Acer Aspire AZ3-600-UR31 review

The Acer Aspire AZ3-600-UR31 is a decent portable all-in-one desktop PC, but it's hard to recommend it when other systems offer better performance and quality for the same price.
Photo of Acer Aspire AZ3-600-UR31

Looking for a desktop PC that you can unplug, pick up, and carry into the other room? Have you ever wished that your all-in-one PC was more like a big tablet? If so, you’ll definitely be interested in portable all-in-one PCs, like the Acer Aspire AZ3-600-UR31 ($799.99 direct), which offers a broad 1080p touch screen, a battery to untether from the wall outlet, and an adjustable stand that lets you use the desktop lying flat. It’s one of many new systems that combine tablet-like features with larger, all-in-one designs, but unfortunately, you might prefer a competing system. The Acer Aspire AZ3-600-UR31 isn’t the best portable all-in-one desktop on the market, and it’s hard to recommend it when other systems offer better performance and quality for the same price.

Design and Features
The AZ3-600-UR31 blends an all-in-one desktop design with a tablet of sorts—the PC is desktop size, but has an internal battery to free you from the tether of power cord when you want to move from one room to another. The system has a white plastic chassis that includes both the 21.5-inch touch display and the PC components. On the back of the chassis, attached at the sides, is a U-shaped adjustable stand.

Given that it measures 14.6 by 21 by 1.9 inches (HWD) and weighs 12.8 pounds, it isn’t portable in the sense that you would take it with you on the bus or in the car, but it’s easy to take from the den into the kitchen, and you can lay it down flat for use like a large tablet for sharing a screen for games or media.

The 21.5-inch display boasts a 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, but while the resolution and color quality are good, the default screen brightness is dim. Capacitive touch and 10-finger tracking let you swipe and tap with ease, and edge-to-edge glass makes it seamless to swipe from the edges. The AZ3-600-UR31 came with both a wireless keyboard and mouse, which will definitely get the job done, but won’t impress anybody. Even for bundled accessories, the lightweight plastic construction feels insubstantial, almost disposable.

On the sides of the white plastic chassis you’ll find a handful of ports, with three USB ports (two USB 2.0, one USB 3.0), HDMI-out, an SD card reader, and Gigabit Ethernet. Wireless connectivity is available in the form of 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. The 750GB, 5,400rpm hard drive inside is a bit small, seeing as most competing systems come equipped with a full terabyte of storage. Acer has loaded up the drive with more than a dozen preinstalled apps and programs (like HuluPlus, Cha-Cha, Netflix, Spotify and Skype) but some of them stand out a bit more, like a 30-day trial of McAfee Internet Security, and a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office. Acer covers the Aspire AZ3-600-UR31 with a two-year limited warranty.

Performance

The AZ3-600-UR31 is outfitted with a 2.41GHz Intel Pentium J2850 processor with 4GB of RAM, a step below the more common Intel Core i3 and Core i5 processors used in the majority of consumer systems. In PCMark 7, the AZ3-600-UR31 scored 1,777 points, falling well behind similarly priced but better-equipped competitors, like the HP Envy Rove 20-K014us (3,311 points) or the Lenovo IdeaCentre Flex 20 (2,384 points). Even the inexpensive Gateway One ZX4970G-UW308, our Editors’ Choice for entry-level all-in-one systems, performed better (3,008 points), even with a similar Pentium processor.
This same performance lag was seen in multimedia tests, where the AZ3-600-UR31 took 13 minutes 14 seconds to complete Photoshop. Even beyond simple benchmark tests, the system was noticeably slow during regular use.

Unlike most desktops, the AZ3-600-UR31 has an internal battery, letting you unplug it and take it to the next room without having to bring along the power cord. In our battery rundown test, the desktop lasted 2 hours 36 minutes, which is on the short side. The HP Rove 20-K014us, for example, lasted nearly four hours (3:53) while the Lenovo Flex 20 nearly matched that (3:44).

Conclusion
The real disappointment of the Acer Aspire AZ3-600-UR31 isn’t the construction or performance, but the price tag. At lower prices—say, in the $400 to $500 range—this would be a passable entry-level system, but when stacked against the similarly priced HP Envy Rove 20-K014us or the Lenovo IdeaCentre Flex 20, the sluggish performance and inexpensive construction leave us unable to recommend the Acer Aspire AZ3-600-UR31. For better performance and pricing without a portable design, check out the Gateway One ZX4970G-UW308, our Editors’ Choice for entry-level all-in-one PCs.

Specifications
Touchscreen Yes
Processor Family Intel Pentium
Storage Type HDD
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics
Screen Size 21.5 inches
Monitor Type LCD Widescreen
RAM 4 GB
Type All-in-one
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 750 GB
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8

Verdict
The Acer Aspire AZ3-600-UR31 is a decent portable all-in-one desktop PC, but it's hard to recommend it when other systems offer better performance and quality for the same price.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
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