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Acer Aspire 5700-U2112 review: Acer Aspire 5700-U2112

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MSRP: $899.99

The Good 23-inch, 1080p display uncommon at this price; fast Intel Core i5 CPU; HDMI port lets you connect other video devices.

The Bad Clunky design; no Blu-ray drive; obfuscated tech support phone number, and not-easy-to-use online support.

The Bottom Line Acer's Aspire Z5700 is a fast, media-friendly all-in-one PC that would serve well as a media hub in a dorm or a den. We'd like to see a bit more polish in its design, and a Blu-ray drive would make it a home run, but on balance we can recommend this system for its speed, its large screen, and its digital media versatility.

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7.2 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7
  • Support 5

Acer's Aspire Z5700 all-in-one PC picks up where the older Z5600 model left off at the end of 2009. By offering a 23-inch, 1080p-capable all-in-one for $1,099, Acer can make a compelling argument against Apple's more expensive, entry-level 21.5-inch iMac on screen size alone. It also boasts generally faster performance than the $1,199 iMac, as well as better home entertainment versatility thanks to its HDMI port. Apple maintains a clear design lead over this Acer PC, and other all-in-ones in this price range feature Blu-ray, which the Aspire Z5700 lacks. We're willing to forgive the former, and the latter is easily remedied thanks to the HDMI port. We recommend this desktop to anyone looking for a versatile, large-screen all-in-one for a reasonable price.

Our gripe with the Acer's design has to do with its front support posts. They work as intended, but they look cheap, like the product of a homemade repair job. The rest of the system's design is fine, and, most importantly, the posts don't interfere with the overall functionality of the Aspire Z5700. We encourage Acer to pay greater heed to design in the future. Between this system and the similarly clunky Gateway One ZX6900-01e from Acer's Gateway subsidiary, Acer seems too willing to sacrifice visual appeal.

As with the Z5600, the Z5700 is a touch-screen all-in-one PC. You can still use the system with the included wireless mouse and keyboard, but Acer has updated the touch software this time around for the better. The big changes come with the home screen for the touch apps. Acer has done away with the animated "peel down" corner on the Windows desktops that brings you to a page with floating application icons. Instead you get a carousel-style home screen that makes it easier to sort through the various media players, games, and other programs. None of the touch applications applications is particularly revolutionary, and you won't likely spend much time with any but the media players. We're still glad to see an easier way to interact with them.

Acer Aspire Z5700-U2112 Gateway One ZX6900-01e
Price $1,099 $999
Display size/resolution 23-inch, 1,920x1,080 23-inch, 1,920x1,080
CPU 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 560 2.93GHz Intel Core i3 530
Memory 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 128MB (shared) Intel GMA 4500 integrated graphics chip 64MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip
Hard drives 1TB, 7,200rpm 640GB, 7,200 rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner Blu-ray/DVD-burner combo
Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

In addition to the 21.5-inch iMac, Acer's biggest competition might be from its own sister brand. The Acer's faster CPU propelled it to impressive performance heights, and we appreciate its larger hard drive as well. The Gateway's Blu-ray drive makes it a stronger multimedia system out of the box. However, unlike the Aspire Z5700, the Gateway system lacks an HDMI port. If we could mash these two PCs together, we'd have the perfect competitor to the iMac. For now, both systems require some sort of compromise. Either you lose performance, drive space, and the HDMI port with the Gateway One ZX6900-01e, or you miss out on Blu-ray in the Acer Aspire Z5700. Both, however, offer larger screens and more home entertainment capability than Apple's $1,199 iMac.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Apple iMac (21.5-inch, spring 2010)
Acer Aspire Z5700-U2112

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire Z5700-U2112
Apple iMac (21.5-inch, spring 2010)

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Apple iMac (21.5-inch, spring 2010)
Acer Aspire Z5700-U2112

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
Acer Aspire Z5700-U2112
Gateway One ZX6900-01e
Apple iMac (21.5-inch, spring 2010)
HP TouchSmart 300-1120

We'll credit the Acer's Core i5 560 CPU for its solid performance across our application tests. The iMac remains a formidable competitor here, especially in terms of multitasking, but that the Aspire Z5700 is able to post similar or faster performance on our other tests speaks very well of this Acer system; especially considering its lower price. Anyone with serious productivity needs in the $900 to $1,200 price range would still be wise to look for a traditional desktop, but we at least we can say with confidence that the Aspire Z5700 is among the fastest midrange all-in-ones.

We were also happy enough with the Aspire Z5700 as an HD video playback device. In PCs with lesser CPUs, the integrated Intel graphics chip might be an issue, but we tried watching HD content from YouTube, NetFlix, and in QuickTime and had relatively smooth experiences with each. We noticed a few hitches here and there, depending on the stream, but the content was still for the most part watchable. It's worth noting that you can ensure smooth playback if you connect a video device to the Aspire Z5700 through the HDMI port, as the video input acts independent of the system processing. Playback in that case will be just as smooth as the source device allows on any standard television.

In addition to the HDMI input, Acer included a useful assortment of other inputs on the back of the Aspire Z5700. You get two USB 2.0 jacks on the left side of the case. The right side features an SD card slot, headphone and microphone jacks, as well as a button to cycle through a few down-facing keyboard-illuminating LED settings. The back of the PC features four additional USB 2.0 jacks, as well as TV tuner and IR blaster inputs, an Ethernet port, an eSATA port, and also a set of 5.1 analog audio jacks, a feature that's not overly common on all-in-ones. You might reasonably want to connect the Aspire Z5700 to an external audio device, but we found that the built-in audio had sufficient volume and quality to project clearly across most smaller rooms.

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