Asus recently added four models to its line-up of all-in-one PCs in India, which include two touchscreen models ET2012IGTS and ET2411INTI. We managed to get our hands on the former, which sports a 20-inch display. Let’s find out if it’s a worthy consideration for space-constrained desktops or as an entertainment PC for the living room.
A space-saving all-in-one PC with a good feature set
Design and features
This all-in-one PC is twice as thick as a conventional 20-inch LCD monitor and houses all the core hardware and other components such as webcam, card reader and Wi-Fi adapter. The heart of the PC comprises Intel Core i3-2120 processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive and AMD Radeon HD 7470M discrete graphics with 1GB of dedicated video memory. This configuration is a notch higher than what the entry-level all-in-one PCs feature, which means more than sufficient power to handle the most basic everyday tasks to slightly heavier apps such as photo and video editors. It’s the features other than the core hardware that set this PC far apart from the others in its price bracket. You get a TV tuner along with video inputs and outputs. So, not only can you hook up this PC to another display (such as a TV or a projector), you can even use it as a display device should you need to hook up a set top box, media player or gaming console. For this, the rear I/O panel has an RF jack, HDMI input and VGA output in addition to a pair of USB 2.0 ports and a Gigabit Ethernet port. The second I/O panel on the left side features another USB 2.0 port, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI output, jacks for mic and headphones, and an SD/MMC card reader. The right side has only a tray-loading DVD-writer. If you notice the frame carefully, you’ll find a VGA webcam right at the top centre and a tiny IR receiver at the bottom left corner.
I/O panels on the side and back of the PC
At 1600 x 900 pixels, the 20-inch display is a little short from being full HD. The frame around the display is about an inch thick and the overall appearance of the PC from the front is quite elegant. The display panel is a bit sunken from the frame because the touchscreen is of the Infra-Red type. There are two IR diodes at the top corners (concealed behind the frame), and the sides and bottom have sensors to detect touch. The advantage of IR touchscreens is that you can use a stylus or any other object to point; it’s also possible to implement multi-touch. The touchscreen on the 2012IGTS features 2-point multi-touch, thus making it possible to use gesture control in certain applications.
Studs for wall mounting and receiver for the input devices
As for the package contents, you get a wireless keyboard and mouse combo, a Windows Media Center remote control and studs for wall mounting. A tiny receiver has to be plugged into a USB port for the input devices. The PC comes pre-installed with the 64-bit edition of Windows 7 Home Premium. Pre-installed applications include the following:
Build quality and ergonomics
The shell of the ET2012IGTS is very well built—grab the PC firmly by its frame and you’ll feel it is rock solid. Even the build of the pedestal and the stand is excellent. In comparison to the PC, the input devices and the Windows Media Center remote control feel very flimsy. In an attempt to enhance the aesthetics, Asus has made things worse. The entire base of the keyboard and mouse is glossy, which is pointless. Only the sides could have been glossy—no normal human being would want to overturn the input devices and admire them. To top this, the lid of the battery compartments of both the keyboard and mouse are too flimsy. The one on the keyboard slides off with the slightest touch. And despite carefully opening the lid on the mouse to install the batteries, it refused to remain closed because the retention clamp almost bent and broke. So, we had no choice but to use the mouse with the battery compartment open. The build quality of the shell of the keyboard and mouse is just about average—the input devices only look good, but feel quite awful when held. And the same goes for the remote control.
The wireless keyboard is slim and features a standard layout
The keyboard is slimmer and more compact than the regular desktop PC keyboards. The keys are flat and not bevelled, and the key travel isn’t much. It feels like a laptop keyboard, but it isn’t too comforting—the key presses are mushy. The mouse is about the size of a cake of soap and is more of the portable type than a comfortably large mouse for a desktop PC. We didn’t expect Asus to bundle input devices of such substandard quality.
You will find the mouse too small if you have large hands
The ET2012IGTS is slightly more powerful than an entry-level desktop PC and easily outperforms the sub-Rs 30,000 all-in-one PCs. It scored 7580 points in PCMark Vantage and 3.17 points in CineBench R11.5, which clearly shows that the processor has got good muscle to handle light to slightly heavyweight applications. The Radeon HD 7470 discrete graphics processor makes a big difference when it comes to media playback. With a media player that can harness the GPU for video acceleration, the CPU usage is almost negligible even while playing full HD videos. The GPU also kicks in to save time and CPU usage when using certain photo editing applications (such as Photoshop) and video transcoders. These are some cases wherein such an entry-level GPU work best. It would be unfair to throw games at it and expect them to run stutter-free—a low score of 2129 points in 3DMark Vantage confirms this.
The ET2012IGTS fared well in the real world tests. It took 46 seconds to transcode a 1 minute MPEG video to H.264 format, and 64 seconds to compress 100MB of assorted files to 7.zip (using Ultra preset). The sound quality of the built-in speakers is average—they should have been louder and clearer. Even those tiny USB speakers that you get in stationery shops for a few hundred rupees sound much better. We suggest you use a set of good 2.1 speakers if you are an entertainment buff.
Verdict and price in India
At Rs 44,400, the Asus ET2012IGTS is priced very aggressively. It’s the only model in its price band to feature touchscreen, discrete graphics, TV tuner and HDMI input in one package. None of the HP TouchSmart and Lenovo IdeaCentre all-in-one PCs offer such a combination in the below-Rs 50,000 bracket. The ET2012IGTS is without a shadow of doubt an excellent package. However, it would have been a sweet deal had it featured a full HD display, Bluetooth support and most importantly, better input devices.
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Oct 25, 2016
Oct 25, 2016