Acer Revo One RL85 review – a desktop PC that fits in the palm of your hand

Price when reviewed

Compact Windows PCs such as Intel’s NUC have been steadily becoming a more common sight across the industry in recent times, but we’ve seen none cuter than Acer’s compact Revo One RL85.

Acer Revo One RL85 review - a desktop PC that fits in the palm of your hand

The model we were sent for review runs Windows 8.1 64-bit with Bing, and crams a fifth-generation Intel Core i3-5010U CPU, 8GB of RAM and three 1.5TB 2.5in hard disks into a case that’s little bigger than a coffee caddy.

Acer Revo One RL85 - with remote control

Acer Revo One RL85 review: design

It’s a pretty little thing. From the front, its soft curves and glossy white finish make it look more like a swanky Bluetooth speaker or an extrovert air freshener. Fortunately, it’s a bit more useful than either.

Look around the rear of the Revo and you’ll see a stack of PC-style ports arranged in a narrow strip. At the top is a pair of USB 2 ports for the connection of keyboard, mice and other low-speed devices.

Acer Revo One RL85 - rear

There’s a Gigabit Ethernet port immediately below, followed by another pair of USB sockets – USB 3 this time. Video outputs come next: you get HDMI and mini-DisplayPort, then a 3.5mm headset jack and a Kensington Lock slot. On top is a series of four white status LEDs and an SD slot.

A double-sided wireless remote control was included in the box with our review sample. On one side, there’s a clickable touchpad/five-way D-pad with play, pause, skip and volume controls, plus a couple of Windows shortcuts. On the other is a rubber-keyed Qwerty keyboard for thumbing in search terms.

In a slightly crazy bit of design, though, you have to use up one of your precious four USB slots with the accompanying wireless dongle. And if you’re intending to attach the Revo One to your TV, we’d counsel downloading and installing third-party media-centre software such as XBMC, since the included Acer software isn’t particularly feature-packed.

Acer Revo One RL85 review: accessibility and performance

Still, there’s plenty else to like about the Revo’s design. Impressively for such a small PC, access to the internals is good. At the press of a button, it’s possible to quickly whip off the top of the case and get inside, as if it were a tiny Mac Pro.

Beneath the white plastic sheath are two hard disks mounted in quick-release caddies. And, with a small screwdriver and a bit of patience, it’s also possible to get at the third 1.5TB drive sandwiched between them, the single RAM slot and the dual-band 802.11n wireless card, which here is of the 2×2-stream dual-band 802.11n variety.

There’s even RAID capability included. Our Revo came with the three disks arranged in a RAID5 array, but you can also set the system up with the disks in a RAID0 or RAID1 configuration, or as three separate disks.

Acer Revo One RL85 - inside

Performance is perfectly respectable, but you won’t using this as a video-editing rig. In our benchmarks, the mobile Core i3 CPU and 8GB of RAM powered our Revo One RL85 to an overall score of 27 – closer to the score of the Core M-powered Asus Transformer Book Chi T300 than a full-blown desktop Core i3, which we’d expect to achieve between 55 and 61.

Acer Revo One RL85 review: configurations and verdict

The version we’ve tested here won’t be available to buy in the shops. In fact, the closest configuration has an older, slightly slower Haswell-based Core i3-400 chip running at a clock frequency of 1.7GHz, has only one 2TB hard disk, has half the RAM at 4GB, and costs £400.

As a point of comparison, it’s possible to specify a 1.7GHz Core i3-4010U Intel NUC with a 120GB mSATA hard disk, 8GB of RAM, Windows 8.1 and a wireless card for around £20 more. You won’t get the same neat chassis, multiple SATA hard disk capability or bundled remote control, however.

And there are cheaper models too. At the bottom end of the scale, the Revo One RL85 (part number: DT.SYUEK.005) costs £230 and comes with a more basic 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2957U, 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard disk drive, costing £230.

In all, we’d say the Revo One is a pretty good deal: it’s neat, well designed and reasonably priced, and the extensive storage and RAID options mean it can act not only as your main deskbound PC and media hub, but also as the main data repository for your home. If you’re in the market for a new machine, it’s well worth considering.

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