Acer Aspire ZC-606 review
The Acer Aspire ZC-606 is Acer’s new budget all-in-one PC and, at £319, it’s as cheap as they come. Acer has opted for a lowly Intel Celeron CPU and a basic, low-end specification, and it’s also pinched a few pennies by employing the latest low-cost iteration of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 8.1 with Bing.
Acer Aspire ZC-606 review: cutting costs
In practice, the only difference between standard Windows 8.1 and the Bing version is that Microsoft’s search engine is selected by default. If you’d rather have Google or any other search engine as your go-to choice, then you can easily change that in the settings – you’re not stuck with Bing for the rest of time. Happily, the rest of the operating system is completely untouched.
This budget version of Windows 8.1 might be a new phenomenon, but the first word that springs to mind when looking at the Aspire ZC-606’s design is “retro”. The off-white, chunky chassis instantly brings to mind boxy, ugly desktops of yesteryear, and there’s not a hint of style or panache to its thickset back panel, chunky bezels and dimpled front-mounted speaker grilles. It isn’t without a certain nostalgic charm, though, and build quality is solid. Our only real gripe with the Acer’s design is the basic kickstand: as it’s not spring-loaded, it’s a pain to adjust back and forth.
Acer Aspire ZC-606 review: display and performance
Acer has topped off its budget all-in-one with a matte 19.5in, 1,600 x 900 panel. We measured the maximum brightness at 194cd/m² and the contrast ratio at 357:1; not stellar results, but adequate by budget monitor standards. Surprisingly, the Acer’s TN panel managed to serve up competent colour accuracy, and it turned out surprisingly good figures in our more stringent tests. However, narrow vertical viewing angles mean that you may end up wrestling with the finicky stand more often than you’d like.
Inside, the ZC-606 has a predictably low-end specification. A 2GHz Intel Celeron J1900 is supported by 4GB of RAM, and the 5,400rpm HDD provides 500GB of storage. It’s anything but a power-packed combination, and the Acer trundled through our Real World Benchmark tests with an Overall score of 0.41. That’s enough for plodding through day-to-day tasks, such as browsing the web, typing documents or even editing the odd picture in Photoshop, but multitasking or more strenuous applications quickly slow the Celeron CPU to a crawl.
You won’t be gaming on it, either, as graphical grunt is handled by the integrated Intel HD Graphics chip. In our Crysis benchmark, the ZC-606 managed an average frame rate of only 22fps at 1,366 x 768 resolution and Low quality settings. Basic gaming isn’t out of the question, but if you’re looking to play the latest 3D shooters, the Acer won’t be up to the challenge.
Acer Aspire ZC-606 review: connectivity
It’s not all bad news, however. While the ZC-606 is lacking in performance, it ticks all the essentials. Bluetooth 4 and single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi make the cut, and the single USB 3 port is accompanied by three USB 2 ports, an SD card reader and a Gigabit Ethernet socket. It’s easy to plug cables in and out at the back, too, as all the rear ports face outwards. We were a little disappointed by the lack of video-input and -output ports, however – if you do want to connect a secondary display, you’ll need to shell out for a USB monitor.
The front-mounted speakers are a little tinny, but they’re surprisingly loud and clear. There’s certainly clarity enough to handle the demands of music and movie soundtracks.
The ZC-606 also comes with a cabled USB mouse and keyboard. Neither are the finest peripherals we’ve ever encountered, but they’re functional and free from any major niggles. We’d replace the lightweight Scrabble-tile keyboard with a higher-quality version at the first opportunity, but while its chunky, well-spaced keys are lacking in feel, it’s not offensively bad. It’s a similar story with the plasticky optical mouse: while hardly the last word in hand-cosseting comfort, it’s up to the job of pointing and clicking.
Acer Aspire ZC-606 review: verdict
The Acer Aspire isn’t a flashy all-in-one, nor does it pretend to be – but crucially it packs in all the essentials at a bargain price. None of its weaknesses are complete deal-breakers, and for web browsing and home office use, the low performance won’t prove horribly limiting. As a compact option for cash-strapped students, younger kids or for people who simply want a basic computer for a knock-down price, the Aspire ZC-606 is well worth considering.
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Total hard disk capacity||500GB|
|CPU family||Intel Celeron|
|CPU nominal frequency||2.00GHz|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Resolution screen horizontal||900|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,600|
|Resolution||900 x 1600|
|Peripherals||USB keyboard and mouse|
|Dimensions||313 x 55 x 480mm (WDH)|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|3.5mm audio jacks||1|
Operating system and software
|OS family||Windows 8|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||22fps|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.41|