Forget for a moment that the iMac exists, and you could find yourself jolly impressed with the look and feel of the Asus E2700INTS. Its 27in display is imposing yet stylish. It’s glossy, posh and maybe even something you could feel a little bit proud of when friends come to visit. See also Group test: what's the best all-in-one PC?
Don’t let them peer around the back though – it will reveal the façade, as they stumble upon the cheap-looking plastic casing, complete with an unnecessary plastic door which serves only to block access to useful ports inside.
These include a pair of USB 3.0 ports and a hybrid USB 2.0/eSATA connector along with a card reader and a selection of audio jacks. One of these is dedicated to a unique custom-designed external subwoofer.
Plugging this in gives a welcome boost to the overall sound quality (actually pretty decent even without it), but also ensures that the unnecessary plastic door can never be closed, thanks to its connecting cable.
Right round the back, we find another two USB 2.0 ports, an antenna socket for the built in DVB-T tuner and gigabit ethernet alongside a duo of VGA and HDMI ports (both inputs only).
One way to ensure the PC is seen only from its best side is to remove the stand and use the built in VESA mount to hang it on the wall.
Returning to the front, the display itself is very good. It delivers superb contrast which really makes images pop. It also incorporates a ten-point multi-touch interface which we found to be reasonably responsive and easy to use – perhaps, in part, due its larger dimensions. We tried the Windows 8 Comsumer Preview on and found it ran smoothly. The PC really comes into its own under the new operating system.
Asus claims super-wide 178 degree viewing angles for this display. We found that standing up and sitting down was enough of a shift to cause a noticeable perceived difference in brightness. It’s no match for the iMac in this regard.
Inside, the system is powered by a low-power Intel Core i5-2400S processor, the same as found in Packard Bell’s oneTwo L I871, and slower than the Core i5-2500S found in the iMac.
Multimedia support is excellent, thanks to the built-in tuner and excellent sound system, complemented by a Blu-ray writer. It would have been even better with the ability to drive an external TV screen.