With the updated £877 Aspire Z5610 all-in-one PC, Acer has jumped into quad-core territory with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 CPU. There's also 4GB of DDR3 memory and a huge terabyte hard drive. UPDATED 2 MARCH 2010.

When we last reviewed the £759 Acer Aspire Z5610, this all-in-one system was suffering from the dreaded good-but-not-great designation. General speeds were excellent, but the system's other omissions - including a less-than-appealing 320GB of storage and no scope for upgrades - added some scuffs to what would otherwise have been a picture-perfect desktop device. You can read our review on the following page.

With the updated £877 Aspire Z5610, Acer has jumped into quad-core territory with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 CPU. There's also 4GB of DDR3 memory and a huge terabyte (1TB) hard drive. The new Acer Aspire Z5610 all-in-one PC scored 98 points in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed test (the original model scored 101).

The US model we reviewed here doesn't offer great support for gaming - the all-in-one PC's integrated ATI Radeon HD 4570 graphics wouldn't even run Unreal Tournament 3 at its standard setting of 2560x2100 resolution, high quality. The UK version of the Acer Aspire Z5610 isn't likely to far any better, with a 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon 4530 chip. (You'll find UK specifications here.)

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The Acer Aspire Z5610 all-in-one PC's 23in display matches the beautiful look of its predecessor with strong saturation, which gives images and movies an excellent, lifelike representation. The beauty's also in the details: this system's contrasts do much to highlight bits of scenes that would otherwise be obscured or muddled in a less impressive display.

You won't find this kind of detail on the system's external connections, as Acer continues to deliver the same ho-hum loadout on its Aspire Z5610 all-in-one PC. The system's rear hosts four USB ports, a gigabit ethernet port (and included 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity), an eSATA port and integrated 5.1-channel surround sound. Only two USB ports and a single multiformat card reader can be found on the Z5610's side. Where are the next-generation display connectors? Where are the optical inputs for improved integration into an entertainment setup? These are all questions Acer should have asked itself between desktop revisions.

The updated Acer Aspire Z5610 all-in-one PC is more of a minor revision than a completely new experience. Mouse? Same. Keyboard? Same. They're good devices, wireless and full of extra functions (for the keyboard, at least), but no different than what was seen previously.

>> Read on for our original review

Original review: Acer Aspire Z5610

Besides its big high-def screen, the Acer Aspire Z5610's goodies include a 2.6GHz Intel dual-core processor that delivered an impressive score of 101 in our WorldBench 6 benchmark suite.

The Acer Aspire Z5610's score compares extremely well with those of the more expensive all-in-one PCs. Those results were beaten only by the new Core i7- and Core i5-based 27in Apple iMacs, the category-leading speedsters.

Tested using 64-bit Windows 7 and Boot Camp, the much more expensive Apple iMac (27in/Core i7) scored 128 to the iMac (27in/Core i5)'s result of 123. Blazing.

The Acer Aspire Z5610 was trumped by all those PCs in our gaming tests, but its 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4570 graphics chip does deliver playable frame rates. The Acer managed 40fps in Unreal Tournament 3 (1024 by-768 resolution, high quality), though that halved to 24fps at 1680 by 1050 (same settings).

So here's one way Acer kept the Acer Aspire Z5610's price so low. While other big screen all-in-one PCs (over 20 inches) boast anywhere from 600GB to 1TB of storage, the Acer Aspire Z5610 goes only as high as 320GB of storage. It's a fair amount, if not average for most systems below the Z5160's price. Still, a jump up to 500GB would seem fitting. On the upside, 802.11n Wi-Fi and gigabit LAN connectivity ensures that you'll always have access to the fastest performance available no matter what your personal networking preference is.

The Acer Aspire Z5610's 23in touchscreen panel is well-utilised by the preinstalled plethora of Acer software, including a backup manager, a social networking application, a media hub, and a giant portal for launching (and dragging around) all sorts of individual applications.

This bundle easily rivals HP's bevy of awesome applications for a touch-sensitive device. As for the screen's picture quality, the display is as bright as it is crisp. It delivers excellent saturation that really makes movies and graphics pop with life, and the powerful contrasts - hampered slightly by the strong glare of the system's glossy panel - do an equally excellent job displaying both the blacks and whites of a scene. The Acer Aspire Z5610's included speakers are of the usual all-in-one desktop quality: not great, but not worse than an average laptop's.

An average load-out of six USB ports, split across the Acer Aspire Z5610's side and rear, is sweetened by the unique inclusion of a single eSATA port. Although a nod to a more conventional (and widely used) display connector would have been a better choice, one can't really fault the Z5160 in its attempt to appeal to users of high-performance external storage devices. A single multiformat card reader sits on the system's side, as does a DVD writer. No Blu-ray love at this price.

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The gray keyboard and mouse included with the Acer Aspire Z5610 are each as ugly as the other. The former comes with additional function keys for launching applications and controlling media playback, but a giant volume wheel built into the keyboard's upper-right corner looks downright weird.

The Acer Aspire Z5610's boxy mouse is a generic two-button model with wireless capabilities - that means it should still get a signal when you toss it in the trash in favor of a device that's a bit friendlier on the eyes and fingers. These are truly hideous devices to look at.

With no mention in the manual of any way to replace or upgrade the components, you should assume that you're stuck with what you're getting. That's a shame, considering that its versions of the most easily replaceable parts in a conventional PC are the only real drawbacks to the Acer Aspire Z5610's stellar performance and quality. Up the storage a little bit, swap out the optical drive for a Blu-ray device, and you'd have an unstoppable machine on your hands.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

PCWorld.com

Acer Aspire Z5610: Specs

  • 2.3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200
  • 1,333MHz FSB
  • 4MB cache
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 1,066MHz RAM
  • 1TB 7,200rpm SATA
  • 23in (1920x1200) touchscreen
  • 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4530
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • gigabit ethernet
  • infrared
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • webcam
  • TV tuner
  • 5-in-1 card reader
  • DVD rewriter
  • wireless keyboard and mouse
  • one-year warranty
  • 570x484x84.6mm
  • WorldBench 6 score: 98
  • 2.3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200
  • 1,333MHz FSB
  • 4MB cache
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 1,066MHz RAM
  • 1TB 7,200rpm SATA
  • 23in (1920x1200) touchscreen
  • 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4530
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • gigabit ethernet
  • infrared
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • webcam
  • TV tuner
  • 5-in-1 card reader
  • DVD rewriter
  • wireless keyboard and mouse
  • one-year warranty
  • 570x484x84.6mm
  • WorldBench 6 score: 98

OUR VERDICT

Input devices are just a few of the many improvements Acer could have made with its updated Aspire Z5610 all-in-one PC. The new machine's chief selling points are its quad-core processor and increased storage capacity. That's it. The former doesn't improve general benchmarks, while the latter is a great upgrade for the £120 price difference between the two systems.

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