ASUS Eee Top ET2002 nettop PC

An all-in-one touch-screen PC for basic workloads

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ASUS Eee Top ET2002
  • ASUS Eee Top ET2002
  • ASUS Eee Top ET2002
  • ASUS Eee Top ET2002

Pros

  • Space-saving design, touch screen, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless networking

Cons

  • Slow, small keyboard and mouse, glossy screen can be irritating

Bottom Line

Consider the ASUS Eee Top ET2002 if all you want is a basic machine for working on office documents, browsing the Web and playing videos and music. It doesn't have the grunt to perform more taxing tasks, and it isn't great for multitasking.

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The ASUS Eee Top ET2002 is an all-in-one PC with a 20in touch-screen display and the latest Intel Atom CPU and NVIDIA graphics for mainstream users. It's designed for everyday tasks such as Web browsing, office work and playing videos and music; it would definitely suit students looking for something neat and simple for their bedroom, as well as families looking for a space-saving and basic PC for the lounge room. It doesn't take much to set up the ASUS Eee Top ET2002; only the power jack needs to be plugged in to the rear of the computer — the keyboard and mouse are cordless, and because the monitor is built in, there is no need to attach any peripheral cables. The keyboard and mouse are a little too small to use comfortably for long periods of time; we'd appreciate a bigger muse and a wider keyboard. The supplied keyboard has full-sized alphanumeric keys, but it's only 32cm wide so it feels cramped, especially when using the arrow keys. It's modelled after a notebook keyboard — it has dual-function keys that can be used to adjust the volume and brightness and turn off the wireless adapter and screen.

One of the biggest talking points of the Eee Top ET2002 is its NVIDIA Ion graphics, which are powerful enough to display Full HD video without stuttering or tearing, as well as the Intel Atom 330 CPU, which can process up to four software threads simultaneously. This graphics and CPU combination gives the Eee Top ET2002 more grunt than a typical nettop PC (such as ASUS' earlier Eee Top ET1602), but mostly in the graphics department. Office and Web applications will run at a similar pace to a regular Intel Atom N-based netbook or nettop.

Even the four virtual cores of the Intel Atom 330 CPU didn't provide much of a boost in our WorldBench 6 benchmark suite, nor in our MP3 encoding test. In WorldBench 6 it scored only 36, which is approximately 6 points more than a regular Intel Atom N-based netbook. The nettop encoded 53min worth of WAV files in 6min 40sec, which is approximately 1min quicker than a typical netbook such as the HP Mini 110 and only slightly better than the NVIDIA Ion–based HP Mini 311 notebook.

The extra processor core and Hyper-Threading didn't have any effect in these tests (not even in the multitasking portion of WorldBench 6), but they affect the Blender 3D test, which is an application that can use all four virtual cores of the CPU. In Blender 3D it took 3min 42sec to render a 3D image, which is almost twice as fast a typical netbook. It feels like the Eee Top ET2002 fares much better in the real world, with load times and application switching both being reasonably swift; we didn't really ever feel like tearing our hair out while using it. However, you still won't be able to use it for video editing or complex photo editing.

The rest of the Eee Top ET2002's configuration comprises 2GB of DDR2 SDRAM and a 250GB, 5400rpm hard drive. You also get a built-in DVD burner, which sits on the right side of the unit. There are two USB 2.0 ports, audio ports and an SD card slot on the left side, and there are four more USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port and an HDMI port on the rear of the unit. It's a little difficult to access the rear ports — even the side ports can be a pain — so if you have numerous USB devices that you regularly unplug, then extension cables should be used.

At 20in, the Eee Top ET2002 is a good size for a main desktop PC and its native resolution of 1600x900 is big enough to put two windows side by side when multitasking. The screen has decent brightness and contrast, and you can improve your viewing angle by tilting it back on its stand. The glossy screen means you're better off not positioning the unit opposite a window.

The touch screen is accurate and can be manipulated with a finger or a pointing device such as a pen. You can navigate easily and drag and drop files without any problems, but flicking gestures weren't picked up well. Handwriting is a little cumbersome as the screen doesn't immediately show what you have written, but it is generally accurate. It did have trouble recognising the letter 'v', registering it up as 'r' almost every time.

What would make the Eee Top ET2002 a better machine is a built-in digital TV tuner. It has a blank spot in the rear where an antenna port can be installed, so it's an option we hope will become available. It would make the ET2002 even more convenient as an all-in-one computer, TV and DVR unit.

Our overall impressions of the ASUS Eee Top ET2002 are mixed. We like its features, but it's still sluggish for true multitasking and taxing processing tasks, so don't buy this unit thinking you'll be able to use it just like a typical desktop PC. It can only be used to create office documents, lightly edit photos and playback media files. On the bright side, it can't play games, so it won't be a distraction when you have work to do.

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