MSI Wind Top AE2220 review
By David Murphy | PC World | Published: 15:45, 03 March 2010
This 21.6-inch successor to the MSI Wind Top AE2010 comes in at a price of around £700 - more than the original, but it could be money well-spent: the MSI Wind Top AE2220 is faster, larger, and more feature-packed in nearly every recordable category.
But remember this is an all-in-one system, and the display is a critical part of the equation. It's the one place where the AE2220 actually performs worse than its older sibling.
MSI gives AMD the big heave-ho on the MSI Wind Top AE2220, opting instead to use a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 processor as the heart of its black-and-clear-panelled touchscreen PC. The same 4GB of DDR2 memory sits in this new (and equally non-upgradable) system. It's nice to see MSI upping storage capacity to a total of 500GB, from the MSI Wind Top AE2220's 320GB.
The new component combination helps the MSI Wind Top AE2220 deliver a general performance boost of 50 percent over the AE2010 on our WorldBench 6 suite of tests.
The MSI Wind Top AE2220's score of 90 isn't the best of recently tested AIOs - that honour belongs to the 101 points of Acer's Aspire Z5610 - but it's still an excellent show of force, bearing in mind the system's reasonable price compared to the some all-in-one desktops. Neither the MSI Wind Top AE2220 nor the AE2010 are strong in the gaming department: The former achieved only 9.7 frames per second on PC World's Unreal Tournament 3 gaming benchmark (2560 x 2100 resolution, high quality), and the latter wouldn't run the test at all.
The MSI Wind Top AE2220's case isn't particularly pretty, but the components it conceals are a wonderful delight. You'll find a Blu-ray drive on the side of the system alongside two USB ports and a multiformat card reader.
Given that the AE2010 was limited to DVD playback only, this is an excellent upgrade that brings high-definition media from commercial discs to this system's 1920-by-1080 HD display. And this in itself is a step up from the AE2010's 1600-by-900, 20-inch panel.
The rear of the MSI Wind Top AE2220 houses four USB ports, one HDMI port, an eSATA port, gigabit ethernet, along with wireless-N connectivity), plus an S/PDIF digital audio output, a VGA video port, and a coaxial RF connection for the integrated TV tuner.
These are all great and wonderful elements compared with the AE2010, if not much of the all-in-one category as a whole. However, the MSI Wind Top AE2220's display is a discernable step back.
While the screen is now multitouch capable, the picture quality itself is rather crummy. Low saturation leaves images and movies looking lifeless, and the dark and muddy contrasts of the display do little to evoke minor details in what you're looking at. And half the time, you're looking at yourself; the screen's glare, while not the worst we've seen, can be an unpleasant distraction during darker scenes. The display also suffers from noticeable banding - small, multicoloured bars in place of where smooth gradients of a particular shade of colour should be. That's both a rarity and a problem, neither of which signify good things for the MSI Wind Top AE2220's picture quality.
Both the included mice and the keyboard are wireless, which is a nice, if unexpected, touch for an all-in-one system.
Awesome performance, awesome price, awesome connectivity, a freakin' Blu-ray drive - these are all elements that suggest MSI did some serious thinking when revamping its ol' AE2010 all-in-one for a next-generation kind of lifestyle. And then the company had to go and muck things up by slapping an inferior display in this otherwise amazing MSI Wind Top AE2220 system.