One For All And All In One (Part 1) - Asus ET2701INKI-B046C

10/21/2012 9:26:29 AM

Join the all-in-one revolution, already in progress.

We know what you’re thinking. Why are we dedicating precious pages to another roundup of alt-in-one PCs? You’d never buy one of these machines as your primary computer, right? Right. We’d never be satisfied with just an alt-in-one, either.

But we can’t think of a better second computer. Sure, you could retire an older PC to the kitchen or family room. Or you could carry a notebook or tablet from room to room. But it’s hard to overstate the convenience of an all-in-one: There’s only one device taking up space on your desk; It has the same footprint as a monitor, you need just a single power outlet; it’s always there when you need it; and unlike a notebook or tablet, you’ll never need to hunt it down only to discover that it has a dead battery.

We’re not ignoring the drawbacks of nearly alt consumer all-in- ones. They’re difficult, if not impossible to upgrade; and they generally suck for hardcore gaming, because most depend on mobile OPUs at best, and integrated graphics at worst. But this class of machine is definitely on an upswing. Intact, the market research firm IHS recently forecast that AiO sales will grow by a blistering 20 percent this year, while sates of conventional desktops will post an anemic gain of just .2 percent.

With that kind of growth, we weren’t surprised that Asus, Dell, Gateway, HP, and Sony alt sent us machines for this story. We reviewed each one with three criteria in mind: First, is it sufficiently powerful and feature-rich to tempt us into trading in a conventional desktop PC? If it didn’t rise to that Level, would it a make a good second PC for a Maximum PC reader? And finally, did it exhibit a price/performance ratio that renders it worthy of a recommendation to friends and relatives looking for an alt-around family PC?

Asus ET2701INKI-B046C

Description: Asus ET2701INKI-B046C

Just the right balance

ASUS TAKES the price/performance crown in this roundup. The company’s ET2701 all-in-one can't match the audacious display built into Dell’s XPS One 27, and it doesn’t have a fast SSD to supplement its 2TB hard drive, like the Dell; but many of the other components inside the ET2701 are exactly the same as what you’ll get with the XPS One. And the ET2701 costs $500 less.

Both machines have the same CPU and GPU—Intel’s Core i7-3770S and Nvidia’s GeForce GT 640M, respectively—but Asus outfits its machine with a 27-inch display that’s limited to 1920x1080 resolution, while Dell goes the extra mile with a 27-inch display that’s capable of 2560x1440 resolution.

The ET2701 scored first place in our ProShow Producer and Adobe Premiere tests, although the Dell was faster in the three others. But if you think you’ll be watching movies on its tray-mount Blu-ray player/DVD burner and surfing the web more than performing precision edits on digital photos, the ET2701 will make you very happy. The LED-backlit IPS display isn’t a touchscreen (none of the large all-in-ones we tested are), but it is absolutely gorgeous, with bright, vibrant colors and generous off-axis viewing angles.

A door on the left side of the machine flips open to reveal a memory card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, one combo USB 2.0/eSATA port [a unique feature in this roundup), a mic input, a headphone out, and a subwoofer out. We appreciate doors that hide ugly elements like I/O ports, but Asus didn't think to include a cable cutout so you could close the door while a cable is plugged in—the door just hangs open and the cables spill out like spaghetti.

Description: ASUS ET2701INKI-B046C

The IPS display inside the Asus ET2701 is so beautiful you'll quickly forget that its maximum resolution is just 1920x1080 pixels.

Asus provides a miniature, powered subwoofer with the PC. It’s the only one that will work with the system, because it draws power over the same cable that carries the audio signal from the PC. The speakers built into the ET2701 are good, but not great, so the sub is a welcome addition. But the combo doesn’t put out enough sound to fill even a small room — especially one with a lot of background noise, such as a kitchen.

Each of the all-in-ones in this roundup is equipped with an HDMI input, which is great when you want to connect a cable or satellite set-top box or a videogame console to the display. You can set up the ET2701 so that its display and HDMI input remain active even when the PC is shut down. Asus doesn't offer a TV tuner with the ET2701 in the North American market, which isn’t a big loss, and it doesn’t provide a remote control, either.

Bottom line: The Asus ET2701 is a great all-in-one computer that offers exceptional value.



3.1GHz Intel Core I7-3770S


Nvidia GeForce GT 640M


8GB DDR3/1600 2TB (7,200rpm)


Blu-ray player/DVD burner


27-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD 1920x1080 (non-touch)


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