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Acer Aspire Revo R3600 - nVidia ION Nettop review

Andy Vandervell

By
Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

8/10

Pros

  • Funky design
  • Affordable
  • VESA mounting kit
  • Poor gaming performance

Cons

  • Unstable plastic stand
  • No IR receiver

Review Price free/subscription

Key Features: Intel Atom 230 CPU; 2GB of RAM; Draft-N Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet; 160GB storage; 750g

Manufacturer: Acer

Nettops haven't seen the same level of publicity heaped upon netbooks. This is largely due to the fact that, when stripped down, most nettops literally are netbooks in disguise. Only dual-core Atom processors have really provided any meaningful differentiation between the two, but what we and others have been holding out for was nVidia's much vaunted ION platform. And now we have what we wanted in the form of the first ION powered nettop, the Acer Aspire Revo.

Acer has clearly put a lot of thought into the Revo. This is evident from the rather fetching and intelligently designed chassis. Finished in glossy blue and white, its angular lines and sandcrawler-like shape lends the Revo a funky but not overly ostentatious appearance that's very fitting. Little touches, like the smart corner mounted power button, only add to the overwhelmingly positive impression.

That's not to say the Revo isn't without one or two chinks. Take the provided plastic stand, for example, which leaves the unit woefully unstable - see the video for a better idea of what we mean. Thankfully, Acer also provides a VESA mounting kit with all Revos, so you can attach the unit to the back of a TV or monitor. Given it measures just 180mm square and weighs just 750 grams, the Revo is ideally suited to such a situation. Moreover, as you can see from the diagram below, the connections are arranged in such a way to enhance this configuration.

Speaking of which, there's no shortage of options on the Revo. Starting at the front there's an eSATA port, headphone and microphone jacks, and a memory card reader. Then on the corner and at the top there are two USB ports. There are a further four USB ports on the back and these are joined by an Ethernet port, HDMI, VGA and the power input. There's also a lock slot should you need it.

In the box, meanwhile, you get a wired keyboard and mouse - though regrettably our engineering sample didn't come with these, so we're unable to tell you much about them. If you purchase the top of the range model you also get the heavily publicised Wii Remote style controller, though this strikes us as more gimmicky than useful given the system's limited gaming credentials.

Thus we'd recommend you opt for the model we're reviewing, the R3600. This is already retailing for as little as £244.99 online and while there's a stripped down Linux version, the 3600L, that's available for £162.75, it has just 1GB of RAM and only 8GB solid state storage, making it a very basic offering.

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Icey

June 5, 2009, 4:42 pm

As this unit would make an ideal media centre machine I am curious how noisy it is. Any chance you are able to advise the noise level in dB?

Beaky69

June 5, 2009, 5:01 pm

Regarding PowerDVD 9 and MKV files: I've found that if you stick to regular AC3 or DTS audio encoded files, you can get MKV files to play normally simply by renaming them .AVI files.

Keithe6e

June 5, 2009, 6:54 pm

I like the idea of the 8 Gig Solid State version, just keep the SSD for the OS (should be plenty), and get a NAS for Media, a HD Homerun for Digital TV, and a copy of MythBunto, and of course a USB Infa Red receiver, A Perfect Media Center.

Technology changes, and so sho

June 5, 2009, 8:13 pm

Rather than bundling a keyboard and mouse, they might have offered a version with in-built Bluetooth so we can use wireless peripherals. Then it really would suit being connected to a TV.


Still, it's not as if dongles are expensive...

Jim McSlim

June 5, 2009, 9:02 pm

Nice review, but it has one major omission. How does it work with YouTube, iPlayer full-screen or the other networks (C4, C5, ITV) equivalent players?





This is the big limitation for the ION platform at the moment... Flash video is NOT accelerated (yes, yes they are working on it... for what Q2 2010?) and an increasingly large amount of content is now available online via Flash... Atom cannot decode it effectively...





If you add testing of this to your review and find that iPlayer works a treat, I'll happily stand corrected as I'll buy one of these sooner rather than later (ie. Q2 2010!)

