New Which? Best Buy all-in-one PCs unveiledAdvent Discovery MT1804 in test of all-in-one PCs

08 April 2011

Samsung U300 and Dell Inspiron One 22

We've tested four new all-in-one PCs including models from Samsung and Dell

The latest Which? test of all-in-one PCs features one model with some rather unusual characteristics - it looks like its built, in part, from a laptop.

The four all-in-one PCs we've tested include models from Dell and Lenovo and there's even one Best Buy. However, it was the Advent Discovery MT1804 that caught our eye.

Read the full, lab tested all-in-one PC reviews

All-in-one PCs are space-saving computers that do away with the need for a bulky computer tower and all the cables that go with it. All the bits that make the machine go are built in behind the screen. 

While we expect to find all-in-ones with specifications that are closer to a laptop than a desktop PC, we were surprised (and a little amused) to find one that had even more in common with its portable cousins - Advent's Discovery MT1804 looks like it has the bottom half of a laptop bolted on the back. 

Advent Discovery MT1804

Bizarrely, Advent's Discovery MT1804 all-in-one PC features a dummy battery pack

Fake battery pack

Thanks to their large screens (typically around 20-22 inches) all-in-ones make fantastic multimedia machines and are great for viewing video. Many also sport built-in digital TV tuners so that, when connected to an aerial, you can catch up on your favourite programmes.

While they're slim and space-saving, they're still desktop computers and so spend their time plugged into the mains at home. It's no wonder, then, that we had a chuckle when we peered around the back of the Advent Discovery and spotted what looked suspiciously like a battery pack. 

Further investigation revealed that it was a fake pack, inserted to fill the space where the battery would be if this were a laptop - which it isn't.

Advent Discovery MT1804 DVD drive

The Discovery's DVD drive is back to front making it very fiddly to use

Back-to-front DVD drive

The oddities didn't stop there. All-in-one PCs have all the usual features you expect to see on a computer, including a disc drive for DVDs (and on higher-end models, Blu-ray discs).

The drive is typically found, within easy reach, on the side of the machine. Not so in the Advent Discovery's case. Reinforcing our suspicions about its laptop origins, the disc drive is right around the back. 

Clearly, this can have a few drawbacks. For example, it looks like Advent has had to turn the drive around so that you can fit a disc in it. This leaves you with the awkward task of having to reach right around the behind the screen and fumble around to push the DVD in place from the back.

The Advent Discovery MT1804 certainly has a few quirks, but are they enough to mean you should steer clear? Read our all-in-one PCs reviews to find out.

How to follow the latest Which? Tech news

Are you a Twitter user? Follow WhichTech on Twitter for regular tech tweets.

Prefer RSS? Don't miss a thing with the Which? tech RSS feed

For just the main headlines in newsletter form, sign-up to our weekly Which? tech email.

Apple iPad 2 3G data plans compared - find the best 3G plan for your iPad
Best Android tablets round-up - we look at the best iPad alternatives around
Best cheap laptops for under £500 - find the best laptop deals