The Neo 64 from AJP is a good attempt at combining a solid all-in-one feature set with a reasonable price. Obviously it's still more expensive than its tower PC counterpart and doesn't have bleeding-edge technology, but we believe it represents a good-value, space-saving option that can cope with most of today's applications.

At only 9.65kg and with svelte dimensions, the Neo 64 can be set up nearly anywhere. It helps that the keyboard packs flush against the display and can be pulled down when you need to use it. The only lead you'll need is the power supply, and thanks to the integrated Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) you can connect wirelessly to the internet, thus avoiding any cable chaos.

It doesn't quite have the cachet of the amazing Elonex eXentia (March 05) because it doesn't have the vast array of ports. That said, there are six USB connections and FireWire, so you can hook up peripherals.

The shock of the Neo

The Neo 64 has some really nifty tricks up its sleeve. For instance, audio quality is great, thanks to four speakers and two sub-woofers. The speakers are tucked away on the side of the beautiful widescreen 1,280x768 display (although it's no match for Sony's great Onyx technology) and the sub-woofers are hidden in the stand itself.

Okay, there's no standalone audio card but we have nothing but praise for this excellent design feature, which provides the best audio we've seen on an all-in-one PC. Also onboard is a built-in TV tuner, a four-in-one card reader and, most surprisingly, a 1.3Mp digital camera that actually takes pretty good shots.

In terms of performance, the Neo 64 doesn't disappoint - with one glaring exception that we'll come to. The 250GB hard drive offers more than enough storage space for your multimedia but if you run out you can use the dual-layer DVD writer, which loads sideways on the righthand side of the display. While this is one of NEC's slower drives, it does support nearly every format - you only miss out on minus dual-layer burning and the little-seen RAM.

Performance notes

The WorldBench 5 score of 82 puts the Neo 64 on a par with the performance of our much cheaper superbudget PCs, but it's a good score for this stylish form factor and reflects the power of 1GB of memory combined with AMD's Athlon 64 3400+. In fact, our only bone of contention was the paltry 64MB integrated graphics, which simply can't cope with today's demanding games - we couldn't get Doom 3 to run in any configurations. It may well be there's no room in the cramped box for a separate graphics card but Elonex managed to squeeze a 128MB Radeon 9600 into its eXentia, so it is possible.

The only other downside is a generic problem associated with all-in-one PCs. It's a closed-box system, so upgrading isn't an option. At least the three-year warranty should provide peace of mind.

AJP Neo 64: Specs

  • SPECIFICATIONS 1.8GHz AMD Athlon 64 3400+
  • 1GB DDR RAM
  • 250GB hard drive
  • 8x/8x/8x/2.4x/4x/4x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/+R DL/-RW/+RW) 24x/24x16x (CD ROM/-R/-RW) combo DVD-RW drive
  • 1,280x768 WXGA display
  • 64MB integrated graphics
  • 1.3Mp digital camera
  • 4x speakers
  • 2x sub-woofers
  • onboard sound
  • TV tuner
  • integrated wireless card
  • 4-in-1 card reader
  • Win XP Home Ed
  • 490x340x160mm
  • 9.65kg
  • 3-year return-to-base (1-year parts and labour
  • 2-year labour) warranty
  • SPECIFICATIONS 1.8GHz AMD Athlon 64 3400+
  • 1GB DDR RAM
  • 250GB hard drive
  • 8x/8x/8x/2.4x/4x/4x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/+R DL/-RW/+RW) 24x/24x16x (CD ROM/-R/-RW) combo DVD-RW drive
  • 1,280x768 WXGA display
  • 64MB integrated graphics
  • 1.3Mp digital camera
  • 4x speakers
  • 2x sub-woofers
  • onboard sound
  • TV tuner
  • integrated wireless card
  • 4-in-1 card reader
  • Win XP Home Ed
  • 490x340x160mm
  • 9.65kg
  • 3-year return-to-base (1-year parts and labour
  • 2-year labour) warranty

OUR VERDICT

This is a smart, powerful and stylish all-in-one at a good price point - while the version we looked at comes with Windows XP Home, you can splash some cash on an upgrade to Media Center Edition for an extra £81. If you're a games fan you should look elsewhere but if you're interested in a small, cable-free PC for your living room, this is the one to buy.

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