MSI Wind Top AE2210 review
A fine budget option, even if its low price does result in major weaknesses throughout
Review Date: 26 Apr 2011
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £583 (£700 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The new Wind Top AE2210 is one of the cheapest all-in-ones we’ve seen recently, but that hasn’t stopped MSI kitting out its latest model with one of Intel’s Sandy Bridge desktop processors.
The part in question is the Core i3-2100 and, while it’s a low-end chip, it runs at 3.1GHz and includes Intel’s revised Hyper-Threading technology. It’s a fine specification and, while a benchmark score of 0.6 isn’t able to match the 0.74 scored by the Sony VAIO L21’s Sandy Bridge-powered mobile chip, it should ensure that the MSI is able to handle most applications without breaking sweat.
That’s impressive for a relatively cheap machine, but it means inevitable compromises elsewhere. There’s no discrete graphics chip, for instance; instead, MSI is relying on the Intel graphics built into the processor. Our 1080p test videos and streaming HD content played without fuss, but it’s no match for the latest games, as a single-figure frame rate in our Low quality Crysis test illustrates.
The rest of the MSI’s specification is mediocre, with only 2GB of RAM and a DVD writer, but you do get a TV tuner and 1TB of storage to enhance its media credentials. Like most other all-in-ones, connectivity is provided by Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11bgn Wi-Fi, and the side of the machine serves up a pair of USB 3 ports.
The machine’s looks and peripherals also reflect the MSI’s budget price. The glossy black surround is basic when compared to the sleek Sony, and the wireless keyboard and mouse set lacks media extras. At least the speakers, which provide decent sound quality at moderate volume, are good.
It’s the 22in, 1,920 x 1,080 screen where the tight budget is most obvious, however. It’s grainier than most, and quality is middling: high brightness can’t mask the rather flat colours, and clarity is also lacking. There’s also evidence of backlight bleed along both the top and bottom edges.
One highlight is MSI’s revamped touch-specific software. The twitchy, carousel-style interface of its older touchscreen PCs has been replaced by a more traditional front end, with a large calendar augmented by picture-viewing and music screens, plus a dock with links to note-taking and paint applications.
The software does nothing to differentiate the MSI from rival machines, but it’s a clear improvement from the last generation of Wind Top touchscreen machines. The accurate optical screen works well in conjunction with it.
That and the Sandy Bridge processor just about lift the MSI above other budget all-in-ones we’ve seen, although the below-average screen, peripherals and rather mean-looking core specification mean only one for the tightest of budgets.
Author: Mike Jennings
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