|Name||All-in-one PC: Asus ET2300I|
|At a glance:||Intel Core i5-3210M dual-core CPU,8GB RAM,Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics (1GB),1TB hard drive|
|Summary:||A well-built, well-performing all-in-one with excellent wired connectivity.|
Asus's ET2300I represents an uncommon approach to all-in-one PC design, putting the components in the base beneath the 23-inch touchscreen.
This design has a few advantages over the usual setup, where the components sit directly behind the screen. All of the connections are at desk-level and easy to reach on the base – you don’t have to go poking around behind the screen to plug in a flash drive or memory card.
There’s a bit more room for airflow, because the designers aren’t worried about making the thinnest screen/PC ever, so the Asus runs cool under pressure.
Finally, the heavy base and lightweight screen allow for a clever two-part hinge, which gives you 0-80 degrees of adjustment. That’s right, the ET2300I can lie completely flat, albeit 15cm above the desk surface. It makes it very easy to find both the right viewing angle and the most comfortable position to use the touchscreen.
A basic wireless keyboard and mouse are included in the box – both do their jobs. I found the mouse a little too small to be comfortable, without enough of a palm rest. On the other hand, the compact mouse may be sufficient if you use the touchscreen most of the time.
The glossy 23-inch screen is 1920 x 1080 pixels (96 pixels per inch). That’s sharp from a reasonable viewing distance, though you can see individual pixels if you come up close enough to use touch. Contrast and colour accuracy are great, and the screen scored 4.5 out of 5 from the Spyder4Elite calibration tool.
Inside the ET2300I is a dual-core Intel Core i5-3210M CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics card with 1GB of dedicated memory. Storage is a 1TB hard drive, and a slot-loading DVD writer (no Blu-ray).
Performance in our standard benchmark suite was outclassed by the Dell XPS One 27 by a large margin across the board, but this is to be expected as the XPS One costs $1,100 more. While the Asus was relatively weak in graphics performance, overall it was closest in performance to the Samsung Series 7 all-in-one.
The Series 7’s Core i5-3470T CPU has a higher clock speed of 2.9-3.6GHz, compared to the ET2300I’s 2.5-3.1GHz. This showed through in slightly higher performance in single-threaded tasks, but the ET2300I unexpectedly proved up to 50% faster in multi-threaded tasks. That means for multitasking and performance-hungry home applications such as video editing, the Asus is likely to provide superior performance than most other models tested.
The ET2300I also has some of the best wired connectivity options we’ve seen on an all-in-one to date. There’s an SD card reader, four USB 3.0 ports, one eSATA port that doubles as USB 2.0, two Thunderbolt ports, an HDMI input and output, headphone and microphone sockets, and gigabit Ethernet. Unfortunately the USB adapter for the included wireless keyboard and mouse takes up a USB 3.0 port – it would have been nice to see a dedicated USB 2.0 port for this, but you can always use the eSATA/USB combo port for that, as you’ve got both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt for high-speed storage.
Wireless is a bit disappointing: there’s 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, but no Bluetooth.
Sound quality from the onboard speakers was a let-down – though the volume range is good, at low-moderate volume it sounds extremely muffled. It was the only case in which we noticed poor sound.
Overall, the Asus ET2300I is an excellent all-in-one with a design that makes it suited to touch or non-touch use. It also has a great range of high-speed connections and good multithreading performance, making it suitable for home video, photo and music-editing enthusiasts. It’s not quite as stylish as the options available from Samsung and Acer, but it’s sure built to do its job well.