Acer Aspire Z3-605-UR22 review: An all-in-one with a sleek look and slow performance

At a Glance

If you like HP’s picture frame design, but you’d prefer something a bit more polished, the Acer Aspire Z3-605-UR22 ($900 as of 8/29/13) is another AIO with a space-saving chassis. The Z3-605 sports an Intel i3-3227U processor; 4GB of DDR3/1600 RAM; and a 1TB, 7200rpm hard drive. It has integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi adapters, a 23-inch touchscreen with a native resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, and a wireless mouse and keyboard.

Acer had the best budget notebook in our earlier roundup, but its inexpensive all-in-one offering leaves us cold.

The Aspire Z3-605-UR22 has a frame design similar to the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23, with a glossy edge-to-edge glass display surrounded by a frame that extends past the bottom of the screen to rest on your desktop. The screen is propped up by an easel-like stand that’s very easy to adjust thanks to a spring-loaded hinge.

Unlike the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23, the Aspire only has one slim bezel under glass. This gives the machine a much more minimalist and streamlined look, though it is slightly disrupted by the system’s convenience ports. Instead of being located neatly on the side of the machine or out of sight on the rear panel, the Z3-605’s convenience ports—a card reader, a USB 3.0 port, and headphone and microphone jacks—are located right up front, just below the display. The placement sounds convenient, until you plug in an external drive or a headset and end up with cables draped over your keyboard.

Performance-wise, the Aspire is the weakest AIO of this bunch. It scored just 89 in our Desktop WorldBench 8.1 test, which means it’s 11 percent slower than our baseline (which happens to be its sibling, Acer’s Aspire A5600U-UB13). That also puts it 20 points behind the second-to-last contender, Dell’s Inspiron One 20. The Aspire won’t have any problem with basic productivity apps, and it will stream HD video, but you might have trouble when you try to multitask.

PCWorld all-in-one PC roundup
PCWorld's Desktop Worldbench 8.1 benchmark suite measures performance with a number of productivity, creation, and entertainment programs.

The Aspire Z3-605-UR22 also delivered an appallingly low score with our suite of media editing and encoding tests (it finished last, and by a very wide margin), so we were surprised that it performed as well as it did in our gaming tests. This AIO managed to produce Dirt Showdown at 33.2 frames per second, and BioShock Infinite at 21.0 frames per second (both games set to a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels, with visual quality set to Low). It’s no gaming powerhouse, but it performed better than most of the PCs in this roundup.

The Aspire Z3-605 does have one of the better-looking touchscreens in our roundup. Its glossy 23-inch touchscreen offers 10-finger multitouch with smooth, accurate gestures; bright, vibrant colors; and crisp, clear text. The only minor issues I saw during my testing was some minor artifacting—even in still or nearly-still images—and softening of details in photos and film. In some shots, people looked a bit featureless and oversaturated.

Acer Z3-605 PCWorld review
All-in-one PCs just make more sense—even if your dorm room will never ever be featured in an issue of Architectural Digest.

The Z3-605 has very nice wireless peripherals. Its keyboard is soft and noiseless but still comfortable and easy to type on, and its mouse is just the right size and ergonomically curved to fit your hand. While these peripherals aren’t as striking as the Toshiba’s silver-accented ones, they are far more usable and comfortable.

Editor's note: This all-in-one was reviewed as part of a roundup for back-to-school season. You can read that story, along with reviews of the five all-in-ones we compared it to, here.

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At a Glance
  • Acer's Aspire Z3-605-UR22 is an attractive machine, but its performance leaves us wanting. Read the full review

    Pros

    • Comfortable mouse and keyboard
    • Slim, space-saving design
    • Quick startup

    Cons

    • Weak performance
    • Oversaturated display
    • Poor price/performance ratio
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