Acer Revo One

Acer Revo One

Acer describes its Revo One PC as being as tall as two Rubik's Cubes stacked on top of each other.

The PC is about as big as a portable speaker, with rounded corners, and a smooth and glossy white body.

Within its plastic casing is the latest Intel Broadwell Core i5 processor. In other words, this is a proper computer. Not one running on a low-cost ARM chip like the Raspberry Pi.

What impressed me most: The Acer Revo One can support up to three hard drives. The review set came with two 1TB hard drives configured in Raid 1. The drives are exact copies of each other, so your data is intact even if one fails.

Unsurprisingly, the Revo One is heavier than you might expect. It weighs about 1kg - 200g short of Apple's Mac mini computer, which has a sturdier aluminium chassis.

Both of these are designed for home entertainment. They have sleek, minimalist designs that won't look out of place in the living room.

Connect the Revo One to a TV set via an HDMI cable and you can watch your videos on the big screen. It also has a mini-DisplayPort for monitors.

Acer includes a remote control that has a touchpad at the front and a full QWERTY keyboard at the back. But I did not test it because it was not included in the review set.

Instead, I tried out an Android mobile app called Acer Revo Suite. Install it on your Android phone, pair it with the Revo One via Bluetooth, and your phone or tablet becomes a touchpad and keyboard to control the Revo One.

The phone's touchscreen works better as a touchpad. You will need to press a button to bring up the virtual keyboard.

At the top of the Revo One is an SD card slot and LED indicators for the Ethernet port and its three hard drives. An LED strip at the bottom glows when the Revo One is on.

For some reason, the power button is at the back of the Revo One instead of the top or front. At the back are most of the connectors, including an Ethernet port (Wi-Fi is supported too) and four USB ports. The receiver for the wireless mouse and keyboard occupies one of the USB ports.

As a Windows PC, the Revo One is about as fast as a mainstream laptop. You can run almost all apps except games that require a dedicated graphics card. Acer had preloaded a bunch of proprietary apps, most of which I did not find useful.

At $899, the Revo One is cheaper than a Core i5-powered Mac mini ($948). But for home entertainment, there are more affordable options, from consoles to Android-powered TV boxes.

The Revo One works well as both a mini-desktop PC and a home entertainment device.

vinchang@sph.com.sg

This article was first published on June 3, 2015.
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