Hardware

Geek Gifts 2009: ViewSonic VPC100 All-in-One PC

The ViewSonic VPC100 All-in-One PC is sleek, compact, and will create some conversation, but it may not hold that interest as long as more conventional PCs, which could limit its appeal as a geek gift.

Want more reviews of tech gadgets and gizmos? Download the PDF of TechRepublic's Geek Gift Guide 2009.

A new personal computer is the kind of geek gift that just keeps on giving - at least until that PC gets outdated and slow compared to the latest and greatest available. The ViewSonic VPC100 All-in-One PC is sleek, compact, and will create some conversation, but it may not hold that interest as long as more conventional PCs, which could limit its appeal as a geek gift.

Check out all of the Geek Gifts for 2009.

Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Atom N270, 1.6GHz Single Core, FSB 533MHz
  • RAM: 1GB DDR2 SDRAM
  • Hard drive: 2.5", 160GB SATA
  • Network: 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless LAN 802.11b/g
  • Display: 18.5" Color TFT Active Matrix LCD, Resolution 1366x768
  • Web camera: 1.3 megapixels
  • Optical disk drive: Super Multi Drive DVD/CD-RW
  • Input/Output: USB 2.0 (x4), PS/2 (x2), RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet LAN, Microphone jack, Earphone jack, 4-in-1 card reader (XD, SD, MMC, MS), microphone
  • Operating system: Windows XP Home
  • Dimensions: Physical (WxHxD) 17.72" x 16.75" x 1.38", Weight 11.73 lbs.
  • Power consumption: 60 watts
  • Price: $500 to $599
  • Additional vendor information
  • For a closer look, check out the TechRepublic VPC100 Photo Gallery

What I like

  • Compact: The ViewSonic VPC100 All-in-One PC is very compact. It is literally a PC squeezed into an LCD monitor.
  • LCD: The LCD display is bright and crisp, which is to be expected from a company like ViewSonic and its long history as a manufacturer of electronic displays and televisions.
  • Stylish: The VPC100 is very stylish with its all glossy black finish and hidden I/O ports. It definitely looks good on a desk or in the family room.

What I don't like

  • Lack of RAM: The standard configuration of the VPC100 is for 1GB of RAM with some of that RAM shared with the video subsystem. I believe the minimum standard for any consumer desktop is 2GB.
  • Operating system: While Windows XP Home is a fine operating system, all consumer PCs should ship with Windows Vista for the extra security it includes. I know many will argue with me about this, but I stand firm that Windows Vista is the better consumer operating system.
  • Graphics: While a consumer PC is many things, one of its prime functions is always to play games. People play games on their PC, even if it is solitaire, and they need a dedicated graphics card with dedicated memory to play them properly. A dedicated graphics chip solves a myriad of problems and extends the overall life a PC.
  • Bang for buck: For $500 plus dollars, most consumers are going to expect a certain amount of functionality and computational power. The VPC100 has the functionality and computational power of an inexpensive $250 netbook. For the money, you should be getting more.

Geek bottom line

The ViewSonic VPC100 All-in-One PC is a bit of an enigma. There are many things about the VPC100 to like and there a few things that could be better. In the final analysis there is nothing really wrong with the VPC100, but there is also very little to recommend it.

It is difficult to find any existing niche for the VPC100. The computing power is that of a netbook, so why not get a netbook. And, if you are looking for a good consumer oriented PC, there are desktops available with much more computational power available for the same price.

The ViewSonic VPC100 All-in-One PC is an idea looking for a market. I think we should wait for the next generation of All-in-One PCs, when, if the manufacturers are listening, the computational power and performance are more in line with the price.

Geek score (out of 5)

  • Fun factor: ***
  • Geek factor: ***
  • Value: *
  • Overall: **

About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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