch PixelSense display
- Included Surface Pen, Keyboard, and mouse
3. Lenovo IdeaCentre A340 i3
If you like the idea of an all in one PC but you can’t go overboard with thousands spent on one of the top designs of the moment, we recommend Lenovo’s IdeaCentre A340. Costing the same or less than a good laptop, this can be the PC you use at your desk either the office or when working from home.
We’ve seen this computer as a popular choice on student forums as its right within their budget. But you might also agree that it just works as a first all in one PC when you don’t know what to expect and when you might want to stay away from the premium products until you decide if they’re made for you.
Based on an i3 processor, the PC is responsible for tasks such as light editing, reading, writing, and managing social media. It’s adjustable 21.5” display also makes it excellent for browsing and ebook reading.
While it only comes with 4GB RAM, it has sufficient power for these tasks. Surprisingly, it comes with 1TB memory which recommends it among the leaders in its class for those who need to deal with thousands of documents, photos, or videos at a time.
- It runs Windows 10
- Based on Intel i3 processors
- It ships with a wireless keyboard and a mouse
4. Portus Pro AIO-104
If you like swivel screen for landscape and portrait viewing, the Portus Pro is one of the all in one PCs you need to look at. It might be a computer you use for studying for reading. But since it comes with 8GB DDR, it’s one of the affordable all in one PCs that’s also responsive.
A 24” screen is added to the all in one PC. A bit larger than similarly-priced alternatives, it delivers wide viewing angles and responsiveness that recommends it for smooth Windows 10 Pro 64 bit operation. The computer runs on Intel’s entry-level i3 processors so complex editing work or gaming is not an option here.
- It includes HDMI and SD ports
- Made with built-in speakers
- It ships with a Logitech mouse and keyboard
5. Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3 Intel Core i5
Based on an i5 processor, the IdeaCentre All In One 3 PC is responsive. It features a large 27” FHD WVA display which recommends it for those who need to work at the desk all day. With HD resolution and a wide display, you won’t feel like you struggle with legibility as with many other smaller AIO PCs.
With a maximum 16GB RAM, the computer can also be used for light editing work. If you need to make quick Photoshop or Gimp tweaks, you don’t need to invest more in a premium alternative. It’s the balanced performer from the IdeaCentre line and it’s more than just an all in one PC for students. While it’s not an Intel Core i7 computer, the i5 processor is still widely appreciated in the industry and proven on other PCs such as the Dell Inspiron.
- Based on an Intel i5 processor
- It runs Windows 10
- Included Calliope keyboard and mouse
Why choose the best all in one PC
Some might say all in one PCs haven’t gained much popularity over the past few years. But we’ve seen with the products above just how specific they can be for certain applications. They lean towards the creative user and the professional users with higher specifications. This following section looks at why you’d want to change your laptop or PC with an all in one PC. Make sure you read the last section on pricing so that there’s no confusion on what you’re paying for, as the buying process is a bit different than when getting a standard desktop PC.
One of the best reasons to buy an all in one desktop PC is the viewing angles and how smoothly they adjust. Take the Surface 2 as an example. Its display is one of the highest-quality seen in this range and some argue it even feels better made than the iMac. But regardless of its materials, it comes with easy angle adjustability.
You can be drawing directly on the display at one angle and showcasing your work at another angle in a matter of seconds. This type of adjustability combined with the bigger screens makes an all in one PC almost impossible to match for proper adjustability.
But it’s not just about showcasing your work. You can also use such a PC to view details better. Let’s say you’re an architect working on a façade of a building. This might prove very difficult on a table and easy on an all in one PC.
Computers such as Surface 2 come with an included pen. You can use it to draw easily on a wide monitor that is often around 27-28 inches. The entire experience is different and those who work on these computers rarely go back.
Pens might be offered by the manufacturer with the computer. The Surface 2 comes with a clickable pen that you can write with and which also comes with an included eraser. Corel Draw and Photoshop tasks are considerably easier when integrating the pen. At the same time, it’s also easy for those into 3D modelling to work with. Some computers recognize up to 10 touchpoints, as in the case of Microsoft’s AIO PC. But you will be mostly working with 1 touchpoint using the pen unless zooming in or zooming out.
