Do the Stuff folks use all-in-one computers? That’s a negatory but we’re all pretty firmly wedded to a far more portable solution or, in a couple of cases, a monster gaming rig. That doesn’t mean we can’t see the appeal of an AIO system though. Just because we breathe air doesn’t mean we don’t see the point of gills, after all.
An all-in-one is a fantastic alternative for people with limited space or who just hate cable management and having to rearrange their computer area every time something pops. So a solution like Acer’s 5600U AIO is a viable choice for people like that, and anyone else that you’d prefer wasn’t taking a computer apart so that you can fix it for them later. Ahem… moving on.
The Acer 5600U has been around for quite some time, so this review is technically late, but we’ve never met an item we didn’t want to toy with so we thought we should give it a whirl anyway. The 5600U is packing an Intel Core i5 3230M, a 22nm chip running at 2.6Ghz, as well as 4GB of DDR3 RAM and Intel’s HD Graphics 4000.
That’s not all you’re getting though, there’s an Nvidia GeForce GT630M in there as well. Not great but it beats having to do everything with a stock Intel GPU. There’s a decent amount of responsiveness behind the installed Microsoft games as a result but I’m not about to start installing Steam on this setup. Regardless, Acer have packed all of this behind the 23-inch 1,920 x 1080 monitor that makes up the bulk of this desk occupier.
Under One Roof
Also included are the Acer-branded mouse and keyboard, with the same clear plastic furnishings that you’ll see on the monitor/PC unit. It’s great to see consistency and some actual quality going into the peripherals but someone pointed out that mouse looks like it has an overgrown toenail and now I can’t unsee it. And now nor can you.
Everything else has also been included. Your USB ports run down the left-hand side, there are speakers embedded into the rear of the monitor and there’s an optical drive on the right. DVD only, I’m afraid. And the 5600U runs Windows 8 – the touchscreen was actually my preferred input method for this review as a result. The screen is large enough to make it viable. Acer have included gesture controls, via the front-facing webcam, but those were a chore compared to just tapping the display or, you know, using the mouse and keyboard
We Have Lift-Off
One thing that we did take issue with is the kickstand at the back which supports everything. It’s nothing too serious, the review unit’s kickstand just got a little stuck and the amount of force I had to exert to get it to prop up the screen without having it snap back and catapult everything off the desk was frightening. Though it loosened over time, the amount of warping in the casing at the back was a bit worrying.
There are other causes for concern. Performance-wise the 5600U matches your standard Core i5 Acer notebook (which is where most of the internals seem to be cribbed from) so it isn’t a bad little goer. But its age means that it’s on the way out, having been bypassed by many opponents since its inception. If this review had been done closer to the original launch, I’d have been more impressed with it. But there are still reasons to get the 5600U, only one of which is space-saving. It’s ideal for the non-technical or for moving around a little media centre with its own screen. Pity that it doesn’t run on batteries as well, considering that it’s basically a collection of laptop hardware repurposed to desktop usage.
You can get a decent semi-custom desktop computer system for R15,000 that will run rings around the 5600U but that purchase calls for the sort of technical know-how that some users just don’t have. With Acer’s setup here you’ve just got to drop it onto a desk, plug in the mouse and keyboard (as well as the power) and you’re away. So it’s a PC for the technically-challenged and the best part of it is that you’re probably not going to have to perform tech support on the hardware. Software… it’s probably best to pretend you don’t know what Windows is.