Installation and Performance Impressions
Setting up the Averatec system is as easy as plugging in the AC adapter, mouse and keyboard. The system booted up to the Windows XP Service Pack 3 agreement page at which time you can also enter in your desired computer name, etc. Upon reboot, I made it into Windows and was greeted with a Norton Antivirus installer prompt for which a 90 day trial subscription is supplied. (Note: There is an odd bug with this PC's initial configuration that involves removing the Norton trial, a fix can be found here).
Next up was getting the latest Windows updates. The system needed 35 updates, then 6 or so optional software updates which led to an additional 9 critical updates. After all updates are performed, you are left with a vanilla installation of Windows XP that besides the Norton AV trial and a few Cyberlink programs, gives you a clean slate free from further trial or bugging optional software.
Normally at this point I would run a series of benchmarks on the system, but essentially what we have here is a netbook with a fixed display, more commonly known as a nettop. And since almost all netbooks share the same basic hardware, benchmark results would be identical as well.
Performance wise, the Averatec system is much like a netbook, meaning that it is intended for some of the more basic computing tasks. Surfing the web, chatting, emailing, listening to music, word processing, basic photo editing, watching standard definition videos online – these are all things that are well within the scope of this system. Any kind of gaming that requires even the least bit of graphics / CPU power are likely out of the question, as are high definition videos.
Windows XP is a good choice for this system, as it feels very snappy despite the limited processing power of the Intel Atom CPU. The system fully boots, from the moment the power button is pressed until all system tray icons have loaded, in just 55 seconds. Navigating menus and web pages is also pleasantly fast. Many times I forgot that I was “only” running an Atom processor.
The Averatec All-In-One does differ from a netbook in several ways however. First and most obvious is the 18.4” LCD display which went above and beyond my initial expectations. With an odd native resolution of 1680 x 945, the screen makes working on this system quite enjoyable. Horizontal viewing angles are good but the vertical viewing angles do leave a little bit to be desired.
Another nice feature of the Averatec is the sound system. The quality of the speakers used in this system are nicer than any I have seen internally mounted in a netbook or on standalone monitors. Volume levels can get pretty loud before distortion sets in, and should be more than enough for casual music listening and movie watching.
Speaking of movies, I tested the optical drive with a few different DVDs. Image quality was nice and I noticed the CPU usage hovered around 20% when at full screen.
The included keyboard and mouse are just enough to get by on. A wireless combo or peripherals of better quality would have fit this system much better. The keyboard typed alright but it still felt a bit cramped. The mouse is very small so users with large hands may not feel comfortable using it.
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