Advent launched not one but two new all-in-one PCs recently. The first, the Advent AIO200 reviewed last month, is an Apple iMac-like screen-cum-computer using a quad-core processor for £849. At the entry-level, though, is this Advent AIO100, with its low-power Intel Atom processor and inviting price of £399.
Another way of looking at the Advent AIO100 is as a static mini-laptop. Examine its specifications, and you'll notice it has more in common with a netbook than a desktop PC. The Advent AIO100 employs the single-core Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor, supported with 1GB RAM and Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics.
Storage is courtesy of a 2.5in notebook drive, giving 160GB of nominal space. And all this is packed into a glossy black base platform, with screen and volume controls on the front, and various ports on the rear and right side.
A separate wired keyboard and mice are included with the Advent AIO100, the former a lightweight and low-profile item with good key action and number keypad.
The Advent AIO100 even uses a laptop external power supply. But where the path of netbook and nettop diverge entirely is with the built-in screen. Most netbooks force you to peer through a 10in window of variable but often poor contrast and limited resolution. The Advent AIO100 offers a gorgeous 16:9 wide-aspect screen, 1680 pixels across, supported on a pivoted chromed arm.
The mounting arrangement of the Advent AIO100 allows a degree of vertical travel (all the way to touching the desk if you wish), up to 95mm height from desk to screen bottom. There's no facility for swivel or putting the screen into portrait mode, but Advent has provided VESA mount screws on the unit's base, so you could fix it to a wall and adjust the screen to be parallel to that wall. Used this way, the Advent AIO100 makes an ideal candidate for use in internet cafés or office cubicles.
Loaded with Windows XP Home, the Advent AIO100 feels very nippy, faster in its user interface than many Vista-hobbled high-end desktops. Our benchmarks showed the Advent AIO100 could hit 40 points in WorldBench 6, the upper echelon for this modest processor.
Gaming performance was nothing to get excited about, as you'd expect for an Intel integrated graphics chipset, with FEAR unravelling just 1 frame per second in our usual Maximum quality test.
Build quality of the Advent AIO100 is satisfactory, high-gloss black all over to suit the current vogue. The dual-layer DVD/CD burner to the left and two USB ports, plus mic input and headphone socket to the right, ensures that you can access most common needs without having to fiddle around the back.
If desk space is at a premium, or you just need a terminal for basic office tasks, you could do a lot worse than take a very close look at this versatile all-in-one personal computer. It’s a very comfortable package to work with, offering good interface speed, a wide – if glossy – screen, and cool and quiet operation. And at 21W total power consumption, it’s extremely economical to run.