- Review Date: 05/06/2013
- Bottom line: The Acer Aspire A5600U-UB13 is a nice looking all-in-one desktop PC with a solid feature set and acceptable, though not exceptional performance. It's a decent all-in-one desktop at a decent price, but there are better systems out there for not much more money.
- Pros: Large touch screen. Good ergonomics/tilt angles. HDMI in and out. Wireless keyboard and mouse.
- Cons: Lots of pre-loaded programs. Gesture control is gimmicky. Slower performance than other midrange AiO desktops.
The Acer Aspire A5600U-UB13 ($999.99) is a decently priced all-in-one desktop with an Intel Core i5 processor, 6GB of memory, a 1TB hard drive, and a responsive 23-inch touch screen. It's a good introductory PC for Windows 8, since it has good ergonomics, really nice design, and a nice price tag. However, a gimmicky gesture interface, mediocre performance, and a plethora of pre-loaded software hold the system from higher overall scores. It's good, but we want to see great.
Design and Features
The A5600U-UB13 is a scaled down version of the Acer Aspire 7600U (A7600U-UR308) ($1,899) in both size and price. The A5600U-UB13 also has a similar design, with clear polycarbonate under the screen, making the system seem like it is floating above your work surface. The A5600U-UB13 also has matching wireless keyboard and mouse, with clear panels that echo the main chassis. The 23-inch display uses its single-hinged stand to tilt back, from 30 to 80 degrees so you can use the system in a traditional vertical orientation or leaned far back to optimize the touch experience. It leans further back than the limited tilt on systems like the Dell Inspiron One 23
The A5600U-UB13's 23-inch LED blacklit screen can handle ten-point touch, which is good for a single user or a pair of users sharing the system. The screen displays a 1080p HD native 1,920 by 1,080 resolution, which comes in handy while working on a large spreadsheets or viewing online HD videos. The 1080p HD screen is optimal for large displays like the A5600U-UB13's 23-inch panel. Other similarly priced systems like the $999 Sony VAIO Tap 20 compromise by using a 1,600 by 900 resolution panel. However, 1,600 by 900 isn't quite enough to show all the pixels in a 1080p HD video without scaling down the picture. Like other touch systems, the A5600U-UB13's screen is covered by a seamless piece of glass with a wide bezel around the screen, which lets you use Window 8's many touch gestures to bring up on-screen menus.
Aside from the touch interface, the A5600U-UB13 comes with a gesture control system called Pointgrab. Pointgrab will track your open hand (via the screen's built-in webam) if you hold it toward the screen. Pointgrab will let you move around and use the Windows 8 UI by waving your arm and closing your open hand. While the technology works, so far it's much more convenient simply using the system's touch interface. In fact, Pointgrab is more tiring to use, since there is some lag between moving your outstretched hand and the system reacting to it. You'll need to hold your arm straight out longer using the Pointgrab interface than simply touching the screen. In contrast, the touch interface is instantaneous. This is similar to the situation on the Samsung Series 7 (DP700A3D-A01US) ($1,099.99), which also has a gesture interface that you can use optionally. Your arm and hand are likely to tire faster using gestures than when you simply use the touch screen or better yet use the included mouse and keyboard.
The A5600U-UB13 is well connected, with two USB 3.0 ports on the left hand side of the chassis, along with a SD card reader and audio ports. The right side and back of the system hold the A5600U-UB13's three USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, HDMI in, HDMI out, SPDIF, and the tray-loading DVD burner. HDMI out is useful for connecting the system to a HDTV or another monitor for multi-monitor computing. The HDMI in port will let you connect a work laptop or future PC, so you can extend the life of the display long after the A5600U-UB13's internal PC components are obsolete.
Like many other Acer systems, the A5600U-UB13 comes with plenty of pre-loaded software. You'll find Acer Explorer, 7Digital, Fresh Paint, Kindle, eBay, Acer Crystal Eye (webcam), Netflix, iCookbook, Amazon, Tunein radio, Cut the Rope, Hulu Plus, Britannica, Zinio, Merriam-Webster, Chacha, Newsxpresso, Spotify, Wild Tangend Games, and McAfee already on the system when you boot it up for the first time. While this is par for the course, it does tend to clutter up the Star screen and Desktop mode. There's certainly enough space on the 1TB hard drive for all these programs, but you'll have to budget a couple of hours to clean all this stuff off in you prefer a clean system. Systems with Microsoft Signature prep like the Vizio 24-Inch All-in-One (CA24T-A4) ($1,299) and more business oriented systems like the Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 92z ($1,093.99) come with a lot less pre-loaded software. The Acer Aspire A5600U-UB13 comes with a one-year warranty.
The A5600U-UB13 comes with a dual-core Intel Core i5-3230M processor, 6GB of memory, and Intel HD Graphics 4000. While 6GB of memory will help multitaskers and those who keep many tabs open on their browsers, the A5600U-UB13 was nevertheless a bit slower than other midrange all-in-one desktops on our benchmark tests. Partially because of the slower processor and partly because of the slower 5,400rpm drive, the A5600U-UB13 was measurably slower than the Vizio CA24T-A4, the Lenovo Edge 92z, the Samsung Series 7, and our current Editors' Choice Apple iMac 21.5-Inch (Late 2012) ($1,199) on the PCMark 7 test (day-to-day performance), Handbrake (video encoding), and Photoshop CS6. What this tells us is that the A5600U-UB13 will start to feel slower sooner than its rivals that are just a bit more expensive. Unless you're married to the chassis' design, the other systems compared here will be faster for a longer period of time.
Overall, the Acer Aspire A5600U-UB13 is a nice looking all-in-one desktop PC with a solid feature set and acceptable, though not exceptional performance. It's a decent all-in-one desktop at a decent price, but there are better systems out there for not much more money.
This review is in partnership with PCMag.com.