The BenQ nScreen is suited for users who are not tech-savvy. It caters to the elderly, young children, and just about anyone who just wants to use the computer to browse the Internet, chat or do video calling, and run basic productivity software.
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The nScreen only comes with a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and power supply. The LCD is fairly slim despite the company cramming all the PC components inside it. Setting up the device only takes four simple steps: take out all the contents (mouse, keyboard, monitor, stand, and power supply), plug the input devices and the power supply, turn on the device by pressing the knob up front, and follow the Windows XP installation process.
Along the left bezel sits a 4-in-1 memory card reader, two USB ports, a microphone jack, and a headphone jack, allowing users to instantly connect their multimedia devices. A brightness button is found on the opposite side for easy adjustment should the screen be too dark or bright. The unit’s rear hosts four additional USB ports, an Ethernet port, AC port, and a removable back cover that hides the system’s RAM and HDD (which can be upgraded in a few steps).
Right above the i91’s 18.5-inch widescreen LCD is a built-in 1.3-megapixel webcamera and microphone for instant video calling. A knob on the bottom right of the display is used to control the volume of the net-top and turn the unit on/off (by pressing).
The i91 uses an AMD Sempron processor running at 1.5 Ghz, has 896MB of RAM, 160GB of storage space (divided into two partitions), and uses an ATI Radeon X1200 graphics card. It also comes with Wi-fi built-in so that users can connect to the Internet without connecting a CAT5/6 cable.
The unit runs on Windows XP (Service Pack 3) and comes pre-installed with some great software. The Dragnifier function is great for users with limited eyesight as it magnifies objects or texts with a single click. The i91’s TruSurround HD function launches automatically as soon as an audio or video file is played, giving users a chance to tweak audio output settings. BenQ has included a ‘Senior Mode’ on the output settings, which improve the audio for the elderly.
Other programs include WebCam Companion 3, AirFrame, Microsoft Office 2007 Trial, Norton Internet Security 2009 (60-day trial), Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Adobe Reader, and Yahoo Widgets. Backing up important data is also not an issue as BenQ has included the QDataTrove software for creating factory recovery DVDs.
As previously mentioned, BenQ has managed to make computing uncomplicated. Every time a user needs to go online, he/she only needs to press the knob and wait for the OS to load. The icons are big and using the webcam for video calls can be done by enabling it on the messenger. While the keyboard layout is crammed, typing on it was not a problem.
The only ‘problem’ about the nScreen is its lack of built-in optical drive. Users who therefore want to watch a DVD movie or listen to music are going to be forced to purchase an external optical drive.
Overall, the BenQ nScreen i91 is a great net-top for the family – it is easy to use, comes with all the hardware you need to get online, and simplifies the functions commonly used on PCs. It is available now with an RRP of $899. If you want a bigger nScreen for the home, BenQ is also offering a 21.5-inch option for $1199.
See page over for product specifications and final rating.
BenQ nScreen i91 Product Specifications:
CPU: AMD Sempron 210U Processor: 1.5GHz/L2 256k
Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition
Chipset: AMD M690E+ SB600
Graphics: ATI Radeon X1200
Hard Drive: 160GB
Screen Size: 18.5″ 16:9 Wide Panel
– USB 2.0 x 6
– RJ-45 Ethernet port x1
– Microphone-in x1
– Headphone-out x1
– DC-in for power supply
– Webcam Built-in 1.3M camera
– Built-in 10/100 Ethernet
– Wireless LAN: Built-in 802.11b/g (WorldWide countries)
– Card Reader 4-in-1 (MS/MS-Pro/SD/MMC)
– Built-in 2W speaker x2
– Built-in Microphone x1
– Soundsystem x 2 channels
– Adobe Reader
– Arcsoft WebCam Companion 3.0
– Magic-I Visual Effect 2.0
– Anti-Virus software
– Windows Live
– Air Frame
– Microsoft Office 60-day Trial
Dimensions: 454 x 361x 61.37mm (with stand)
BenQ nScreen i91 | $699 | | www.benq.com.au
For: Ease of use; One knob for power and volume control; Brightness buttons; USB ports aplenty; Large screen; Upgradable RAM and HDD; Additional software for the elderly; Wi-fi built-in
Against: No optical drive
Conclusion: Going online has never been this easy