With their large displays, space-saving designs, and reasonable price tags, it’s no surprise that all-in-one desktops have been steadily growing in popularity, and with the release of Windows 8, now’s arguably the best time to get your hands on a system with a roomy touch display. The Asus ET2300INTI-B022K ($1,299 list) delivers all of these positive attributes in a sleek package with a dazzling multi-touch display that lends itself to the touch-centric interface of Windows 8. While its shortcomings—namely a lack of a Blu-ray player—can’t be overlooked, they’re handily outweighed by the good, making it an all-in-one worthy of serious consideration.
Design and Features
Measuring 17.63 by 22.51 by 10.43 inches (HWD) and weighing a formidable 26 pounds, the ET2300 is certainly a heavy system, although that’s a fairly insignificant factor for a desktop-bound all-in-one that wasn’t designed to be carried around like the Sony VAIO Tap 20. After the initial difficulty of lifting the ET2300 out of the box, setting it up is simple: Plug the system to a power line and connect the included wireless mouse and keyboard via a single dongle.
As is the case with every all-in-one desktop, the display is the main attraction that ties the system’s various elements together. In this case, it’s a widescreen IPS panel whose 23-inch size lands between the 20-inch Sony Tap 20 and the 27-inch Asus ET2701INKI-B046C , and turning it on reveals a dazzling, 1,920 by 1,080 resolution (full 1080p HD) display that easily succeeds in delivering spoonfuls of crisp and bright eye-candy. More importantly, the display’s 10-point capacitive touch functionality nicely complements Window 8′s interface, and makes flipping and swiping through the tiles a far more intuitive experience. Ten-point touch means you can use both hands simultaneously, or share the screen with another person.
Regardless of your feelings for Microsoft’s new operating system, it’s tough to deny the improvement in navigability brought on by touch-screen capability, at least as far as the tiled interface goes. While the same cannot be said of the traditional “desktop” mode, this problem is remedied by the included wireless mouse, which is far more useful for honing in on this mode’s smaller icons. Moreover, the mouse comes in handy when you don’t feel like reaching across your desk to navigate through Windows 8 since its scroll wheel lets you flip through the tiled interface.
Given this superlative display, then, it’s a shame that it only comes with a slot-loading DVD burner, as Blu-rays would’ve undoubtedly looked gorgeous on the ET2300. There is, however, an HDMI-in port that you can plug a Blu-ray player or gaming console. For this reason, users looking for an all-in-one with a built-in Blu-ray player would be better suited with the Asus ET2301INKI-B046C.
Most, if not all, of the ports are housed in the base beneath the display. The ET2300 makes the most of its available real estate by coming loaded with a solid variety of ports. The right side features two USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, a USB 2.0/eSATA combo port, an SD/SDHC/MMC card reader, and a Kensington lock slot. The left side, meanwhile, houses two additional USB 3.0 ports as well as headphone and microphone inputs. As for the rear of the base, there’s a subwoofer jack, an Ethernet port, and HDMI-in and HDMI-out ports. The HDMI-in port is a nice touch, as it allows the ET2300 to function like a small television. While the HDMI-out port is self-explanatory, users looking to ditch wires altogether can take advantage of the ET2300′s built-in Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) capability by hooking up an adapter along the lines of the Netgear Push2TV to their television sets. Thunderbolt is a relatively new I/O port, offering up to 10Gbps throughput over a dual-channel cable, which can transfer data twice as fast as USB 3.0. Thunderbolt is mainly found in new speedy hard drives, but you’ll see other peripherals like video input boxes in the near future.
The ET2300′s 1TB 7,200RPM hard drive mostly sidesteps the bloatware pitfall that plagues many systems, and ships with Office Starter 2010, Fresh Paint and Magix Music Maker Touch; the latter two make the most of the touchscreen display, which perhaps explains why they can be found in the Windows 8 Start screen rather than desktop mode.
The combination of the ET2300′s 3GHz Intel Core i5-3330 processor and 8GB RAM yield solid scores on our benchmark tests, but since it’s one of the first all-in-one desktops using Windows 8 that we’ve gotten our hands on, points of comparison are few and far between. For this reason, we compared it to the Windows 7-equipped Asus ET2701INKI-B046C in addition to the Sony Tap 20 and the Vizio A24T-A4 (review coming soon) both of which ship with Windows 8.
Accordingly, the ET2300′s PCMark 7 score of 3,291 points fell slightly behind the Asus ET2701INKI-B046C (3,512 points) but nonetheless handily outscored the Vizio A24T (2,970 points). The ET2300 also displayed solid multimedia capabilities, finishing our Handbrake video-encoding test in a class-leading 42 seconds, nearly twice as fast as the Vizio A24T (1:13) and substantially quicker than the Vaio Tap 20 (2:53). Its Cinebench score of 4.97 points, meanwhile, outpaced all save for the ET2701INKI-B046C (7.08).
The ET2300 didn’t fare as well in our Photoshop CS6 benchmark test, though, and its completed time of 3 minutes 58 seconds was significantly longer than the brisk 1:43 the Sony Tap 20 took to complete the same test.
Like the rest of its class, the ET2300 is not a gaming rig, so while its 1GB Nvidia GT630M GPU succeeded in outperforming its peers, it nonetheless failed to cross the 30 frames per second (fps) playability threshold. Accordingly, its performance in our Aliens vs. Predator benchmark test (25fps with medium-quality settings in 1,366-by-768 resolution; 8fps with maximum-quality in 1,920-by-1,080 resolution) outflanked the Vizio A24T (14fps and 5fps, respectively). Likewise, its performance in our Heaven benchmark test (20fps with medium-quality settings in 1,366-by-768 resolution; 7fps with maximum-quality in 1,920-by-1,080 resolution) outpaced both the Vaio Tap 20 (5fps and 13fps, respectively) as well as the Vizio A24T (12fps and 4fps, respectively).
For users looking for an all-in-one desktop that delivers in terms of performance and design, the Asus ET2300INTI-B022K is worthy of serious consideration. However, if getting Windows 8 right out of the box isn’t a top priority for you, the Asus ET2701INKI-B046C retains the Editors’ Choice crown, with its bigger display, built-in Blu-ray player, and more robust processing power. That said, the ET2300 is still a solid choice that deftly combines the power of a desktop with the space-saving form-factor of an all-in-one.
BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS:
Check out the test scores for the Asus ET2300INTI-B022K
Compare the Asus ET2300INTI-B022K with several other desktops side by side.
More desktop reviews:
|Primary Optical Drive||DVD-R SuperDrive|
|Processor Family||Intel Core i5|
|Graphics Card||nVidia GeForce GT 630M|
|Screen Size||23 inches|
|Monitor Type||LCD Widescreen|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||1000 GB|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc