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MSI Wind Top AE2400 - Screen, Touch, Performance and Verdict
By dint of using a TN panel and an incredibly glossy coating, the AE2400's
23.6in screen is a bit of a mixed bag, though the overall impression is positive. Of course its 1,920 x 1,080 resolution gives you plenty of real estate to work in and is ideal for Full HD video. If you can get past the reflections it generates, that glossy finish also adds perceived richness to colours and enhances perceived contrast. Combined with decent greyscale differentiation, it makes for a pleasant entertainment display.
Viewing angles are unusual for TN in that there is almost no colour shift even if you view the screen from the side, though strong contrast shift prevents horizontal viewing angles from being best-in-class. Vertically, meanwhile, you only get a narrow ideal position. One final negative is some slight but noticeable light bleed along the top of the screen. Unfortunately, if you want a display with accurate colours, good contrast and great viewing angles suitable for image editing on an AIO, the 27in iMac is still your only choice, but compared to most other rivals this MSI comes out quite well.
These days it's more common to find AIOs that support touch input than ones that don't, and this MSI is no exception. It uses the same optical sensor system found in most of these machines, allowing you to interact with the screen using your fingers, the included stylus or indeed any other object (just make sure it doesn't scratch the coating). It supports multi-touch and is very sensitive.
MSI has given its proprietary touch interface an overhaul, and it now looks less like a toy and more like a professional piece of software. It's by no means as polished or sophisticated as HP's TouchSmart interface, as found on the TouchSmart IQ810, but it's nonetheless pleasant, easy to use and fairly slick.
However, at best it's a skin over an OS that is, at heart, simply not designed for touch interaction. We also maintain that, on any device you can't put flat on your lap or desk, touch is (with a few exceptions) a fun gimmick, since it's not only more accurate but also easier to just use a mouse and keyboard.
Performance-wise, the dual core 2.7GHz processor is more than adequate for what most users would ask of it, and – as you can see in our graph - outperforms the CPUs in previous AIO machines we've reviewed by a considerable margin. However, it's not in the same league as the Intel Core i5 and quad-core AMD Athlon alternatives found in some rivals at similar price points, or indeed MSI's own Wind Top AE2420 range.
On the gaming side, the AE2400's Radeon HD565v will run older titles or more casual games at the screen's native resolution, but for more demanding fare you'll probably want to drop to 720p and lower the detail. To give an indication, Stalker: Call of Pripyat ran at a barely playable 25fps average on Medium detail at Full HD.
Finally, in the value stakes this £860 Wind Top doesn't hold up nearly as well as the AE2220 did. For an extra £20, you can get a rival AIO with a similarly Full HD, 23in screen, newer generation Core i5 CPU, 6GB of RAM and a Blu-ray drive. Or if style is more your thing, the smaller (21in) Apple iMac is also available for under £900.
Somewhat lacking in both features and power for its price, MSI's Wind Top AE2400-020UK fails to live up to its predecessor despite a few impressive touches.