Toshiba LX830-10F £699
30th Nov 2012 | 11:59
Can a Windows 7 all-in-one cut it in a world of Windows 8 PCs?
Somehow the Toshiba LX830-10F feels both current and out of date at the same time. The idea of an all-in-one PC that sits in the front room and handles media, games and even office programs with ease, all packaged up with an interface that's easy and intuitive to use on a touchscreen, is an attractive one.
But for years they've been lumbered with operating systems that might be fine with a keyboard and mouse, but just don't work well with touchscreens.
However, now that Windows 8 is here, we are begging to see some excellent all-in-ones, such as the Dell XPS One 27 Touch and the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720, that take advantage of the more touch-orientated operating system. Fast, fluid and good looking, these PCs and their operating system work brilliantly together.
So all-in-one PCs are in the ascendant, which is good news for the 23-inch Toshiba LX830-10F. What's not so good is that the Toshiba LX830-10F feels slightly behind the times.
A lot of this is down to the fact that it comes with Windows 7 Home Premium, a fine operating system on a traditional desktop, but a bit of a mess when it comes to touchscreens, which the Toshiba LX830-10F boasts.
It's not just the operating system that makes the Toshiba LX830-10F feel a little outdated though - after all you can always upgrade to Windows 8 later on. The design of the PC itself - so crucial to a PC that's meant to take pride of place in your house, rather than sitting upstairs in the study - feels a bit stale.
If a PC is going to make it into our living rooms, we don't want it sticking out like a sore thumb. It needs to be slick and stylish - something to show off in our homes.
As you'd expect from an all-in-one PC, it is a million miles away from the large beige boxes of yore, however it's also far from the slimmest all-in-one we've seen.
The black and silver colour scheme doesn't look bad , but the rather chunky surrounding lets it down in our eyes, especially compared to some of the slimline beauties we've been spoiled with. And compared to the beautiful looking Dell XPS One 27 Touch, the rather uninspiring design is even more of a let down.
However, it's more than just looks, and let's not forget that the Toshiba LX830-10F is quite a bit cheaper than the Dell XPS One 27 Touch, priced at £699 (around AU$1,076/US$1,121). So how does it rate as a budget all-in-one PC?
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The Toshiba LX830-10F is an all-in-one computer that doesn't just act as a replacement for your ageing PC, but also your TV as well. It's got a built-in Freeview TV tuner that enables you to connect it straight to your TV aerial, so you can use it as a TV. A huge 1TB hard drive gives you plenty of space to record, download and store your favourite shows.
The version we tested comes with a DVD drive, so a lack of Blu-ray is slightly disappointing. We can understand that it keeps the price down, but if this all-in-one PC wants to really banish the other media devices in our living rooms, then it will need to be able to read those high-definition discs.
You can plug in an external Blu-ray player or games console and use the Toshiba LX830-10F like a TV, though, so all isn't lost. There are also upgrade options that enable you to add a Blu-ray drive, and if you want the Toshiba LX830-10F to be a fully featured media machine, then we advise you to take the upgrade.
As we've mentioned before, the outsides don't exactly scream cutting edge cool. But the insides at least are new enough, and powerful enough, to keep Windows running smoothly. The processor is a second generation Intel Core i3-2370M model running at 2.40GHz.
This is fine, but once again slightly out of date when other all-in-ones such as the Dell XPS One 27 Touch use third generation Intel Ivy Bridge chips and take advantage of the power increases and additional features that come with the newer processors.
One of the headline upgrades of the new processors is improved integrated graphics, which is something that the Toshiba LX830-10F misses out on.
It's a shame, since without a dedicated graphics card the Toshiba LX830-10F is reliant on the integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 of the processor. That's not the end of the world, but it limits the amount of games and media editing tasks you can perform on the Toshiba LX830-10F.
The downside is the slightly slow hard drive that runs at just 52,000rpm, which while big enough to store pretty much all the media you'd want to, keeps the Toshiba LX830-10F from running Windows 7 at its full potential, with a few rare instances where things became unresponsive while the Toshiba LX830-10F worked hard.
Toshiba has included a wireless mouse and keyboard that are sturdy and well built, but without any particular bells and whistles.
An important thing to note when talking about the specifications of the Toshiba LX830-10F is that - like a number of all-in-ones - there are a number of different upgrade options available when you buy it.
The model we're testing came with a perfectly healthy 4GB of DDR3 RAM, however there are options to buy the Toshiba LX830-10F with up to 16GB of RAM. In the US, the different Toshiba LX830 models are different, with the Intel Core i3 versions often coming with 6GB of RAM.
