We unboxed Asus’s iMac rival all-in-one box yesterday, and we’ve been playing around with it now for 24 hours – want to know if it’s worth the dough? Read on for our first impressions.
Looks wise, it’s every bit the Apple rival, managing to fit plenty of ports around its shell without being conspicuous, including a memory card reader. We’re also fans of the metal kickstand – we guess they had to do something to make it look a little different from the iMac, although it’s also wall-mountable.
On paper, the specs aren’t really worth £400. An N270 1.6GHz processor and 1GB of RAM will let you open up about ten images on Photoshop before giving up the ghost, and you can forget playing any recent games either. But you knew that when you bought an Eee netbook, and this is just the same: if you want to write documents, watch videos and surf the web, this offers powerful productivity on the cheap.
The feature that makes your £400 a more than reasonable outlay is the touchscreen. It works well- it’s responsive, and unlike a mobile screen, big enough to actually recognise which button or menu option is underneath your pinky.
Just in case you have hands the size of tree stumps, XP comes with a handy extra menu bar which rolls out across the screen with all your applications. The only real problem with Asus’ screen is the low resolution: just 1,366×768. It looks Fisher Price, grainy, and it’s possibly the most off-putting aspect of the Eee Top overall.
The keyboard and mouse are the Top’s strongest features. The compact white typepad takes more than a little inspiration from Apple, but it’s far more sturdy than you’d expect. It’s small, sure, but touch-typing at speed is easy, and the moulded raise hides a pop-out stylus for drawing in the screen. The only drawback is that neither are wireless, rather ruining the whole sans cable look – but then what do you expect for £400?
Actually we do expect one more thing for that price: a DVD drive. A few millimetres’ extra thickness would have been a fair trade off for this. As it is, one of main purposes of this media centre-style machine is made a little bit redundant. OK, so you could plug a USB DVD drive into one of the healthy 6 ports on the box, but doesn’t that defeat the point of an all-in-one? A minor flaw in an otherwise solid offering from the rapidly expanding Eee family.
Out now | £400 | Asus