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eMachines EZ1600 review

Barry de la Rosa
11 Aug 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
350
inc VAT

Despite limited features and performance, the EZ1600 is a neat package that's good value, but it doesn't topple our current award-winners.

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Specifications

1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, 1.000000 RAM, 18.5in 1,366x768 display, Windows XP Home Edition

Those who need a cheap computer for everyday office and internet use should consider a nettop instead of a traditional desktop PC.

The eMachines EZ1600 is a smart all-in-one nettop that costs just £350. Its specifications are similar to many netbooks, with a 1.6GHz N270 Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, 160GB hard disk and Windows XP. The EZ1600 is easy to move around, as it weighs less than 4kg.

The 18.5in display has a 16:9 widescreen resolution of 1,366x768. This gives you a reasonable amount of desktop space, and unlike a netbook, you also get an optical drive for enjoying DVD movies. Image quality is great, with accurate colours and even backlighting, although it's a bit on the warm side, with a pink tint to whites. Unusually for a consumer product, the EZ1600 has a matt finish to its screen, so it won't pick up reflections from strong light sources.

Build quality wasn't impressive, however. The bezel isn't flush with the screen, and rattles if tapped. The DVD tray feels flimsy and droops a bit when fully extended. It comes with a cheap-feeling Logitech ball mouse, but the keyboard isn't too bad - it has a pleasant shape and, although the key action is a bit light, it has adequate feedback and touch-typing is comfortable. Sensibly, both the mouse and keyboard use PS/2 connections, so they don't use up any USB ports.

The Atom processor held no surprises in our application benchmarks, with the EZ1600 scoring 17 overall. The integrated Intel graphics can't handle 3D games, failing to run our benchmarks, nor the playback of Blu-ray quality HD video. This doesn't compare well with similarly priced nettops, such as Acer's Aspire Revo (see page 21) or Novatech's Ion Fusion (below). The Revo can handle HD movies and even some games, while the Ion Fusion scored much higher in our application benchmarks and is noticeably quicker in Windows.

The five USB ports are more than adequate for adding peripherals, although you'll probably need one to replace the ball mouse with an optical USB model. There's a stereo line-out for audio, which is handy as the built-in speakers are poor. With limited storage, you'll have to rely on external hard disks or DVDs if you want to store a lot of media.

Despite some misgivings, the EZ1600 is decent value. It's a good buy if you really want a neat all-in-one PC and don't need HD video playback. However, Novatech's Ion Fusion has a larger monitor and better performance for slightly less money, while Acer's Aspire Revo gives you HD video playback and the flexibility to choose your own display.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Atom N270
Processor external bus133MHz (533MHz quad-pumped FSB)
Processor multiplierx12
Processor clock speed1.6GHz
Processor socketSocket 437
Level 1 cache56KB
Level 2 cache512KB
Memory1.000000
Memory typeDDR2
Maximum memory1GB
MotherboardAcer EZ1601
Motherboard chipsetIntel i945GSE
Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption idle33W
Power consumption active38W

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/3
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11b/g
Other portsnone

Internal Expansion

Casemini-ITX
PCI slots (free)0
PCI-E x1 slots (free)0 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)0 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports0
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Hitachi HTS545016B9A300
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity160GB
Spindle speed5,400rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)Intel GMA 950
Graphics/video portsnone

Sound

SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Sound outputsstereo line out
Speakersintegrated

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsSD, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Optical drive modelSlimtype DS8A35
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL DVD-RAM

Display

Viewable size18.5 in
Screen modelintegrated
Native resolution1,366x768
Response time5ms
Screen inputsnone

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardeMachines KB-0705
MouseLogitech M-SBN96

Software

Software includedMicrosoft Works 9, Cyberlink PowerDVD 8
Operating systemWindows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore optionrestore partition

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£350
Supplierhttp://www.pcworld.co.uk
Detailswww.emachines.co.uk

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