CNET First Look
eMachines ER1402-05eMachines ER1402-05 is a strong living-room Nettop among others like it, but it doesn't compete well in the larger picture of living-room entertainment devices like game consoles, media streamers, and video service-equipped Blu-ray players. It's worth...
-Hi, I'm Rich Brown, Senior Editor for CNET.com. Today, we're gonna take a look at eMachines ER1402-05. This is a small-form-factor PC. It's pretty much designed to go in your living room. It costs about $299 and it has low-end AMD CPU in here. It does have an HDMI output, which means you can connect it directly to your TV, and the idea is that you'll put this in your living room next to a television and stream video off the web. It's sort of an easier way to do it, maybe, than some of the other dedicated devices out there. And it sort of gives you all the freedom that you have from the internet, so, you know, for all the good and bad that entails. On paper, we like PCs like this because it actually is a pretty easy way to get that content to your television. The downside though is that systems like this tend to be very underpowered especially if they're this cheap. You'll notice there's no optical drive in this system for one thing. It also can't handle HD video off the web very well. Now, the system is cheap for sure. But there are still lots of other devices out there in the same price range that can do pretty much everything this thing can do and more, take and Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 for example. Both of those devices can play streaming video off the web. They also offer powerful gaming capabilities as well as optical drives, even Blu-ray in the case of the PlayStation. So this eMachines does have a fairly well-designed wireless keyboard. It's nice and small, and you can see kinda putting this on a coffee table and using it from your couch. On the other hand, the Xbox and the PlayStation have game pads that are specifically designed for remote control. We understand that the closed environment of game consoles, maybe not what most enthusiasts will be looking for if they wanna bring a computer into the living room. So, compared to other systems in this class, the eMachines is actually not too bad. It has wireless networking, which is more than some others in its class. It's also actually kind of fast comparatively, but it's still really slow and we would never use this for productivity. If we were in the market for a system like that, we'd also probably spend a little bit more for a slim tower system from HP or Gateway that has a faster CPU and just beefier specs all around. So overall, this eMachines is probably a little bit above average for the nettop category in general. But in the grand scheme of devices you can bring to your living room to get content off the web, there are lots of better options out there for your money. So I'm Rich Brown, this is the eMachines ER1402-05.