By March 4, 2009

Advent AIO100 review

What happens if you take the base components from an Atom based Netbook and blend it with an 18" monitor.

You get the Advent AIO100 – a low power consuming, all in one PC.

The Advent AIO100

The Advent AIO100


What’s in the box?

  • The main unit
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Power Cable

There is also apparently a manual in the production model of this, but it wasn’t present in this review unit.

Advent AIO100 Specification:

  • Intel® Atom processor
  • (1.6GHz, 533MHz FSB, 512KB Cache)
  • Genuine Windows XP® Home Edition
  • 1GB DDR2 memory
  • 160GB SATA hard drive
  • NVIDIA® GeForce 9200M graphics *
  • Dual Layer DVD Rewriter
  • Built-in wireless (802.11b/g/n)
  • Integrated 1.3 million pixel webcam
  • 5x USB ports
  • Media card reader

* Our test unit had the Intel 945 Express graphics card, this has apparently been changed to the Nvidia chipset in final hardware revisions.


Front – 2 LED’s, one for power, one for HDD activity
The buttons from left to right are :- Power, LCD brightness (there are 5 levels), Volume Up, Volume Down, Mute Speakers, LCD On/Off

Advent AIO100 front view

Advent AIO100 Front View


Right Side- Media card reader, Microphone, Headphone, 2xUSB, External VGA connector (behind the cover on the right hand side)

Advent AIO100 right side

Advent AIO100 right side view


Back – 3xUSB, Power, Network

Advent AIO100 rear connectors

Advent AIO100 back view


Left Side – DVD-RW Drive

Advent AIO100 left side

Advent AIO100 left side view


When Matt sent me a picture of this and asked if I’d review it, my first thought (having recently reviewed the Dell Mini 9) was that it was a Photoshop blending the Mini 9 with a monitor.

Once I confirmed that it was a real product, I said yes, as I was curious as to what Advent had here.

I looked at the full specs of the Advent AIO100 online and was puzzled further – they seemed to confirm my original thoughts, with the hardware specs being almost identical to the Mini 9 – just the hard drive and the monitor being different.

So on to the actual device itself.

As I unboxed the AIO100 I realised that the monitors connection to the base isn’t exactly as I thought it would be. I had assumed there would some sort of plug together connection – of course if I’d thought it through a little bit I would have realised that approach would mean some fussiness with the cables connecting the monitor to the base.

The base is connected to the base unit and that connection is hinged at the monitor end, with the connecting cables being hidden inside the connecting arm.

One thing I would mention to people who might be unpacking one of these is to be careful as you remove polystyrene as there is some level of springiness in the arm between the monitor and the base. You wouldn’t want to drop your new PC.

The unit itself is covered in the ultra shiny plastic that so many monitor are nowadays – the sort of plastic that just attracts fingerprints, and this is obviously something Advent themselves are aware of as this unit actual included a cleaning cloth.

Also in the box are the USB keyboard and mouse, the power adapter and the CDs for reinstalling Windows and MS Works 9.0

The keyboard itself is one of the compact variety where all the extra surround has been removed and on top of that its one of the thinnest keyboards I’ve ever seen. Whilst that may sound as though its delicate and flimsy it works just fine and feels perfectly solid whilst typing on it.

The mouse is a standard optical mouse with 2 mouse buttons and a scroll wheel.

Setup is really simple – just connect the power, plug in the USB keyboard and mouse, and press the power button. You can’t really get much more simple than that.

There is a slight hiccup with the power connector.

It’s a right angled plug, which means that if you want the cable hidden along the back of the unit then the cable has to go either towards the USB sockets or towards the network connector – and it slightly blocks the socket you point it towards, not dreadfully, but enough that you question the usage of a right angled connector instead of a normal bullet one.

Once started though, it’s a standard Windows XP boot to the desktop.

One tool that is installed on the AIO100 by default is a ‘recovery’ tool made by ‘The TechGuys’.

It can either recover from a backup you’ve made previously or else you can choose to do what they call a Destructive Recovery – that basically wipes the hard drive and reinstalls the PC as it came shipped to you.

Very useful and certainly quicker than doing a Windows reinstallation from scratch yourself.

The other pre-installed programs are PowerDVD and Microsoft Works 9.0

One thing that is missing though is any form of anti-virus. Normally this is one of the many pieces of trial software that PC manufacturers install by default. It is certainly the very first thing that I’d recommend installing – ideally getting the download from web using another PC that is already protected.

