Hands on: Acer Revo One review – with UK pricing and release date
Update: Acer has just announced official UK pricing, full specifications and release dates for its compact, media-centric PC, at a press event in central London.
From the 6th of April, the white, Intel Celeron-powered version will go on sale in PC World and Currys stores nationwide, plus Tesco, Amazon, Dabs, eBuyer and Staples, with more powerful models set to launch in the following months.
The first version of the Revo One will come with a Haswell-generation, dual-core 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2957U CPU, 4GB of RAM, plus a 1TB HDD slotted in one of the system’s twin hard disk bays. It will cost £239 and will ship with an RF-based remote. A 2TB version will also be available for £279.
The Intel Core i3 and i5 models won’t be available until later this year but we know that prices will start at £399 for the i3.
What follows is Tim Danton’s hands-on review, which he wrote when Acer first showed off the product at January’s CES technology show in Las Vegas.
I’ve lost track of how many times the PC industry has attempted to inveigle its way into the living room (Intel Viiv ring any bells?) but Acer’s little plastic gem of a product – the Acer Revo One RL85 – might just have the right combination of low price, data protection and entertaining abilities to make an impact.
I got my hands on an early sample at a pre-CES demonstration, and have to admit that I’m seriously tempted to invest in one when they land in the UK (probably February).
Part of its appeal is its appearance. It’s small, about the height of a hardback book, and while it’s unlikely to win any Design Icon of the Year awards it does at least look like it belongs in a living room. You can get it any colours you like, so long as those colours are black or white.
It’s whisper-quiet in operation (you have to lean your ear in close to hear the fans) and also has a party trick of a removable shell, giving you access to two SATA disk caddies. Add two disks into these and, hey presto, you have a NAS-style appliance with full backup capabalities – since it supports mirroring, you’re even covered if one disk fails.
Techies might also choose to use the Revo One as a streaming server for photos, music and videos: lump everything onto the hard drive, or drives, and you can stream to pretty much any device in the house.
Acer is also promising an optional remote control, complete with keyboard on the back, but you’re probably better off using the free app, Acer Smart Control. This is available for iOS and Android, and allows you to either control the Revo One or to stream content onto your device.
PRICE UPDATE 19 January: Acer has now confirmed the Revo will be sold with a Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, 1TB hard disk and remote control for £249 inc VAT. A 2TB version will cost £279 inc VAT. It should be available imminently.
There will also be a black version with a 2TB hard disk and Core i3 processor, due for launch “in the second half of Q1”, but no estimated price as yet.
Jon Honeyball joined me for the Acer tour, and had this to say about the Revo One:
“Now this is interesting: a cute small box but with a strong performance angle if you buy the higher-spec versions. And with an unusually flexible storage expansion too – the two internal HD slots have a RAID controller, so you can either span or mirror the drives to increase unified storage size or increase reliability and performance.
“Immediately, I started thinking about further items I would like in the range. Firstly, since the cover comes off, why not offer some funky coloured covers especially aimed at the teenage market? A bright lemon green, flouro orange, and I’m sure some would pay for a “Hello Kitty” logo’d version too
“In terms of the form factor, consider that the guts of the Revo One is essentially a laptop motherboard. The mains power comes from an external inline adapter, and there is a DC input socket on the Revo One itself. Why not offer an identical unit that offers a battery pack, to give a UPS option? That’s certainly something I would consider. And why not engineer a third version of the case to take four hard disk cages along with a tiny RAID controller? Connect to the mother Revo One via one of the USB 3 ports, and you have an interesting external storage solution to expand your collection of music, videos and photos even further.
“It’s about time PC manufacturers showed the way with small-form factor devices. Especially when connected to a TV. This is a promising step, but Acer needs to demonstrate commitment to the product and to bring to market appropriately useful and funky add-ons.”