I was lucky enough to receive a grant a few months ago to buy a new desktop PC and spent a bit of time looking around before making my purchase. I eventually decided on the Acer Z3731 all in one touch screen PC which cost me around £500 from Dixons.
I was torn between getting a traditional desktop complete with tower and separate monitor or an all in one but was won over by the specs and design of the Acer model. I love having an all in one PC because it saves space on my desk and you don't have trailing wires connecting everything together. The fact that the screen is really thin also means that it can be hung on the wall and the compact size means moving it between rooms would be a dawdle if you were so inclined.
The screen on my PC is a generous 21.5 inches. I bought the biggest screen I could afford because I have eyesight problems and was starting to struggle with my previous monitor. I found it easy to change all of the settings from the default to give me bigger icons etc. and the screen is lovely and crisp with vibrant colours. I thought when I bought the PC that the touchscreen would be something that I rarely used but I have ended up using it on a daily basis. The touchscreen is really responsive and it makes doing things like changing the volume controls or switching between tabs really easy. This of course means that the screen gets covered in fingerprints but a quick clean sorts this out but you need to watch out for stray children coming up behind you and using the touchscreen to change tabs while you are working because they need to show you something online. There is an onscreen keyboard which remains hidden from view but can be quickly accessed, this works brilliantly but the handwriting recognition is a disaster. There is a software suite called Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows included which is fantastic, it merits a review of its own but my favourite application is a version of Google Earth which allows you to use the touch screen to do more than you can with the standard version.
The PC is powered by an Intel Pentium processor and has a 500GB hard drive and 3GB memory. This is more than ample for all of my needs which are mainly web browsing, email, documents and watching video. The large hard drive means that I am confident I won't run out of space anytime soon and the large memory means the PC starts up in a few seconds and copes well with multiple tasks running at the same time. I use the internet wirelessly and the connection has always been nice and strong.
The operating system installed is Windows 7 which is a good step up from XP and has been really stable. You get a 3 month trial of MacAfee anti-virus thrown in (which I'm not too keen on, I much prefer AVG) and there is a starter version of Microsoft Office 2010 which includes Word. I'm really not keen on 2010 and find it really hard to get used to after using an older version and I am annoyed I am also going to have to pay out for a full version of the software at some point.
Other features include a webcam which is decent quality and a freeview tuner. The large screen means that it is ideal to watch DVDs or TV although you do need some kind of external aerial for the freeview reception. The sound quality is good with integrated stereo speakers but is prone to be slightly tinny at high volumes.
The downsides of this PC are minimal. It does have 6 USB ports and a multicard reader but the high speed USB ports are not easily accessible as they are at the back of the computer instead of at the side like the normal ones. The keyboard and mouse which came with the PC are very cheap so I replaced them immediately but I'm sure they would be perfectly functional
I love my Acer Z3731, it performs well and the touchscreen functionality is brilliant too. I have bought from Acer before and I know it is a reliable brand, the one worry I do have is that if something goes wrong with one component (i.e. screen, hard drive) then the whole lot will need to be replaced so I have bought a 5 year warranty. I would also not like to do anything like a memory upgrade myself which I would be confident about doing on a PC tower due to the fact the components will be smaller and there will be less room to work.