Advent AIO200 review
One of the big computing trends over the past twelve months has been the mainstream emergence of the all-in-one PC. Once the sole preserve of the fashion-conscious with money to burn, the price has steadily fallen to the point at which we now have the Sony VGC-JS1E/S sitting pretty atop our Value PC A List category. Now PC World’s brand Advent is trying to achieve the same feat with the AIO200.
A brief glance at the AIO200 should be enough to see where Advent has got its inspiration from: this machine owes a huge debt to Apple’s iMac. Not that that’s a bad thing as it looks great, especially in black. The sleek curves and minimalist approach mean that the screen is accompanied by nothing more than the webcam, microphone and a couple of logos, with all the ports and sockets hidden around the back and arranged along the sides.
The screen that dominates the front of the machine is a 22in panel and one of the AIO200’s highlights. Its native resolution of 1,680 x 1,050 provides sharp, precise detail, colours are presented with warmth and accuracy and there’s very little bleed-through from the backlight at edges.
Our only qualms with the screen are minor. We found that even the brightest backlight setting can be a little dull, which means that we wouldn’t be entirely happy to use the Advent in a professional production environment, although this is still one of the best screens we’ve seen in an all-in-one system.
Unfortunately, we found the speakers to be less impressive. Sound was muddy and indistinct, treble sounded weak, and bass was too pervasive and booming. In short, we wouldn’t be happy listening to music on the Advent unless we were outsourcing the sound to external speakers. If you’d rather not disturb the clean lines of your machine with extra kit, then the excellent speakers in the Sony VAIO VGC-JS1E/S offer a better balance of power and clarity.
The Advent offers a reasonable amount of connectivity. The right-hand side harbours a slot-loading DVD writer, headphone and microphone jacks and a pair of USB ports, as well as a card reader and controls for volume and LCD brightness.
The rear is adequately equipped: four USB ports are joined by another pair of audio jacks, Gigabit Ethernet and the antenna output for the TV tuner. But there are some omissions: there’s no S/PDIF output, for instance, or any eSATA ports.
Inside, the Advent employs standard all-in-one strategy of using mainly mobile parts. The processor is an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200, which has four cores running at 2.33MHz and this is backed up with 2GB of RAM. This arrangement powered the Advent to a 2D benchmark score of 1.33 – not quite as fast as most desktop machines we see, but quicker than the majority of laptops and with enough power to handle demanding desktop applications.
Gaming performance is meagre, though, thanks to the Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS GPU. In our low-quality Crysis test, run at a resolution of 1,024 x 768, the Advent limped to 23fps – a barely playable result. Gaming on this machine will be restricted to older titles rather than the latest releases, though it’s a little better in this regard than the Sony.
The rest of the specification is relatively standard for an all-in-one: 2GB of RAM keeps Vista Home Premium ticking over and a 500GB hard disk offers a fair amount of room for a sizeable media collection. Also included is a hybrid DVBT/analog TV tuner. It’s not capable of recording and viewing different channels at the same time, but it’s one of the few areas where the Advent pulls ahead of the cheaper Sony VAIO.
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