Packard Bell, acquired by Acer in 2008, has always been about affordability. The oneTwo L I7526 all-in-one PC is no exception. Offering a 23-inch touchscreen and powerful Intel Core i5 processor, it'll set you back around £800.
Back to black
With its glossy black bezel and silver frame, the I7526 actually looks fairly classy. The curved, matte black panel below the screen houses the power button and the surprisingly loud speakers. There's a memory card reader on one side of the PC and audio jacks, plus two USB ports, on the other. An extra six USB ports can be found under a flap at the rear.
The machine as a whole is rather well put together, making no creaks or groans when you move it around. The obligatory webcam and mic on the top of the screen will cheer up all those desperate to try out Facebook's new video chat feature.
At the back, a slim, chrome-covered, spring-loaded kickstand props the machine up. It's simple but effective and, reassuringly, it's also the full width of the PC, preventing wobbling. Unlike many all-in-one PCs with fixed stands, this arrangement gives you a reasonable range of tilt adjustment -- about 10 to 25 degrees from vertical.
Sadly, the PC's decent build quality doesn't extend to the wireless keyboard and mouse. They are truly awful. You should budget for replacements, as the flat keys and flimsy plastic will drive you nuts.
The I7526's multi-touch screen is fairly responsive, despite Windows 7's best efforts. Still, it's quite deeply recessed into the bezel, so poking items at the edges of the screen is a hit and miss experience.
The screen has a glossy coating, so it picks up plenty of reflections, but at least it's bright and has a 1080p resolution. Touch-sensitive controls for brightness and volume are located on the front bezel. There's also a strip of white lights separating the display from the speaker module. Another touch control lets you dim or turn this off.
Packard Bell thoughtfully ships the I7526 with the Windows dots-per-inch setting boosted to 150 per cent, so menus, text and icons are larger and more touch-friendly than usual.
Plenty of grunt
Inside, the I7526 sports a powerful, quad-core, 2.5GHz Core i5-2400S CPU, together with 4GB of RAM. This combination powered the machine to an excellent PCMark05 benchmark score of 8,232, so it should have no problem handling intensive tasks such as video encoding and decoding. The CPU's four cores also ensure that background tasks like virus scans don't get in the way of the important front-of-house stuff. We found that 1080p MP4 video files rendered smoothly in Windows Media Center.
This meaty CPU also houses the integrated Intel HD 2000 graphics, which, alas, returned a pretty mediocre score of 2,983 in 3DMark06. This machine is just about powerful enough for casual gaming, but, with many titles, you'll probably need to turn down the quality and resolution settings to find a playable combination.
The hard disk is a 1TB model, and you can't add a second one, so, if you want more space, a USB device is your only expansion option.
A DVD Super Multi drive is mounted vertically at the top left of the screen, which makes inserting discs something of a palaver, although, admittedly, there's not really anywhere else for it to go.
The I7526 also offers a hybrid analogue and digital Freeview TV tuner, and comes with a remote that works with Windows Media Center, although you'll need to find your own aerial.
If the built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi is of no use to you, there's also a Gigabit Ethernet connection at the back.
Bundle of fun
The I7526 doesn't come with a huge amount of bundled software. Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 is the star attraction, as it's a decent photo-editing package. Microsoft Office Starter 2010 provides ad-supported versions of Word and Excel, and there's also a copy of Nero 9 Essentials.
For the price, it's not a particularly attractive software bundle, but, then again, it's better than some of the mind-numbing collections of junk that used to pass for bundled software a few years ago.
Overall, the Packard Bell oneTwo L I7526 definitely isn't a bad package for the money, although we're still not totally convinced that touchscreen desktops are here to stay, especially if they run Windows 7.
Edited by Charles Kloet