Connectivity isn’t the VPC100’s strong suite. Two USB ports on the side and two around the back is quite poor, especially when compared to the smaller Eee Top which offered six – though of course you do get two PS2 ports here. There’s also a memory-card reader supporting xD, SD/SDHC, MMC and Memory Stick along the side, microphone and headphone jacks on the back together with a Gigabit Ethernet port. While this is a failing with most affordable AIO-PCs, we would also really like to see some kind of video input, especially since at 18.5in the ViewSonic would have been quite usable as a small TV.
The optical drive is a tray-loading eight-speed DVD-Rewriter as opposed to the slot-loading models more frequently used on AIOs. This in itself is no bad thing, as it not only helps keep costs down but can read mini CDs and the rectangular ones which some people use as business cards. However, it’s difficult to open, and quite a bit of pressure is required on the small and shallow eject button. This in turn leads to the whole PC shaking on its stand after you try to open the drive, which is annoying and not exactly characteristic of a high-quality product.
As already mentioned, the slim chassis (3.5cm at its thickest) houses a single-core Atom N270 processor running at 1.6GHz. Backed up by only 1GB of RAM and Intel’s GMA 950 integrated graphics, this provides enough power for the everyday tasks, simple games and SD video that most people will require from a PC such as this (and will even manage 720p video if using an efficient codec), but keep in mind that high-quality HD video and intensive multitasking are a no-go.
Remember that in terms of internal components you’re basically looking at a netbook here. In line with this, the 160GB hard drive is no surprise. You might expect more on a desktop machine, but to keep the chassis slim ViewSonic has stuck with a 2.5in drive, and to be honest anyone who is satisfied with the general performance of an Atom probably won’t need more storage than this.
Integrated Wi-Fi is another nice touch even if it is only up to 802.11g. However, the main advantage of the underpowered components is that they should not only help with your electricity bill but also allow the VPC100 to remain remarkably quiet when it’s turned on. In fact it’s one of a very few PCs that can be classified as near-silent.
Since this isn’t a touch-screen machine, you essentially get the same Windows XP experience as you would on a netbook. There’s a minimum of software installed, with NTI Media Maker for burning discs and Trend Micro Internet Security on hand to hopefully prevent virus infections. Webcam AP also lets you have some fun with the 1.3 megapixel webcam and microphone integrated in the top of the screen’s bezel.
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