While we have nothing but good things to say about the VX2739wm monitor (apart from lackluster sound quality), the VOT125 represents more of a mixed bag. While we found the computer perfectly capable when it came to light-to-moderate tasks (e.g. word processing, e-mail, converting music files), some technical flaws and design issues kept the system from living up to its full potential. Although not intended as a multimedia PC, we have to take issue with the HDMI problems we experienced.
If ViewSonic wants to include a HDMI connection on this system, we feel it should work just as well as the DVI connection. Furthermore, since the only audio output other than the HDMI connection is a headphone jack, the HDMI route represents the only way to pass multi-channel audio to an external decoder.
We'd also like to see a bit more elegant physical integration between the computer and monitor. No real cable management exists and the supplied screws were inadequate for mounting. While the piggybacked mini-PC and monitor configuration would be ideal for a restaurant or retail point-of-sale application, or any situation where space is limited, the mess of wires and inconvenient access to the power button and memory card slot limit its practicality. We'd also prefer that the restore software, user guide and driver media come in a format that doesn't require additional hardware to use.
A word about value. On the product page for the VX2739wm, ViewSonic suggests pairing the monitor with a ViewSonic PC or a Mac Mini. Granted, we don't have a Mac Mini on-hand to do a side-by-side shoot-out, but since ViewSonic brought it up, let's compare specs.
The base model Mac Mini and the VOT125 come with two gigs of DDR3 RAM. However, with the Mac Mini, you also get a faster processor (2.4GHz Core 2 Duo vs. 1.3GHz Mobile Core 2 Duo), a bigger and faster hard drive (320GB 7200rpm vs. 250GB 5400rpm), a "SuperDrive" 8x DVD burner and NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics, which is a far more robust graphics solution compared to the Intel Mobile 4-Series Express on the VOT125. With the Mac Mini's base price of $699, compared to the VOT125's price of $709 through ViewSonic's online store, the Mac comes out on top in the bang-for-the-buck category.
That's not to say the VOT125 is a bad machine-it's not. However, considering the price-to-features ratio, we wonder how many people will be willing to pay such a premium for "Ultra Low Voltage" hardware, especially since, in practical terms, energy efficiency means less for a desktop PC than a laptop since it doesn't run on a battery. These facts, combined with the technical and design issues we've enumerated above, means the VOT125 fails to fully live up to expectations.
However, we couldn't be happier with the performance of the VX2739wm monitor. It delivered in spades and we highly recommend it.
VOT125 PC Mini
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