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Hands-on with the AOC mySmart All-in-One Android PC

This 24-inch desktop monitor doubles as an Android-powered PC. Is it a jack-of-all-trades or a master of none?

The AOC A2472PW4T delivers Android when it's not pulling PC duty. Photo by Rick Broida/CNET

A big monitor makes a great addition to any PC. Of course, to do anything meaningful with that monitor, you have to wait for Windows to boot. Depending on the age of your system, that could mean a delay of several minutes for something as simple as checking your email or opening a Web page.

Ah, but if the monitor also runs Android, now you can do that stuff with a few quick taps, same as with a tablet or smartphone.

That's one of the ideas behind the AOC mySmart A2472PW4T, a 24-inch IPS monitor that easily switches back and forth between HDMI/VGA inputs and a full-blown Android 4.2.2 installation. It's a hybrid -- but is it any good?

One thing is certain: it's big. Like most all-in-ones, the mySmart is thick, at about 2 inches. It also seems unusually large because the screen is surrounded by a bezel, which in turn is surrounded by the larger plastic housing. In other words: double-bezel. Make sure your intended location can accommodate a display of this size and bulk.

Curiously, you can't position the monitor perpendicular to your desk or table; its fold-out stand starts out giving you maybe an 80-degree tilt, then pivots out to a maximum decline of about 30 degrees. That's handy if you're going to be using the monitor while standing, like at a kitchen counter.

How low can it go? This low. AOC

AOC doesn't supply a keyboard, so right out of the box the mySmart has limited usefulness as a PC. Thankfully, it includes USB ports and Bluetooth, so connecting a third-party keyboard (and/or mouse) is no problem.

It's a bit strange running Android on such a large screen. Swiping feels a little awkward at first, especially to those trained never to touch their monitors for fear of leaving fingerprints. (The mySmart definitely shows them, too.) But the screen also feels a little tacky, so your finger doesn't exactly glide. And the onscreen keyboard is so large, typing is a laughably slow process.

I discovered a few other oddities as well. While running certain apps the monitor's touch-driven volume controls (a pair arrows which are oversensitive when they do work) toggled to a different monitor function, leaving me with no way to change volume. In the YouTube app, I literally had to return to the desktop, adjust the volume, and then go back to my video.

For the most part, though, Android works like Android, meaning you can play games, browse the Web, watch Netflix, and so on. The front-facing 720p camera produced smooth video when I tried it with Skype, and the microphone worked well for Google-powered voice searches. As for the rear-facing speakers, they're admirably loud and decent-sounding overall.

Thanks to its 1.6GHz Nvidia T33 quad-core processor, the mySmart has the horsepower for full-screen HD video and games as resource-heavy as The Walking Dead: Season Two.

As an HDMI monitor (and a fine companion for the likes of a bedroom Xbox), the mySmart works well, with very wide viewing angles and a bright, crisp display. No complaints there.

The A2472PW4T is currently available from only one store: Amazon, where it sells for $369.13 (and incorrectly lists it as a 10-point touchscreen -- this one is merely dual-touch). That's not a bad price for a 24-inch IPS monitor, with plenty of competing models selling in the $300 range -- without Android onboard. (For the record, the 22-inch version sells on Amazon as well, but only for about $35 less.)

I can't say this offers the world's best Android experience, but if you're in the market for a big monitor, it's definitely worth considering.