- Review Date: 8/29/2013
- Bottom line: The Acer Aspire AZ3-605-UR23 has a lot of intelligent features we'd like to see on most if not all all-in-one desktop PCs in the future.
- Pros: Front-mounted I/O ports. 10-point touch screen. HDMI-in. Spacious hard drive.
- Cons: No Blu-ray. Some added software/bloatware. Wonky gesture control.
The Acer Aspire AZ3-605-UR23 ($999.99 list) is a refined, yet simple version of the all-in-one desktop PC that has evolved over the past few years. It has most of the features we look for in a modern all-in-one PC, including a moderate price. It's a more than competent media consumption system, though media creators like videographer and photographers may want to look elsewhere.
Design and Features
The Acer Aspire AZ3-605-UR23 bucks the aluminum and glass trend by being built out of black polycarbonate instead. That said, it's no slouch in the design department. While not flashy, the all-in-one chassis of the AZ3-605-UR23 is attractive and looks a little more purposeful than a plain monitor. It's built into an easel and stand design, where a tilting back leg governs the tilt of the screen. It doesn't have height adjustment, but very few all-in-one systems have that feature these days (a notable, expensive exception is the Editors' Choice for high end all-in-one desktops, the Dell XPS 27 Touch All-in-One (2720). The front is notable for having conveniently placed I/O ports that don't look out of place. The front left of the system has a convenient USB 3.0 port, headset jack, and SD card reader on a "capsule" built into the front speaker grille. This is way more convenient than having the ports on the back of the system (like on the midrange all-in-one Editors' Choice Apple iMac 21.5-Inch (Late 2012) ($1,299) or on the side, like on the Dell XPS 18 ($1,399).
This is one of the systems you should consider if you still have a large active optical disc collection. You can view your DVD movies and listen/rip your CDs using the built-in tray loading DVD burner. The system doesn't support Blu-ray, but that's only a problem if you're an Blu-ray fanatic who has already amassed a 1080p movie collection. Speaking of movies, online streaming movies look very good on the AZ3-605-UR23's 23-inch, 1,920 by 1,080 resolution (Full 1080p HD) display with a capacitive 10-point touch. The 10-point touch is important, as it will allow you to either use both hands on the screen, or share the touch screen with a person sitting next to you. Contrast this with the infrared 5-point touch screen on the competition like the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23-F260XT AIO ($999).
In addition to the front I/O ports, the AZ3-605-UR23 has two USB 2.0 ports in the back along with audio, Ethernet, HDMI-in and another USB 3.0 port. The HDMI-in port is useful if you want to play a console game on the same screen as your PC. It can also accommodate a future laptop or desktop PC, extending the display's life past when the system's Intel Core i5-3337U processor is obsolete. The system comes with a 1TB 7,200rpm SATA hard drive, which is slower yet many GB more spacious than the solid-state drives (SSDs) found in some recent systems. For a media consumption device, the tradeoff is welcome.
The front-facing camera can be used with an included gesture control system. However, like the ones we've seen on Lenovo IdeaCentre desktops, Acer's gesture control system is just a bit too annoying to use full time. Waving your arms in front of you can get tiring, and there is still a bit of lag between you moving a limb and the cursor following on the screen. We're not at the point where we can emulate the UI in the movie Minority Report, at least not yet.
The AZ3-605-UR23 does have quite a few pre-loaded apps, including 7digital, didlr, Kindle, eBay, Zinio, Netflix, iCookbook, Amazon, Tuneinradio, Chacha, Hulu Plus, Wild Tangent Games, Xbox Games, Stumbleupon, Skype, NewsXpresso, Spotify, McAfee Internet Security, and an ad for Microsoft Office. These are cumbersome if you don't use them, but they are moderately easy to remove. The AZ3-605-UR23 comes with a one-year warranty.
The AZ3-605-UR23 comes with an Intel Core i5-3337U processor, 8GB of system memory, Intel HD Graphics 4000, and a 1TB hard drive. Together, they provide the user with decent, but undistinguished performance. The system is certainly enough for the media consumer in your family, with enough speed to display 1080p HD content smoothly on the bright, clear screen. However, if you are planning on creating videos or editing photos, make sure you keep in mind that is isn't a powerhouse system. If you want multimedia performance, going with the EC-winning Apple iMac 21.5-inch is a better bet.
The Acer Aspire AZ3-605-UR23 is a very good media consumption device. It looks nice, has well-thought out features, and has a nice price tag. If you need a moderately large screen to view online videos in a bedroom or a dorm room, this is your system. However, on a price, feature, and performance summation the Apple iMac 21.5-inch holds on to its Editors' Choice award for midrange all-in-one desktops.
This review is in partnership with PCMag.com.