Although the bezel and surrounding frills look sharp, the One ZX definitely musters most of its magic from the 23-inch screen in the center of it all. It stacks right up with finer standalone LCD models for image quality, offer relatively accurate color, balanced contrast and sharp image quality right out of the box. Besides offering full 1080p HD resolution, the entire screen has been endowed with capacitive multitouch technology – the same tech that gives phones like the iPhone and Palm Pre their characteristically responsive touch capabilities. We found it offered pinpoint accuracy, and perhaps even more importantly for a computer that will likely sit somewhere public, resisted fingerprints well. However, dragging motions required a light tough to keep fingers from screeching across the screen as they dragged – it doesn’t quite match the iPhone’s glass skating rink of a screen for slickness.
Windows 7 makes it possible to fire up the PC, turn on some music and even browse without so much as budging a mouse, but some of the coolest touch applications come preinstalled by Gateway. Touching the circular arrow button on the lower right of the screen bezel pulls up a customized touch-centric desktop, scattered with games, photo browsing applications, and other novelties. We loved Blackboard – a touch-sensitive take on The Incredible Machine – and Microsoft’s Surface Lagoon, which creates mesmerizing ripples in a virtual pond as you drag your fingers across the screen.
Ultimately, though, touch capabilities don’t really add up to anything more than a carnival of novelties – cool tricks you’ll show off to friend when they drop by then quickly revert to the mouse and keyboard when you actually need to get something done. There’s nothing here you’ll really miss on an ordinary PC, and many of the games could ultimately be just as fun with a mouse. Amazonia, a ripoff off PopCap’s Bejeweled, was actually fatiguing to play for very long using the touch screen – the mouse felt like a welcome relief after 10 minutes swapping jewels with our arms held high. For kids, we suspect the fun and intuitive nature of touch a screen to play games will hold more lasting appeal than for adults, but we have to guess that most youngsters would have even more trouble reaching the screen for long time periods.
Although full versions of CyberLink YouCam and PowerCinema both come preinstalled, we should note that many applications, including Microsoft Office, many games from Oberon Media, and the dreaded Norton Internet Security all come as free trials.
With a Core 2 Duo quad clocked at 2.33GHz, 8GB of RAM and an ATI Radeon 4670 screaming away inside, the Gateway had no issues sweeping away just about every performance test we put in front of it. Desktop performance felt absolutely fluid, and gaming performance actually took us off guard. Even at full 1920 x 1080 resolution, Crysis played like a dream, never so much as chattering during an action sequence until we ramped up settings to high, which ended the party. Most people won’t buy an all-in-one PC for gaming, but it’s always nice to know the performance is there, and frames per second during a fragfest translate to excellent video playback, editing and desktop performance, too.
A 3DMark05 score of 12,822 3DMarks put this machine quite high for an all-in-one, just edging out last year’s game-centric HP Firebird in the same benchmark.
Unfortunately, packing so much performance into a small package has its own unforeseen drawbacks. A tight little case doesn’t breathe as well as the big guys. Our One ZX liked to step the fan up and down all the time, which can get especially annoying in a quiet room where you don’t have enough white noise to silence the asthma attacks. The fan noise didn’t even seem too intrusive when it was on – the incessant switching on and off every 30 seconds just became maddening.
As an all-in-one PC, the One ZX hits a home run with an attractive design, potent hardware and a price that’s downright reasonable. For any given hardware configuration, it prices out cheaper than HP’s competing TouchSmart, making it a sound value, even if you have to add your own keyboard and mouse to make it as presentable. That said, we have to admit that its fanciful touch capabilities still yearn for applications that will put them to good use – but that’s the case with this class of hardware as a whole, more than any particular example of it. We urge would-be buyers to put some serious rumination into what they want a touch screen for (and maybe to do some shoulder presses at the gym, if you’re truly planning to toss the mouse and keyboard).
- Attractive acrylic-trimmed, LED-lit body
- Gorgeous 23-inch capacitive touch screen
- Fun suite of pre-installed touch applications and toys
- Superb desktop and gaming performance
- Excellent sound for size
- Competitive pricing
- Laughably cheap mouse and keyboard
- Fan noise can become annoying
- Touch remains a novelty