All-in-one PCs are an ideal solution when you need a computer that’s stylish, hassle free and easy to setup. Today we have with us the HCL Beanstalk Ultima, which not only looks fantastic, but also offers excellent features too. However, let’s see if value for money can be counted as one of its strong points.

The beauty of all-in-one PCs: No cable clutter and wireless usability

Aesthetic appeal is the biggest asset of the HCL Beanstalk Ultima. In fact, it will be a major deciding factor if you consider buying this machine. The piano-black frame with a transparent acrylic strip around it, makes the machine look pretty slick. Even though it’s an all-glossy unit, we’re not considering that a downside because you’re not going to handle (move) the machine much. Even the bundled wireless mouse and keyboard share the same color and finish. Also, when it comes to build quality the unit is rugged and stable, thanks to the heavy-gauge plastic and the strong adjustable flip stand.

We ran a few game benchmarks, but FPS and other demanding games are not meant for this PC.

Being an all-in-one, all the buttons and ports are pretty much within reach with the exception of display options and a few ports at the rear. On the left-hand side, there are two USB ports, a memory card reader and a DVD writer. On the right-hand side, you’ll find buttons for power on/off, menu, screen adjustment and for switching the monitor on/off.

The buttons hide snuggly behind the acrylic border, but with the lit signs they're easily accessible.

In terms of ergonomics, the bundled keyboard isn’t the best we’ve used. The spacing between the chiclet keys is more than required and the keys are smaller too. However, overall the unit is pretty neat and excellent to look at. It’s an ideal machine for a lifestyle home, like if you have a modular kitchen, or you can use it in your study, where space is a limited. Better yet, if you need a stylish all-in-one PC for your office desk, this one could prove to be pretty useful.

Thankfully there's a DVD writer, which more often than not, is absent in entry-level all-in-one PCs.

There are two ways of looking at it, the hardware doesn’t justify the price tag at all, but again, when it comes to functionality, this machine has all that makes a good all-in-one home PC. Speaking of functionality, this isn’t just a PC, as in you can even connect your cable TV, watch your favorite soaps and sift through the Media Center wirelessly using the bundled remote. We watched full-HD movie clips on the crisp 21.5-inch (1920 x 1080) screen and the experience was awesome. So basically, more than a performance personal computer, the Beanstalk Ultima is a good all-in-one multimedia option.

You can plug the wireless dongle at the back panel to free up the two USB ports at the side.

Built around an Nvidia ION platform, this computer is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 processor, has 4 GB RAM and a 500 GB hard drive. At the rear, you’ll find, the power jack, a cable TV jack, VGA, 4 USB ports, HDMI, eSATA, 2 Audio jacks, SPDIF, an Ethernet jack, and Kensington lock slot. The machine bundles with it a stylus, wireless keyboard and mouse, a cable TV wire (co-axial) and a wall-mounting kit.

The cable TV dongle goes into the gold connector between the VGA port and the power jack.

Finally the machine also has a webcam and comes preloaded with Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit). So overall, there is no doubt that this machine is rich in features, but when you compare it with a standard PC, it’s just hard to justify the price for this sort of hardware.

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