A giant in the television, monitor, laptop, netbook, mobile phone and even camera sectors, the one area that Samsung has never strongly pursued – at least not in the UK – is desktop computers. However, that's about to change with the introduction of the Samsung U200 and U250 all-in-one PCs. Today we're looking to see whether the budget-oriented U200 can match the excellent Asus EeeTop ET2203 and MSI Wind Top AE2220 Hi-Fi as the all-in-one to get for less than £800.
Straight off, there are a few obvious pointers that give away the U200's budget status. Unlike its bigger sibling, the 23in U250, it doesn't sport a Full HD resolution (it makes do with 1,600 x 900) or wireless peripherals. However, it does make up for this somewhat by offering a large 500GB hard drive, Wireless-N Wi-Fi and relatively powerful Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics.
As ever with all-in-ones, the U200 is as easy as pie to set up. A metal leg at the rear is not only stronger and easier to adjust than on most other all-in-ones, but much like with the original Eee Top it also serves as a carrying handle.
Thankfully the rest of the machine's build quality matches up to the metal handle, with very solid plastics used throughout. In this regard it's easily the equal of any of its competitors, though obviously not on the same level as the far more expensive, aluminium-clad Apple iMac.
In terms of looks it does less well. It features a very clean, two-tone design, but the absence of any metallic or transparent highlights makes it look cheap rather than elegant. The front bezel is an attractive piano black, but the contrasting white lip surrounding it just doesn't work very well, despite a blue glow at the machine's base adding a little novelty. Both the screen and bezel double as mirrors and are prone to fingerprints and dust, so you'll need the included cleaning cloth often.
At the lower right corner of the bezel is a set of touch controls. Unfortunately these aren't backlit, though we're glad of the omission of any annoying bleeps. The first and most significant of these controls turns the screen on and off. It's a shame that this is an unusual feature, as we feel it's something all all-in-ones should have as standard. We can only hope other manufacturers will follow Samsung's lead here.
Aside from this there are brightness controls and a button for opening the machine's optical drive – a largely superfluous feature as the drive actually has a physical button of its own. To be honest we would have preferred some more control over the screen's settings, like you get with the Asus EeeTop ET2203, but the U200 does better than some in this respect.