Review: The ViewSonic VPC100 Desktop PC

There is something appealing about an all-in-one desktop PC. It’s uncomplicated, more like an appliance than a computer and easy to set up. It saves space too, and it looks neat and tidy.

The Viewsonic VPC100 Desktop PC

Who would – or should – consider the VPC100?

Where It Fits

ViewSonic positions the VPC100as being ideal for “call centers, libraries, school computer labs, home desktops and anywhere else space is at a premium.” We wouldn’t place this product in high-traffic, high-use areas such as computer labs and libraries. The build quality, especially the keyboard, does not seem robust enough for such environments.

Small businesses might consider it for a high-visibility receptionist’s station where the person on duty needs a PC for simple tasks such as word processing, e-mail and Web browsing. The VPC100’s good looks and compactness will be an asset, and its lack of power wouldn’t be a serious drawback.

It could also be a good solution for a teleworker’s home office where space is at a premium and computing requirements light.

Design Quibbles

Given the elegance and compactness of the design – piano black finish, molded corners, nice proportions – it’s disappointing that the VPC100 ships with wired PS2 mouse and keyboard, which means messy cables across the desk.

Wireless mouse and keyboard would have added to the neat-and-tidy appeal. But in fairness, despite its glossy looks, this is an entry-level product, and priced as such. Wireless input devices would have added to the cost.

The keyboard features full-size QWERTY keys and number pad but is quite compact. Viewsonic wastes no space on the top surface, and it uses slightly under-size function and special keys. (Special keys include media play/pause, fast forward, rewind, volume up and down and dedicated browser, browser search, browser favorites and e-mail keys.) When not in use, the keyboard can snuggle up against the monitor/CPU stand leaving the desk clear for other activities.

A slot-load DVD drive would also have been more in keeping with the product’s design elegance. As it is, you have to feel around for the tray release on the right-hand edge of the monitor when loading or unloading a disk. But again, that would have added to the cost.

Easy Set-up

Our out-of-the-box experience with the VPC100 was excellent. Hardly surprising, set-up is a breeze. Plug the mouse and keyboard into the PS2 ports on the back, attach and plug in the power cable in, turn it on – and it works. That’s the beauty of an all-in-one.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a good-looking, space-saving product for light computer use, the VPC 100 could fill the bill. If your firm has already standardized on Vista (or is looking forward to Windows 7), think twice. If you’re shopping for a computer to do heavy lifting, steer clear.

Gerry Blackwell is a freelance technology writer based in London, Canada. Read his blog, AfterByte .

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