Gateway ZX6951-53: An All-in-One That Flaunts Its Curves
By David Murphy
At a Glance
Excellent general performance
Could use more storage space
From its looks and sounds to its HD support and speed, Gateway’s 23-inch all-in-one desktop rarely stops delivering.
Smokin’! That’s exactly what we said upon receiving the benchmark results for Gateway’s latest all-in-one desktop, the ZX6951-53.Yes, this system really needs a better name, but that aside, this 23-inch, $999 All-in-One desktop is unique for quite a few reasons.
First, and perhaps most noticeable, is the system’s curved design–a departure from the standard square build we’ve seen on just about every all-in-one that has come through our gates. Second, and a bit less noticeable, is the system’s speed–simply put, it’s fast. But let’s not bury the payout any longer: Minus a few details here and there, the ZX6951-53 is one of the best all-in-ones you can buy.
Gateway’s 1920-by-1080-resolution desktop packs a 3.2GHz Intel Core i3-550 processor within its innards, accompanied by 4 gigabytes of DDR3 memory. The combination helps this all-in-one achieve a score of 121 on our WorldBench 6 series of tests–the fastest performance we’ve seen in the category (outside of Apple’s 27-inch Core i7 and Core i5 iMacs). The next-highest desktop, MSI’s AE2420 3D, hits a score of 118 (with a price tag of $1800).
The ZX6951-53’s cost is quite competitive for 23-inch systems. We were slightly disappointed to see that the hard drive is only 640GB instead of a full terabyte. However, the 1080p-friendly system comes with a Blu-ray combo drive built in–now that, we like.
We found the picture quality of the ZX6951-53’s multitouch panel pleasing to the eye. The glossy display was a bit subject to glare depending on the viewing angle (and the environment where you’re using the desktop), but it does much to contribute to the all-in-one’s excellent contrast levels. Strong blacks and evocative whites brought out key details within the images and movies we viewed. The display’s saturation wasn’t quite as good, however–we would have liked to see more vibrant coloration and richer images overall.
It’s difficult to find all-in-one desktops packing excellent sound systems. To say that the average quality of an all-in-one’s acoustics is roughly that of a laptop’s speakers is a fair statement, if not charitable. Gateway’s ZX6951-53, thankfully, emits bass-heavy, enveloping sound that almost feels like an actual speaker setup–the kind one would buy as an aftermarket add-on to a conventional desktop PC. We were pleasantly surprised by Gateway’s effort in this regard, as it really helps separate this entertainment-friendly desktop from the rest of the pack.
The rest of the system leaves a little to be desired in terms of the devices that you can plug into it. We’ve already mentioned the Blu-ray combo drive (which is on the side of the ZX6951-53’s chassis). It’s joined by a total of two USB ports and a single multiformat card reader split between the system’s two sides. The rear has six USB ports, a VGA output, a gigabit ethernet port (for those who prefer a cabled connection over the unit’s built-in wireless-N connectivity), and a coaxial connection for the built-in TV tuner. That’s not a bad amount of connections per se, but the ZX6951-53 lacks elements like Firewire, eSATA, or even stronger display connections like DisplayPort or HDMI.
You can’t upgrade the ZX6951-53 in any way, which isn’t exactly a rarity for all-in-one desktops, but still slightly disappointing. The system comes with a brief, illustrated quick-start guide for getting the desktop up and running, and with three input devices: a remote; a generic, wireless mouse; and a generic, wireless keyboard. Although we’d prefer keyboards and mice to be a little bit more feature-packed, the wireless capabilities of those included with the ZX6951-53 fit the premise of an all-in-one desktop perfectly.
So what’s the bottom line? Gateway’s ZX6951-53 all-in-one desktop is excellently priced for what it delivers: a solid picture on a multitouch display, strong sound capabilities, category-leading speeds, and built-in Blu-ray support (with wireless connectivity, if streaming movies is more your deal). A few tweaks could make Gateway’s system even stronger but, as it stands, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better all-in-one desktop for the ZX6951-53’s price.
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