Attached to the screen is perhaps the biggest selling point of the package – a 19in TFT. While most PCs around this price only offer 17in screens so the fact that Acer is a large supplier of LCD panels helps it get one over on its rivals here. The AL1951AS features a 1,280 x 1,024 CrystalBrite LCD screen and an 8ms response time, which will please the ‘gamers’, even if there are much lower response time screens now available. The DVI, VGA and audio-in sockets are all easily available round the rear. However, the monitor requires an external power brick. Image quality is good, with even backlighting and bright colours.
The base is quite interesting, as it integrates speakers with buttons for the OSD. The speakers quality isn’t going to blow your mind however, so Acer has supplied a set of Logitech S-100s. That said, these aren’t going to blow your socks off either as you might imagine for their size- that’s not going to please those ‘gamers’. The same goes for the audio with the Realtek ALC655 chip integrated onto the board. With only one spare PCI slot on the motherboard you’ll going to have to be careful with your upgrade choices. As it stands though, the integrated chip is capable of 5.1 output, though you’d obviously have to upgrade your speaker set to obtain this.
Internally, build quality is good. There’s plenty of internal 3.5in bays to add more hard drives but there’s no front fan supplied; only one at the back. Along with the CPU fan there’s also one on the chipset and one on the graphics card. So Acer hasn’t made any major efforts at serious noise reduction. This means that the system noise is noticeable, but the tone is such that it’s not too intrusive.
The keyboard and mouse are unusual looking, particularly the latter. The keyboard has a number of multimedia shortcut keys as well as a power down button but is well laid out and comfortable to type on. The mouse was fairly picky about the surface it was used on though, so I’d get hold of a good mouse mat.
All in all this is a very straightforward system. There’s no bleeding edge technology, but it is, perhaps more importantly, a well put together, sensibly priced PC.
It may be unspectacular, but as run-of-the-mill system’s go, this is state-of-the-art. The 19in display at this price is a standout so if you’re looking for a regular PC package, that’s compact, attractive, and performs well, this is a great choice.