ViewSonic VPC190 All-in-One Delivers on Size, Falters on Performance
At a Glance
ViewSonic's VPC190 sacrifices a lot to to achieve its low price, ultimately failing to keep pace with competitors that offer touchscreens and stronger performance.
The ViewSonic VPC190 is rather plain, even by budget all-in-one PC standards. Like its predecessor, the VPC100, the VPC190 sacrifices much to hit its low price ($600, as of April 26, 2010). Though this revision improves on the rather limited functionality of the VPC100, users in the market for an inexpensive all-in-one should weigh their options carefully.
The VPC190 comes with a dual-core 1.66GHz Atom D510 processor, 2GB of DDR2 memory, and Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit). The meager 160GB hard drive offers limited storage space, even its category. The system earned a mark of 39 on our WorldBench 6 test suite, one of the poorest scores we've seen for a budget all-in-one PC. By contrast, the slightly more expensive MSI Wind AE2010 offers twice as much hard drive space, and earned a 60 on WorldBench 6.
Unlike many of its all-in-one peers, the VPC190 lacks a touchscreen; but it might appeal to people who want a space-saving design and aren't sold on Windows 7's touch functionality. The 18.5-inch-diagonal screen's 1366-by-768-pixel resolution makes it suitable for viewing 720p high-def content. Video streamed from Hulu and YouTube wasn't especially choppy, particularly after I installed the GPU-assisted Flash 10.1 beta. A fair amount of blurring occurred during action-heavy sequences, however, especially when displayed at full-screen size.
Color reproduction was nice, though reds and yellows sometimes looked dull, losing crispness and detail. Audio playback on the built-in speaker is reasonably loud, but it devolves into a tinny, distorted mess at higher volumes. Gaming performance isn't a realistic option: Equipped with Intel's integrated graphics, the VPC190 failed to deliver playable frame rates on our Unreal Tournament 3 benchmark, regardless of resolution and quality setting.
ViewSonic does earn a few points for delivering a simple, aesthetically pleasing machine. The glossy black paneling may be a fingerprint magnet, but it makes for a generally attractive shell. The unit is quite thin, too, with a footprint barely larger than that of a typical LCD display. There is no height adjustment, and the tilt adjustment is a bit limited.
The rear of the machine accommodates a pair of USB ports and a gigabit ethernet port; the VPC190 we reviewed also supported 802.11n wireless. On the left side of the chassis are four more USB ports, a multiformat card reader, headphone and microphone jacks, and the power adapter port.
A slot-loading DVD-burner occupies the right side of the chassis, but there's no eject button for the burner. To remove a disc, you must to eject it from within the OS--an annoying, multistep process in Windows. The front of the machine hosts a 1.3-megapixel Webcam and convenient controls for adjusting the monitor's brightness on the fly.
The bundled keyboard and mouse extend the chassis's glossy black motif. I found the keyboard's Chiclet-style keys quite comfortable to type on. Among the keyboard's features are volume controls and media playback controls (by way of a function key). The included mouse, though plain, is large enough for hand-friendly use. Neither peripheral is wireless, unfortunately.
In its push to sell the VPC190 at an eye-catching price, ViewSonic made so many compromises that the system scarcely seems adequate for home use. In a business or office environment, where space is at a premium and requirements are low, the machine might prosper. Still, you can find budget all-in-one alternatives that offer superior performance for little or no additional cost--with or without touchscreen functionality.