The Dell Optiplex 5490 All-in-One (starts at $1,239; $1,399) as tested features midrange computing components inside a space-saving, 24-inch All-in-One (AIO) chassis. What sets it apart from the consumer-grade all-in-one isn’t the high-end processor or super-charged workstation-class graphics, but the three-year warranty and a highly adjustable design that lets you get the display in perfect condition. Lets- Ergonomics is an important factor for long workdays. The OptiPlex 5490 also uses a more powerful desktop-class CPU instead of the mobile processors typically found on all-in-one PCs, where airflow and thermal concerns are paramount. Many businesses would be better off with a smaller-form-factor PC and a separate display, but if you must have AIO, the Optiplex 5490 is a solid choice.
Highly adjustable, but no discrete GPU option
The OptiPlex 5490 series features 10th and 11th generation six-core Intel Core i5 desktop CPUs, as well as 10th generation Core i7 CPUs if you want to upgrade to an eight-core chip. You have limited options for RAM (8GB or 16GB) and storage drives (either 128GB or 256GB SSD). There’s no option to upgrade graphics—you’re stuck with integrated Intel graphics.
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Besides the CPU being a generation behind Intel’s latest, our test configuration is the most advanced in the lineup, with a Core i7-10700T CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. All models feature a 23.8-inch, non-touch display with a Full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) resolution.
(Photo: Molly Flores)
The OptiPlex 5490’s design prioritizes high performance. It’s an entry-level, all-in-one business PC meant for the daily office grind, not a luxurious all-in-one meant to turn heads in the reception area or boardroom. The plastic hoop is as plain as the plastic base on which it rests. The thin bezels on the three sides of the display lend a modern look, and the thick bezel on the bottom of the display is to be forgiven as it houses the speaker bar.
(Photo: Molly Flores)
The display measures 21.3 inches wide and 13.5 inches tall, and the rectangular base measures 9.9 inches wide and 10.1 inches deep. The neck of the stand sits against the back of the base, giving you a place to hide the keyboard on the base under the display when you don’t need it. It should be noted that neither keyboard nor mouse is included in our test system, but Dell does offer wired and wireless peripherals for an additional cost.
(Photo: Molly Flores)
Back to base: What it lacks in elegance, it makes up for in flexibility. It offers height, swivel and tilt adjustments. You can position the display such that its bottom edge is only 3.5 inches above your desk and lift it such that it is about 7.5 inches high. With tilt and swivel adjustments, the base allows you to position the display to its ergonomic specifications for a comfortable work setup that should help you avoid repetitive strain injuries.
disappointing screen quality
The Dell Optiplex 5490 All-in-One flaunts a 23.8-inch, non-touch, Full HD display. During testing, photos and HD video looked sharp, but text was blurry until I stepped back a bit from my desk. When I was within two feet of the screen, the edges of the letters looked blurry. From a distance of one foot to 1.5 feet, I could make out individual pixels. If you read documents or stare at spreadsheets all day, you’ll probably want a higher-resolution display than what the OptiPlex 5490 offers.
The display is also a poor choice for brightly lit environments. We tested it with the Datacolor SpiderX Elite Monitor Calibration Sensor and found it produced a modest 267 nits at its maximum brightness setting. That’s good enough for most office settings under artificial light, but a 300-nit or higher display is better for sunny environments.
We also used the sensor to measure the display’s color saturation—what percentage of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamut, or palette, it can show. This was far from the full coverage of sRGB at 97%, as well as the reliable coverage of Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 at 75% and 77%, respectively.
(Photo: Molly Flores)
A 2-megapixel infrared (IR) webcam is hidden above the display in a pop-up module. It delivers a Full HD picture that is both crisp and well balanced. With its IR technology, you can use the camera to log into Windows by simply placing your face in front of the machine. And when not in use, the camera can be hidden away to ensure your privacy in the office.
The system’s integrated speakers produce enough sound for clear Zoom calls and video playback, but they sound flat when listening to music. Like most laptops and all others’ audio outputs, the OptiPlex 5490 lacks the bass response to function as a music sound system. If you like working with music playing, you’ll need external speakers or headphones.
For connecting to speakers or headphones, you’ll find a USB-C port, a USB 3.2 Type-A port, and an audio jack conveniently located on the left side of the display, next to the SD card slot. I greatly appreciated being able to access this quartet of connections without needing to reach the back of the display.
