After the Dell XPS 18, the Sony Vaio Tap 20, the HP Envy 23 and, of course, the Apple iMac, here we are reviewing another all-in-one, the MSI Adora24G 2NC (001EU). Looking at the specs, it's obviously geared towards multimedia and productivity. Let's see what it can do.
For some reason the Adora24 seems bulkier than it is. It doesn't have particularly huge dimensions (583 x 425 x 33 mm), but somehow you don't get the sense of sleekness you get with an iMac or an XPS 18. The reason for this is the stand: since the screen isn't raised (it sits directly on the tabletop, leaning backwards against the opened foot in the back), it seems like a sort of giant slab sitting on your desk. Not to everyone's liking.
From the bezel on down to the buttons, plastic reigns supreme on the Adora24. The only exception is the strip of brushed aluminium at the base of the display. But it's good manufacturing, everything's well assembled and there's no play anywhere. The plastic ON/OFF and display settings buttons are located along the left edge of the screen. They're easy to get to, but you have to apply a good deal of force when pushing down on them.
The keyboard and mouse are plastic too, but the finish is a far step down in quality from what you find with competing all-in-ones, especially the iMac. For example, the mouse's glossy black surface just loves to collect smudges and it isn't particularly well shaped to fit snugly in the hand. It's a no-frills mouse without any special features or side buttons.
As for the keyboard, the symbols aren't painted on; they're stickers stuck to the keys, and whether or not they'll hold after six months is anybody's guess. Capping it all off, both peripherals communicate with the computer via a Bluetooth USB key that blocks one of the free USB ports when you plug it in.
Along the left edge of the screen are two USB 2.0 ports and an SD card and Memory Stick reader. Everything else (3.5mm audio output, 3.5mm audio input, RJ45/Ethernet, four USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI out) is located on the back, so you have to reach around behind the computer to get to them. Plus, they're in a sort of enclosure, so it's not always easy to plug things in. Our model had a DVD drive, for Blu-ray you have to pay extra.
The Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n signal is stable at -44 dBm from 5 metres away and -62 dBm from 10 metres away.
On a more positive note, these thermal images show that the Adora24 handles its heat extremely well. The highest temperature we picked up when stressing the components was 38.5°C. The fan stays reasonably quiet at maximum of 42 dB(A), so it will be audible in an otherwise silent room, but unnoticeable with a minimum of background noise (music, people talking, a TV...).
The TN display is top-notch. We measured the average contrast ratio at 925:1 with 311 cd/m² of brightness.
Grey colour temperature
The colours are perfectly faithful (Delta E = 2.4) and the colour temperature (6,694 K, very close to the ideal of 6,500 K) and gamma curves are highly stable and linear. This is almost a flawless screen with a natural, realistic image.
Which is not the case of the audio. The speakers have relatively high volume, but the sound is stifled and mishmashed. The second you turn the volume up a bit, everything becomes unintelligible.
The headphone signal is just as bad, hindered by extremely low volume, so much so t that it will have trouble feeding certain brands of portable headphones. It's a shame, because it has good stereo separation and dynamics—but what good are those when you can't hear it?
Note: The model we were sent to review (2NC-001EU) features an Intel Core i5-4200M processor, 8 GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GT740M video card, a 1 TB hard drive (5400 rpm) and a 128 GB SSD. The Design, Display Quality and Audio sections above refer to all versions of the MSI Adora24G 2NC, whereas the Processor Power, Gaming and Battery Life sections below apply only to the model we tested. Available configurations may also vary depending on the country/region in which you live.
The Intel Core i5-4200M is a relatively swift processor that can execute any task at reasonable speeds. We found it to be 13% faster than the Core i5-4250U that equips the Intel NUC, but 5% slower than the XPS 18's Core i7-3537U. Naturally, the Dell XPS 2720's Core i7-4770S leaves it in the dust.
The 128 GB SSD allows the Adora24 to start up in 17 seconds and shut down in 7.
The model we tested has an Nvidia GeForce GT 740M graphics card, which gets a score of 9397 in 3DMark06. It allows you to play recent games if you lower some of the settings, but for more demanding titles like Crysis 3 or Battlefield 4, you'll have to lower the resolution and drastically lower a number of the quality settings.
Our model consumed 34.5 W on the desktop, 37.6 W while playing movies and 2 W when asleep, which is quite good for a 23.6-inch all-in-one.