Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to reflect our selections for September 2017.
All-in-ones have more to offer than ever: effective touchscreens with the UI to back them up (Windows 10, Apple OS X), high-def displays that can easily double as TV screens (thanks to HDMI and built-in TV tuners), and slimmer profiles for fitting just about anywhere. Before choosing which one is right for you, though, figure out just what it is you need. Whether that means sexy looks, entertainment nirvana or a gamer’s sweaty-palmed fantasy, our seven picks for the best all-in-one desktops await below.
21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K
Best for Apple Loyalists: The haters and naysayers want you to believe that the iMac, however pretty and shiny it may look, lacks fundamental computing power. They’re wrong. If you use a computer primarily for everyday tasks like checking email, surfing the internet, watching videos, running basic programs and so on, a base-level iMac has everything you need. And since June 2017, Apple’s line of iMacs have packed the latest and greatest hardware: The 21.5-inch iMac comes with a Retina display, Intel’s snappy new Kaby Lake processors, and more memory (8GB RAM) than in years past. It also comes with USB-A and USB-C ports, so it’ll play well with both your old and new devices.
Microsoft Surface Studio
Best Touchscreen for Creatives: Shipping in early 2017, the Surface Studio has a 28–inch PixelSense touchscreen display — the thinnest LCD monitor ever made (12.5mm) — with 63 percent more pixels than your current 4K TV. The all-in-one comes with Windows 10, expectedly, and the choice of Intel’s Core i5 or i7 processor. What makes it really stand out, however, is its adjustable display; it can be used as a traditional desktop or folded near-flat at a 20–degree angle so you can draw on it with a stylus. It also comes with Xbox Wireless support, in case you wanted to play Xbox One games on it with the controller you already have.
HP Envy All-in-One 27-b135t
Editor’s Pick: Visually stunning, the 2016 HP Envy has a huge curved screen with Technicolor certification ensuring that video games and movies will look as beautiful as designers intended them to. It comes stock with Windows 10, Intel’s Core i5 processor and a solid 1TB of storage-. And yes, there’s an HDMI port. However, if you’re planning on streaming movies and shows on this, make sure to check that your streaming service is compatible with its 21:9 aspect ratio beforehand.
Lenovo Yoga Home 900
Best for Families: A “home computer,” for most families, usually remains tied down by cords in one central location, and is usable by only one family member at a time — but not the Lenovo Yoga Home 900. Think of it as a giant, high-powered touchscreen tablet with a kickstand. Wirelessly pairable with speakers, a keyboard and a mouse, it’s right at home on a desk, like any other standard desktop computer; unplugged, it can be used for up to three hours anywhere in the house, and its enormous 27-inch screen means it can easily be shared by more than one person at time. So, it’s a great “family” computer, but that doesn’t mean it skimps on computing power: it boasts an Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA 940A 2 GB DDR3 graphics card, eight gigs of RAM and a 500GB solid-state drive.
Acer Aspire AZ1
Best Budget Option: It won’t be able to handle feature-level film editing or run a VR setup, but if your needs are basic (emails, light internet use, file storage) the Acer Aspire AZ1 could be all you need. It has a modest Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB drive and 21.5-inch screen. Nothing fancy, but still reliable for the simple stuff.