Thursday, November 12, 2009

Acer Aspire Revo versus Dell Zino HD

I’m in the market for a new HTPC to replace a homebuilt system from a couple of years ago.  Lucky, there are two great, very affordable systems that just came out for the 2009 holiday season. I’ve compared them both below with my thoughts.  

  Acer Aspire Revo Dell Zino HD
Price (as configured) $329 $329

Winner: PUSH
The Dell is configurable, whereas the Revo is not.  I chose the below specifications for the Dell that I thought would make for a useful comparison. 

Model # AR3610-U9012 Inspiron 400
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit


Processor Intel Atom 330(1.6GHz) 1MB L2 AMD Athlon™ 2850e (512K, L2, 1.8GHz)
Memory 2GB DDR2 800 2GB DDR2 800
Hard Drive 160GB 5400RPM SATA 250GB 7200RPM SATA


Graphics Integrated NVIDIA ION Integrated ATI Radeon HD3200
Audio High-Definition Audio Support Integrated 2.1

Winner: DELL
Both processors and integrated graphics chips are unexciting, but should work for HD playback. In addition to the size of the HDD, the hard drive speed makes a notable difference when surfing through home theater software menus.

Ethernet Gigabit Gigabit
Wireless 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth None None
Infrared None None

Winner: PUSH
When will these guys get it?  The FIRST thing a TV system needs is a remote control.  Why not include an IR receiver?

Optical Drive None 8X DVD+/-RW
Multi-Card Reader Yes Yes

Winner: DELL
Dell has a DVD drive, Acer doesn't.  I guess that what you get for having a bigger box. Dell even has the option to upgrade to Blu-Ray, but I'm skeptical if this machine could really handle BR playback.

Speaker USB Stereo Speakers None
Keyboard Wireless USB
Mouse Wireless USB

Winner: ACER
Speakers are not a big deal if you are running your audio through the HDMI port to your TV.  It's nice that Acer included a wireless keyboard, but I have found that "wireless" just isn't enough.  To surf while leaning back on a couch 10 feet away, you really need a Bluetooth keyboard.

Video Output 1 VGA, 1 HDMI 1 VGA, 1 HDMI
TV Tuner None Coming?

Winner: DELL
At some point Dell with add the option for a TV tuner, which could be a deal breaker for the Acer.  Then again, it would cost additional money, and usb TV tuners are widely available.

Dimensions 7.10" x 1.20" x 7.10" 7.8" x 7.8" x 3.4"
Weight 9.00 lbs. 3.53 lbs.

Winner: ACER
I see the Dell is going after the popular, Apple-like square box. But smaller is better, period. Why does the Acer weigh so much more though? I don't get it.


While l love the somewhat smaller form factor of the Aspire Revo and I'd like to test the range of the wireless keyboard and mouse, the Dell's optical drive and faster hard drive allow it to edge out the win.