A stylish-looking all-in-one nettop, but there are better-value models available.
1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, 1.000000 RAM, 18.4in 1,366×768 display, Windows XP Home Edition
Monitor manufacturer ViewSonic is now selling PCs too.
This all-in-one nettop, the VPC100, is its first. It’s a compact alternative to a full desktop PC for undemanding tasks, such as office work and web browsing, and it has some advantages over netbooks, including ViewSonic’s own VNB101.
The 18.4in 1,366×768 widescreen display is spacious enough for working in a couple windows simultaneously. The matte finish reduces reflections, and while glossy screens usually haave richer colours, shades still looked bright and vivid here. Viewing angles are tight, though, and colour accuracy suffers unless you sit directly in front of the screen. As with other all-in-one nettops, it has no video outputs.
This nettop has a built-in DVD writer, so you can watch movies, install software from disc and back up your files. The rest of the specification is typical: 1GB of RAM, an Atom N270 processor and an integrated GMA 950 graphics chip. The lack of a dedicated graphics chip means the VPC100 can’t play HD video, unlike Asus’s Eee Box B204 and Acer’s Aspire Revo.
It comes with a 160GB, 2½in hard disk, but if you need more storage, you can replace this with a larger model through a hatch at the back. You can also upgrade the RAM to a maximum of 2GB, although as there’s only one memory slot, you’ll have to dispose of the existing 1GB module. Its 1GB of RAM is enough for running Windows XP, a web browser and another program or two, but if you want to do more than this, you should consider buying a proper desktop PC.
The glossy black all-in-one design looks sleek, but the big reflective bezel under the display can be distracting. It’s fairly easy to tilt and swivel, although it feels a bit wobbly. Two USB ports, the DVD writer and the memory card reader are located on the right side, while the rest of the ports are on the back. Wireless networking is built in, but it doesn’t support Draft-N.
Typists will want to replace the spongy, cheap-feeling PS/2 keyboard, although the optical mouse is fine. The integrated stereo speakers are reasonably loud, even though they point away from you to the rear. They sound muddy, though, so music fans will want to add a dedicated pair of speakers.
If you’re tempted by a netbook but only intend to use it around the house, a nettop could be a good alternative, since you get a DVD drive and a larger, higher-resolution screen. The VPC100 is a decent nettop, but eMachines’ very similar all-in-one EZ1600 is slightly cheaper and we found its sleeker design more appealing. If you want to choose your own monitor and play HD video, the Aspire Revo is a better choice.
|Processor||Intel Atom N270|
|Processor external bus||133MHz (533MHz quad-pumped FSB)|
|Processor clock speed||1.6GHz|
|Level 1 cache||32KB|
|Level 2 cache||512KB|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel 945GME|
|Power consumption standby||1W|
|Power consumption idle||30W|
|Power consumption active||35W|
|USB2 ports (front/rear)||2/2|
|Firewire ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11b/g|
|PCI-E x1 slots (free)||0 (0)|
|PCI-E x16 slots (free)||0 (0)|
|Free Serial ATA ports||0|
|Free memory slots||0|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||0|
|Hard disk model(s)||Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD1600BEVT|
|Total storage capacity||160GB|
|Graphics card(s)||Intel GMA 950|
|Sound||Realtek High Definition Audio|
|Sound outputs||stereo line out|
|3.5in floppy drive||no|
|Supported memory cards||SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, xD|
|Optical drive model||LG GT10N|
|Optical drive type(s)||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
|Viewable size||18.4 in|
|Keyboard||ViewSonic PS/2 Keyboard|
|Mouse||ViewSonic Optical Mouse|
|Software included||NTI Media Maker 8, NTI Backup Now Standard Edition 5|
|Operating system||Windows XP Home Edition|
|Operating system restore option||restore disc|
|Warranty||one year RTB|