The Asus Eee Top 1602 is similar in form to the HP TouchSmart, being a one-box PC and screen which allows direct user control through the display.

This is a 15.6in high-gloss touch-sensitive screen which doesn't render graphics as clearly as a regular panel. But once you start using the Eee Top through its screen interface, you can almost forget the reduce clarity.

What may be harder to overlook is the absence of optical drive. Just like the mini notebooks that seem to have in part inspired the Asus Eee Top, there is no built-in capability to read CD or DVD discs.

Upon start-up, you'll find that Asus Eee Top has provided a whole-screen one-stop launcher for common applications and tasks, with its Easy Mode interface. This resembles the interface found on its Linux-powered Eee PC netbooks, with big one-click icons to represent apps and shortcuts to utilities. From the Work tab, for instance, it just takes one finger touch to launch office productivity apps like Writer and Calc, the Star Office equivalents of Word and Excel.

Once open, you can interact with documents entirely with your fingers, thanks to the default large size menu fonts. It's only when you need to type text that you may need the wired compact keyboard. There is a handwriting recognition facility included but we found it quicker to use the keyboard each time.

The Asus Eee Top's keyboard can be neatly stowed behind the screen on a cradle that also doubles as a carry handle, ideal for picking up the lightweight Eee Top for moving from room to room. Integrated Wi-Fi with draft-n spec means you won't even be tied to your router, providing it's a wireless model.

NEXT PAGE: How it works in practice, benchmark result and our expert verdict...

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The Asus Eee Top 1602 is similar in form to the HP TouchSmart, being a one-box PC and screen which allows direct user control through the display.

In practice, we found it remarkably easy to get around the Windows XP interface using just the screen. The touch panel responded well to finger input, with no problems recognising, for example, the clicking of closely spaced web page links.

Additionally, while this is not true multi-touch in the manner of the iPhone or TouchSmart screens, where you can expand and shrink images by ‘pinching' with finger and thumb, you can use two fingers for scrolling up and down pages.

Build quality of the Asus Eee Top is good, if not in the same class as HP or Apple. The chassis is constructed of high-gloss plastic which doesn't quite have the quality of fit and finish found on premium brands. But then the price is much more attractive.

Performance for typical desktop duties is very good, despite only packing a single Intel Atom processor. In our benchmark tests though, it scored the highest of any Atom-based PC we've seen to date, with 41 points acheived in WorldBench 6. Most netbooks score around 30-35.

With the help of this cool-running Atom chip, heat and noise levels are kept very low too. And the general feel of the Windows interface remains very snappy.

NEXT PAGE: Asus Eee Top specifications and our expert verdict...

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Asus Eee Top 1602: Specs

  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
  • Windows XP SP3 Home
  • 15.6in (1366x768) touch sensitive glossy LCD screen
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 160GB SATA II HDD
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • multi-card reader
  • ethernet
  • 802.11b/g/draft-n
  • external power adaptor
  • power consumption 27W
  • 4.3kg
  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
  • Windows XP SP3 Home
  • 15.6in (1366x768) touch sensitive glossy LCD screen
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 160GB SATA II HDD
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • multi-card reader
  • ethernet
  • 802.11b/g/draft-n
  • external power adaptor
  • power consumption 27W
  • 4.3kg

OUR VERDICT

This desktop PC is more like a laptop packed into a screen, yet with its touchscreen interface it is much more. This would make a good household computer for a young family, and thanks to its economical 27W power consumption, it won’t even present any suprises on your next electric bill.

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