Review: 4 all-in-one PCs sip energy, save money

Save up to $60 a year in electricity costs

1 2 3 4 5 6 Page 2
Page 2 of 6

Acer Veriton Z280G

If power bills were all that mattered in choosing an all-in-one PC, I'd run out right now, buy an Acer Veriton Z280G and laugh all the way to the bank. But although it consumed the least amount of power of the group, its performance came up short.

Acer Veriton Z280G
Acer Veriton Z280G

The black and silver system is similar to the MSI AE1900 in that it sits on two front feet and has an adjustable rear leg, but the Z280G feels less sturdy. When set up, the Z280G takes up 19.1 by 8.5 in. of desk space, the most of this group; it's 20 sq. in. larger than HP's MS214.

The monitor case houses the entire system, including the 1.6-GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive and a Super Multi DVD drive. There's a big power switch up front, and the brightness control on the side is convenient but has only five settings to choose from.

The Z280G's 18.5-in. display is the brightest of the four but lacks the touch capabilities of the MSI AE1900. Its 1366-by-768 native resolution matches that of the HP and MSI models but is bested by the Averatec's 1680-by-945 resolution.

The Z280G's Intel GMA 950 graphics engine with 128MB of video memory is on par with the MSI all-in-one's but well behind the Averatec and HP models'. While all the others have built-in webcams, the Z280G does without.

When it comes to ports, the Z280G has an oddity: There are two antiquated PS/2 ports for the (included) keyboard and mouse. There are also five USB ports, headphone and microphone jacks, and a flash card reader. Like the others in the roundup, it has wired and wireless (802.11b/g Wi-Fi) networking but lacks the DVI and SATA ports of the Averatec.

The Z280G uses only 37 watts at full power and a downright tightfisted 1 watt -- half as much as the others -- when asleep. It adds up to an annual power bill of just $20, about $7 less per year than the Averatec.

What's sacrificed is performance, with the system getting only a 263.8 on the PassMark Performance benchmark, which is below par even for a netbook and nearly 20% off the pace set by the HP MS214. As was the case with the MSI AE1900, which had similar hardware, the Z280G yielded choppy video when running Trainz, although it delivered more background details than the MSI model.

Like the AE1900, the Z280G uses Windows XP, but Acer opted for the Professional version of the operating system. The installed software includes some goodies such as Carbonite's online backup service and an online set of games called Wild Games.

All told, the Z280G defines "economical," and it rivals many laptops in power use. On the other hand, its performance leaves me wanting more.

1 2 3 4 5 6 Page 2
Page 2 of 6
7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon