The AIO-101 is the larger of two recently released all-in-one PCs from Advent. It's designed for those who want a versatile, space-saving PC that minimises the hassle of setting up a traditional desktop PC. It's available to buy now from PC World for around £680.
The AIO-101's design isn't particularly ground-breaking, but it uses tried and trusted design techniques to good effect. The thin bezel, curved edges and glossy black plastic combine well, so, while it's not as pant-wettingly gorgeous as an Apple iMac, it'll at least warrant a second and even a third look. The only complaint we'd make is the fact it comes with a wired mouse and keyboard, the latter of which has a matte finish that clashes slightly with the rest of the machine.
All-in-one PCs are particularly suited to those who want to save space and minimise the hassle of trailing cables from a base unit to a monitor. The AIO-101 doesn't fare particularly well in this regard, as it has a comparatively large footprint compared to its rivals. Its rectangular base resembles a fat, 12-inch laptop with its lid closed.
As a result, it takes up around the same amount of room as a copy of the Yellow Pages, which is a lot for this class of PC. The upside is that the screen can be adjusted to a greater extent than that of some rivals. The 18.4-inch display is attached to a protruding stalk, which can be folded flat against the base or tilted to an angle of approximately 80°, raising the screen approximately three inches with it. The screen itself can be tilted up to 90° vertically, so you could have it facing the ceiling -- handy if you're unfeasibly tall.
The AIO-101 has a range of buttons and ports on its base. The front edge is home to power, screen brightness and volume controls, and a button that switches the screen backlight completely on or off. That last feature could be useful for hiding sensitive data (porn) when an unauthorised user (your mum) walks into the room. The left side of the machine houses an optical disc drive, while the right side has mic, headphone and two USB ports. The rear has a DVI out, an aerial socket for the TV tuner, eSATA, two additional USB ports and an Ethernet socket.
Machines with AMD CPUs are like an endangered species, but the AIO-101 rocks its Athlon X2 3250e with pride. It's only a 1.5GHz part, so it won't set any speed records, but it has a dual-core architecture and 4GB of DDR2 RAM to fall back on when the going gets tough.
One of the coolest additions to the AIO-101's specification is the AVerMedia A316 hybrid TV tuner. Using this, you can turn the machine into an extra television that can receive both analogue and digital broadcasts, or the signal from a set-top box. TV programmes can be recorded using Windows Media Center, and the 320GB hard drive is capacious enough to store in the region of 400 standard-definition feature-length films.
Playback of DVDs or movies stored in a high-definition digital file format is perfectly possibly thanks to the inclusion of a relatively decent graphics adaptor. Okay, perhaps 'decent' is going too far, but the ATI Radeon HD 3200 is potent enough to run HD flicks and play older 3D titles such as Doom 3 without panting and wheezing its way to an early, heat-induced death.
The image quality of the 18.4-inch, 1,680x945-pixel display is good. The vertical viewing angle is rather limited, but there's so much scope for adjusting the screen's angle that this never becomes an issue. The only potential problem is the high reflectivity of the display's surface, which can turn the screen into something akin to a mirror if positioned adjacent to a window or other direct light source.