Acer’s high-end Windows 8 all-in-one

Acer seemed to demonstrate a new focus on high-end PCs when it announced the Aspire S7Windows 8 laptop earlier this month. Evidenced by its new 27-inch Aspire 7600U all-in-one, priced at $1,899, Acer hasn’t gotten the hang of matching its luxury purveyor ambitions with the corresponding technology.

The Aspire 7600U is an attractive-enough big-screen all-in-one, all clean lines and minimal design. A transparent support foot props up the glossy black-framed display. The ports on the back of the system sit neatly under straight-lined overhang. The power cable plugs directly into the chromed kickstand. No notable functions follow all of this form, but Acer is at least trying to offer a polished-looking product.

Its problem comes down to its specs. The baseline $1,899 unit has a 1,920×1,080 display, and comes with a third-generation Intel Core i5 Mobile CPU. Dell’s new all-in-one, the XPS One 27, starts at $1,599 with a 2,560×1,440 resolution 27-inch screen, and a faster desktop Core i5 chip.

Acer offsets its features with a few extras–8GB of RAM to the Dell’s 6GB allotment, Blu-ray drive instead of the Dell’s DVD burner, a budget Nvidia GeForce GT 640 graphics card, where Dell starts with only Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 4000 3D processor.

You can also pay $1,999 at Dell, just $100 more than the Acer system, for an XPS One 27 with specs that almost completely surpass the Aspire 7600U, including a Core i7 CPU.

Both systems have touchscreens. I haven’t tried Dell’s yet, but the Acer’s is responsive. The Aspire 7600U only has a modest adjustment range, though. The screen on the XPS One 27 has a unique hinged support arm that can drop the screen down 60 degrees. It’s not quite tabletop computing, but it’s close.

I can see two advantages for the Aspire 7600U. You can’t get a Blu-ray drive in the Dell until you hit the $2,499 price tier, but Acer includes a Blu-ray drives in the Aspire 7600U’s base price.

Acer also has a striking design. It’s not perfect, those vendor logo stickers on the plastic strip in front in particular, but in person the Aspire 7600U draws the eye. For those who want a big screen Windows 8 PC as a showpiece, Acer’s new PC has a certain superficial wow-factor.

Along with the 27-inch model, Acer will also sell a 23-inch Aspire A5600U, starting at $1,149. Both units are available for pre-order now. The Aspire 5600U launches on October 26th, and Acer says the Aspire 7600U will be available in late November. I will post my full review of the Aspire 7600U in the next few days.

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