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By Thomas McKinnon 24 August 2009

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The Acer Veriton N260G ultra light PC is what some are calling a nettop, basically a small form factor desktop doing for PCs what the netbook did for notebooks, well sort of. With dimensions of just 192 x 192 x 36 mm the N260G is a revelation in desktop computing. 

The N260G has an Intel N280 1.66 GHz Atom processor, an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M, 1 GB of RAM and a 160 GB hard drive. This is on par with what is currently being fitted in netbooks, so stating the obvious you’re basically getting the same processing power as a netbook, complete with Atom processor.

Notably the machine does offer an HDMI output which you won’t find on many netbooks or desktop PC’s for that matter.  Over and above all the regular interfaces you also get six USB 2.0 ports and a 4-in-1 multi-card reader.

The one feature that Acer is pushing is the N260G’s VESA Mounting Interface Standard (MIS) which basically allows you to snap the neat diamond shaped case onto the back of an LCD display. This makes it ideal when desktop space is at a premium. Otherwise it does come packaged with a retractable stand that allows you to stand it upright, but be warned the stand does feel a little flimsy.

While all this may sound a little underwhelming, it isn’t. Put all of those specs together and you have yourself a rather versatile machine. The fact that it has an HDMI output and can be neatly hidden behind your LCD TV makes it an ideal media PC. We hooked it up to an HD TV via HDMI and it worked well enough for watching high-quality video, though it did struggle a little with full HD video. A 160 GB hard drive is nothing to turn your nose up at either, but you’ll probably want an external hard drive for storing most of your media files.

As an office machine it is equally impressive. It can save a ton of office space and save a company bucket loads on hardware costs. We used the machine to do some photo editing, email checking, spreadsheet construction and all sorts of other low-resource activities that the vast majority of office workers engage in, including checking Facebook and playing Solitaire. It performed these tasks with few, if any, hiccups.

While we were surprised by the N260G’s versatility, it does have its shortcomings. The model we looked at lacked Wi-Fi capabilities. While Acer does have a Wi-Fi capable model it isn’t currently available in South Africa. Wi-Fi would have made it that much more desirable as a media PC and an office machine, especially when clipping it to an LCD display.

Our other niggle was the lack of an optical drive. This one is excusable however due to the machine’s size. It would have been great but we can live with purchasing an external drive. What we would like to know though, is why they box machines that lack an optical drive with recovery CDs? Could we not get a flash disk or some other, more practical option? 

The Veriton N260G has an RRP of R4999 incl. VAT. The unit we received also came packaged with a wired Acer mouse and keyboard. This is rather pricey though considering that you’ve essentially sacrificed performance for form factor. For the same sacrifice in a netbook you get mobility thrown into the equation. Call Tarsus on 011 531 1000 for more information.

PROS
An HDMI output, LCD clip and N280 1.66 GHz Atom processor.
CONS
The graphics accelerator could have been better, no Wi-Fi and it is pricey.
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