Asus Eee Top ET2203T-B0347 review
Asus' latest Eee Top is powerful for an all-in-one, while its Blu-ray drive and high-resolution screen make it great for movies. If you don't need Blu-ray, though, better deals are available.
Review Date: 28 Jan 2010
Price when reviewed: £789
While most of Asus' Eee Top computers are low-power Atom-based PCs, the ET2203T is far more powerful. It's a fully-equipped PC with a high resolution 21.6in touchscreen, a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T6600 processor and even a Blu-ray drive for watching high definition movies. The black and silver PC is stylish, makes little noise and has several ports placed on the left hand side for easy access.
The multi-touch screen feels reasonably responsive and is accurate enough once you've increased the size of Windows' icons; using the included stylus feels more accurate. Asus has also included a couple of touchscreen-capable programs, most notably ArcSoft's Total Media Center for viewing photos and playing movies and music.
Nonetheless, we're unconvinced of a touchscreen's usefulness on a desktop PC. The Eee Top's upright screen makes usage for extended periods uncomfortable. The lack of multitouch gestures in most programs, as well as the less than perfect responsiveness and accuracy, means most tasks aren't any quicker or easier to accomplish for most people than using a mouse and keyboard. Thankfully, Asus supplies a responsive wireless keyboard and mouse, although the keyboard's laptop-style layout won't suit everyone.
The glossy 21.6in display is impressive. It has a high resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels, far higher than that of any all-in-one nettop, and perfect for watching 1080p high definition video using the provided Blu-ray drive and Arcsoft playback software.
Image quality was generally very good. The screen is very bright and with high contrast, so movies look great. It's also easy to watch a film with a friend or two, as viewing angles are reasonably wide. If you're using your PC for work rather than movies, the screen's high resolution gives you plenty of desktop space and loads of room for running two applications side-by-side.
Interestingly, the HDMI port is an input, rather than an output, and allows the Eee Top to be used to as a display for a laptop or games console. When a device is connected to the HDMI port, a menu automatically offers to switch to it, which is a nice touch.
Serious movie and music fans will also want a better quality set of speakers. The built-in stereo set is very loud, but also sounds very muddy, distorts easily and lacks bass. Unfortunately, there aren't any analogue surround sound outputs, so if you want to add surround sound speakers then you'll need to first plug a surround sound amplifier into the optical S/PDIF port.
The Eee Top isn't powerful enough for modern 3D gaming due to its weak Mobility Radeon HD 4570 graphics chip, which managed just 9.5fps in our Call of Duty 4 test. Thankfully, the Eee Top is quick in Windows applications thanks to its 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 processor and 4GB of RAM, managing an overall score of 66.
Asus' Eee Top ET2203T is a good choice if you want a space-saving PC that can play Blu-ray discs at 1080p. However, there are better value all-in-one computers if you don't want Blu-ray, which cost only a little more.
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