We’ve seen more and more manufacturers adopting the all-in-one desktop build, and it seems like ASUS is keen to improve their models. We previously looked at the ASUS ET27, and while it was certainly a beautiful piece of engineering, it did fall short a bit in a few areas, particularly with its rather entry-level resolution. This time around, I’ve got my hands on the ASUS ET2702IGTH, which hopes to improve upon some of the flaws of its predecessor.
Right off the bat, the ET2702IGTH continues the same look and design we’ve seen from previous models. The gorgeous display is framed by a thick black bezel, with the silver strip at the bottom that hides the speakers and accentuates the stylish base. It’s a beautiful thing to look at, and would be welcome in almost any home or office space. The ET2702IGTH is also VESA compatible, so it can be attached to a wall-mount to save even more space.
Where the changes start to appear is in the hardware included in this model. First up, there’s a new selection of ports, including ample amount of USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, as well as HDMI In and Out. The ET2702IGTH also ships with 802.11ac wireless standard, so if you have a compatible router, you can enjoy some incredible speeds via wi-fi. Under the hood, our model came with an Intel i7 processor packing 16GB of RAM, an AMD Radeon HD8890A 2GB graphics card, and 1TB HDD.
But while this all sounds well and good, there’s one annoying thing about the ET2702IGTH that carries over from its older brother. For one thing, ASUS have continued to use a Blu-ray drive with a tray rather than a sleek slot-loading one, which I think really spoils the look of such a sleek machine, and also means that you have to be careful to remember to keep the sides of the machine clear. On the other side, there’s the familiar hinged door that hides away some of the ports, which again is a bit of an annoyance. I don’t know if ASUS is trying to keep dust out of its ports or trying to make the machine appear more sleeker, but I frankly hate having to pry open that door every time I want to quickly pop in a USB device. At least ASUS have done the smart thing and move the subwoofer jack to the back of the unit rather than behind that hinged door, as seen in its previous model.
The ET2702IGTH certainly came with plenty of power under the hood, and as expected everyday tasks such as Office and Photoshop were a snap to use. Premiere Pro did take a little bit longer to render a 5 minute HD clip than I had expected, but it still completed it within a respectable time. Gaming on the ET2702IGTH was also quite good – I fired up my latest addiction Neverwinter, and cranked everything up to maximum. The game looked gorgeous, but running it at the ET2702IGTH’s full resolution made the game stutter quite a bit. Dropping the resolution down to 1080p resulted in the game running flawlessly. Benchmarks echoed a similar result – running any benchmark in the ET2702IGTH’s native resolution resulted in frames of around 12fps, but dropping the resolution resulted in a respectable 33-42fps. So your dreams of running games at 2560×1440 can technically come true, but you’ll have to make do with some really average frame rates.
The display on the ET2702IGTH is 10-point multi-touch compatible, which means you can swipe the screen with all ten of your fingers at the same time (which makes for a really boring game of Fruit Ninja). The unit is quite responsive to touch, and bundles with a variety of apps such as a drawing app and musical instruments as an example. Having a massive 27” display also means that videos look exceptionally great on it. Colors were crisp and bright, and blacks turned out flawless thanks to the WQHD display. You can of course extend the display using the HDMI Out port, or use the screen to connect your gaming consoles using the HDMI In port at the back. My only comment about the ET2702IGTH’s display is that it’s still quite reflective, so you may have to tilt the display to a comfortable angle that won’t reflect sunlight or artificial lighting.
As with previous models, the ET2702IGTH bundles with its own external subwoofer, to deliver a more appealing level of audio. The sound certainly is loud when watching movies or listening to music, but it’s still a bit awkward to have this extra subwoofer sitting on your desk, when you would usually place a subwoofer on the floor for optimal effect.
Like most AIO PCs, the ET2702IGTH comes with a bundled wireless keyboard and mouse. The build quality here is the same as with other manufacturers – a mostly plastic lightweight keyboard and mouse that does the job fairly well, but serious users can always plug in their own peripherals.
One thing that did surprise me about the ET2702IGTH over it’s previous model is how often the fans would kick into high gear, even when the machine was seemingly idle. I understand this happening when playing intensive games or running core applications, but I was simply scrolling through a word document when the internal fan decided to wake up and push out enough hair to rival a blowdryer. Granted, there’s plenty of power packed under the hood this time around, but I think ASUS could probably rethink how they’re cooling their systems, if the fans fire up sometimes at the most trivial things.
The ET2702IGTH is certainly a nice upgrade from what we’ve seen before, packing a much harder punch this time around with updated internals and new additions like faster wi-fi and Thunderbolt ports. While its higher screen resolution is a welcome change, you won’t be using too many games at that resolution, unless you’re happy with a stuttering framerate. A few nagging design choices have also carried over to this model, namely the tray-loading Blu-ray drive and trap-door like cover over the side ports. The ET2702IGTH is certainly a great looking machine, but its price tag might be a bit of a hard pill to swallow.