This means that depending on the amount of money you're willing to lay down, your experience of the Toshiba LX830 may be slightly different to ours.
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As we've seen with the bevy of media connections around the back of the Toshiba LX830-10F, this is an all-in-one PC that strives to be a TV-replacing media centre. If you've gone for the model with just a DVD player, then for high-definition content you'll need to stream from services such as iPlayer or Netflix, or view high definition files.
It's well worth getting high definition content up on the Toshiba LX830-10F's screen, since it's Full HD 1080p as well as bright and vibrant.
Playback is smooth and viewing angles are good enough that you can sit on a sofa with the rest of the family to watch your movies without anyone missing out. The LED backlighting technology is particularly good with contrasts, so dark colours remain dark without dimming the surrounding lighter colours.
The screen also handles touch inputs, and though it's not quite a zippy as some of the other touch-enabled devices we've had our hands on, but it does the job.
What does let the touchscreen down, however, is Windows 7. Having got used to how well Windows 8 works with touchscreens, even on the traditional desktop, it came as a bit of a jolt when using the touchscreen in Windows 7.
More often than not when attempting to select a program from the Start menu, or an option from a menu, Windows 7 isn't quite precise enough to detect where you've pressed, resulting in the wrong selection. It's pretty frustrating, and made us miss Windows 8.
Of course, there are alternatives, with the included wireless mouse and keyboard standing in for complicated tasks. Toshiba is also offering a Windows 8 Pro upgrade on any Windows 7 PC you buy for an extra £14.99 (around AU$23/US$24) until the end of January 2013. If you're going to use the touchscreen a lot, then we really recommend taking this offer up.
A Toshiba-branded remote control is also included, which makes navigating Windows Media Centre much more pleasant. Like the keyboard and mouse, it's pretty no-frills, and not the most attractively designed remote we've seen, but it does the job.
While media playback was good, the Toshiba LX830-10F wasn't able to handle graphic-intensive games very well. During our tests, frame rates dropped to a very choppy 10fps, making the latest games all but unplayable.
Dialling down the graphic settings on the games may help, and casual gamers won't be too badly affected, but the ageing processor and integrated graphics for the Toshiba LX830-10F will be limiting.
Our 3DMark benchmark test returned a score of 3173. Windows 7 performance was good, but not stellar, and was held back a bit by the amount of software Toshiba has deemed to pre-install on the machine. Most of the software you won't want, and it helps slow down Windows.
The Toshiba LX830-10F is a decent media device. Along with the aforementioned TV input, this all-in-one computer comes with a remote control and speakers in the form of Onkyo stereo speakers that offer virtual surround.
The lack of Blu-ray drive points to the first of the Toshiba LX830-10F's problems. The basic model has an attractive price of £699 (around AU$1,076/US$1,121), but it lacks a lot of desirable features.
It's easy to upgrade most aspects of the Toshiba LX830-10F when you buy it from Toshiba, so it's flexible enough that you can create a version that suits your needs. Bear in mind, though, that as you begin adding features the price - one of the Toshiba LX830-10F's main plus points - begins to quickly rise, making us wonder if it wouldn't be better to pay a bit more to begin with for a more powerful and feature-rich all-in-one.
The second problem is that with an older generation of processor and operating system, the Toshiba LX830-10F feels out of date already, and certainly won't be as future-proof as an all-in-one that boasts the latest components. Again, spending more money now may be the best move, since buying a more up-to-date PC will save you having to upgrade or buy another one later down the line.
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The 1080p screen looks great when playing high definition footage, and there are enough additional media bits and pieces to make this a good choice if you're looking to replace both the TV and PC in your bedroom with an all-in-one device. The price compared to some of its competitors is also very good.
Going by the basic model, there are a few omissions that we feel prevent us from fully recommending the Toshiba LX830-10F as an all-in-one for the front room. The screen looks great, but at 23 inches is slightly too small for most living rooms - an all-in-one with a 27-inch screen would be more appropriate.
The lack of Windows 8 is a shame, but can be easily and cheaply rectified. However, the slightly older components inside the Toshiba LX830-10F are less easily and cheaply upgraded, which gives this all-in-one the feel of a slightly outdated machine.
For a budget all-in-one computer that will mainly be used for media, the Toshiba LX830-10F is a perfectly acceptable choice, with a very nice screen (though slightly on the small side) and a good price.