The monitors default resolution is 1680×945 which is a resolution I’ve never come across, but on the 18.3" monitor it certainly gives the user a decent real estate. And built into the top of the monitor is a 1.3M pixel web cam.

The viewing angle on the monitor isn’t brilliant. If you are to the left and right of the ‘sweet spot’ things are fine, but if you are below that perfect position then things go darker with some of the colours reversing, and if you above this spot then things go light.
Now all LCD monitors suffer from this problem, but the ‘sweet spot’ is normally larger than this, with more forgiveness in the users position before the colours distort. And across a relatively large monitor like this it differs between slightly dark and slightly light across its height whilst you are sitting still.

On most LCDs you can work around this slightly by choosing to tilt the screen to get a light image with a more consistent colour across the whole screen, and then adjusting the monitor’s internal contrast and colour settings. Only this monitor doesn’t have those settings. You CAN adjust those with the graphics card software within Windows, but it’s quite not as flexible.

On the subject of the graphics card, this unit is a slight quirk according to the specs out there on the web. According to the specs I’ve found this PC is supposed to have an Nvidia 9200M graphics chipset on the motherboard. This one has an Intel 945 Express – exactly the same as the Dell Mini 9.

Whilst the graphics card is the same as on the smaller resolution NetBook it’s certainly capable for web browsing and fullscreen video playback. I don’t think I’ll be trying to play any recent 3D games on it mind.

One component that is a big step-up from the Mini 9 is the 160GB SATA hard drive of the AIO100. The drive felt faster to me, though I didn’t do any hard testing on it, just gut and experience.

By using an Atom N270 CPU the PC has very low power consumption, with quoted figures of 34W with the CPU going full bore. This also means that it runs pretty cool. When it does heat up the on board fans kick in, and whilst they are noticeable, they are pretty quiet – and certainly quieter than a normal PC tower.

When it comes to running programs the Advent AIO100 is fine for anything that doesn’t require real number crunching power. Web browsing, document editing and fullscreen video are all handled fine – providing you are not trying to do anything too complicated (tell your video player to do lots of affects to the picture then it will soon push past the CPU’s abilities and start to chug a little).

The built in DVD drive follows the rest of the device in being built with laptop type hardware, when you press eject it springs open then you manually open it all the way or close it. So no power driven open and close like on normal desktops, but

Built in WIFI and Gigabit Ethernet will let you connect the PC to your network whichever way you prefer.

An external VGA connector, 5 USB ports and a 4-in-1 media card reader round out the capabilities of this petite base unit.

Something else I should point out is that the unit can also be arranged with the base behind the monitor and then using the VESA connector into the bottom of the base unit. It’s an interesting thing to allow the user to choose between a ‘standard’ monitor type layout and a VESA connection which would clear the desk surface of anything but the keyboard and mouse.

Though under this arrangement the various buttons, ports and the DVD drive are less accessible than in the desktop arrangement.


Advent AIO100 back view




So where does all this leave the Advent AIO100.

Well if you are in the market for an all-in-one PC, that doesn’t take up any more space than a monitor alone, then the AIO100 is worth looking at.

If you are only looking to browse the web, edit documents or even view DVDs, then the unit is certainly capable – and the ability to reconfigure the devices physical form to hang it from a VESA bracket would allow it to be used in a non-standard office location (though you’d likely want to get a wireless keyboard/mouse unit).

My main niggle with the AIO100 as a device is the viewing angle on the monitor. If you can live with that and the relatively low grunt of the CPU then it’s a neat little PC that won’t guzzle much power.

Of course if you want to run more powerful applications or games, then you’ll need a more tradition PC – and with current prices Dual Core PCs with a decent size monitor can be bought for about the same sort of money these days.

If I was getting a PC for my mum (who only really needs web browsing and email), with an eye on small form factor and low power consumption then I’d seriously consider a PC like this. Though the very first thing I’d do is install anti-virus software.

An alternate thought though is to get a NetBook and a large desktop monitor for about the same money – this would allow you to take your PC with you and just hook it up to the larger monitor (and keyboard and mouse if you choose) when you get home. Though I suspect that’s not the market that the Advent AIO100 is aimed at.


Review by: Iain

Posted in: Reviews

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