- Slim, Quiet
- Not quite powerful enough
A cheap, small media centre that has a few problems with under-the-hood grunt, but mostly operates quite well.
Price$ 1,749.00 (AUD)
The Enspire is another model in the increasing sea of pre-built media centre PCs. As a totally convergent home entertainment device, media centres offer a DVD player, PVR, set top box and media server in a single, relatively compact unit.
The word compact is particularly applicable to this device. It is one of the smallest media centres we've seen. It sacrifices a mass of powerful components for a sleek and slim chassis that is barely larger than a VCR. The body is entirely brushed silver, with a number of ventilation grates scattered around. There is a single blue LED encircling the power button, but the rest of the face is fairly plain. That is, until you flick down the front panel to reveal several USB ports, headphone and microphone inputs and your DVD writer.
The DVD player is cleverly hidden behind this panel, disguising its out-of-place black exterior so as not to ruin the silver motif of the unit. We did encounter a slight problem with this door however; it occasionally pressed the DVD tray button when closing, causing the tray to open and slam into the door with a horrible grinding sound. This was a rare occurrence, only happening a couple of times, but over the course of a few months or years, you may damage the system, so keep this in mind.
Our test unit also exhibited some problems with the basic media centre interface. Whilst it is equipped with a fairly robust Athlon 64 3000+ processor, it only has 512MB of RAM and an ATI Radeon Xpress 200 onboard graphics chip. We experienced some lagging in certain areas when doing basic things like navigating the menu. It wasn't deal-breaking, and only lasted a split second, but it showed the system wasn't quite up to the task. The RAM is really the culprit here, as 512MB is the absolute minimum to run Windows XP effectively and some of that is commandeered by the onboard graphics card, leaving you with a mere 448 megabytes - not adequate at all in this regard.
Still, for the price it is quite a reasonable choice. As one of the cheapest media centres available on the market today it will command a position as an entry level product, and for the money you're not getting a bad deal. With a 3DMark score of 638 it won't be playing much in the way of games, but aside from the occasional aforementioned slow down it handles most of the media centre functions you're going to need well enough. Just don't try any heavy encoding or it will come up lacking.
It is also important to note that the slim case is vented on the sides, which may cause problems when placing it in a confined entertainment unit (no space for hot air to be expelled). We did find everything to be exceptionally quiet however, which is vital for seamless integration into a home entertainment setup. Low noise fans combined with effective cooling mean the Enspire won't interrupt even the quietest of movie sections.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Plex Cloud is now open to all paid users
- YouTube launches streaming TV service with 40 channels and unlimited cloud DVR storage
- Up next for Apple TV: 4K streaming reportedly in the works
- Apple’s original TV shows are almost ready for prime time
- Apple snags Amazon Fire TV exec to lead Apple TV efforts
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTProduct Manager - FintechNSW
- FTLinux Systems AdministratorNZ
- FTManagement AccountantNSW
- FTSenior Technical Consultant - Microsoft / VMWareVIC
- FT.net Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTSolutions Architects - 10 roles availableACT
- FTBusiness Analyst - SalesforceNSW
- FTIT Project Manager. Ciritical permanent roleNSW
- FTSolution Architect (e-Health)NSW
- TPTechnical ArchitectVIC
- FTSolution Architect l MS Exchange, O365NSW
- FTOracle Forms PL/SQL Analyst ProgrammerQLD
- FTSenior Security Sales SpecialistVIC
- TPBusiness Analyst/Project MangerVIC
- FTSAP Payroll and Time ConsultantVIC
- FTSolution ArchitectVIC
- FTFull stack Developer | 3 mth ContractVIC
- CCVMWare Automation ArchitectACT
- FTService Desk AnalystNSW
- FTNV1 Cleared Software Engineer (Mid level) - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- TPDeployment OfficerQLD
- FTCisco Network Engineer (FIFO)WA
- FTDevOps - Web AdministratorQLD