In these heady days of total technological mobility, is there really much market left for desktop PCs? Who wants to be tied down to just one room? Advent is hoping its latest all-in-one PC is enough to convince you that leaving the study is for suckers -- all the cool kids are hanging out inside with the MT22, available from PC World and Curry's for around £580.
The MT22 certainly doesn't come across as shy -- a whopping great 21.5-inch LCD display is the first thing you'll notice, and nestled in a futuristic black frame, this hulking 1,920x1,080-pixel screen certainly makes a positive first impression.
The second impression isn't quite so rosy. The display is crisp and colourful, but that glossy screen causes so much reflection we could actually see more of our own faces than we could of what was on-screen (and if you've seen our faces you'll know this is never preferable).
Those reflections aren't helped by the fact that the display is none too bright. It's a shame, because with this high resolution even the Windows 7 default desktop and taskbar look pretty stunning, let alone our array of hi-res test images. A brighter screen would let us see what's on it a little better, and would help cancel out some of those annoying reflections.
The MT22 is fully touch-enabled, and we're impressed with the Windows Touch interface. Tap to click, hold for a second to right-click and drag to highlight are the basic tools at your disposal. The display resolution is so high, however, that some icons, particularly minimise buttons and scroll bars, appeared as tiny squares nestled in the corner of the screen. Actually hitting those parts of the display proved very tricky.
Still, it's not much of a complaint considering the low cost of this machine -- well-implemented touch interfaces are pretty rare, and to find one for under £600 makes us very happy. Perhaps the greatest accolade we can bestow is that we frequently found ourselves using the touchscreen interface rather than the included keyboard and mouse.
The MT22 chugs along on a 2.2GHz Intel Pentium T4400 CPU, propped up by 3GB of RAM. That's some pretty tasty hardware considering the MT22's price, but be aware it's not exactly a computing powerhouse.
We ran into difficulties running our PCMark05 benchmark test, but we were able to obtain a graphics benchmark using 3DMark06, where the MT22 scored a disappointing 1,714 despite using an Nvidia Ion GPU. Shaky performance during gaming backed that up. Running Call of Duty 4 at the recommended settings yielded a frame rate of only 15fps, and cranking the graphics up any higher rendered the game pretty much unplayable.
Gaming is a no-go then (unless you stick to Bejeweled) but video content is still very much on the cards. We were impressed with the smooth playback of our HD test clips, and viewing video on the MT22 was very pleasant once we found an angle devoid of meddlesome reflections.
As for the MT22's chassis, again we have a few gripes, but nothing serious. Considering this all-in-one pitches itself as a media PC, for example, we'd have liked to see some easily accessible volume keys somewhere around the frame, and certainly a headphone socket somewhere other than right around the back. Looks-wise, whether or not you like the MT22's clear plastic frame and glowing blue LEDs will very much depend on your personal feelings about the aesthetic stylings of the movie Minority Report.