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All-in-One PCs

Acer Revo RL100-UR20P review

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If you're looking for a sexy home theater PC that's good at doing one thing and one thing only, playing video of all kinds, look no further than the Acer Aspire Revo RL100-UR20P. This is definitely one of the coolest home theatre PCs we've seen: not only is it super slim at 1 inch thick, but it also has a futuristic pop-out touch-based keyboard/touchpad for all of your home theatre needs.

The Revo RL100 has some pretty good specs for a super-slim machine, including an impressive 750GB of hard drive space, 4GB of RAM and a Blu-ray disc player. It's also got a less impressive dual-core AMD Athlon II Neo K325 processor, which is a notebook part. But there's everything else you want in a home theatre PC, including Wi-Fi 802.11n, Gigabit Ethernet and a multi-format card reader. The Revo RL100 runs a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium.

Because the Revo RL100 relies on a notebook processor and integrated Nvidia Ion graphics, performance naturally takes a hit. In World Bench 6 benchmark tests, the Revo RL100 scored 59. This isn't great, but it's also not so bad, our top-rated compact desktop the Dell Inspiron Zino HD 410 scored a 78, while our fourth from top-rated compact desktop the Giada A50 Fusion Ultra PC scored a 55. So for the compact desktop category, the Revo RL100 does pretty well.

The Revo's graphic performance is also less than stellar. This is definitely not a gaming machine. In our Unreal Tournament 3 graphics tests, it managed an unplayable frame rate of 16.6 frames per second (medium quality settings, 1024 by 768 pixel resolution). This is only gaming graphics performance however, the Revo RL100 plays Blu-ray discs and streams 1080p HD video without a hitch.

The Revo RL100's design is eye catching, to say the least. The sleek case is made of smooth black plastic and features shiny rose gold accents. You can orient the Revo one of two ways: standing up or lying on its side. The case is less than an inch thick, and measures one foot long (or tall, depending on the orientation) by seven inches deep.

On the front of the Revo, you'll find the Blu-ray disc drive, one USB port, the multi-format card reader and a volume wheel attached to the pop-out keyboard/touchpad. On the back, there's another pair of USB ports, headphone and microphone jacks, S/PDIF optical audio out, HDMI out and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

The pop-out keyboard/touchpad, the coolest part of the entire machine, is located directly underneath the Blu-ray disc player. To pop it out, all you have to do is slide a small switch on the side of the machine (you can also just grab the slate and pull, if you so desire).

The default mode for the matte-black slate is the touchpad, it's just like a trackpad, except not attached to anything. The trackpad functionality is pretty good, though admittedly not as smooth as I like. The trackpad does support multitouch gestures, such as two-finger scrolling and pinch-to-zoom. There are no physical mouse buttons, so you'll have to tap-to-click.

To switch over to the keyboard functionality, you tap a small physical button in the upper right corner (while you're in trackpad mode, the button will be lit up a bright blue). The keyboard is a bit overwhelming at first. There are so many buttons, including a bunch of media playback buttons crammed in at the top and the layout is a bit different from anything I've ever seen.

From the bottom there's a full QWERTY keyboard, a line of punctuation, a line of numbers and then two lines of media playback buttons. There are no volume buttons, because you have the rose-gold volume wheel on the upper left corner. The keyboard is responsive, but the weird layout makes it tough if you want to attempt touch-typing.

All in all, the Revo RL100 is a pretty machine that will look perfectly placed in your living room. Sure, it's no multimedia powerhouse, but it does what it's supposed to do, play videos, very well. Acer includes built-in Dolby Home Theater V2 Audio Enhancement, as well as its Clear-Fi multimedia suite. The pop-out keyboard/touchpad is cool, though admittedly not as useful as a regular keyboard and mouse.


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