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The Gateway One ZX6951-53 makes a reasonably good first impression due to its friendly looking new design. Poke around the system, though, and you'll find some quirks, particularly to do with its HDMI video port. This $999 PC has most of the features we'd expect to find at this price, but the design could be more elegant. Through its strange video implementation, Gateway has also wasted an opportunity to make this PC a seamless digital media hub. If you simply want a capable, Blu-ray-equipped all-in-one to stand by itself, the Gateway One ZX6951-53 will serve better than many all-in-one PCs. If you want an all-in-one to connect with a cable box, game console, or other home entertainment device for a truly unified multimedia environment, you have better options.
Compared with the older Gateway One design, this new model looks a bit more polished. The wide, seemingly smiling piece of plastic under the display houses the speakers, and though it's not the cleanest design we've seen in an all-in-one, the sound quality benefits--audio comes through sparklingly clear.
Look around at the back of the Gateway One ZX6951-53 and things become less friendly. The external ports are all concealed behind a removable plastic door, an inconvenient design approach we thought had disappeared. Worse than that is Gateway's video implementation for this system, and the taunting HDMI port on the back of the system.
Usually when we review all-in-one PCs, an HDMI input is welcome, since it lets you connect game consoles, cable boxes, or other living room components directly to the computer, effectively turning your all-in-one into a home media hub. In the case of this Gateway system, the HDMI port already has a cable going into it.
You can look at this design in a few ways. From one perspective, Gateway has done you a favor. By making the system's primary video connection accessible, the company has made it so you can now connect the PC or the monitor to different output or input devices, at least as long as you're willing to disrupt the primary PC-display connection on the system itself. You can also add an HDMI splitter and connect multiple devices simultaneously. You'd just need to extend the stumpy HDMI cable poking out of the case first. That's one way to look at it.
Another is that Gateway has opted for a confusing, inelegant design for connecting this all-in-one's computer to its display. Chances are you won't bother to extend the HDMI cable, making the exposed video connection simply a frustrating design quirk that teases you by advertising this system's hard-to-realize potential to work with other digital media devices.
The third perspective, of course, is just not caring. If this describes you, the HDMI cable will be a curiosity at best. You'll simply use this system as is, and won't give a second though to its extensibility, or lack thereof.
All three are valid ways to look at this design. We expect most people who buy this system will fall into the last category. For those who would feel frustrated by the lost potential of this Gateway's HDMI port, Acer and Dell both offer properly HDMI-equipped all-in-ones in this price range.
|Gateway One ZX6951-53||Acer Aspire Z5700-U2112|
|Display size/resolution||23-inch, 1,920x1,080||23-inch, 1,920x1,080|
|CPU||3.2GHz Intel Core i5 550||3.2GHz Intel Core i5 650|
|Memory||4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM||4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM|
|Graphics||64MB (shared) Intel GMA 4500 integrated graphics chip||128MB (shared) Intel GMA 4500 integrated graphics chip|
|Hard drives||640GB, 7,200rpm||1TB, 7,200rpm|
|Optical drive||Blu-ray/DVD burner combo||dual-layer DVD burner|
|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)|
Regardless of its ability to play well with other video components, the Gateway One ZX6951-53 still offers a competitive configuration. The 23-inch, 1080p display is common in sub-$999 all-in-ones, so we expect to find it here. And while Acer's Z5700 series may provide this Gateway with some direct competition, the two have a very similar value proposition. The Acer offers a slightly larger hard drive than the Gateway, as well as a marginally faster CPU and a proper HDMI port. The Gateway makes up the difference with its Blu-ray drive. If you value Blu-ray, the Gateway is an easy choice. With slightly faster performance and better compatibility with external video devices, the Acer has a bit more enthusiast appeal. Both ask a fair price for what they offer.
|Rendering multiple CPUs||Rendering single CPU|
The Gateway One ZX6951-53 fared as well as expected in our performance tests. Its fast 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 CPU led it to a shared win with other all-in-ones on our iTunes file conversion test. It also fell just behind the Acer Aspire Z5700-U2112 on our other benchmarks, which we expect given the Acer's slightly higher-end CPU. The 21-inch iMac remains the midrange all-in-one to beat in terms of performance, but compared with other Windows systems, the Gateway is adequately fast. Day-to-day computing tasks and basic digital media editing should be easy to manage for this system. You may even get away with some light-duty gaming.
Like most Windows all-in-ones in this price range, the Gateway One ZX6951-53 does offer a touch interface. Gateway's touch software is among the least inspired, offering the bare minimum in terms of media player apps and other utilities. The screen also isn't the most responsive we've used. The good news is that the touch interface doesn't do much harm. You're free to ignore it and use the system as you would normally.
We're more impressed by the Gateway's haptic controls. Just under the display you'll find illuminated buttons to control the display brightness and the system volume, and to cycle through various modes of a down-facing, keyboard-illuminating LED. We'd like to see similar functionality on every all-in-one.
We've already covered the HDMI port on this PC in depth, but the rest of its connectivity options bear mentioning. You get a reasonable number of inputs and outputs. The left side of the system has an SD Card slot. On the back, behind the removable plastic panel, you get six USB ports, 5.1 analog audio jacks, a TV tuner input, a VGA video output, and a set of PS/2 mouse and keyboard jacks. The ZX6951-53 also comes with a wireless mouse and keyboard set, and the USB microreceiver occupies one of the USB jacks. We wish this system had FireWire or eSATA for an alternative data connection. Between the five free USB slots on the back, and another two on the right side of the system, most users should be able to make do.
|Gateway One ZX6951-53||Average watts per hour|
|Off (60 percent)||0.69|
|Sleep (10 percent)||1.86|
|Idle (25 percent)||38.73|
|Load (5 percent)||118.74|
|Energy Star compliant||Yes|
|Annual energy cost||$19.85|
We're disappointed in the Gateway's power efficiency. That's not to say that $19.85 is a lot to pay in extra power bills over the course of a year, but relative to the faster Acer, we'd expect the Gateway would require less power. The difference will amount to roughly $0.33 a month in terms of your wallet, a light load to bear. We just never like to see slower PCs draw more power than their faster competition.
Gateway gives you one year of parts-and-labor coverage with the One ZX6951-53, along with 24-7 toll-free phone service, and a variety of help resources available online. The system itself also comes with a few diagnostic apps to help you monitor the status of various components yourself.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Acer Aspire Z5700-U2112
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 650; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive
Apple iMac 21.5-inch (Summer 2010)
Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.4; 3.06GHz Intel Core i3; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics card; 500GB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive
Gateway One ZX6951-53
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 550; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 640GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive
HP TouchSmart 310z
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.53GHz AMD Athlon II X4 615e; 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) AMD Radeon HD 4270 integrated graphics chip; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive
Sony Vaio J114FX
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Pentium P6000; 4GB 1,066MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 HD integrated graphics chip; 500GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive