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PCs

Acer Aspire U5-620 is an all-in-one PC with an adjustable kickstand

Published on Jun 13, 2014 5:00 AM
 

Acer's latest all-in-one PC is propped up by an adjustable kickstand. Push its touchscreen all the way back with a finger and it effectively becomes a giant 23-inch tablet. Or as Lenovo and Sony would call it, a table-top PC.

But the table-top concept has not exactly set the industry on fire since it was introduced last year. Besides, Acer has not marketed the Aspire U5 this way. It lacks a separate battery that would liberate it from the power outlet. This indicates that Acer sees it mainly as an all-in-one.

Being able to adjust the tilt of the display is useful as it lets you use the touchscreen in a position that you find more comfortable. But this merely delayed the inevitable switch to mouse and keyboard, because my arm eventually got tired.

The anti-fingerprint coating on the screen is always useful on a touch device. But there is a significant gap between the outer protective glass and the inner in-plane switching (IPS) display. This results in a fairly reflective display that affects the viewing experience in a brightly lit environment.

The 1,920 x 1,080 resolution looks adequate when the device is used at arm's length. But move closer, and text and icons begin to look pixelated.

You would think Acer would make it easy to switch on the computer. But the power button is well hidden in the bottom corner and it took me several minutes to find it.

The location of the ports leaves much to be desired. Three of the four USB ports, Ethernet and HDMI output are at the back of the PC, making them fairly inaccessible, and their orientation, especially of the USB ports, makes connection difficult.

Meanwhile, on the easy-to-reach left edge of the PC, there is just a single USB 3.0 port along with an HDMI input, an SD card reader and an audio jack. Acer should have positioned most of its ports here.

With its HDMI input, you can use this PC as a monitor. One likely use would be to connect it to a game console. The device is no slouch when it comes to PC gaming. Its mid-range Nvidia GeForce GTX 850M graphics chip can run most games at average settings. In Bioshock Infinite, the U5 managed 35.5 frames per second at the second-highest settings.

The PC has a 1TB hybrid drive which comes with a small amount of flash memory to improve system responsiveness. As a long-time user of solid-state drives, I felt that the hybrid drive was sluggish. It probably does not help that this drive is meant for laptops and is optimised for power efficiency, not performance.

  • This is a decent computer equipped with the latest hardware. But the ports could be better placed while the hybrid drive felt slow.

vinchang@sph.com.sg

This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on June 11, 2014.


TECH SPECS

Price: $1,999

Processor: Intel Core i7-4702MQ (2.2GHz)

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 850M

RAM: 8GB DDR

Display: 23 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

Connectivity: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, HDMI-in, HDMI-out, Gigabit Ethernet, SD card reader, headphone jack


RATING

Features: 4/5

Design: 3/5

Performance: 4/5

Value for money: 4/5

Overall: 4/5