In these financially-challenging times not everyone can afford to splurge on a high-end PC like the £1700 PC-Specialist Vortex i950
- not to mention that if all you want one for is to browse the net, flick through a few photos or watch a film, most desktop systems are major overkill. So for those on a very tight budget or with low computing ambitions, eMachines (an Acer brand well known for its budget orientation) has the All-In-One (AIO) EZ1600.
AIOs tend to come in at two ends of the spectrum: expensive designer units that demand significant premiums for their svelte dimensions, like the HP TouchSmart IQ810 and Apple's iMac, or more recently, highly affordable if slightly underpowered machines usually built around Intel's humble Atom CPU, such as the touch-enabled Eee Top and non-touch ViewSonic VPC100.
In fact, the EZ1600 and VPC100 have more than a few things in common aside from their lack of touch abilities. They share the same 1.6GHz Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, Intel Integrated graphics, 160GB hard drive and even 18.5in screen, not to mention a matte and glossy black finish with faux-chrome highlights.
Before we get onto the machine itself though, let's take a quick look at the included peripherals, both of which are unfortunately PS2 rather than USB, though this does offer the advantage of leaving the machine's USB ports free.
The eMachines-branded keyboard is finished in a mixture of black and white, the latter of which doesn't really match much about the machine except its white power cable. Layout is very simple, as the only additional keys are volume controls and a sleep button - however, this simplicity is refreshing, providing the essentials without superfluous fluff. In use the keyboard is a bit unstable, which can be fixed by extending its legs if you don't mind typing at an angle. Key feedback is decent, and overall it's quite pleasant to use.
Likewise, the two-button Logitech mouse is quite comfortable, but as basic as it gets. There's no four-way scrolling though its wheel does offer notched feedback, but worst of all is the sensor-technology it uses - or rather, lack thereof, as this is a ball mouse. Yes, that's right, this mouse bundled with a PC close to the first decennium of the new millennium uses an actual, physical ball - which you'll need to clean regularly. At least it will work on glass.