(Photo: Molly Flores)
The rest of the ports are located in the center of the back panel and are a bit difficult to access as they are below where the stand connects to the display. You find two more USB 3.2 ports on the back, along with a pair of USB 2.0 ports. There’s also a DisplayPort connection but nothing in the way of an HDMI port. Completing the port offerings on the back are an Ethernet port and a line-out audio jack.
Entry-level business machines are often backed by consumer-grade one-year warranties, but thankfully that’s not the case with the OptiPlex 5490. Dell backs the system with a standard three-year parts-and-labor warranty, a time period enterprise customers have come to expect for fleet machines.
(Photo: Molly Flores)
OptiPlex 5490 Performance: It’s a True Desktop CPU
An all-in-one business fleet machine is a specialty product and finding systems for direct comparison is a challenge. To put the performance of the Dell OptiPlex 5490 All-in-One in perspective, we found two consumers in the Acer Aspire C27 AIO and Lenovo Idea Center AIO 3, as well as an entry-level midtower workstation in the Dell OptiPlex 5090. We’ve also included Apple’s 24-inch iMac, but it’s incompatible with many Windows benchmarks. Their main components are given below.
UL’s PCMark 10 core benchmarks simulate a variety of real-world productivity and content-creation workflows to measure overall performance for office-focused tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, and videoconferencing. We also run PCMark 10’s full system drive test to assess the load times and throughput of the desktop’s storage.
The three benchmarks focus on the CPU, using all available cores and threads, to rate the suitability of a PC for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 uses that company’s Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, while Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Pro emulates popular apps ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. Finally, we use the open-source video transcoder Handbrake 1.4 to convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p resolution (the shorter the time the better).
Our final productivity test is Puget Systems’ PugetBench for Photoshop, which uses Creative Cloud version 22 of Adobe’s renowned image editor to rate PC performance for content creation and multimedia applications. It’s an automated extension that performs a variety of common and GPU-accelerated Photoshop tasks, from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving an image to applying masks, gradient fills, and filters.
The OptiPlex 5490 turned in a moderate result on PCMark 10, falling behind the Core i5-based Dell OptiPlex 5090 and ahead of the AMD Ryzen 3-based Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3. However, any score above 4,000 on this test generally indicates excellent performance. , which means the OptiPlex 5490 should power through most business productivity tasks.
On our Handbrake, Cinebench and Geekbench tests, the OptiPlex 5490 finished in the middle of the pack. It trailed the OptiPlex 5090 and the M1-based Apple iMac, but proved faster than the consumer pair, the Acer Aspire C27 AIO and Lenovo IdeaCentre C27 AIO.
We tested the graphics of Windows PCs with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark, Night Raid (suitable for desktops with more modest, integrated graphics) and Time Spy (suitable for gaming rigs with more demanding, discrete GPUs) We do.
We also ran two tests from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which emphasizes both low-level routines like texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering. The 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Car Chase tests provide offscreen to accommodate different display resolutions, practice graphics and calculate shaders using the OpenGL programming interface and hardware tessellation, respectively. The more frames per second (fps), the better.
On both the 3DMark tests and GFXBench tests, the OptiPlex 5490 All-in-One’s results clearly indicate that this entry-level workstation is the opposite of a gaming system. This is to be expected for a business-class AIO.
All-in-One or Small Form Factor: Which Do You Need?
The All-in-One Business Desktop is a one-of-a-kind system. Most businesses in need of an entry-level PC will opt for something like the Dell Optiplex 3090 Small Form Factor, because keeping the PC and display separate allows you to hedge your investment in the display when it comes time to upgrade the PC. The all-in-one design allows for a more streamlined setup for IT departments, but still needs your company to be very tight on space or have very specific requirements for an all-in-one workstation.
If you need such a setup, Dell is one of the only games in town. The Optiplex 5490 All-in-One has a desktop CPU inside a winning albeit staid design, and it’s backed by a generous warranty. Still, we’ll continue to drive most business buyers toward a smaller-form-factor workstation and a different display.
Dell Optiplex 5490 All-in-One
Dell’s OptiPlex 5490 All-in-One is an entry-level desktop that saves space and is easy to deploy, but it may not offer the best ROI for your business.
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