The days of the traditional desktop PC are surely numbered. All-in-one's have gone from being overpriced novelties to the de facto form factor for a new machine. Whether it's the incredible aluminium iMac or the silly-cheap Asus Eee Top, there are few reasons to choose a tower any more.

Samsung is the latest manufacturer to have got in on the trend, and like the Acer Z5610 and the Sony Vaio L, its brand new U250 isn't just a space-saving combo of computer and monitor – it's also equipped with a two-point multitouch screen.

Beautiful screen

Of course, there aren't any really compelling multitouch apps for Windows 7 yet. While Samsung's TouchPlay 3D desktop overlay is better than the standard Microsoft interface for fingers, it is slower than straightforward Windows and more a gimmick than essential.

Those killer apps will come, though, and when they do they'll look good on the 23in Samsung screen. The 1920x1080 screen is richly coloured and has good enough contrast. It's not quite up to the standards of Apple’s iMac, but does seem on a par with the more expensive Sony Vaio L.

The screen's sharp looks, however, are literally overshadowed by the thick black plastic surround. It's not that it isn't well built – although we did scratch the DVD drive just removing the acres of protective film – but the wide bezel makes the panel look much smaller than it actually is. It's a design faux par that detracts from the U250’s best feature.


Price versus performance

There's a school of thought that says all-in-ones, which like the U250 are often based on laptop parts, are still expensive compared to desktop separates.

The U250 won't do an awful lot to dissuade that thinking, as its Core 2 processor is starting to look a bit long in the tooth. Coupled with the GeForce 310M graphics it's enough to get Far Cry 2 or World of Warcraft running at medium quality settings, but it's not going to win any awards for performance.

It comes down to how much of a premium you think multitouch is worth – against its peers the U250 is a reasonable price, landing midway between the lower specced Acer Z5610 and the bigger, faster Sony Vaio L. It's a testament to the high quality of most all in ones at the moment that we'd be hard pushed to choose between any of those three.


Stuff says... 

Samsung U250 review

Not quite as good as an iMac, but another excellent all-in-one and one of the best multitouch models around