A pen is also a good tool for navigation. Web browsing is a different experience on an all in one PC. You can see websites better and you can easily scroll up and down a page with extra accuracy when needed.
Another considerable advantage of the best all in one PC is its capacity to be used for presentations. These PCs are now largely seen at universities in front of classrooms, in photo studios, or on architects’ desks. You can easily consider a widescreen all in one PC if you need to present your work in front of an audience or front of your customers.
Sure, there’s always room for improvement with how these screens work and how customers perceive colours. But a display with 500 nits such as the one on the iMac Pro is always worth taking seriously as it brings all work to a new level of legibility.
Most of these screens are good-enough for outdoor legibility. But given their size, you won’t be taken them off your desk too often. The idea is that the display quality is there. Some support up to 5K resolution which means even video work looks better on these screens.
Safety with face authentication
Safety is an important aspect in the life of a professional. Microsoft uses a front-facing 5MP camera on its Surface Studio 2 for face authentication. Face unlocking works well on its computer. You can integrate this function to your computer so that you don’t have to take it home with you from the office every night.
Safety is also improved by the operating system. Both Windows 10 Pro and Mac OS are known for their reliability in terms of virtual threats. But we still recommend working with a potent paid antivirus as a professional as your work has different interest levels than the data stored on an average user’s computer.
If you’re an Apple fan, you might need to wait a bit longer to see Face ID on Macs. However, there are signs to show this feature is going to be implemented in the next generation of all in one computer. The hardware for the security feature can easily be installed on the top of the display. TrueDepth cameras are reportedly the solutions Apple has been silently preparing for face authentication. If you can’t wait for the feature any longer, you might need to go to Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2.
Is an all in one PC worth the price?
As you can see, all in one PC is expensive. Even affordable all in one PCs can be expensive if you’re not earning money on a computer. You can buy 2 solid laptops for the amount you pay for the Microsoft Surface Studio 2. However, you are unlikely to find better results elsewhere.
If you try an all in one PC once, you are unlikely to ever want to downgrade to a desktop PC or a laptop. Even if you pay more upfront, you can save in the future. You can save time by drawing or editing faster. But you can also save on electronics as you don’t need a large screen to showcase your work anymore. Some can even take better care of their vision as legibility is vastly superior on a larger screen.
But as stated at the beginning of the article, we’re also going to give you a few financial tips that are going to help you save money in the long term. The last problem you want to face when buying these computers is damaging them. Here’s what you do.
If you decide to buy the iMac Pro, we recommend getting the AppleCare+ for iMac coverage. This plan covers your computer for 3 years. If you decide to buy the Microsoft Surface Studio 2, we recommend getting the 3-year accidental damage and 2-year accidental breakdown insurance. You’ll pay more upfront but these plans give you the peace of mind you need when dealing with such large displays.
For those on a budget looking towards the Lenovo IdeaCentre A340, we recommend the 3-year accidental damage and 2-year breakdown insurance plan. There’s a 2-year alternative but the savings difference is very small.
You might not believe all in one computer comes with good system components. But we’ve seen above how these computers integrate some of the finest processors and GPUs on the market for smooth operation.
There’s even room for small improvements. For example, RAM can be expanded on almost all of these computers. You can also add external hard drives to save your work or simply to use it as a backup. We also recommend using all in one PCs with TVs. You can connect your 4K TV to these computers when you want to showcase your work or when you want even better visualization.
Evan graphic cards are good on these PCs. However, you’ll find they aren’t responsive to gaming. If you’re the type of person who likes to play a game after work hours on the PC, these are not the computers for you. They lack the cooling componentry needed to sustain gaming at high frame rates.
These components don’t mean much when they aren’t backed by functional programs. You can install various software on your PCs directly by downloading them from the official website as there are no optical drives to count on anymore. Most software at this level of a professional user is paid. But you can test out free alternatives to professional software just to see how you’d like to work on an all in one PC. For example, you can start with Gimp freeware before purchasing Adobe’s creative suite.
