- Review Date: 03/5/11
- Bottom line:
The Acer Veriton Z290G-UD525W is a one-trick pony: It's one of the cheapest touchscreen-equipped all-in-one PCs out there, but is best suited for running single screen data-entry applications like cash register and concierge desk managers.
Compact all-in-one form factor. Easy to set up. Has a serial port.
A little slow. Only single touch functionality on screen. Awkward rear USB and Ethernet ports.
The Acer Veriton Z290G-UD525W-UD525W ($599 list) is a one-trick pony: It's one of the cheapest touchscreen-equipped all-in-one
Design and Features
The Z290G-UD525W has standard Acer business desktop styling, which consists of glossy black plastic with some minor embellishments. It's indistinguishable from an inexpensive flat panel monitor, except for the tray-loading DVD burner on the right side of the desktop. The included wired keyboard feels a little cheap (the space bar in particular is a little wobbly), but it gets the job done. In a win of aesthetics over functionality, the rear-facing I/O ports (like the USB and Ethernet ports) actually face down so they're hidden from views directly astern. This makes them less noticeable, but also harder to use: You may need to physically turn the unit over to plug in Ethernet or USB cables.
The keyboard just barely slips into the space between the two supporting feet at the base of the desktop, so you can hide the keyboard away when you're not using it. The Z290G-UD525W has five USB ports, a serial port (for old-school peripherals), digital media card reader, and audio ports. There are two internal memory slots, both filled, but you can swap out the included 2GB to upgrade to 3GB or 4GB. The hard drive is small compared with consumer PCs, but 320GB should be enough for just about any clerical business user. The hard drive is free of bloatware, unlike Acer's consumer-class models. The Z290G-UD525W comes with Acer's eSobi news reader and Skype, but, fortunately, that's about it on the trial/bloatware front. The desktop comes with an Acer-branded version of Wave System's Embassy security software, which differentiates the Z290G-UD525W from consumer-grade PCs. Unfortunately, the system I reviewed lacks the TPM chip required to make the security software work.
The Z290G-UD525W's Intel Atom D525 processor and 5,400rpm hard drive won't win any speed tests, but at least the desktop is much more useful than the single-core Atom powered Acer Veriton VN281G-UA425W ($399 list, 1.5 stars). The Z290G-UD525W takes over 14 minutes 31 seconds to complete our Handbrake video encoder test and a little over 23 minutes to complete the Photoshop CS5 test (23:03). The VN281G takes 23:28 for Handbrake and 25:46 for CS5. Though it's a consumer-grade all-in-one desktop, the HP Omni 100 ($559.99 list, 4.5 stars) is a lot faster, scoring 5:31 for Handbrake and 10:48 for CS5. The Z290G-UD525W's 3D performance was predictably nonexistent, thanks to the integrated Intel GMA 3150 graphics. Essentially, it's meant to be a basic Office and Web surfing PC.
To that end, I visited various business and consumer Websites on the Z290G-UD525W. Performance was a little pokey when loading Websites and applications, but things sped along fine once the data loaded. For example, both YouTube 720p videos and Hulu videos played back smoothly after they were downloaded from the Internet. Contrast this with the Acer VN281G, which had problems playing back most videos without stuttering..
The Acer Veriton Z290G-UD525W will be attractive to the business user that wants to put in a POS (Point-of-sale) terminal with touchscreen or to the business owner that needs scheduling or concierge-type services. It's certainly fast enough and has enough features to support data-management app functions like that. However, as a replacement for a clerical worker's older desktop PC, it doesn't quite make the cut. The Z290G-UD525W is a smidge too slow, and most everyday workers will clamor for their "old" Core 2 Duo or dual core Pentium-powered desktops if you give them this desktop. Multitasking is a frustrating exercise for the Z290G-UD525W user, and it's not fast enough to do any sort of graphics-based work. Though it is a consumer-grade system, the Editors' Choice HP Omni 100 is faster; cheaper; has a better processor, hard drive, and graphics; and is a better all-in-one desktop overall for the price, even if it eschews touch input.
BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS
Check out the test scores for the Acer Veriton Z290G-UD525W