Acer Aspire U5-620 review

£1025
Price when reviewed

The Aspire U5-620 is an all-in-one PC with grand aspirations. Squeezing a 23in touchscreen, potent specification and TV tuner into a slender, compact frame, the Aspire U5-620 isn’t content with merely being a multimedia powerhouse – it’s clearly keen to unhorse Apple’s 21.5in iMac as our favourite all-in-one.

Acer Aspire U5-620

Acer Aspire U5-620 review: design

The Acer’s talents aren’t immediately obvious: it’s an understated, rather dull-looking thing. Acer has eschewed the curvaceous sleekness of Apple’s iMac range in favour of unfussy, squared-off edges, and the chassis is cast all in black, enlivened only by the silver speaker grilles stretching along the bottom. At the back, an aluminium stand tilts back and forth to provide a modicum of adjustability, and a slew of downward-facing ports are hidden along the raised black plastic back panel. Exciting it is not.

Acer Aspire U5-620 review: display quality

Fire up the Aspire U5-620, however, and the glossy 23in touchscreen seizes the attention. The Full HD resolution and sparkling IPS panel also serve up crisp, eye-catching images, and the panel’s 1,052:1 contrast ratio helps give it a wonderfully punchy, vibrant quality. Colour fidelity is respectable as well: with an average Delta E of 3.37, the Acer’s panel puts in a technically solid performance, serving up saturated yet well-judged tones across all of our test images.

Acer Aspire U5-620 review

By far the panel’s biggest weakness is its LED backlighting. We measured the Acer’s brightness topping out at a modest 210cd/m[sup]2[/sup], which is low even when compared to budget all-in-one PCs. It’s also a far cry from the iMac’s brilliantly luminous screen, which reached a maximum brightness of 400cd/m2. In bright, sun-drenched rooms, the Acer’s weak backlighting will struggle to keep images from looking dim and and washed out.

The touchscreen works well, though. The Acer responds instantaneously to taps, prods and Windows 8.1’s array of edge-swipes, and the panel supports ten-point multitouch. We’re still not sold on the idea of a touchscreen on an all-in-one PC – it’s tiring to use for any length of time, for starters – but for quickly flicking through web pages, or launching applications, it does occasionally come in useful.

Acer Aspire U5-620 review: performance

Behind that gleaming display, Acer has equipped the Aspire U5-620 with a generous array of hardware. Acer’s all-in-one boasts an Intel Core i7-4702MQ CPU running at 2.2GHz, which is supported by 8GB of RAM, a 1TB HDD and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 850M graphics chip. In our Real World Benchmarks this capable array managed a solid Overall score of 0.8 – quick enough to put the Acer just a hair behind the iMac’s score of 0.88.

Acer Aspire U5-620 review

The Nvidia 8 Series GPU allowed the Aspire to sneak in front in our gaming tests, however. Even with our Crysis benchmark running at Full HD and High detail, the Acer nudged ahead of the iMac 21.5in, racking up a smooth average frame rate of 41fps – 17% faster than the GeForce GT 750M in the iMac, which averaged 35fps. It might be a compact all-in-one PC, but there’s enough power here to play the current generation of demanding PC games.

Acer Aspire U5-620 review: features & connectivity

In addition, the Aspire’s extra features go some way to transforming it from a simple all-in-one to a fully fledged entertainment centre. There’s a Blu-ray player for watching the latest high-definition movie titles, and there’s also an integrated Avermedia DVB-T TV tuner that allows the Aspire to double as a television. Acer also provides a handy miniature remote control; HDMI input and output ports for hooking up games consoles or connecting to a secondary display; and front-facing speakers that produce full-bodied audio more than powerful enough for thumping through music or TV and movie soundtracks.

Finally, the Aspire is well appointed for connectivity. It gets off to a good start with 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4 wireless networking included as standard, but there are plenty of wired connections, too. Sensibly, Acer has placed a USB 3 port, an SD card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack along the left edge of the chassis for quick access. At the rear there’s another single USB 3 port, three USB 2 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and a 3.5mm audio output. Our only quibble is that these rear, downward-firing ports are awkward to get at; as the Aspire U5-620 weighs a not-inconsiderable 8kg, flipping it over to plug items in and out is frustratingly awkward.

Acer Aspire U5-620 review: verdict

Acer Aspire U5-620

In the main, though, we were quietly impressed with the Aspire U5-620. Acer has done a great job packing a gaming-capable, multimedia entertainment centre into such a compact chassis. However, its biggest rival, the £1,199 Apple iMac 21.5in, is an immensely talented alternative – it unites comparable all-round performance, specifications and a far superior display in a vastly more attractive chassis. Acer has certainly put together a competent all-in-one but, for our money, the Aspire U5-620’s shortcomings are enough to keep it from claiming a podium position.

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

RAM capacity 8.00GB
Screen size 23.0in

Processor

CPU family Intel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency 2.20GHz

Graphics card

Graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
HDMI outputs 1

Hard disk

Capacity 1.00TB

Drives

Optical disc technology Blu-ray drive

Monitor

Resolution screen horizontal 1,920
Resolution screen vertical 1,080
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Contrast ratio 1,052:1
Screen brightness 210cd/m2
HDMI inputs 1

Case

Dimensions 560 x 35 x 398mm (WDH)

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 2
3.5mm audio jacks 1

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 8

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings 121fps
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.80
Responsiveness score 0.69
Media score 0.89
Multitasking score 0.83

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