Getting onto connectivity, the AE2220 Hi-Fi offers significantly more than most AIO PCs we’ve come across. Along the left side we have a Blu-ray reader, twin USB 2.0 ports which are just a tad too close together, and a memory card reader that takes SD/HC, MMC, and MS/Pro.
At the back is an unusually generous selection all packed into a neatly recessed panel. Along with the round power input we have a TV aerial socket, VGA and HDMI video inputs, four USB 2.0 inputs (three of which are rather inconveniently sandwiched between the two video connections), an eSATA connector for fast external storage, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an optical audio output for outputting surround sound, and finally headphone and microphone jacks.
Our only real complaint is that the headphone and microphone jacks should have been located at the PC’s side rather than the back. Obviously those with analogue-only surround sound systems are also out of luck, but then the whole point of the AE2220 Hi-Fi is that you shouldn’t need to hook up an external speaker system at all.
Speaking of external devices, MSI’s included wireless mouse and keyboard are decent. Unlike some other AIO PCs, the set here comes with its own dongle. While this does mean the peripherals will use up a free USB port, we actually prefer this approach to the integrated transceiver found in some AIOs, as it means you can use the set with other computers.
Another slightly unusual touch is that the mouse is not ambidextrous: south-paws need not apply. The advantage is that it allows for an ergonomically contoured shape that’s more comfortable than most bundled mice. Aside from this it’s a basic two-button affair with a rubberized two-way scroll wheel offering lightly-notched feedback. The mouse runs on twin AAA batteries so rechargeable ones can be used.
The wireless keyboard is a lightweight affair, even with its two AA batteries installed, and sports an isolation-style layout. In terms of looks it’s quite similar to the corded one provided with the Asus EeeTop ET2203T with its matt keys on top of a glossy base, except that MSI has managed to squeeze in a full number pad. Keys are spaced just a tad too far apart for optimal comfort, but feedback is surprisingly good. Controls for volume, multimedia and shortcuts are available as secondary functions. Unlike the ET2203T there’s no holder for the included MSI stylus, which is a pity.
Finishing things off we have a generic Windows media remote: an indifferently-styled matt black device with rubberized buttons. Its boxy shape doesn’t make it particularly comfortable in the hand and the buttons are too thin, but at least its layout is intuitive. Like the mouse it runs on twin AAA batteries.