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How we test all-in-one PCs

By Callum Tennent

Put us to the test

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How we test all-in-one PC's in a nutshell

  • Ease of use
  • Performance
  • Audiovisual quality
  • Energy use

What makes a Best Buy all-in-one PC?

Which? exists to give consumers impartial advice, which means that if a product isn't any good, we'll say so, without fear of penalty. Which? works for you, providing trustworthy advice without a hidden agenda.

We examine everything that matters across all products, including performance, features and how well they work in real life – so you'll know exactly what to expect. Our unique, comparative lab tests mean you can trust our Best Buy and Don't Buy verdicts, and choose with confidence.

Try Which? today for just £1 to find out which all-in-one PCs we rated as Best Buys.

Which? test lab

Which? tests more than 3,000 products every year, including more home technology products than anyone else. We look at new products as soon as they are announced, helping you to understand new technologies and whether they are worth your money.

Which? is different because…

  • Our tests are based on years of testing experience.
  • We don't accept adverts in our magazines or on our website.
  • We buy everything we lab test.
  • We're completely independent from any manufacturers.

All-in-one PC testing in brief

  • Which? tests around 20 all-in-one computers a year, and we ensure that our guides only have the models that are currently available.
  • Which? conducts over 250 individual tests on every all-in-one PC we look at.
  • Our testing replicates real-world use and enables us to offer the best advice about which all-in-one computer is right for you.

How we choose products for testing

Dedicated business researchers carefully select the products Which? tests, scouring the market for the latest releases and the most innovative products. Our business researchers aim to cover a very high percentage of the market in any one product area. And, while we do test some premium products, we avoid testing those products that you would need a second mortgage to afford. We take the following criteria into account when choosing all-in-one computers:

  • Popularity – we test all-in-one computers that are the biggest sellers.
  • Brand reliability – we test more all-in-one computers from brands that are reliable and reputable.
  • Innovation – we test innovative all-in-one computers.
  • Cost – we typically test all-in-one computers that cost between £500 and £1,000.

Ease of use

Our expert assessors test our products for their ease of use by running through everyday scenarios that replicate how you use your PC.

For all-in-one computers, we check how straightforward they are to install and set up, and how convenient it is to perform everyday operations such as inserting DVDs, adjusting the display, and turning the computer on and off. We also check to see whether the supplied mouse and keyboard are accurate and responsive, as well as looking at the range and accessibility of connections, such as USB sockets.

Try Which? today for just £1 to find out which all-in-one PCs we rated as Best Buys.

Technical testing

Our products undergo a range of extensive laboratory tests to assess performance.  

  • Our experts rate the screen quality, using both subjective assessments and technical tests to reward those that have crystal-clear colours, deep blacks and sharp images, while downgrading those that fail to meet the performance standards required.
  • Benchmark testing determines the basic performance of the computer, and we compare the results against all the other all-in-one PCs we test. All our tests are comparative.
  • Application tests further assess the performance of the machines when carrying out real-life tasks, such as the speed of transferring files from a USB stick to the hard drive or the speed of burning data to a DVD.
  • The sound quality delivered from speakers and headphones is assessed both technically – to ensure you can hear the full spectrum of sounds, from bass to treble – and subjectively for overall quality to ensure that only those with the highest-quality sound get the highest rating.
  • We check gaming performance to see if the computer is capable of running the latest memory-draining games and software.
  • Wireless connectivity is checked to ensure a wireless connection can be received and to make sure there are no performance problems when connecting to the internet.
  • We log all the features present, such as connectors, supplied software (both full programs and trial versions), accessories and performance specifications. We also note any significant omissions that may affect the versatility of the machine.

Energy use

We check all products for energy efficiency to make sure that they do not cost you, and the earth, once they are plugged in. For all-in-one computers, we check the energy use when the machine is switched on but also when it's switched off, as they can still draw power.

Should I buy it?

We give the all-in-ones we test a total test score, so you can easily see which are the best and worst, and directly compare models with each other. The score we give each all-in-one is made up of a combination of the elements of our tests, ignoring price, and is broken down as follows:

  • Ease of use ..................... 30%
  • Performance ................... 35%
  • Screen and sound quality 20%
  • Features .......................... 15%

All-in-one PCs must score 70% or more overall to be a Best Buy.


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