Hardware: the essentials and the superfluousTo look at, this machine has nothing to envy the Apple models. There's perhaps less aluminium, but this doesn’t stop it from having a nice finish. Indeed the combination of grey and glossy black metal makes it look rather elegant from the front. From the back it’s not quite as handsome with matte black plastic and a rather ugly (when opened) cover for the connectors on the left - this is where the external subwoofer is connected so it's open all the time.
The wireless keyboard that comes with it is a little too soft except for the spacebar which cracks like a whip each time you press down on it. This is our main reproach though. The keys are a good size and their positioning makes for instinctive keying, minimising mistakes.
As is often the case, it’s best to see the mouse as a fallback solution. It’s too small for comfortable use and only has two buttons (left and right) and the scroll (clickable). For everyday use you'll therefore need to go for a better model.
The connectivity, shared around the back and on the left hand side of the screen is more than sufficient for everyday use. It includes 4 USB ports (2 x 2.0 and 2 x 3.0), a combo USB/eSATA port, an SD card reader, an RJ45 socket (Ethernet) and a pair of video ins (VGA and HDMI). You'll therefore be able to use this all-in-one as the display for a laptop or link it up to a DVD player (there's a built-in Blu-ray player). There’s no video out however and you won’t therefore be able to use this 27-inch as part of a dual screen set-up.
The audio connectivity consists of mini-jack sockets (a line out, a headphones out and a mic in). There’s a fourth mini-jack connector but it’s given over to the external subwoofer sold with this all-in-one (see audio section).
Back: power supply, Ethernet port, HDMI in, VGA in, HD digital tuner, USB 2.0 port and USB 2.0 with dongle for the keyboard and mouse
Left side: subwoofer socket, mic in, headphones out, line out and USB 3.0 port, USB/eSATA combo and SD card reader
The mouse and keyboard both run on batteries and require a small USB connector (one for both) to be recognised by the ET2700INTS. One of the five USB ports therefore needs to be reserved for this.
Note also the screen is a multipoint touchscreen that recognises up to ten fingers simultaneously. In practice it works perfectly well, but it's difficult to use as in contrast to a tablet or phone that can be placed on your knees, you’ll find your arm tires very quickly here. You have to hold it out in front of you and in the end we found the good old mouse/keyboard combination more practical (with the exception of the few applications developed specifically for this PC, such as the drawing and colouring application for children).
The inclusion of the HD digital tuner does however come in use and a remote means you can use the ET2700INTS as a television too. If you want to reduce the number of screens in your living room, office or bedroom, this may well be a good solution for you, especially as you can record or programme recordings, which you can then stock on the computer.
A few things did however disappoint us with respect to using it as a TV. You have to start up the computer to watch TV as this feature requires the use of Windows Media Center. Also there’s always a delay of one or two seconds between pressing on a button and the recognition of the command.
The webcam on this 27-inch is okay without being anything special. Movements are rendered well as is the level of detail in light areas. Dark areas however tend to turn into blocked out black sections. For occasional video conferencing, it will serve perfectly but otherwise go for a separate webcam.
At idle the ET2700INTS remains perfectly quiet. When you push the components hard, the fan can sometimes be heard for a few seconds but for the rest of the time you have to place your ear right up against where the air comes out (at the back) to hear it. The temperature management is also perfectly acceptable. As the hot air (40°C) comes out the back of the machine, heat shouldn't be an issue.
Readings taken using a Fluke Ti25 (Distrame) camera
Asus has chosen to equip its 27-inch all-in-one with 12 GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7-2600S (index 188) processor. This means processing times on the ET2700INTS are very short, even for high load applications such as 3D modelling.
Processor power: very effective
It will in fact do particularly well on this type of application as it can share processing across the different cores (4 physical cores x2 thanks to hyperthreading).
The boot time is however a little disappointing as you have to wait for over a minute for it to become completely operational. With a slightly faster hard drive or an SSD, it would have done better. It turns off in under 15 seconds.
3D gaming: a mid-range cardWith 12 GB of RAM and an i7 processor, the graphics card installed (GT 540M) proves to be the ET2700INTS’ weak point. In effect, while you can run most titles by lowering the graphics options, the highest load games do also require you to lower the resolution to keep decent fluidity.
For 1080p video decoding (Blu-ray equivalent) however, there’s no problem. The Blu-ray player (and DVD burner) works perfectly.
Audio: almost perfectThe audio on all-in-one iMacs has long since been the standard to measure other models by. With powerful, irreproachably clean sound, good speakers and no saturation at high volume, Apple has shown the way in terms of delivering quality results on this type of computer. Asus is the first competitor to offer anything approaching the same level of quality.
The ES levels are clean and our only slight complaint is the lack of power from the headphones out. The speakers are not quite top quality but are well above what's offered by the competition, mainly thanks to the mini subwoofer that gives you more bass than you'd otherwise get. To enjoy the audio from this machine to a maximum, make sure you switch to the 5.1 setting with the central and sourrounds off in the audio Realteck chipset configuration panel, as otherwise the sound seems weak. Don’t turn on the DTS processing software as it's particularly nasty on this product.
How much power does an all-in-one 27-inch Asus use?With respect to power consumption, it does better than the iMac 27-inch. It consumes barely 70 Watts when on the Windows desktop and 105 Watts during video playback. When off, it consumes around 0.3 Watts, which is a little more than the iMacs, which peak at 0.1 Watts.
- MVA panel (open viewing angles and a contrast ratio of 3000:1).
- Powerful processor
- Blu-ray player
- Two video ins (can run it as a standard screen linked to a laptop)
- HD digital tuner
- Rich connectivity (USB 3.0, eSATA, etc.)
- Good audio quality
- Nice finish
- Reasonable energy consumption
- Moderate gaming capacity
- Slow hard drive (affects boot times)
- Glossy panel
- Colours lacking in accuracy (deltaE of 6.1)
- No video out
Powerful, well equipped (even a bit too much so if you don’t like touchscreens), with good audio and an MVA panel, the ET200INTS will handle a wide range of usages, though it does fall short when it comes to gaming. While the Apple machines still have the advantage when it comes to design and screen definition and accuracy, this 27-inch includes certain elements which the iMacs don’t have, such as a Blu-ray player and the USB 3.0 ports.