Excellent graphics and multimedia performance. Crisp and responsive 4K touch display. ISV certified. Heart-pounding audio.
Expensive. Hard-to-reach ports.
- Bottom Line
An exceptional performer that's equally at home powering VR gaming and serving as a multimedia editing platform, the Dell Precision 5720 desktop PC is our top pick for business all-in-ones.
A 4K touch screen so razer-sharp that Windows suggests zooming in by at least 50 percent, a dizzying array of speakers that could be mistaken for a home theater setup, and an Intel Xeon processor paired with virtual reality-ready AMD Radeon Pro graphics are just a few of the reasons that the Dell Precision 5720 All-in-One (starts at $1,699; $3,459.96 as tested) is an excellent choice for creative professionals that can justify its expense. There are a few drawbacks, such as awkwardly placed ports and its not-for-everyone price. Overall, though, the Precision 5720 is one of the best business all-in-one (AIO) desktops you can buy, and thus our Editors' Choice, replacing the Dell OptiPlex 7450 All-in-One.
//Compare Similar Products
Sweet Looks, 10 Speakers
Dell's previous all-in-one workstations were mostly limited to Optiplex models, which have the more staid looks you'd expect from a machine destined for reception areas or rows of cubicles. With the Precision 5720, however, Dell clones the design of the XPS AIO lineup. The result is that from the outside, the Precision 5720 looks virtually identical to the Dell XPS 27, whose row of six giant speaker grilles below a 27-inch touch screen gives it a vaguely aggressive aura that feels more at home in a recording studio than in an office. Both systems would actually excel in a recording studio, since they each have a total of 10 speakers.
In addition to the six front-firing ones, four downward-facing ones are hidden out of view at the bottom of the dark gray machined-aluminium chassis. The whole thing measures 17.1 by 24.6 by 3.16 inches (HWD), a bit smaller than the 27-inch Apple iMac (20.3 by 25.6). But all those speakers and aluminium make for a 37-pound behemoth that you won't be carrying around very often. Compare that with the iMac's 20.8 pounds.
The speakers are well worth the extra weight if you have the luxury of listening to heart-pounding audio while you're at work (or perhaps creating heart-pounding audio is your work). You'll find two tweeters, six full-range drivers, and two passive radiators that deliver copious bass. A 50W digital dynamic amplifier powers each channel, which means that together they can reach extraordinary volumes. It's the same system that's on the XPS 27, from which we recorded a maximum of 107dB during our testing earlier this year, and its audio could still be heard more than 200 feet away through walls, glass, and office furniture (that's about as loud as a rock concert and louder than a jackhammer, according to a Purdue University study).
If your business doesn't care about an ear-splitting speaker array but still wants a 4K display in an attractive package, the Precision 5720 still fits the bill. The 4K touch screen is crisp and bright, even if its resolution doesn't quite measure up to the 5K iMac. Windows 10's Display Settings will even recommend that you enlarge the text by 50 percent on this machine, and unless you need to cram as many windows as possible into a single view (I was able to fit three Edge browser windows side-by-side with room to spare at 100 percent zoom), you should probably heed that advice.
Touching the screen feels very natural, with excellent accuracy and very little latency when dragging application windows. The articulating stand enables you to move the screen to just about any angle, including a completely horizontal orientation that could be useful for a museum display or artist's workbench. (If you opt for the non-touch version of the Precision 5720, you get a tilt-only stand that doesn't articulate). Below the screen, in between the two sets of front-facing speakers, you'll find a 720p webcam that is compliant with Windows Hello facial recognition, as well as an array of four microphones. The face recognition worked flawlessly for logging into Windows 10 in my testing.
Awkward Port Placement
Our review unit includes an optional wireless keyboard and mouse set that connect via the 5720's built-in Bluetooth or an included USB receiver. The mouse is ambidextrous, but its boomerang design feels awkward in my large hands, since it leaves nowhere to rest the thumb and pinky fingers. The keyboard, however, is very comfortable, with good key travel and no flex, but also no flip-out feet to adjust its angle. You can also opt for a cheaper wired mouse and keyboard, or none at all so you can use your own.
As for connectivity options, you'll find a USB 3.0 port along the right edge and a headphone jack and an SD card reader on the left edge. Around back, there's a second audio-out port, four more USB 3.0 jacks, a set of two USB-C ports that support Thunderbolt 3, a gigabit Ethernet jack, and HDMI and DisplayPort connectors. That's a solid complement, but unfortunately the rear ports are hidden behind the stand arm, making them extremely difficult to access. Because of the down-firing speakers, they have few other places to go, but video editors who frequently need to plug in and unplug Thunderbolt 3 drives will wish that Dell had located the ports away from the stand for easier accessibility. In addition to Bluetooth, the Precision 5720 also includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
There are a dizzying array of drive options on the Precision 5720, offering plenty of combinations for those who need speed, space, or both. They include 500GB or 1TB hard disks, a 1TB hybrid drive, and several SSD-only options that range from 256GB to 1TB and connect either via SATA or M.2 PCIe. You can configure your Precision 5720 with up to 64GB of memory, with or without ECC, and there are four DIMM slots to hold it. My review unit comes with 32GB of memory, a 512GB SSD, and two 1TB hard disk drives in a RAID 0 array. That configuration results in snappy startup and app loading, since all of the system files are located on the SSD.
There's no option to add an optical drive, and as is the case with many other all-in-ones, the components aren't user-upgradeable, so choose wisely when purchasing. If you max out the storage and memory configurations, this PC gets predictably expensive—well north of $4,000—although Dell frequently offers it at a discount. Those prices and specs are comparable with the current iMac and the Microsoft Surface Studio, but the upcoming iMac Pro will offer a higher memory ceiling (128GB) and larger SSDs (up to 4TB), likely for an even more astronomical price.
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
The Precision 5720 is certified to run apps from independent software vendors (ISVs), a tech industry term that means it can run custom business-to-business applications, a feature that you won't find on many cheaper business PCs. Coupled with a Xeon processor and ECC memory, which automatically checks for data errors to prevent corruption, the Precision 5720 meets the standards required to run mission-critical software suites common in science labs, brokerage firms, and other industries.
Dell includes a standard one-year warranty with the Precision 5720, but since this is a business-oriented machine, the company also offers its ProSupport Plus, which includes repairs for accidental damage and hard drive recovery services, as an option.
Screaming Multimedia, Excellent Graphics
Equipped with an Intel Xeon E3 processor running at 3.8Ghz and AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100 graphics, the Precision 5720 is the best-performing AIO we've tested recently. Its gaming performance in particular leaves its competitors in the dust, with frame rates easily conducive to smooth gaming at maximum quality settings on our Heaven and Valley benchmarks at 66 frames per second (fps) and 57 fps, respectively. Those numbers make it slightly better than the Microsoft Surface Studio, which comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M, and the Radeon RX 570-powered XPS 27. They're also vastly superior to the 5K iMac and the HP Envy All-in-One, whose results on Ultra-quality Heaven and Valley tests failed to break the 30fps threshold required for smooth gaming. Results from the Cloud Gate and Fire Strike Extreme tests tell a similar story.
Those excellent graphics benchmark results means that the Precision 5720 has more than enough oomph to power a VR headset like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. If you'd like to test or play games in 4K, though, the Precision 5720 isn't a good choice. It dropped to around 15fps on the Heaven and Valley Ultra-quality tests when I ran them at the AIO's native 4K resolution.
Even though the Precision 5720 can serve as a capable platform for game development, its overall viability depends on equally admirable performance results on the multimedia benchmarks that approximate the tasks of other creative professionals who are likely to consider it. The Xeon processor gives it an immediate advantage here, and it performed better than any other recent AIO on the general purpose PCMark 8 benchmark, which measures general productivity tasks like web browsing and emails, as well as video and photo editing.
The Precision 5720 was just as adroit on our specialized multimedia tests, taking less than a minute to convert a video file in Handbrake. It also powered through our Photoshop image manipulation tasks in two-and-a-half minutes. But it's worth noting that on the specialized tests the Precision 5720 was not markedly faster than its non-business-oriented twin sibling, the Core i7-powered XPS 27. If you're solely focused on reducing the time it takes to render video or apply filters to images and don't need the enterprise IT features of a business machine, then the home-oriented XPS 27 will be a more economical choice.
It Might Even Be a Good Value
An AIO that costs several thousand dollars is far from a no-brainer. So the Precision 5720 is a niche player for creative companies like recording and game-development studios who can justify its expense. Those users will find this AIO to be incredibly versatile, and perhaps even a good value (after all, you won't need to invest in a 4K monitor or an expensive sound system, since they're both preloaded here). On the other hand, if you're looking for a future-proof AIO no matter the cost, you might want to wait until the iMac Pro comes out this fall, since it will offer more memory and storage. And if you don't need exceptional graphics performance or robust enterprise management features, you'll want to consider the XPS 27 instead.
As a hardware analyst, Tom tests and reviews laptops, peripherals, and much more at PC Labs in New York City. He previously covered the consumer tech beat as a news reporter for PCMag in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, where he rode in several self-driving cars and witnessed the rise and fall of many startups. Before that, he worked for PCMag's sister site, Computer Shopper, where he occasionally dunked waterproof hard drives in glasses of water. In his spare time, he's written on topics as… More »
More Stories by Tom
- Intel Teases 40% Performance Boost With 8th-Gen Core i5, i7
There's no change to the chips' microarchitecture, but Intel claims they offer 40 percent more perfo… More »
- Huawei MateBook E
Despite a capable, high-quality touch screen and iPad Pro-like looks, the Huawei MateBook E doesn't … More »
- Is Microsoft's Surface Lineup Unreliable?
Consumer Reports will no longer recommend Microsoft Surface products based on consumer feedback that… More »
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe