None of the PCs in this price range are well-suited to advanced 3D gaming, although the Acer's Radeon HD 4570 graphics chip should handle World of Warcraft and other more scalable games just fine. As long as you stay away from more demanding 3D games and multimedia editing tasks, you should have no major issues with the Acer's overall performance. Indeed, the only obvious limitation we can see with the Acer might be its smaller 320GB hard drive if you're a digital media hoarder. In that event, you'll need some kind of external or networked storage alternative.
Otherwise, the Aspire Z5610 is a solid deal considering its price and its large screen. We can't help pointing out that its screen is larger, and its price is lower than Apple's 21.5-inch, $1,199 entry-level iMac. The iMac is a much better-looking computer than the Acer, and it's also much faster. But as we pointed out in our review of that iMac, if Acer's offering in the Aspire Z5610 compels other Windows desktop vendors to bring large-screen all-in-ones below $1,000, the most affordable iMac may have a rather large competitive disadvantage in its next revision if Apple doesn't adjust accordingly.
External features and connectivity options for this system are a bit more limited, but not to the point where we find ourselves turned off. We always like to see dedicated buttons on an all-in-one for volume control and display power. Unfortunately, the Acer's only dedicated button (other than the system power control) lets you cycle through the settings for an LED light that shines down on the keyboard.
Acer does provide an SD Card slot and a pair of audio jacks on the right side of the Aspire Z5610, and a pair of USB 2.0 jacks on the left edge. On the back you get four more USB 2.0 inputs, an Ethernet jack, an eSATA connection (perfect for expanding storage), and a set of 5.1 analog audio jacks. There's no dedicated HDMI input, digital audio, or FireWire inputs, so you can see between the connections and the hard drives where Acer may have trimmed costs to accommodate the large screen. We like those extras (HDMI inputs, in particular), but the screen is worth the sacrifice.
|Acer Aspire Z5610||Average watts per hour|
|Raw (annual kWh)||173.6889|
|Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$19.71|
The Aspire Z5610's power consumption is right where it should be for its performance. Incurring less than $20 in annual power bills is easy for anyone to stomach, and relative to other all-in-ones, the Acer is actually a bit more efficient than HP's or Gateway's recent all-in-ones. Apple's iMac remains the all-in-one to beat in terms of power efficiency, but the Acer makes a strong showing.
The Aspire Z5610 comes with a one-year, parts and labor warranty, and Acer offers toll-free phone support from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT weekdays and from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT on weekends. We'd rather it was 24-7, but at least its hours are relatively generous. Acer's online service and support is a bit hard to navigate, but once you get through it you'll find the usual array of useful resources.
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Acer Aspire Z5610
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5300; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570; 320GB 5,400rpm Seagate hard drive
Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.1; 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E7600; 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400 integrated graphics chip; 500GB 7,200rpm Seagate Digital hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300; 8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 7,200rpm hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.1GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core T4300; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shread) Intel GMA 450M integrated graphics chip; 750GB 5,400rpm Seagate hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.7GHz AMD Athlon II X2 235e; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) AMD Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip; 500GB 5,400rpm Seagate hard drive