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MSI Adora20 2BT review

Richard Easton
7 Dec 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
313
inc VAT

The MSI Adora20 2BT is an unattractive all-in-one system with poor performance but it is cheap

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 2GHz Intel Celeron J1900, RAM: 4GB, Front USB ports : 2x USB2, Rear USB ports: 3x USB2, 1x USB3, Total storage: 500GB Hard disk, Graphics card: Intel HD Graphics, Display: 19.5in LCD, Operating system: Windows 8.1 with Bing

One box alternatives to entry-level PCs might not be the most attractive or powerful computers around, but they take up less space on a desk and you don’t have to worry about components or buying a separate screen. MSI’s Adora20 2BT is one of the cheapest we’ve seen yet, although naturally that low price means corners have been cut in other areas. 

The Adora20 uses a quad-core Intel Celeron J1900 processor that runs at 2GHz, paired with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard disk to provide middling overall performance. In our application benchmarks it managed a final score of 30. It will suffice if you only plan on using the system for basic web browsing and office work, but the Adora20 will struggle with anything more complex.

Unsurprisingly, this means gaming is largely ruled out. The Adora20 failed our Dirt Showdown test, producing just 13.9fps with the game running in 1,280x720 resolution, 4x anti-aliasing and High graphics. Beyond basic 2D games, your options are severely limited by the integrated Intel HD graphics.

The widescreen 19.5in LCD display has a lowly 1,600x900 resolution, which might not compare well to more expensive all-in-ones in terms of pixel count, but we were nevertheless generally happy with picture quality. Our colour calibrator showed it produced 90.5% of the sRGB colour gamut, which is above what we were expecting for the price. Black levels were also decent at 0.23cd/m2 and similarly contrast impressed at 1,168:1.

A matt finish with an anti-glare coating makes the screen comfortable to use, although we weren’t able to verify MSI’s claim that it emits less blue light than competing panels. Apparently this is better for your eyes and won’t aversely affect your sleep if you’re using it late into the night. You’re at least able to tilt the screen to a comfortable angle with the tilting kickstand found the back of the display, and the Adora20 BT also includes VESA compliant screw holes for mounting it to a wall.

Interestingly, there’s a HDMI output on the back when we would have preferred to see an input. One of the appeals of all-in-one systems is the space-saving element, so they often come with a HDMI input for connecting other devices such as a games console or a set-top box – with the Adora20 you’ll be able to attach a second screen for improved multitasking, but can’t use the built-in display for any other tasks.

It’s a shame the two 3W speakers were so tinny and shrill, as you’ll almost definitely want to attach a pair of separate speakers (or a pair of headhpones) if you plan on listening to music or watching video on the Adora20.

The included wireless keyboard and mouse, which are colour-matched to the system, were similarly poor. The keyboard felt cramped and the keys are incredibly spongy, making them uncomfortable to type on for prolonged periods. The mouse was unassuming yet comfortable enough, but much like the speakers, you’re probably better off using your own. 

The MSI Adora20 2BT is possibly one of the least exciting all-in-one PCs we’ve seen. The design is rather bland but you do get the choice of either black or white. Our review model was the latter and has all the personality of a fridge freezer. A brushed steel strip along the bottom below the stereo speakers goes some way to break up the monotony of the all-white chassis, but the thick bezel and glossy plastic construction aren’t exactly design statements.

The silver power button and volume controls on the edge of the display feel cheap and look tacky, while the DVD-RW in the right side of the chassis uses a cheaper tray-loading mechanism rather than a sleeker slot-loader. A memory card reader that supports SD, MS and MMC cards and two USB ports are conveniently placed on the left edge, but you’ll have to scrabble around the back of the system to reach the solitary USB3 port. There’s also Gigabit Ethernet, and a microphone and headphone jack and three regular USBs at the rear, plus a 1-megapixel webcam with integrated mic built into the screen bezel, which should be useful for video calls.

MSI has even reduced costs when it comes to the operating system, opting for Windows 8.1 with Bing. Microsoft offers this version of Windows to manufacturers at a low price, as long as its Bing search engine is set as the default in Internet Explorer. Microsoft is banking on most consumers not bothering to change search providers, but it's easy enough to do so if you prefer the likes of Google or Yahoo.  

Beyond the Adora20 2BT’s unattractive design, its performance left a lot to be desired, as did the quality of the included peripherals. While the display was decent, your enjoyment is hindered by the thick chunky bezel that surrounds it.

Performance wasn’t far off the MSI Wind Box DC111 compact PC, which costs just £189. We would much rather buy that and pair it with a separate monitor, such as the ViewSonic VX23636mhl-W, meaning you’ll also end up with a larger display. The Wind Box is small enough to hide away so that even if you’re space constrained it is still more than manageable. Pair this with a basic keyboard and mouse set and you have a complete system for around the same price as the Adora20 2BT. Unless you’re determined to go down the all-in-one route, this seems like a more sensible alternative.

Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 2GHz Intel Celeron J1900
Processor socketFCBGA1170
RAM4GB
Memory typePC3-12800 SODIMM
Maximum memory8GB
MotherboardN/A
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM86 Express
Ports and expansion
Front USB ports2x USB2
Rear USB ports3x USB2, 1x USB3
Other ports
Networking1x10/100/1000, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
Case typeAIO
Case size HxWxD375.9x491x34.7mm
PCI (free)N/A
PCIe x1 (free)N/A
PCIe x16 (free)N/A
Serial ATA (free)N/A
Memory slots (free)N/A
Drive bays 2 1/2" (free)N/A
Drive bays 3 1/2" (free)N/A
Drive bays 5 1/4" (free)N/A
Storage
Total storage500GB Hard disk
Memory card readerSD, MMC, MS
Optical drive typeDVD-RW
Graphics
Graphics cardIntel HD Graphics
Graphics/video portsHDMI
Sound
Sound cardRealtek HD Audio
Sound card outputsHeadphone, microphone
Speakers2x 3W
Display
Display19.5in LCD
Native resolution1,600x900
InputsNone
Other hardware
KeyboardMSI wireless keyboard
MouseMSI wireless mouse
Extras1MP webcam
Software
Operating systemWindows 8.1 with Bing
Operating system restore optionRestore partition
Buying information
WarrantyTwo-year RTB
Price including delivery (inc VAT)£313
Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)£313
Supplierwww.pcnation.co.uk
Detailswww.msi.com
Part CodeADORA20 2BT-002EU

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