The Acer Aspire Z5801 presents a Mac-like face to the world. There’s plenty of power in the quad-core innards of this PC, and a large 24in screen fits flush to the bezel, giving a very comfortable desktop area.
And it’s not just the size of the screen that’s so impressive. It’s 24in of excellent quality, with wide viewing angles and punchy colours that stay bright and strong right up to the edges of the display.
Not everything about it is perfect, though. Thanks to its large speaker bar and protruding stand, the Acer sits very high on the desk and is always tilted away from you, not facing you flat. As far as posture goes, reaching out to touch the screen is almost painful.
The Acer is also unique in that its stand can fold back so the screen sits at around 30°, like a giant tablet. It’s good for using with fingers, but again, not exactly comfortable, and you’ll probably revert to putting it in the upright position most of the time.
Another negative comes with the fan: it’s noisy and seemingly always on, which quickly becomes annoying. Such design quirks are frustrating, because the Z5801 is almost ideal for an all-in-one – they just hold it back from greatness.
Two USB inputs, a slot-loading DVD writer and analogue audio port line the sides of the Acer. Why the more useful USB3.0 slots are hidden round the back is anyone’s guess.
The big speaker bar puts out passable audio, and you’ll have no problems hearing it from the other side of the room. Treble can sound a bit shrill but it’s got plenty of bass for movies and games.
Three HDMI ports – two in, one out – and an optical audio connector give the Aspire all the flexibility of a dedicated monitor and a full-size PC, making it easy to add a second screen or hook up a surround sound system.
The touchscreen interface is the same overlay found on the Packard Bell oneTwo L i5871, except you get Clear.fi media controls as well as the window switcher and pinboard. The touch apps are fine for casual use, but you’ll find yourself using the ‘normal’ desktop more – Windows 8 can’t come fast enough.
Acer Aspire Z5801
A lovely screen with performance to match, but noise and usability issues count against it