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Acer Revo

Acer Aspire Revo R3600

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Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

We have heard tell of a number of variants of Revo, and our review sample of the R3600 model comes with a hard drive loaded with Windows Vista Home Premium but doesn’t have the wireless games controller which is part of the more expensive Multimedia version that costs £300. A unit like the one we tested would set you back £250.

Acer Aspire Revo

Crammed in: inside the Revo

The Revo is built around a Pico-ITX motherboard and has a tiny lozenge-shaped case that measures 195 x 210 x 37mm. We're told that the volume of the case is one litre. While we reckon it's actually 1.5l, no matter how you measure it, the Revo is absolutely tiny. The case stands on edge and clips on a transparent base that is horribly unstable and which gives the impression that it was an afterthought in the design process.

Since Acer expects the Revo to stand on one of the machine's corners - helped by the stand - talk of the box's top and bottom don't make much sense Most of the ports are on the one edge, where you’ll find four USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet, the HDMI and VGA graphics outputs, and the power jack for the small external power brick. There's a Kensington lock slot too. On another side, there are headset jacks, a four-in-one card reader and an eSata port. Then, on the third side, you’ll find two more USB ports to bring the total to six.

Tucked away inside there's an Atheros 802.11n wireless adaptor which is worth having if you're using the Revo as a media extender connected to your TV.

Acer supplies a wired USB mouse and keyboard set that are small and white with overtones of Apple. The first impression of these tiny peripherals is that they look cute but it rapidly becomes clear that they are too small to be of much use. Do your hands shrink just because you buy a small PC? They do not.

Acer Aspire Revo

There are stacks of ports all round the Revo

This brings us to a fundamental issue with the Revo. The HDMI output suggests you should connect it to your HD telly while the wired mouse and keyboard make that a tricky proposition. If you plan on using the Revo as a desktop PC you will need to buy an HDMI-to-DVI adaptor to connect it to most TFT displays on the market. If you have an analogue TFT with a VGA input it will work perfectly, but it will take the edge off the picture quality of the HD movies that you plan on watching.

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