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Going all in

Acer pulls out all stops for new all-in-one release

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The all-in-one concept has come a long way from its origins with the first Apple Macintosh and similar PCs in the 1980s. Now all serious PC manufacturers have a model on the shelves, and most have a complete range since touchscreen technology recently revamped the genre. These include Acer with two new offerings sporting the new Windows 8 operating system. 

But is the company just copying everyone else and playing a futile game of catch-up? Or can it deliver a serious contender as the genre grows steadily. Let's take a look at the Aspire 7600U to see if Acer is as "ace" as it claims.

FORM Out of the box, it's instantly obvious Acer has done its homework. The two most important aspects of an all-in-one machine are the face (screen) and the hinge that supports it, and Acer is on point here with the 7600U.

The 27in screen at the front is housed in an edge-to-edge piece of glass that gives the unit much of its weight. Luckily the hinge is up to the task. Although not as sturdy as other models such as Apple's iMac or HP's Z1, it is stable and moves around 60 degrees to cater to a good range of vertical viewing angles.

The glass actually extends off the bottom of the body 60mm and serves as the stand for the whole unit, adding to the futuristic design motif. Not to be left out, the wireless mouse and keyboard also inherit this design, with plastic being used on the palm rests of both devices.

Overall, the design considerations work well and will seduce aesthetes. But does the hardware match the pretty face?

FUNCTION

The 27in 1,920x1,080 resolution screen is the standout feature of the device. It's touch-enabled, tracking 10 touch points, and is responsive and sensitive. Some have complained of the lack of higher resolution. It's also missing steadier gesture recognition, but this should come with a software update or patch in the future.

Inside is a second-generation Intel Core i7 CPU and 8GB RAM alongside a 1TB HDD spinning at 5,400rpm. Connectivity is covered with USB 3.0 ports, HDMI in and out, and a card reader, covering all bases. Gamers miss out on a dedicated graphics processor in the standard configuration, but most users won't notice.

There is also a Blu-ray combo drive and TV tuner, meaning the unit can double up as a DVD player and TV, which must be the future of such devices.

The device uses the much-discussed Windows 8 operating system, which was clearly engineered with such touchscreen-ready devices in mind. The result is smooth handling and navigation of the system via touch gestures, although a beefier new-generation CPU would make things more premium in terms of load times and heavier multimedia usage.

VERDICT

The Aspire 7600U augers well for the future of Acer in terms of all-in-one potential. The design is the stand-out feature, with its futuristic air and practical port placements. Users will also like the responsive touchscreen and Windows 8 integration, although they will look forward to more gesture recognition and an upgraded CPU in the future.

That said, it has its competitors, namely the Dell XPS One 27 and Apple's latest iMac that offer more spec for the same money, hampering Acer's dominance in this class, at least until the price comes down.


The Acer Aspire 7600U all-in-one is available for 69,990 baht. Visit www.acer.co.th. Email richardm@bangkokpost.co.th with any thoughts.

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