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Acer Aspire Z5771 review: Acer Aspire Z5771

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Typical Price: £540.00
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The Good Decent performance; affordable price; sturdy construction.

The Bad No Blu-ray drive; unimpressive screen; design won't suit everyone.

The Bottom Line The all-in-one Acer Aspire Z5771 desktop PC offers good performance for an affordable price, making it a wise choice for family computing. The absence of a Blu-ray drive and the lacklustre screen means it won't appeal to movie lovers.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall

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The all-in-one desktop computers I've seen have hardly been at the cutting edge of tech style. Manufacturers appear to believe that large expanses of shiny black plastic are the most desirable look for your lounge. That doesn't mean these PCs, which you can watch TV on, don't have a place in your living space if a separate tower and monitor combo won't fit.

The model I reviewed came with an Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM. It can be picked up for £565. Amazon lists a similar model with 6GB of RAM for a more spicy £800.

New machines are now arriving with Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processors -- rather than the older Sandy Bridge chips on offer here -- so it's likely this configuration will see a price drop. Keep your eyes on Amazon and have a good old trawl through Google to find the best price.

Design and build quality

The Z5771 comes packing a 23-inch screen, which should immediately tell you that it's not the sort of lightweight desktop computer to move around your house every time you want to watch a film in the kitchen.

Acer Aspire Z5771 stand
The styling split the CNET UK team's vote but at least it's not uniformly black and shiny.

It's much better suited remaining in one place, perhaps on a nice desk in the corner of the living room. The sturdy stand means it sits firmly wherever you plonk it and it can be angled back quite far so you can make sure you get the most comfortable view.

It felt well put together without much in the way of flex and creaks when I squeezed and prodded it. Of course, you're not likely to be carrying it around all day as you would a laptop. So structural integrity might not be the first factor on your list, but it's good to know that it probably won't shatter into a thousand pieces if your cat -- or hyperactive child -- knocked it over.

The Z5771 falls into the shiny black plastic category, but it does at least do it slightly better than most, with the screen encased in a silver metallic edging.

The stand has been given the same styling and is designed to look like a separate thin rectangle supporting the screen. It's an interesting look and one that divided opinion on the CNET UK team, with some loudly expressing their distaste. Others -- myself included -- were rather keen on the almost 50s-style design touch. I definitely wouldn't flinch at the thought of having it in my bedroom, although I wouldn't want to make a big show of it.

Whether you like the look or not, it's pleasing to see at least some design consideration going into it, rather than settling for the standard monolithic black slab look. The rectangle base also houses the computer's speakers so it's not just there for show.

A wireless mouse and keyboard are included in the box, both of which are very basic and don't offer much in the way of comfort or customisable buttons. They're fine for basic use every so often. But if you plan on working on your new computer a lot, you'll probably want to upgrade to a better set.

Acer Aspire Z5771 back
Including a DVD player but no Blu-ray drive, when the screen is Full HD, seems an odd decision.

On the side of the screen you'll find a DVD drive, two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card slot. Tucked away around the back are an extra four USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet slot and HDMI in and out ports.

Screen

The 23-inch screen offers a resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels, making it capable of handling Full HD content. This raises the question of why Acer decided to slot in a standard DVD drive, rather than a Blu-ray player. So you won't be able to watch high-definition discs.

Instead, you're going to have to resort to streaming HD content or downloading the files from any of your usual (and I assume legal) sources. It's a huge shame not to see a Blu-ray drive here as it would make it instantly more appealing to the movie fans among you who want to keep the kids entertained with crisp HD videos. Without it, the full 1080p resolution seems superfluous.

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