If you’re tired of conventional desktops you might want to think about getting something else. Like a modern All-in-One solution: system unit, monitor and input devices in one package. Such is Acer Aspire AZ1-621-UR15, a 2015 desktop release with Intel Celeron processor and 21.5 inches display. The price isn’t high at all so budget hunters might like this. But let’s see if they really should!
Acer Aspire AZ1-621-UR15’s performance is dictated by Intel Celeron N2940, a mobile processor often planted in laptops but now and then also in lower end desktop models. It contains four cores with 1.8GHz clock speed, although there’s turbo burst upping the frequency to 2.3GHz. It’s one of the better Celerons (a 1800+ grade on Passmark tests compared to N2840 model getting only 1000), so adequate performance for daily activities is guaranteed.
The memory is maxed out at 4GB. In another words, adding more is not possible according to Acer specifications. For an All-in-One, the four gigabytes should indeed suffice. Power users might want more than that, but unfortunately expanding the memory won’t happen on this model.
Storage is provided by a 500GB hard drive. I’d predict that most users interested in a simple desktop like the Acer find it large enough. For example, if you go on vacation and bring home a lot of photographs, you don’t need to worry – half a terabyte can store around 100,000 of those. The darker side of these big 5400RPM hard drives is of course questionable user experience. You’d get much faster feel with solid-state drives, but at the same time much smaller storage space. At any rate, swapping the hard drive for SSD should be possible on this model, if you know what you’re doing.
Display and graphics
Acer Aspire AZ1-621-UR15 has a 21.5 inches display, which could be characterized as larger than a laptop but tad smaller than an external PC display. The resolution is Full HD as expected. It is also a touchscreen, so you can swipe your way through the pre-installed Windows 8.1 (64-bit).
The graphics engine is a very basic Intel HD (Bay Trail). Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a great performance, and many new games would have hard times running on it. Graphics-heavy titles from 2014 and 2015 would probably have less than 10FPS on low details. But games with less system requirements, such as CS:Go (and other Steam games), also Minecraft, should run with decent frame rates at least with eye candy turned to minimum.
Acer Aspire AZ1-621-UR15 has three USB ports, the same amount than a common laptop has. Too bad none of those are USB 3.0 – all are type 2.0 – so you can’t get the faster transfer rates on your USB peripherals.
Typical for All-in-One devices, a HDMI input is offered. You can thus attach any device with HDMI output – like a gaming console – to this Acer and use its 21.5″ display with whatever you connected in. It also works as a touch display this way, but of course only if your source (the device connected to Acer’s HDMI in) has a touch-supporting operating system like Windows 8 running on it.
For networking, Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 and 802.11b/g/n WiFi are available. Bluetooth 4.0 is also enabled.
Quite strangely, there’s no optical drive in this model even though it’s called All-in-One, heh. So you’d have to use external DVD drive for discs. SD card reader is however built-in, so if your files are on small memory cards (or you can download them from Internet), you might not need an optical drive at all.
HD webcam and microphone are installed and can be used for video sessions on Skype and similar software.
Other things to keep in mind
The keyboard and mouse that are shipped with Acer Aspire AZ1-621-UR15 have wires and connect to the USB ports. However, you can also use Bluetooth devices since the desktop supports that.
The computer doesn’t work like a chargeable laptop, so it needs to be plugged in all the time you’re using it. There’s no battery in the Acer.
The monitor unit features a VESA mount. Installing it on a wall is thus possible.
Expandability is not great, a common feature amongst All-in-Ones. One Mini PCI-E slot is free on the mainboard, but it can only be used for a handful of things. It doesn’t, for example, accept a dedicated graphics card.
Summing it up
From what I can see, there’s nothing Acer Aspire AZ1-621-UR15 couldn’t do for home or small office users. It runs all daily programs without problems, also lightweight games, and if you have HDMI-enabled devices lying around your room you can plug them in and use through the Acer’s display. The fact there’s no optical drive might understandably bother some. If you don’t care about that, and want an All-in-One desktop worth your money, I’d say going for this Acer is a good idea.