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Considering the integrated speakers on any TV smaller than 32in are generally rubbish, we were somewhat sceptical of MSI's claims that a 22in all-in-one (AIO) PC could deliver Hi-Fi quality sound. Nonetheless, with phrases like "perfect sound reproduction" and "the zenith of perfection" being bandied around by MSI, there must surely be some truth in it? Let's find out.
The Wind Top range spans all the way from the 19in Wind Top AE1900 to the 23.6in AE2400, with 18.5in and 21.5in models in between. Our AE2220 Hi-Fi falls into this latter category and packs in a Full HD touch-screen, nVidia ION graphics, those all important high-quality speakers, a Blu-ray drive, Wireless N, and an integrated TV tuner and tops it all off with a wireless keyboard, mouse and remote to control it.
The machine comes securely packaged and of course is a doddle to set up as the main unit comes pre-assembled, while a multi-lingual quick start guide does a decent job of showing you what to plug in where, etc. In addition to manuals, software discs and peripherals, the AE2220 Hi-Fi comes with a retail, two-CD edition of Il Divo's album The Promise, just to convince you it's serious about the whole audio angle.
What really surprised us about this AIO PC was its weight: it's significantly heavier than similarly-sized competitors and at just under 8cm thick is also a tad thicker. Of course, both these factors give us hope for its audio capabilities. Overall build quality is excellent, with not a hint of unwanted flex or creak anywhere. Adjusting the height and angle of the PC, with its spring-loaded rear leg, is easy if not exactly smooth.
Aside from the bevy of colourful stickers along its bezel, the AE2220 Hi-Fi is also a fairly attractive machine. There are no model names or numbers to mar the bezel, and the 1.3 megapixel webcam is nicely integrated. The main unit is coated in piano black, though it's no more forgiving of fingerprints and dust than this finish usually is.
On the other hand, the dot-patterned section that disguises much of the lower bezel and houses the speakers is attractive from a distance but looks cheap close to, and the large chromed inset doesn't quite have the impact MSI was undoubtedly aiming for. Overall the AE2220 Hi-Fi could have done with taking a few design cues from the Asus EeeTop ET2203T, which has a simpler, cleaner look.
One particularly cool touch in the MSI's favour is the way the status LEDs are handled. These are found along the right edge, where a selection of well-spaced physical buttons is hidden behind the bezel. The controls are easy to find and use, and are marked by icons etched into the transparent frame. The neat touch is that LEDs for power, HDD activity, etc, shine into the transparent frame's edge, giving the cool illusion of a diffused light in the outer edge with no visible source.
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