The Aspire 7600U is not so slow that it's useless. With a discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 640 graphics chip, it even makes a capable-enough 3D gaming PC, playing Borderlands 2 at full resolution and image quality. It just doesn't deliver enough computing performance to justify its cost.
Acer rounds the Aspire 7600U out with a handful of extras, some useful, some gimmicky. Three HDMI jacks on the back of the system, two in, one out, are a highlight, providing great utility for the Acer as a second home entertainment display, and also the ability to extend the Acer's desktop to a second monitor. Along similar lines, the optical digital audio output is a nice bonus, as are the four USB 3.0 jacks.
Less successful is the Acer's gesture recognition capability. An included software tutorial tries to help you get acclimated, but even in the tutorial lessons, the system isn't good enough at recognizing your input. And perhaps it has to do with the gestures Acer asks you to learn, but it's hard to avoid feeling like an idiot while you're waving your hands around trying to get the system to launch an app.
Acer has clearly put some thought into the design and fit-and-finish of its new flagship all-in-one. And while Windows computing is definitely moving to elevate the importance of experiential factors like overall look-and-feel, executing well in that respect is not enough to justify a high price tag if a system is lacking in its core capabilities.
With only mediocre performance for its price, and a second-best display resolution thanks to the Dell XPS One 27, the Acer Aspire 7600U doesn't compete strongly enough to justify a serious recommendation. If you want a big-screen PC primarily for show, you might consider the Acer. If you value a PC as a tool, rather than a lifestyle choice, the Dell is the better bet at this price.
All performance testing conducted by Joseph Kaminski. Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
System configurations (at the time of each review)
Acer Aspire 7600U
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-3210M; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 768MB Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics card; 1TB 5,400rpm hard drive
Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.7; 3.1GHz Intel Core i5 (second generation); 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB ATI Radeon HD 6970M graphics card; 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-2600S; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics card; 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive
Microsoft Windows 8 Pro 64-bit; 3.1GHz Intel Core i7-3770S; 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics card; 2TB 7,200rpm hard drive
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2400S; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB Intel HD Graphics 1000 (embedded); 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-3210M ; 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics card; 500GB 7,200rpm hard drive
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-3210M; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 640M LE graphics card; 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive