Acer Z3 Hands-on Preview: Acer’s Home Theater AIO

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Acer claims its new all-in-one is designed for “modern homes,” but given the Z3’s mid-range specs and presumably modest price, one can’t help but think this 23-inch Windows 8 AIO is also targeted at college dorm dwellers, both for home entertainment duty, in addition to light computing. To that end, Acer is really pushing the Z3 audio output at Computex Taipei, where it was first revealed.

Acer Z3Indeed, the Acer Z3 is the first AIO PC to sport Harman Kardon speakers, two 3-watt speakers, to be exact. According to the company, and those speakers pump out “world class” and “beautiful sound,” with “refined acoustic details” when paired with the Z3’s Dolby home theater technology.

DesktopReview is in Taipei for Computex, and while we can confirm the Z3 has front-facing speakers, and they are branded “Harman Kardon,” but it’s impossible to judge the performance in the noisy Nangang Exhibition Center. Though, we can confirm they get plenty loud, as one Acer rep was kind enough to max them out during a hands-on demonstration.

Acer Z3 speakersThe speakers also lend a home-theater aesthetic to an all-in-one that is certainly angling for a spot in an entertainment center, rather than a desk. Make no mistake, this is a stationary device, not designed to be moved from room to room. It has no battery, and cannot lie flat. It’s a 23-inch IPS display with a wide-viewing angle, 1920 x 1080 resolution, and 10-points of touch input.

In fact, it’s a pretty sharp display, with decent color reproduction. It’s glossy, but also bright enough, with decent enough contrast, to mitigate some of the harsh glare from the overhead lights present during our session.

Its innards are sealed up tight in a black, textured, plastic chassis, with a gray trim and black plastic kick stand. It’s an attractive device that measures 22.3 x 17.3 x 2.1-inches (WHD) and weighs a bit less than 20 pounds.

Acer Z3 back

For ports, it has two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 (one conveniently located in the front), in addition to a full-sized HDMI input, SD card reader, multiple audio jacks, and an Ethernet port. The front-facing HD webcam can be manually adjusted 20 degrees, which is both unique and useful, considering the Z3 weighs too much to easily adjust the camera angle for a Skype call.

The Z3 will be available in a number of different configurations, but will not feature an Intel fourth-generation Haswell processor. Instead, it will ship with either a third-generation Core i3 or Core i5, along with Intel HD or AMD Radeon 8670A graphics. It will be available with an HDD up to 1TB, and up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM.

Acer claims the Z3 will ship this month, but has yet to announce a price.

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