Tony Walker

June 5, 2009, 10:40 pm

Also for iPlayer, can you check out the downloaded HD stuff as well as the Flash streams.

Chilliboom

June 5, 2009, 11:27 pm

Shouldn't that be: 'an asthmatic ant carrying heavy shopping'...?

Craig Turner

June 5, 2009, 11:33 pm

Have a misheard or misread that it cannot play youtube videos and other forms of flash player?

James Morris

June 6, 2009, 1:57 am

The video review shows clearly that this Ion system can't handle YouTube in HD, which is Flash based.

Tony Walker

June 6, 2009, 8:54 am

OK, so why not put it in the text for those of us who prefer to take our tech that way. We would've had to sit through (up to) 3 mins 38secs of video plus a 12 sec ad at the beginning - and we wouldn't have know n the info was in there.





Is the info about the iPlayer downloaded streams in there too?

James Morris

June 6, 2009, 6:09 pm

@Tony Walker I only make the videos... I'm sure Andy will be along here soon to answer your other queries.

andybee

June 8, 2009, 4:35 pm

Not being able to play HD flash streams is a total deal breaker for use as a media centre box. Surely iPlayer is one of the main applications for a device like this.

Keithe6e

June 8, 2009, 6:18 pm

@andybee: Not being able to play HD flash streams is a total deal breaker for use as a media centre box.





Well hopefully Adobe will get a move on ->


http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

dylan

June 21, 2009, 5:10 pm

I don't plan to use Youtube but will it work with BBC iplayer , ITVplayer etc ?





I plan to wait for Windows 7.





Thanks

Richard 15

June 26, 2009, 3:38 pm

I've had the vista version for a few days now and have installed the latest ion drivers. Unfortunately iplayer, ITVplayer,youtube, lovefilm all playback in a choppy way. Video through windows media play is absolutely fine. I'l search for work around's but my view is - nice idea but poorly executed

Richard 15

June 27, 2009, 10:11 pm

Just to add to my previous comment. I installed Windows 7 RC and it's transformed. Iplayer etc all play fine.

Keithe6e

June 29, 2009, 4:46 pm

I ended up buying one of these, I think there fantastic, btw. This thing comes with McFee installed, first thing I did was uninstall this and it runs so much better, this might explain Richards findings with installing Win7, I assume he never kept McFee :). Only problem I've got at the moment is sound via HDMI is a bit hit & miss, I believe it's NVidia HD Audio codec that I'm going to try updating to see if it fixes it. As a Media Center PC it's great, bought a slimline DVD powered by USB and you have hardly any cable clutter especially when fixed to the TV with the Vesa mount, when slimline Blue rays are cheaper I could then upgrade. Oh, only niggle the wireless/n is a bit naff, not surprising really as there is no external antenna, a set of Homeplugs is much better. Next on my shopping list is a HD Homerun that I can stick in the loft and then it's complete. If your thinking of getting one of these for a Media Center then I would highly recommend, the single core Atom is plenty if setup right.

CBers

July 4, 2009, 4:39 am

Would adding more memory add anything to these little PCs ??





It comes with 2Gb, but I'm sure I read somewhere that it can take upto 4Gb.

CBers

July 4, 2009, 5:11 am

http://www.acer.co.uk/acer/pro...

CBers

July 4, 2009, 4:59 pm

Just realised that there is no DIGITAL AUDIO connection - is this correct ??

Paul 7

November 3, 2009, 6:25 pm

Will this work with a USB TV Tuner? Or is it possible to stream TV from another mediacenter PC?

dmr123

February 15, 2010, 8:20 pm

can't get is it severely different from that one?


http://www.prestigioplaza.com/...


I suppose 230's even better - will you make a review somehow?..


p.s. no DIGITAL AUDIO connection - today it's really awful, i think.

martin148

October 9, 2010, 11:41 pm

Stay away, not buying Acer again, power supply loose and dodgy, pc slow, mouse doesn't always connect, keyboard looks shit, turns off randomly, awkward shape should I go on....





Purchased because I saw small form factor media pc's working by another company. Wish I got it from them.

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