Asus takes the price/performance crown in this roundup. The company’s ET2701 all-in-one can’t match the audacious display built into Dell’s XPS One 27, and it doesn’t have a fast SSD to supplement its 2TB hard drive, like the Dell; but many of the other components inside the ET2701 are exactly the same as what you’ll get with the XPS One. And the ET2701 costs $500 less.
The IPS display inside the Asus ET2701 is so beautiful you’ll quickly forget that its maximum resolution is just 1920x1080 pixels.
Both machines have the same CPU and GPU—Intel’s Core i7-3770S and Nvidia’s GeForce GT 640M, respectively—but Asus outfits its machine with a 27-inch display that’s limited to 1920x1080 resolution, while Dell goes the extra mile with a 27-inch display that’s capable of 2560x1440 resolution.
The E2701 scored first-place finishes in our ProShow Producer and Adobe Premiere tests, and it had the best CrystalDisk score among the systems with mechanical drives, though the Dell was faster with games.
But if you think you’ll be watching movies on its tray-mount Blu-ray player/DVD burner, and surfing the web more than performing precision edits on digital photos, the E2701 will make you very happy. The LED-backlit IPS display isn’t a touchscreen (none of the large all-in-ones we tested are), but it is absolutely gorgeous, with bright, vibrant colors and generous off-axis viewing angles.
A door on the left side of the machine flips open to reveal a memory card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, one combo USB 2.0/eSATA port (a unique feature in this roundup), a mic input, a headphone out, and a subwoofer out. We appreciate doors that hide ugly elements like I/O ports, but Asus didn’t think to include a cable cutout so you could close the door while a cable is plugged in—the door just hangs open and the cables spill out like spaghetti.
Asus provides a miniature, powered subwoofer with the PC, and it’s the only one that will work with the system because it draws power over the same cable that carries the audio signal from the PC. The speakers built into the ET2701 are good, but not great, so the sub is a welcome addition. But the combo doesn’t put out enough sound to fill even a small room—especially one with a lot of background noise, such as a kitchen.
We were surprised to find a VGA input on the Asus E2701’s back panel.
Each of the all-in-ones in this roundup is equipped with an HDMI input, which is great when you want to connect a cable or satellite set-top box or a videogame console to the display. You can set up the E2701 so that its display and HDMI input remain active even when the PC is shut down. Asus doesn’t offer a TV tuner with the E2701 in the North American market, which isn’t a big loss, but it doesn’t provide a remote control, either.
Bottom line: The Asus E2701 is a great all-in-one computer with an exceptional price/performance ratio.
Gorgeous display, fast components, and an eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port.
Cheap, sloppy keyboard; no TV tuner option; no remote.