Review: The Dell Precision 5720 Is An iMac Pro For Windows Fans

It may not have an 18-core processor, but a new all-in-one workstation from Dell, the Precision 5720, has some cool features that the forthcoming iMac Pro does not.

A touchscreen, for one. That's something Apple has resisted for its PCs, up to and including the iMac Pro, which comes out in December. In our tryout, the Precision 5720's huge 27-inch touch display proved to offer a "Minority Report"-like experience at times as we navigated around the web by swiping. Pretty fun, if you're into that and have good stamina with holding your gorilla arm up. (The touchscreen is optional.)

[Related: 5 Things We Love About Dell's New XPS 13]

We should mention the display has 4K resolution, too; it's super sharp. And the huge size is great for anyone who likes having 8,000 windows open at a time, as we do.

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A highly adjustable "articulating" stand is another differentiator for Dell's new all-in-one. The display not only tilts back 60 degrees, but the stand can also adjust down so that the display can essentially lie flat on the tablet. In combination with the massive touch screen, this can help enable plenty of creative professional use cases.

Clearly, creative types with heavy-duty computing needs are Dell's target for the Precision 5720, putting it in competition not just with the iMac Pro but also PCs such as the Microsoft Surface Studio. Interestingly though, Dell has a closer competitor to the Surface Studio, the Dell Canvas (and the company is actually pitching the Canvas and the Precision 5720 as complementary for creative pursuits).

In any case, the Precision 5720 has one other feature that stands out from the likes of the iMac/iMac Pro/Surface Studio: insanely loud, great-sounding speakers. Dell says it spent 22 months and worked with a well-respected audio engineer in the music industry (Jack Joseph Puig) to get the speakers just right. The setup includes a rare combination of both front- and down-firing speakers and leverages Waves MaxxAudio technology.

The resulting sound is super clear and bass-y, and it still sounds great at the highest volumes. Really, though, it offers more volume than we could ever imagine needing. But as this is a PC targeted at professionals, such as those doing video and audio work, we can see the speaker quality as a top selling point.

Workstation-level processing power is another rarity in an all-in-one form factor, which is why Apple made such a big deal about how the iMac Pro will feature processors with eight, 10 or 18 cores. The Precision 5720 is no slouch on speed though with an Intel Xeon E3-1200 processor (or optional Core i5/i7) and up to 64GB of RAM. AMD Radeon Pro graphics are also included.

Lightness and ease of movement are not among the virtues of this PC. The touch version weighs 37 pounds, and it's a bit of a challenge to re-position the computer on your desk. Clearly, a touchscreen of this size adds some girth. The non-touch version weighs a lot less – 25 pounds. The iMac Pro will weigh 21.5 pounds.

The only thing we'd really fault the Precision 5720 on is the keyboard that comes with it. The keyboard is wireless and works well enough. But the left-side Shift key is cut down to about half the normal size, and in place of the right half of the key is a backslash key. Perhaps this is a feature in demand for certain users, but for us it made the keyboard unusable due to the constant accidental backslashing instead of shifting.

In terms of pricing, Windows fans may be glad to see that the Precision 5720 is a good deal less than the iMac Pro. But it's still a major expense, at $3,460 for the configuration we reviewed (with a touchscreen, 32GB ECC memory, 2.5TB of SATA storage, Xeon E3-1275 v6, Radeon Pro WX 7100, articulating stand). The iMac Pro will still be way pricier by comparison, with a starting price of $4,999 (and it will likely be a lot higher for a model with an 18-core processor). Less-expensive configurations of the Precision 5720 are available as well, with the starting price pegged at $1,699 on

All-around, we think Dell has done a nice job with the Precision 5720, and we think it ought to be considered as a serious alternative to PCs aimed at creatives from vendors such as Apple and Microsoft.