- Surprisingly stylish
- Great build quality
- Fair expandability
- Ball mouse
- Weak graphics
Just because you provide inexpensive computers doesn’t mean that you can’t do your part to make them attractive – and eMachines is really starting to pick up on this fact. The latest efforts have shown their new focus on producing stylish but still affordable machines. Today we take a look at the all-white ET1810. Read on for our full review.
eMachines has always been known as a “value” branded PC maker. They’ve built a reputation on providing solidly-built machines. While I’d never go so far as to call them ugly, they just haven’t been as stylish as some of the computers offered by the competition. Since those days, however, both the company and the market has changed. For eMachines, they were acquired by Gateway, who were themselves later acquired by Acer.
The market, well, we all know how the market’s been. It’s definitely starting to recover, but times are still tough and people are still looking for the best deal for the money. It’s times like these that the low-end of the market shines – and manufacturers have to find a way to stand out. eMachines has decided to completely redesign their offerings. It feels completely different from what we’ve traditionally come to expect from the company.
- Processor: Intel Pentium Dual-core E2210 @ 2.2GHz (1MB L2 cache, 800MHz FSB)
- Memory: 3GB DDR2 SDRAM (4GB max)
- Hard drive: 320GB SATA @ 7200RPM
- Optical drive: 18x DVD+/-RW SuperMulti drive with Labelflash disc-labeling technology
- Sound: Integrated HD audio
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 7050 integrated graphics
- Networking: 10/100 Ethernet, 56k modem
- Operating system: Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit / Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
- Inputs: 6 USB2.0 (2 front, 4 rear), Multi-in-one card reader, headphone and line-in jacks, 7.1 audio out, 2 x PS/2, VGA
- Power supply: 250W internal
- Dimensions: 16.1 x 14.5 x 7.2 inches (LxHxW)
- Weight: 18 pounds
- Warranty: 1 year limited parts and labor
The eMachines ET1810-03 desktop has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (as a pre-configured desktop) of $369.99 but is available for purchase from selected online retailers for as low as $349.99.
Build and Design
We said earlier that these new eMachines desktops feel like a departure from the norm for the brand, and it just takes one look to see why. The ET1810 series looks very different from eMachines’ older models, and even stands out when compared to equivalently-priced offerings from competitors. Rather than going for the traditional grey/silver or high-tech black, the ET1810 is almost completely encased in white. The top and both sides are completely white, with the latter emblazoned by a giant eMachines ‘e’ and vent lines.
The front of the machine is mostly white plastic, with a narrow center surrounded by black trimming on the side. Two optical drive bays are hidden behind more white, with integrated eject buttons directly below. Underneath the drive bays are the front inputs and card reader, then the large ‘e’ in the middle. Just like with previous eMachines models, the logo serves as the power button for the desktop. The ‘e’, and the line across the front, glow green when the machine is turned on. It’s a nice enough effect, showy enough to be appreciated without being too tacky.
The actual build quality has to be mentioned, too. While the ET1810 follows the same basic design as most minitower desktops these days — that is, metal top and sides with a plastic facade covering a metal front — it does it without skimping on the build strength. The entire machine is impressively solid. There’s no give to the sides and top, as often happens when manufacturers skimp out by using flimsy, thin metal sheeting. Moreover, the glossy white paint feels scratch resistant; things slide off rather than dig it and scratch it up. Even if you did scratch it, the color and style of paint would keep the scratches from being too noticeable, unless they were very deep.
Inputs and Expansion
It’s rare for desktops found in the value bracket of the market to offer much in the way of ports and expandability, but the ET1810 manages to do okay. The front of the machine has the 18x DVD+/-RW optical drive, as well as a multi-in-one card reader. The card reader should cover just about any possible portable format you could need. There are also two USB2.0 ports and headphone and microphone jacks. There’s an additional bay here if you need a second optical drive – unlikely, but always a possibility. There’s almost nothing to complain about.
Going around to the back for the rest of the ports, we find four more USB2.0 ports, analog surround out, two PS/2 ports for the included keyboard and mouse, VGA out and networking and modem ports. It would be nice to see DVI-out on here, since so many monitors come with it. The eMachines-branded monitor targeted with this system is VGA only, though, so it’s easy to see why they didn’t put it in (although still unfortunate). More USB ports are always nice, but most people who buy this system probably won’t fill up the total of six that the system offers. Additionally, the networking capabilities on the ET1810 is limited to 10/100 instead of 10/100/1000. Not a huge deal, but given the push towards centralizing home computing with servers, network-attached storage units and DVRs that can push content all over, a fast home network makes all of that run much more smoothly.
Inside, the case uses a micro-ATX board, which leaves a lot of room for doing upgrades and adding additional functionality. There is an empty 5.25-bay as well as an empty 3.5-inch bay, so you can add a new optical drive and hard drive, or, more likely, two more hard drives. You can also take advantage of the card slots, with one PCI-Express x16 slot, one PCI-Express x1 slot and two PCI slots (though one of the latter is taken up by the modem). Adding in a decent video card would propel this system into an altogether different category, and while you’re limited by the 250W power supply, that still leaves a lot of room for using a respectable GPU.