Handling graphic work
Almost every all in one PC is used for graphic work or some type of visual effect. You aren’t likely to see musicians using these computers as they have better options. At the same time, you are unlikely to see gamers wishing to buy these even if they come with such large displays. For most users, it’s about the professional work that these computers are best for.
Front end developers and UX engineers might also be tempted to use all in one computer. Just imagine working on a new website and trying to understand how it looks best on a small laptop screen. You can handle multiple windows on an all in one computer easily as well and this topic is almost completely overlooked by computer manufacturers.
Hopefully, you feel less confused about buying your best all in one PC now. This guide is just the start of your new journey into a different style of computing. You are about to get into an ecosystem that creatives love.
If you’ve already started your professional computer work on an all in one PC we’d also like to hear from you. Make sure you leave a comment in the comments section below to share your experience and best tips to shorten the learning curve when moving to the best all in one PC from a regular desktop PC.
|Apple iMac||Apple||View on Amazon|
|Microsoft Surface Studio 2||Microsoft||View on Amazon|
|Lenovo IdeaCentre A340 i3||Lenovo||View on Amazon|
|Portus Pro AIO-104||Portus||View on Amazon|
|Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3 Intel Core i5||Lenovo||View on Amazon|
What is the best all in one computer for home use?
We recommend Microsoft Surface Studio 2 for both home users and office users. It’s simply unrivaled in build construction and the software compatibility is superior to the iMac. For all other types of office work environments, the iMac Pro is still a very good option with a display that adds depth to any image.
As a home user, you might also be looking for a budget option. Before you say all in one PCs are too expensive for you, we also recommend the Lenovo IdeaCentre A340 i3. Based on entry-level components, it offers sufficient computing power for the home users looking to get into all in one computer. But most importantly, it’s also more affordable than the average laptop which makes it a must-have for those who want to see how it feels to have such a large display in your hands.
Which is the best all in one PC?
The Microsoft Surface Studio 2 is the best all in one PC of the moment. We’ve only scratched the surface of what it’s truly capable of. Just think about all of the accessories and software that go with it. You can add Microsoft 365 to your purchase for a preferential price. You can get an extended warranty with it. Surface 2 Headphones are also highly compatible with its setup. The Surface Pen or the Surface Arc Mouse also represents a top option for those seeking enhanced usability. It’s almost as if Microsoft has created an ecosystem of top products with top accessories that are now as good if not better than those from Apple. For PC configurations, this is impressive.
Which is best all in one PC or desktop?
When it comes to choosing between all in one PCs or desktop computers, you need to think about what you get in return. For most users, a desktop computer is the right option for work and play. But for professionals, desktop PCs can feel outdated, especially on the creative line of work.
Sure, copywriters or software engineers might not be the primary target of an all in one PC. But if you’re working with a pen, then you need to consider it instead of the desktop computer. Pricewise, you are going to spend more on an all in one computer than on a desktop computer. But then, when you work depends on it, you might not see this acquisition as spending money but as an investment.
Is it worth buying all in one PC?
It’s worth buying an all in one PC if you earn money with it. For some students, it might also be worth getting an all in one PC if they’re learning how to earn money with it. Both architects and architecture students can be among the primary beneficiaries of the technology an AIO PC comes with.
What is the best desktop computer 2020?
The title of the best desktop computer in 2020 is shared between the Apple iMac Pro and the Microsoft Surface Studio 2. While very different, they offer the best user experience and the best system components for all types of creative work.
What is the best value all in one computer?
If you’re shopping on a budget, we recommend both the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3 i3 and the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3 i5. These cost a fraction of their premium alternatives but they still offer most of their feature and benefits.
What is a good computer for everyday use?
We don’t recommend an all in one PC for everyday use. Feel free to check our best laptop guides for a PC which can be used every day for all types of tasks.
Is all in one desktop better?
An all in one desktop is better than a laptop or a desktop PC for handling graphic workflow. You might use it for photo editing, for video editing, or for drawing from scratch. An all in one desktop computer isn’t better than a laptop for portability. You’d even struggle to move the all in one PC from one desk to another given its size.