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Acer Aspire 7600U review:

Acer's high-end all-in-one can't justify its cost

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The Good Acer's new attention to look-and-feel shows in the Aspire 7600's clean appearance and responsive touch input.

The Bad The Aspire misses on price vs. performance, and Dell's 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution XPS One 27 makes 1,920x1,080-pixel screens like this one feel pedestrian.

The Bottom Line Subpar computing components and a dominant high-end all-in-one from Dell hurt Acer's high-end, visually compelling Aspire 7600U.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

6.7 Overall
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 6.0
  • Support 7.0

Acer demonstrated a new focus on high-end PCs last month when it announced the Aspire S7 Windows 8 laptop and this $1,899 27-inch Aspire 7600U all-in-one desktop. Despite improving its typically bargain basement product aesthetics, at least for this all-in-one, Acer has not matched its price tag with correspondingly high-end components. You might make a case for the Aspire 7600U as a Windows 8-based vanity object, but Dell's updated XPS One 27 is a better all-in-one at this price.

Acer deserves some credit for the look of the Aspire 7600U. The system mostly has a clean and tidy appearance, with a familiar edge-to-edge display framed in glossy black plastic. The chromed plastic trim is clean enough, and the ports on the back sit neatly under a straight-lined overhang. Even the power cable received some attention, connecting directly into the chromed kickstand.

Running the power circuitry through the kickstand keeps the cable from cluttering the back of the system. The kickstand itself also deserves praise for its smooth, sturdy design. Anyone can recline the display back and forth along its 60-degree range of motion. I would always prefer that an all-in-one recline a full 90 degrees, but its easy adjustability makes it easier to accept the more limited travel.

The ability to recline helps facilitate using the touch screen, of course, and I'm glad to report that Acer has done a nice job with touch input as well. The edge-to-edge glass means your finger can travel freely to the corners and the edges of the screen, and the coating on the display provides just the right amount of friction. Touch input responsiveness isn't perfect, but it's consistent enough that it's not annoying.


Acer Aspire 7600UDell XPS One 27Apple iMac 27-inch (spring 2011)
Price (at time of review)$1,899$2,299$1,999
Display size/resolution27-inch, 1,920x1,08027-inch, 2,560x1,44027-inch, 2,560x1,440
CPU2.5GHz Intel Core i5 3210M3.1GHz Intel Core i7 3770S3.1GHz Intel Core i5 2400
Memory8GB 1,333MHZ DDR3 SDRAM8GB 1,600MHZ DDR3 SDRAM4GB 1,333MHZ DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics768MB Nvidia Geforce GT 640M2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 640M1GB AMD Radeon HD 6970M
Hard drives1TB, 5,400rpm2TB, 7,200rpm1TB, 7,200rpm
Optical driveBlu-ray/dual-layer DVD burnerBlu-ray/dual-layer DVD burnerDual-layer DVD burner
NetworkingGigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wirelessGigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wirelessGigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Operating systemWindows 8 (64-bit)Windows 8 Pro (64-bit)Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.7

The Dell XPS One has become a spoiler among high-end Windows 8 all-in-ones. It's the only system with a 27-inch, 2,560x1,400-pixel touch screen. And despite the high price of our XPS One 27 review unit, touch-screen models with lower specs start at $1,599. That gives the 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution Acer some real competitive difficulties given the Aspire 7600U's $1,899 price tag.

The Aspire 7600U also suffers with regard to its computing components. The laptop-grade Core i5 CPU in the Acer is anemic compared with Dell's Core i7 chip. Even the $1,599 version of the XPS One 27 has a faster CPU in its desktop Core i5 3330S. You can also see in our chart above where Acer has cut corners in its other specs. It uses a slower 5,400rpm hard drive, and skimped on allocating video memory.

The one point that might look to be in the Acer's favor is its Blu-ray drive, but Lenovo acts as the disruptor here. Yes, the $1,599 Dell does not have a Blu-ray drive option, and you'll need to wait until December before you can add Blu-ray to our XPS One 27 review system. That might argue for the $1,899 Acer as a good deal if you want Blu-ray, except Lenovo also has a Blu-ray drive in its IdeaCentre A720, in a configuration that sells for $1,449.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Dell XPS One 27 (3.1GHz Core i7, October 2012)
202

Acer Aspire 7600U (2.5GHz Core i5, October 2012)

219

Asus ET2700I (2.8GHz Core i7, April 2012)

230

HP Omni 27 Quad (2.5GHz Core i5, February 2012)

232

Apple iMac 27-inch (3.1GHz Core i5, May 2011)

236

Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 (2.5GHz Core i5, July 2012)

297

Vizio CA27-A1 (2.5GHz Core i5, August 2012)

410

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iMac 27-inch (3.1GHz Core i5, May 2011)
86

Dell XPS One 27 (3.1GHz Core i7, October 2012)

87

Asus ET2700I (2.8GHz Core i7, April 2012)

105

Acer Aspire 7600U (2.5GHz Core i5, October 2012)

110

Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 (2.5GHz Core i5, July 2012)

113

HP Omni 27 Quad (2.5GHz Core i5, February 2012)

117

Vizio CA27-A1 (2.5GHz Core i5, August 2012)

123

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iMac 27-inch (3.1GHz Core i5, May 2011)
121

Dell XPS One 27 (3.1GHz Core i7, October 2012)

255

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