ASUS ET2410INTS AIO review: all about Inspiring, Innovation, Persistent and Perfection?
Attentive readers will probably realize that we have already covered certain aspects of the ASUS EN2410INTS in an earlier preview that was published some two weeks ago. However, for the benefit of those who had not viewed the aforementioned article, we will go through the EN2410INTS's design once again, but in more detail this time.
A Closer Look: Exterior
We are not going to deny it; the first thought that sprang into mind when we first unboxed the ASUS ET2410INTS All-in-one desktop PC was that of "Apple iMac clone", but only because the PC employs for its stand a two-piece solid metal foot which, when viewed from the front, bears more than just a passing semblance to an actual iMac's iconic stand. Unfortunately, that was the only aspect of the ET2410INTS which looked distinctly iMac-like.
While we are talking about the ASUS ET2410INTS' front, you would have realized that ASUS's AIO PC makes use of a rather generic design template which most OEMs only seem too happy to adhere to, prefering to make only minor cosmetic tweaks here and there. This would usually not be an issue for most of us, since we generally prefer to have our desktops look as simple and unassuming as possible.
However, when you are talking about an OEM-assembled machine which is designed to appeal to non-techies, design is definitely going to factor in heavily. Simply put, we cannot help but feel that having a template that looks both generic and and average (or not sophisticated enough) is definitely not what we'd classify as "Inspiring" and "Innovative", especially when consumers today are more concerned with how a PC 'looks' than ever before, no thanks to Apple's influence. That being said, we'd concede on the "Perfect" part of ASUS's claim. You know, "Perfect" as in "Perfectly Average".
For starters, the touch-sensitive 24-inch display is encased in a one-inch wide bezel that is crafted out of glossy black plastic (read: fingerprint magnet), a design element which is extremely common in such devices today.
Situated at the top of the bezel is the ET2410INTS' webcam which users can utilize for various video-centric computational tasks. And for those who are wondering where the ET2410's built-in microphone has disappeared to, it can be found right next to the webcam's status indicator LED.
The one-inch wide display bezel is also home to four hardware buttons that control various aspects of the ASUS ET2410INT's display and media functionality. Two of the four buttons are used for volume control purposes, while the "Mode" button allows one to instantly turn off the AIO's display or toggle between its various video input sources (namely PC, HDMI-in and VGA-in). Lastly, the "Menu" button gives a user access to the display's OSD, which features a variety of customizable options such as the display's brightness and contrast settings, color temperature and even the desired aspect ratio.
And just in case you are wondering, the ASUS ET2410INTS's OSD is not touch-operated; you have to use the volume control buttons to navigate your way around the OSD menu.
Turning the ASUS ET2410INTS over reveals the AIO's rear panel, which is the area where the machine's array of expandability and I/O ports call their home. Also present here are two heat vents (or ventilation grilles?) that run along the entire length of the ET2410INTS, and are situated at both the top and the bottom of the AIO's rear panel.
Situated on the left of the ET2410INTS's iMac-like stand is a slot designed for use with Kensington-compatible locks, the all-important DC-in power jack and an antenna jack for use with the ET2410INTS's bundled TV tuner card. Nothing exactly interesting to see here.
The right of the ET2410INTS rear panel, however, is much more densely populated; it boasts three high-speed USB 2.0 ports, the obligatory Ethernet port for those cases where you simply need to make use of the more reliable copper cable for your Internet needs, and a couple of HDMI ports, of which one designed to be used for video input. Also located here is a more traditional analog VGA port, which is also used for video input purposes. Seems like ASUS is really keen on publicizing the fact that the ET2410INTS AIO PC can also double up as a secondary display which can be used with media devices, game consoles and other PCs.
But there is more. Concealed behind a well-hidden hatch on the ET2410's left lies a variety of additional I/O and expansion ports, namely two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, an eSATA/USB combo port, a 3-in-1 memory card reader that accepts MMC, SD and SDHC cards, along with two standard 3.5mm jacks for connecting a microphone and a compatible audio-output device such as headphones and speakers to.
