BenQ dips its toe into the all-in-one PC waters

BenQ taps the silver surfer (seniors--the company's phrasing, not mine) market for the company's first ever PC.

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Eric Franklin
2 min read

Giant fonts are the way of the future. Sarah Tew/CBS Interactive

Hard to believe there are still enough novice computer users still out there that a company would develop a whole line of computers specifically geared to them. Hard for me to believe, I should say, because BenQ sees things differently.

At CES, BenQ unveiled its first ever PC, the nScreen. The nScreen is being tailored for novice computer users, specifically senior citizens and children. The company is offering three nScreen models in its first Blue Ocean series: 18.5-inch wide screen i91, 21.5-inch wide screen i221, and the 18.5-inch wide-format i92. All three will be in the sub-$600 range when they debut in either the second or third quarter of 2009, according to BenQ.

BenQ has included a custom user interface that it thinks will appeal to seniors, children, and novice users. The UI is available for Linux and Windows XP Home and offers ease of use features like larger than normal font sizes, and the elimination of a tiered folder system. Instead it offers large point and click icons for Internet, e-mail, games, movies, photo/video sharing, Skype, and office documents, to name a few.

If the fonts are too big for your eyes or you want to make them smaller you may be able to, as some models include a font adjustment prompt that appears upon startup. For those who may be hard of hearing, an integrated equalizer automatically optimizes sound, specifically hard-to-hear high frequencies, according to BenQ.

Some models of the Blue Ocean series models will feature a customized keyboard, which will include a bigger keys and separate number and symbol keys so there is no need to press "shift" for symbols like "#." The unit we saw did not have such a keyboard.

Other features include an integrated 1.3-megapixel Webcam and VoIP phone (Skype handset comes standard on 21.5-inch models, optional on the 18.5-inch model), a 16:9 aspect ratio for HD and full HD (depending on the model) movie watching.

Other specs: SRS TruSurround HD sound, AMD Yukon platform with AMD RS690E+SB600 chipset, 720p native resolution (on the i91) to 1080p (on the i221), with all models featuring 1GB of system memory, 802.11b/g, 100BaseT, six USB connectors, and 4-in-1 card reader.