Hey folks, Valkor here. The idea of having a PC at the heart of an entertainment center is nothing new; people have been doing it for years now, and as for me, well… I was put off at having this huge desktop thing in my living room, taking up space and looking all obvious. But that was many moons ago and times and personal computers have changed. They're now smaller, more compact and not so obvious. And The folks at Acer might have just the PC that will fit in with any entertainment setup. Enter the Acer Revo RL100-UR20p Home Theater PC (HTPC) or Acer Revo for short because it sounds as sexy as this device looks.
At first glance, if you didn't know the Acer Revo was a PC, you'd swear it was just a DVD/Blu Ray Player. It's superslim, measuring in at 1" thick and can be placed horizontal or vertical (stand included). At the front of the device you have your Blu-ray/DVD drive a USB (2.0) port and a Multi-in-1 card reader (SD, XD, Memory Stick, etc). At the back you have two additional USB ports, Mic/headphone ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI port and an S/DPIF optical audio out. Now internally here's what you'll be getting:
- AMD Athalon II Neo (K325 dual-core processor)
- NVidia ION Graphics card
- 4GB DDR 3 memory
- 750 GB hard drive
- 802.11 b/g/n Wireless LAN
- Pre-loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit version
- Other third party software
Not to forget but the Acer Revo also supports Dolby – Live, Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Headphone, etc. But the major standout for the unit is the detachable wireless keyboard/touchpad, which slides out from underneath the dvd drive. Switching between the touchpad and keyboard is as easy as pressing a button at the top right. Need to scroll? The device comes with a scroll wheel to the left. It takes some getting used to the touchpad, but takes even more patience with the keyboard, especially since it's a touchpad keyboard with no feedback. Here's a quick tip about the touchpad: there's no obvious way to right-click when using the touchpad, but if you hold down on an icon, or whatever it is you wanna right-click, then you're good to go.
Finally, and before I forget, the Acer Revo comes packed with a service called Clear.fi that connect your devices – external drives, smartphones, all-in-ones, and gathers all your media files for playback. I will say this… it makes for one helluva software BD player. But I don't have too many devices I could use the service with. I've tested the unit with both gaming software and digital as well as physical media – DVD, Blu Ray, CD-ROM and put the Acer Revo through the Val-cave tests and what I've come back with will benefit some but disappoint others. So let's not waste any more time and jump into the TOV Breakdown.
The Acer Revo, as a multimedia PC, will blend in perfectly within your entertainment setup. No one will think twice about at first glance, but when you tell em what it is – that it's a PC media powerhouse, they will be impressed. And I was very impressed. As a media PC, it works perfectly! Video playback – either software or hardware, is fluid and thanks to the NVidia processor powering the graphics, everything looks amazing. The first BD I had to pop in was "The Dark Knight" (it's been a Batman kinda week) followed by Final Fantasy Advent Children BD; we're talkin crisp, clean HD with bold colors, amazing darks, and sharp contrast that's equal to playback on my Playstation 3. My current Toshiba laptop drops frames on DVD playback (digital playback is smooth), but that's not the case with the Acer (and as well as it should). So choosing between watching on my Toshiba or the Acer for my next film review… it's a clear choice, I'm going with the Acer. As far as the hybrid keyboard/touchpad goes… I really wanted to hate it, but for the life of me I can't bring myself to do it because it works so well… once you get the hang of it. I only ran into a snag trying to figure out the right-click (a quick search on Google solved that issue). The keyboard is a full QWERTY and functions properly; I had to smile when I saw that there was a dedicated CTRL-ALT-DELETE button; I was worried how I would pull that off. On the gaming side, serious gamers need not apply as the device doesn't pack the CPU punch needed for anything too intensive. However casual to moderate gamers will do just fine. Otherwise the Acer Revo is an impressive, all-around entertainment device.
Again the touchpad keyboard takes some getting used to, especially if you're used to a full keyboard. And ditch the majority of the added third-party software.
Make no mistake, The Acer Revo RL100-UR20P is a slim, sexy, media beast of a machine; if all you need is casual gaming but more power to display your films – digital or otherwise, then the Revo makes for the perfect centerpiece for your entertainment center. And out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving the Acer Revo a mighty 4.5 and it's been Valkor tested, TOV Approved.