The home theatre PC isn’t living the fruitful life many would expect, but Acer might be reviving the area, with a new home entertainment hub that could also act as networkable storage.
Launching this week, Acer’s Revo One might just be the gadget to make you rethink your home storage solution, especially if you don’t already have one. If you do, great, read on too, because this is a particularly interesting little product.
On the one hand, we think it looks like a small network assisted drive, yet on the other, there is clearly a computer here, starting with an Intel Celeron, but offering either an Intel Core i3 or Core i5 depending on your needs.
Inside this box is some on-board graphics and audio, capable of supporting up 4K resolutions (though Full HD also works, too) over HDMI and Mini DisplayPort, while audio works over 7.1 channels.
Beyond those ports, you’ll find two USB 2.0, two USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet, a 3.5mm headset jack, with wireless working via 802.11a/b/g/n and even 802.11ac.
There’s no screen in the box, but there is a wireless keyboard and mouse, and while those are fairly traditional ways to use a computer, you will also be able to use the Revo One with a phone.
That definitely intrigues us, as does the internal design, which will allow people to quickly and easily throw in up to two 2TB drives to expand the storage. Windows 8.1 is installed on the Revo One, too, meaning it should also run games and movies on a TV if it’s plugged into one.
“Acer’s Revo One looks great and is designed to be the space-saving hub for the entire family’s entertainment needs,” said Katherine Nguyen, Head of Marketing for Acer in Australia and New Zealand.
“It delivers a powerful, fast, rich cinematic experience that’s ideal for watching TV shows, movies or photo slideshows.”
It’s worth noting that there is no TV tuner in this model, though we suspect a USB tuner would compliment this nicely.
What we’re interested in more so, however, is the fact that by letting this be upgraded so easily, Acer may have produced an entertainment box capable of running Plex and Steam, essentially turning it into both a media server and media playback system for movies, TV show, and music indexing, while some games could also run here via Steam.
Indeed, we’ll be checking it out in our full review, but for now, it’s just a simple hands-on, and already, we’re very intrigued.
Based in a simple white softened prism, the Revo One isn’t much bigger than a dual-bay external hard drive, and yet packs in as many as three 2.5 inch hard drives, with the guts of a computer to boot.
Opening it up is easy, with a little button on the bottom allowing the top to come off, reminding us of Apple’s Mac Pro, albeit in plastic instead of the metal Apple uses for its machine. Take the casing off and you see two user touchable areas with the extra hard drive bays on the outside and the guts along the inside, just under where an SD card slot would be.
In here are parts you can’t see, and the test model we’re looking at relies on Intel’s Core i5 5200U, a processor from the Broadwell generation of chips, or the latest models from generation five (that’s what that first number on the model specifies).
That means this will likely be fanless, and very quiet, and indeed when switched on, it is a very, very silent machine, with only the reverberations audible when you press your ear against the plastic shell.
Based on this quick test, we are very intrigued to play with Acer’s Revo One more, especially since there are numerous scenarios we can see where it would be valid.
Pricing for Acer Revo One (RL85) starts at $419 for the Intel Celeron model with only 2GB RAM and 60GB solid-state storage, with a Core i3/4GB RAM/1TB hard drive model fetching $799, and the model we’ll be reviewing (Core i5/8GB RAM/2TB hard drive) grabbing $1099.
JB HiFi, The Good Guys, and Bing Lee will be getting this first, with Acer’s Revo One appearing from March 1 in those stores. Hopefully our review won’t be too far behind, so look for it soon, too.