- Energy efficient, inexpensive, ready to use
- Slow, bulky and flimsy case, very small monitor
Running a VIA CPU and the gPC operating system, this definitely isn't a typical PC. It's useful for running basic office applications and Web browsing, but that's about it.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
The Excel gPC, distributed by Protac, isn't an ordinary PC. From the outside it looks like a typical mini-tower-based PC, but its odd-looking 16in widescreen LCD monitor is the first clue that you're getting something different.
This difference is also evident when you switch it on. Instead of Windows, it loads an Ubuntu-based distribution of Linux called gOS. Its tailored desktop has shortcuts to all of Google's most popular online applications and services, and it has OpenOffice, an open-source office suite, installed.
It's almost a complete departure from the Windows environment and is aimed at savvy users who take advantage of online tools for their everyday work, and who may want a very inexpensive system that's got more features and a larger screen, and is easier to use, than a notebook computer.
However, understandably considering its $499 price, you won't get a PC that's very fast. Rather than an Intel or AMD CPU, the gPC has a VIA C7-D 1.5GHz CPU and a VIA PC2500E motherboard with integrated VIA UniChrome graphics. This technology prioritises energy conservation, rather than speed. The gPC — complete with 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM, a 160GB SATA hard drive and an IDE-based DVD burner — consumes up to 55W of electricity when it's under a full processing load, which is very economical.
But you won't want to put it under too much of a load. It already feels sluggish when changing from one application window to another, so anything more taxing, such as ripping a CD, is going to take a long time to complete (it took us well over 30 minutes). You can, however, listen to music while you work without affecting the performance of the system.
The 16in widescreen monitor isn't a hallmark of user-friendliness either. It's very small for a desktop monitor, with poor vertical viewing angles. Its native 1366x768 resolution feels very cramped when working with office documents and Web browsers. A screen with a 4:3 ratio would go some way to overcoming this.
Physically, the gPC is a little perplexing. Its motherboard has a compact micro-ATX form factor, so it's quite small. However, it has been installed in a tower case that feels flimsy and isn't very nice to look at. A more compact design would be welcome, but that would impact on the low price of this system—its major drawcard.
With a free operating system and open source software at its disposal, the gPC is ready to go straight out of the box. It has six USB 2.0 ports and a 10/100 Ethernet port, including two USB ports on the front of the case. It has space for another internal hard drive and one more stick of RAM, if more performance is required. But the main issue with the gPC is usability. If you're used to Windows XP, then gOS will be annoying until you get used to its menus and settings.
All up, the gPC is a somewhat haphazard attempt at creating an energy-efficient and inexpensive PC for basic office applications and Web browsing. It could use some physical refining and a screen with a higher vertical resolution.
Join the newsletter!
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Apple iMac Pro
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Ballistix Sport AT
Toys for Boys
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
ESET Internet Security
ESET Smart Security Premium
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Tivoli PAL BT
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
In multicultural Australia, the opportunity for home cooks to expand their culinary horizons is too tempting to resist.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Nokia 7.1 review: A modest and modern mid-tier option
- 3 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 4 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 5 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
Latest News Articles
- Apple finally updates Mac mini with new quad- and 6-core CPUs, space gray case
- MSI releases Trident X Series
- MSI teams up with Sony for the upcoming Venom movie
- ASUS announces Intel Mehlow workstation products
- ASUS bring VivoMini PC to Australia
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?