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Acer joins the table-top computing party

gadgets Updated: Dec 06, 2013 11:08 IST


The company's latest all-in-one desktop also doubles up as a 21.5-inch Windows tablet.

Just like the latest offerings from Dell, Sony, HP and Lenovo, the Acer Z3-600 is focused on making desktop computing more aesthetically pleasing, clutter free and, above all, social.

There are two notable computing trends forecast for 2014. The first is that tablets will overtake all computers -- desktop and notebook -- by the end of the year, and the second is that all-in-one computers -- i.e. single-piece desktops without dangling cables and hard drive towers, such as the iMac, will start to grow in popularity with consumers.

The Z3-600 tries to capitalize on both trends by offering a very simple, clean design and an integrated set of Harman Kardon speakers for when the device is being used as a computer. An integrated battery is good for just over two hours' use for when the screen is picked up and laid flat as a family-friendly Windows 8.1 tablet.

Unlike other devices offering the same functionality, the Acer cannot be upgraded in terms of chip power or RAM -- it's got an Intel Pentium J2580 quad-core processor with integrated graphics card, 4GB of RAM and a 750GB hard drive -- but because of that, Acer is able to offer the computer for just $779 in the US.

To put that into perspective, it is over $200 cheaper than the Dell XPS18, which offers much of the same functionality and performance but only has an 18-inch display, and over $100 cheaper than Sony's VAIO Tap 21. And for that price, the 21.5-inch touchscreen monitor offers full HD.

And because it supports HDMI input it can be used as a second monitor, plugged into a games console as a screen or into a Blu-ray player for HD movie playback. Another neat trick is that it responds to gestures as well as touch so conceivably it will obey an air swipe from a few feet away as well as a physical pinch to zoom on the display.

So all in all a slightly limited, yet extremely competitive (in terms of price) entry into the US tabletop PC market. Acer is yet to confirm when the computer will be rolling out to other international markets.