In all honesty, we could not help but feel that ASUS might have designed the flip-out cover a little too well in attempting to make it blend into the AIO's design, for we actually failed to notice it initially.
Topping off the package is the inclusion of a tray-loading Blu-ray drive that can be found on the right of the ET2410INTS AIO PC. Unfortunately, ASUS has confirmed with us that the machines which will be made available for sale locally will lose the Blu-ray drive in favor of a more conventional DVD-RW drive. Still, considering how most people already own standalone Blu-ray players today, we must admit that we can understand where ASUS is coming from in their making of this decision.
Unfortunately, it seems that the ET2410INTS, as well as most of the OEM's AIO desktop PC lineup, is not designed to be end-user serviceable in any way; moreover, ASUS has specifically requested that we do not publish any information that might be related to the general assembly and disassembly of the ET2410INTS. As such, we will just focus on the hardware that ASUS has used to assemble its ET2410 series of AIO PCs, and let the pictures below do the talking.
The way ASUS has chosen to install the ET2410INTS's hard disk only reinforces our belief that the AIO is not intended to be disassembled and serviced (or upgraded) by any Tom, Dick or Harry armed with a screwdriver. Much of the ET2410INTS's internal cabling is routed around the machine's hard disk enclosure, and since it will take too much effort for any casual user to reroute and move all these cables out of the way just to replace the hard disk, we dare say that you are better off just taking the machine back to ASUS for servicing if your hard disk suddenly suffers a catastrophic failure.
Located to the right of the hard disk is the ET2410INTS's motherboard, which is well protected with a large electromagnetic (EM) shield.
Removing the EM shield reveals the ET2410INTS's motherboard and its various add-on hardware components in all their glory, as shown in the image below:
Providing the memory needed for the ET2410INTS's multitasking capabilities are two sticks of Hynix SO-DIMMS of differing capacities, for a combined memory of 6GB. Why ASUS opted to go with such an approach and the system's memory run in single-channel mode is something which we do not understand, but if it is of any consolation, the good news is that both sticks have the same speed rating at 1333MHz.
Remember what we said about the ET2410INTS sporting the ability to receive TV broadcasts? That functionality is brought about by this bundled AverMedia mini-PCIe card.
Last but definitely not least, situated directly underneath the AverMedia TV tuner card is an AzureWave AW-NE785H half-height mini-PCIe WiFi card, which makes use of Atheros's AR5B95 wireless chipset that provides the machine with the all-important support needed for wireless Internet connectivity via the 802.11b/g/n standard.
A Closer Look: Pheripherals
As is the case with most OEM-assembled desktop systems, ASUS has bundled a basic set of peripherals with the ET2410INTS all-in-one PC to ensure that users can immediately get up and running with their newly-purchased desktop PC as soon as the power switch is flicked. These include a wireless keyboard and mouse set, a full-sized USB wireless receiver for the aforementioned input devices, along with an antenna for the built-in TV tuner and a remote control.
Considering how most desktop systems usually ship with a full-sized keyboard that boasts its own dedicated number pad, we were puzzled over ASUS's decision to bundle a "mini" keyboard with the ET2410INTS all-in-one PC which looks and feels a lot like Apple's very own wireless keyboard sans the metal body.
Our experience with the bundled wireless keyboard was quite a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, it was good to know that this particular keyboard did not suffer from any issues pertaining to the random loss of connectivity between itself and the wireless USB receiver, a problem which was all too apparent on the Lenovo IdeaCentre A310's wireless keyboard which we reviewed way back last year.
Unfortunately, that was probably the only good thing we had to say about the bundled keyboard. After spending a few hours with it to churn out a handful of news updates and reports, we were more than ready to junk this keyboard aside and revert back to our own personal keyboards, no thanks to its wierd key layout which was causing us typos for almost every other word that was being hammered out. Which is a real pity, considering how the bundled keyboard had a decent tactile feedback.
That being said, we had no problems with the bundled mouse; it is, after all, just another one of those typical, run-of-the-mill mice that you can rely on for getting your daily work done without any issue, but that is about all there is to it.