Acer Aspire 7600U review

Pros

  • Glass-front design is stunning
  • Impressive array of ports
  • Spacious 1TB hard drive
  • Blu-ray player on board

Cons

  • An expensive machine
  • Lots of bloatware

With a glass-front design, a giant HD touchscreen, and a bevy of entertainment options, the Acer Aspire 7600U will get plenty of shoppers imagining this beauty sitting atop their desk or hanging on a wall, and with good reason. From the 27in touchscreen to the slot-loading Blu-ray drive, the Aspire 7600U is worthy of your affections, but it comes at a steep price, retailing at £1,399.

Design and features

The Aspire 7600U features edge-to-edge glass across its 27in display, but the glass doesn't stop there. Extending a full 60mm below the bottom of the display, a pane of transparent acrylic also serves as part of the monitor stand, with the machine resting on the edge of the clear plastic instead of two feet or a metal bar.

At the back, propping up the all-in-one, is a single support arm which adjusts to let the 7600U sit at an angle of anywhere between 30 and 80 degrees. The combination of glass, acrylic, and the single support arm leaves an impression of weightlessness, and gives the Aspire 7600U a futuristic air that is quite striking.

The glass motif is repeated again in the bundled wireless keyboard and mouse, where an extended clear acrylic panel makes up the wrist rest of the keyboard and the palm rest of the mouse. It's not the only smart design element, however. Some clever designer put the power connection in the end of the easel stand bar, which makes the cable look much less cluttered. The system uses an AC adapter power brick, but the cable is four feet long, so you may be able to leave that on the floor when plugged in.

On the left side of the system you'll find two USB 3.0 ports, a memory card reader (SD/SDHC, MS/Pro Duo, MMC), and Audio Line In and Out connections. On the back of the system there are four USB 2.0 ports for connecting various peripherals, along with a Gigabit Ethernet port, but that's not all. Asus has equipped the Aspire 7600U with two HDMI input ports, letting you connect a set-top box and a gaming console to the system, as well as an HDMI out, for using the desktop with a second monitor, and SPDIF for connecting a digital audio system. Wireless technologies include 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, along with an NFC reader for easily pairing NFC-enabled mobile devices (such as tablets and smartphones) and sharing data.

The 27in display isn't just a pretty face, as its 1,920 x 1,080 resolution screen is gorgeous. It's also touch-enabled, tracking 10-touch points to provide all of the touch support needed to make the most of Windows 8. Taking advantage of the HD display is a Blu-ray optical drive, which will read and play Blu-ray discs (obviously), and burn to blank DVDs and CDs. A VESA mount and included bracket also allows mounting on a wall for use as a TV or HTPC.

Inside the slim system is a 1TB 5400rpm hard drive, offering plenty of storage space. While the Aspire 7600U may have a slim and airy design, it's weighed down heavily with preloaded software. On the tiled Start screen you'll find numerous apps, including TuneIn Radio, Evernote, Amazon's Kindle Reader, Encyclopedia Britannica, Skype… and there are also tiles for links to eBay, Netflix, Amazon, Stumble Upon, and so on.

On the desktop side, you'll find even more trialware, with a 60 day trial of McAfee Internet Security Suite, a trial version of Norton Online Backup, and Microsoft's limited functionality ad-supported Office Starter 2010. There's also a handful of game samples from WildTangent. It's a stunning amount of bloatware, quite frankly, but an hour of uninstalling programs will give you a nice, clean system. On a more helpful note, Acer covers the Aspire 7600U with a one year warranty.

Performance

The Aspire 7600U is equipped with a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-3210M dual-core mobile processor, a step up from the ultra low-voltage processor used in the Sony Vaio Tap 20, but well below the Core i7 processor found in the Dell XPS One 27.

Acer pairs this processor with 8GB of memory, offering a slight performance bump when compared with the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720, which features the same CPU but only 6GB of memory. As a result, the Aspire 7600U scored 2,613 points in PCMark 7 while the Lenovo A720 fell behind with 2,131 points, even though both scored similarly in Cinebench R11.5 (2.88 points and 2.82 points, respectively).

This PC is also fitted with an Nvidia GeForce GT 640M discrete graphics processor and 2GB of dedicated memory. The Aspire 7600U hit 31 frames per second (fps) in Alien vs. Predator, and 26 fps in Heaven (both at medium detail and resolution settings). The 7600U also managed 2,887 points in 3DMark 11 at Entry settings. In other words, this is a system that can handle not only all of your regular video and web browsing capabilities, it will also do a fair amount on the gaming front, albeit not high-end titles.

Verdict

The Acer Aspire 7600U may not blow away the competition in terms of performance, but it does hold its own. When you also take into account the enticing array of entertainment features, from the Blu-ray drive to HDMI inputs – not to mention a design that you'll want to hang on your wall as art – it’s clear this model will tempt plenty of shoppers.

The Aspire 7600U is pricey, though, and something like Dell’s XPS One 27 offers better performance and overall value for money. Even so, this Acer machine is certainly a beautiful looking all-in-one PC that will get your pulse racing.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Product

Acer Aspire 7600U

Processor Family

Intel Core i5

Graphics Card

Nvidia GeForce GT 640M LE

Screen Size

27in

Primary Optical Drive

Blu-ray

RAM

8GB

Type

Touchscreen All-In-One

Storage Capacity (as Tested)

1TB

Operating System

Microsoft Windows 8