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Dell OptiPlex 7440 AIO review: A no-nonsense IT-friendly business desktop

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  • Editors' rating
    8.0 Excellent

Pros

  • Easy repairs and user upgrades
  • Three-year warranty
  • Solid mid-range performance
  • Internal DVD drive

Cons

  • Only 1,920-by-1,080 resolution (in the UK)
  • No discrete GPU
  • Few BTO options
  • Hard drive (7,200rpm) rather than SSD storage
  • Rear ports and interfaces are hard to reach

It's fair to say that Dell's 23.8-inch OptiPlex 7440 AIO isn't the most elegantly designed all-in-one PC on the market. It lacks the gleaming metal livery sported by many of its AIO rivals, its nondescript black plastic chassis sending out a message that this OptiPlex is all about down-to-earth business and productivity.

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The 23.8-inch Core i5-based OptiPlex 7740 AIO lacks a discrete GPU but offers good accessibility to internal components.

Image: Dell

Hanging on to an internal optical drive also means that the OptiPlex 7740 AIO lacks the elegant, streamlined profile of rivals such as Apple's iMac, while the various ports and slots hidden on the underside of a panel on the back of the unit are even more annoying and difficult to reach than those on the iMac (although, thankfully, there are two USB 3.0 ports more conveniently located on the left-hand edge of the screen).

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Rear-mounted ports and slots on the OptiPlex 7740 AIO are located on a hard-to-access panel.

Image: Dell

The two-part, detachable stand that you have to construct yourself also seems rather cumbersome, although it's actually another example of Dell valuing substance over style. Apart from anything else, the stand allows you to easily tilt and swivel the display and, thankfully, adjust its height too. The ability to remove the stand means you can remove the entire back panel as well, providing easy access to the memory slots and internal drive bay. If you're handy with a screwdriver, the manual reveals that you can also remove the cover from the motherboard, gaining access to an M.2 slot for solid-state storage, and even removing the CPU itself. That makes the OptiPlex 7740 AIO far easier to repair and upgrade than many of its all-in-one rivals, and might well sway the purchasing decision for many corporate IT departments.

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The back panel is removable -- as is the cover for the motherboard.

Image: Dell

Other business-oriented features include Intel's vPro technology, and Dell's own Data Protection system offering additional security and remote-management features. There's also a three-year warranty, with next-day response times for any repairs that you can't manage yourself. Those features will certainly appeal to business users and IT departments, but they do add to the price of a system whose performance and hardware specification are unremarkable for a PC in this price range.

Prices for the OptiPlex 7740 AIO start at £862.80 (inc. VAT, or £719 ex. VAT) for a model equipped with a (dual-core) Core i3 processor. We tested one of the top-of-the-range models, which comes in at £1,066.80 (inc. VAT, or £889 ex. VAT -- or $1,104.73 in the US) with a (quad-core) Core i5-6500 processor running at 3.2GHz (up to 3.6GHz with TurboBoost), along with 8GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive spinning at 7,200rpm.

Build-to-order (BTO) upgrades are rather sparse, although Dell does sell a number of accessories for the OptiPlex 7740 AIO, including a variety of stands and mounts that will be suitable for showrooms and point-of-sale applications. There's a touchscreen model available, which costs an extra £96 (inc. VAT, or £80 ex. VAT), and both HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces are available for connecting external displays.

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It's hard to complain about the sub-£1,000 price tag, but there is room for improvement in a number of areas. The 500GB hard drive seems rather meagre, although that's easily rectified thanks to that removable back panel. The 23.8-inch display is bright and clear, but only provides 1,920-by 1,080-pixel (92.6ppi) resolution -- even routine office tasks such as viewing Excel spreadsheets could benefit from a higher-resolution display. The information on Dell's website does suggest a 4K display option, but that configuration doesn't appear to be available in the UK at the moment (it costs $1,659 in the US).

As we've mentioned, Dell doesn't provide many BTO upgrades for the OptiPlex 7740 AIO, and its reliance on integrated graphics does put a limit on performance, and therefore on the applications for which it will be suitable. Admittedly, the Core i5 processor delivers very solid performance, with Geekbench 4 reporting scores of 4,120 and 10,830 in the single-core and multi-core tests respectively. That sort of performance will allow the OptiPlex 7740 AIO to handle Microsoft Office and other business applications with ease, but the processor's integrated HD 530 Graphics GPU could only manage a relatively modest 40 frames per second (fps) in the Cinebench R15 OpenGL test. That will certainly allow the OptiPlex to handle some routine video editing and presentations work, but with no option for adding a discrete GPU, this system will primarily be suitable for number-crunching and word processing with Microsoft Office, rather than graphics, design or video work.

Conclusions

There's nothing fancy about Dell's OptiPlex 7440: it's a businesslike desktop PC designed for mainstream office workloads. It might lack the elegant design and graphics horsepower of some of its AIO rivals, but Dell's three-year warranty and the straightforward user upgrades and repair options will ensure that the OptiPlex 7440 gets the thumbs-up from many IT managers.

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