Forget those big ugly boxes. The new breed of desktop computers look great, perform at warp speed, and live anywhere in the home.
Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27
At 27 inches across (diagonally), this Windows 8 PC computer will stand out in any room—and that's a good thing. The one-inch-thick touch screen is a high-tech centerpiece—whether it's propped up on its built-in stand, mounted on the living-room wall, or just lying on a coffee table. The wireless keyboard, mouse, and Intel Core i7 processor make it a workhorse for traditional Office 365–type needs. But once you set the Lenovo flat, it becomes the life of the party by launching a multiuser interface that allows you and friends to interact with the high-definition screen simultaneously: One person can scroll through photos, another can watch a video, while a third can surf the Web. Or everyone can play bundled versions of Monopoly or Air Hockey with the included e-dice and four joysticks.
The computer that defined the all-in-one by melding the display and the CPU is still the most elegant desktop money can buy. The new iMac, available in 21.5- and 27-inch versions, is even sleeker and thinner than previous generations—just 5 millimeters at the edges. The brilliant, newly designed display reduces reflection by 75 percent and features vivid images viewed from any angle; under the hood is a lightning-fast connection for breakneck data-transfer rates and up to a whopping 3 terabytes of memory.
Starting at $1,300; apple.com
Dell XPS One 27
Who needs a TV? You can watch movies, stream live channels, or catch up on your favorite shows directly using this all-in-one with a dazzling display—it has edge-to-edge glass and Dell's newest Quad HD technology, which delivers especially vibrant colors. Plus, you'll never be in the wrong spot for viewing, thanks to a flexible, articulating stand that allows you to perch the 27-inch touch screen at any angle.
Sony VAIO Tap 20 Mobile Touch DesktopThis portable all-in-one weighs just under 11.5 pounds, and its 20-inch touch screen, retractable slim kickstand, and nearly three hours of battery life make it the perfect mobile hybrid to cart around the house without shutting it down. There's also a suite of pre-loaded Sony Imagination Studio software, which includes professional-grade audio-editing and filmmaking apps.
Samsung Series 7 All-in-One
Make Minority Report–like computing (almost) a reality on either a 23.6- or 27-inch PC: Simple gestures allow you to play games, adjust the volume, and browse-and-click without ever sullying the touch screen with your fingers. Samsung Galaxy users will love the ability to stream content directly to their phones, and clutter-phobes will appreciate the stylish, sculpted stand. Starting at $1,100; samsung.com