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What is an All-In-One Computer?

What is an All-In-One Computer?

Linsey Knerl
Reading time: 5 minutes
If you’re shopping for a new HP desktop computer, you may have heard the term “All-in-One” (AiO) to describe the products you’ve seen. What makes a computer an AiO? What are the advantages of this type of PC? We share what qualifies a computer to be in this category, as well as when you’d want to shop for one specifically.
Here’s everything you need to know about buying an all in one computer.

All-in-One computer defined

A desktop is traditionally made up of several pieces it needs to function, including the monitor, computer tower, and peripherals. An AiO computer, on the other hand, has combined the monitor and computer tower into one. Sometimes, the monitor is also a touch screen, which can cut out the need for a mouse and keyboard. AiO computers have all the same parts as a traditional desktop and they perform in the same manner, but everything is housed in a single piece of equipment.

Pros and cons of All-in-One computers

While AiO PCs have certainly changed the computer landscape, they aren’t suitable for every situation. What are their strengths? When would you pass one over for another option? We weigh the facts here.

All-in-One benefits

1. Streamlined design

HP AiO computers offer striking benefits for those who want a streamlined computing experience and a simplified setup. Imagine not having to accommodate a bulky computer tower and screen. An AiO gives you more room to work, and it can be easily transported if you want to take your work somewhere else. For someone who is design-conscious and wants their computer to blend in well with the surrounding room, this type of PC offers the best aesthetics of all the desktop choices.

2. Compatibility

One other perk is compatibility. Since the monitor is built into the computer, you won’t have to mess with figuring out if your screen is compatible, what cords you need, or how to troubleshoot common display issues. The computer includes the right monitor technology for your operating system and hardware so you don’t have to spend time trying to match components.

3. Ease of use

An AiO is also an ideal choice for younger users and seniors who may have limited computer experience. With this type of computer, you can start using it right out of the box.

All-in-One downsides

1. You’re “stuck” with the monitor

Like any product, there are some cons to owning an AiO computer. If you ever want to upgrade your monitor, you won’t be able to because the monitor is part of the computer itself. Gamers and those in the design or art fields may decide they want a more advanced display as they are brought to the market. Currently, the only way to upgrade an AiO’s monitor is to hook up a second monitor and route the display data to this external piece of equipment.

2. Upgrades are difficult

Another downside is that internal parts aren’t easy to upgrade or replace. With a traditional desktop computer, especially those designed for the gaming community, switching out a hard drive or upgrading memory is a task most consumers can do on their own. The computer case is made to be opened and accessed through a few screws in the case body.
An AiO desktop, however, is more complicated. The display and computer components sit within a protective shell that’s not easy to open, similar to a laptop. You would most likely need a computer repair professional to get inside and make simple upgrades for you.

What to look for in an All-in-One PC

AiOs have grown in market share over the years, giving computer owners far more choices to select from. Because it’s hard to upgrade an AiO, it’s recommended that you really think about what you need from your PC.
How can you know what to choose? It helps to ask yourself some basic questions about how you’ll use your new AiO:
  • Will I use the computer for browsing, gaming, or creative hobbies?
  • What monitor size do I need?
  • How much audio/visual tech do I need? Will I want a built-in webcam? What about speakers and sound support?
  • Do I want touch screen functionality?
  • How many ports, such as HDMI or card reading, will I need?
  • Do I want to play DVD or CD-ROM content?
  • How much storage do I need? Is an external back-up drive sufficient? Will I use cloud services?
Once you have an idea of what a typical day with your new AiO will look like, you’ll have a list of must-haves you can take with you to shop. If you buy online, sorting in-stock AiOs by your required features will easily present you with a list of computers that fit your preferences.

Who should choose All-in-One computers?

With so many laptops offering a powerful computer choice, it may seem that the choice is no longer between a desktop and an AiO, but rather a laptop and an AiO. If you want perfect portability, there’s no substitution for a high-end laptop. While AiOs can be moved around, they aren’t made for use on-the-go. As laptops have evolved to provide many of the same powerful features, those with mobile offices may lean toward a notebook.
There are many applications where AiOs win out. They’re the best option for classroom computer labs, public libraries, shared computer rooms, and places where it's beneficial to keep the most important computer components out of reach. They’re also great for anyone with a small home office that has limited space and stationary tools.
When you want the easiest shopping and set up experience possible, there’s no beating the plug-and-play perks of an AiO. When your new HP AiO computer arrives at your door, you’ll be gaming, shopping, and surfing in minutes.

About the Author

Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.

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