Asus helped kick off the whole all-in-one PC resurgence with its 15.6in Eee Top ET1602; the Asus Eee Top ET2002 is the first nVidia ION graphics version.
But there's a problem: its dual-core Atom N330 processor, 2GB of RAM and Windows 7 Home Premium operating system scored only 37 in WorldBench 6. This makes it marginally slower than the original ET1602 (which scored 41). It is also slower than HP's Pavilion MS214 an identically priced, 18.5-inch Windows 7 all-in-one with a 37 percent higher score (59).
Both systems turned in equally unplayable results for gaming, with the Asus Eee Top ET2002 delivering a paltry 10 frames per second on a scaled-down version of our Unreal Tournament 3 benchmark (1024-by-768 resolution, high quality). Ion graphics don't help much with gaming, but will help with smooth HD flash video playback.
For the most part, the Asus Eee Top ET2002's feature list matches the smaller HP MS214. Both systems come with 2GB of RAM, while the Asus squeaks in a little extra storage capacity: 320GB versus 300GB. Both use Windows 7 Home Premium, though HP ups the ante with a 64bit version. Both systems feature an impressive collection of networking options, including support for 802.11n Wi-Fi and gigabit networking. To even out the playing field, each has a DVD writer.
But one big difference is display quality. Neither display is a touchscreen. Asus' is slightly larger, while the HP provides a stronger picture. Colour saturation on the Asus Eee Top ET2002 was lacking, leaving otherwise vibrant scenes looking duller and more muted than we've seen on competing all-in-one PCs. Similarly, the dark-heavy contrasts gave scenes a faded look, leading to a slight loss of detail in the picture due to the lack of greyscale at the white end of the spectrum.
Though the Asus Eee Top ET2002's traditional setup of six USB ports and a multi-format card reader is a bit of a yawn, Asus offers a little surprise by including an HDMI input on the back of the system. It's an excellent choice for those looking to stash this all-in-one desktop in a living room, as it gives you the option to integrate this system with your general entertainment setup (provided the relatively small screen size isn't a bother). The wireless mouse and keyboard, generic in their overall operation, allows for up to five USB ports to be used.
Another significant difference between the Asus Eee Top ET2002 and the MS214 is upgradability. If you actually can alter any parts of the Asus Eee Top ET2002, you'll need to work out how yourself. Asus provides no instructions for modifying or replacing parts. By contrast, HP walks users through a fairly detailed procedure for replacing the RAM and the hard drive.
NEXT: our expert verdict >>