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PCs make great Blu-ray players, but Acer’s Revo RL100-UR20P is the first Blu-ray-equipped PC we’ve seen that’s thinner and smaller than most purpose-built Blu-ray players. If it played high-definition audio discs such as SACD and DVD-Audio, it would be one of the most powerful Blu-ray players on the market, but this machine isn’t that ambitious.
It is, on the other hand, considerably less expensive than very high-end Blu-ray players that are capable of playing those high-definition audio formats. The Oppo BDP-95, for example, sells for $999 and is almost never discounted.
The Revo RL100-UR20P is street-priced at just $550. That’s a compelling price for a home-theater PC with 3D capabilities, 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 750GB hard drive, integrated 802.11n, and a wicked wireless keyboard that doubles as an oversized wireless trackpad.
Just don’t expect to use the Revo RL100 for content creation, video transcoding, or much else besides watching movies, streaming media, and playing the least demanding of games. Outfitted with AMD’s dual-core Athlon II Neo K325 running at 1.3GHz, integrated graphics in the form of Nvidia’s Ion GPU, and DDR3 memory creeping along in single-channel mode at just 667MHz, this rig will never be mistaken for a powerhouse.
But this machine runs as silent as a tomb, and you’ll barely notice its impact on your electric bill: It drew 22 watts at idle and power consumption increased to just 32 watts while playing a Blu-ray disc. We encountered no issues streaming high-definition Netflix movies and YouTube videos.
The Revo can disappear inside your entertainment center, where it will operate either horizontally or vertically when mounted to its weighted stand. It has one USB 2.0 port with a tethered cover in front, along with a media card reader. There’s a tiny indicator light near the power button, and a red LED flashes when the computer receives input from the trackpad/keyboard. The back panel is similarly bare, with an optical S/PDIF, single HDMI port, Ethernet, two more USB 2.0 ports, and a mic input and headphone jack.
The Revo’s trackpad/keyboard deserves special attention. It’s a thin slab with an integrated battery that gets recharged when you slide it into its slot beneath the Blu-ray tray. When first powered up, it behaves as a touch-sensitive trackpad with support for multi-touch gestures. The only button on the device is for power, so you must tap its surface to click and there’s no means of right-clicking. Pressing the power button a second time causes a full QWERTY keyboard, formed by tiny dots of light, to appear on the pad’s surface. The touch-sensitive keyboard has dedicated keys to control media-player software and channel selection (although the computer does not have an integrated TV tuner), but you must switch back to trackpad mode to control the cursor. The pad also has a large wheel on the upper left side for volume control, and there’s a mute key on the keyboard.
The Revo is a 98-pound weakling compared to our favorite HTPC, Asrock’s Vision 3D, but it delivers sexier looks, a bigger (albeit slower) hard drive, a keyboard and trackpad, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, and a significantly smaller price tag. If you’re primarily interested in a home-theater PC for playing Blu-ray movies and streaming media, this is a solid choice.
$549 street, www.acer.com
Sexy design, incredibly thin, slick wireless trackpad/keyboard, and very quiet.
Underpowered CPU, integrated graphics, and single-channel memory.
|Acer Revo RL100-UR20P|
|Processor ||AMD 1.3GHz Athlon II Neo K325|
|Motherboard ||Acer custom|
|RAM ||4GB DDR3/667 in single-channel mode|
|Graphics ||Integrated (Nvidia Ion)|
|Soundcard ||Integrated (Nvidia HD Audio)|
|Storage ||750GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue HDD (5,400 RPM)|
Nvidia Gigabit Ethernet, Ralink 802.11n
|Acer Revo RL100||Giada i50||MSI E350IA-E45||Dell Inspiron Zino||Asrock Vision 3D|
|CPU ||AMD 1.3GHz Athlon II Neo K325||1.2GHz Intel Core i5-430UM||1.6GHz AMD Fusion E350||1.5GHz Athlon X2 3250e||2.4GHz Intel Core i3-370M|
|GPU ||Integrated Nvidia Ion||Integrated Intel Arrandale||Integrated AMD Radeon HD 6310||Integrated Radeon HD 3200||Discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 425M|
|Photoshop CS3 (sec) ||3,644||272||438||449||162|
|MainConcept (sec) ||7,067||4,736||4,604||7,080||2,452|
|Quake II (fps)||119||87||193||192||537|
|Quake 4 (fps)||27||9||43||29||112|