Overview, specs and design
Unless you’re living in 2005 you don’t really equate all-in-one desktops with design innovation. Sure, Apple is always one step ahead of the game, and its 27-inch iMac with Retina Display ($2,499, £1,999, AU$2,999) brought 5K (5120 x 2880) resolution to the computing masses.
Acer did its part to improve desktop design by releasing the Aspire U5 ($999, £582, AU$1,067), a 23-inch all-in-one PC whose stand tilts a full 90 degrees so that you can use the touchscreen monitor the way you would use a tablet.
Unfortunately, neither of these sexy machines provides much in the way of computing power (unless you’re willing to pay for under-the-hood upgrades), so you’re really going out of your way to pay for 5K or tablet-style navigation, respectively.
Add another all-in-one to the low-power, high-fashion market. The 27-inch Samsung Ativ One 7 ($1,299, £1,129, AU$1,449) brings the curved screen to the desktop PC.
Specs and design
The Ativ One 7 is a gorgeous desktop built with a full HD 1920×1080 resolution screen that wraps ever so slightly at the edges back toward the user. This is the same subtle curve you’ve likely seen on Samsung TVs that are designed to provide users with a more immersive viewing experience (more on this later).
The all-in-one features an Intel Core i5 processor that is housed in a black plastic and silver 1.56-inch bezel sitting on a height-adjustable base. The Ativ One 7 comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse that are nothing to write home about.
The Ativ One 7 comes with 8GB of RAM, 1TB of storage and a pretty tame Intel HD Graphics 5500 card. Don’t expect to become a pro gamer with this bad boy.
Ports aren’t abundant or spread out on this machine: you’ll get two USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0 and two HDMI ports, as well as a 3- in-1 SD/SDHC/SDXC card reader. The ports are all located on the middle right-hand-side of the display, which might work well for TVs, but is pretty inconvenient for office use.
Likes, dislikes and early verdict
The Ativ One 7 comes with two 10-watt HD audio, Dolby Surround speakers that will make your neighbors hate your guts. If you’re an MP3-jay and you want to rock the party all night long, I highly suggest you make this your desktop computer.
What’s also really cool about this machine is its ability to pair-up with any Samsung phone so that you can provide one-click music play from your handheld device onto the desktop’s mega speakers. For example: let’s say you return home from a run and you want to continue playing the Rocky IV soundtrack while you blend your kale smoothie, but you don’t want to use your phone’s weak speakers. You can simply click one button in your Samsung music app that wakes up your Ativ One 7 and begins bumping "Hearts on Fire" before you scoop in your second spoonful of protein.
The Ativ One 7 also provides link integration with Windows file sharing. You can drop all of your family’s music and photos onto the machine’s 1TB of storage – providing you with a makeshift network attached storage option for the home.
I didn’t love
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really see the value in a curved monitor for small form-factor desktop use. It’s one thing to provide a more immersive experience for large format televisions that take up a ton of real estate in your living room. However, throwing a curve onto a 27-inch monitor doesn’t do anything to enhance my experience, especially if that experience is dominated by Google Docs, Spreadsheets and email, which is how I typically use my desktop.
If you’re watching a movie in 4K on one of Samsung’s 105-inch TVs, you’re almost literally immersed in the experience. You feel as if you’re surrounded by the content. But in order to get the same feeling from a 27-inch curved desktop you almost have to sit an inch away from the monitor.
Speaking of 4K: If Samsung was focused on display innovation, why not bump up the resolution higher than full HD? Anyone who is excited enough to purchase a desktop because it curves is likely also going to crave 4K content. Samsung has led the pack when it comes to 4K TV, and they’re about to lead the way for 4K smartphone displays, so why go cheap on the display for the Ativ One 7?
One more thing: I find more value in a touchscreen monitor than I do in a curved monitor, especially at 27 inches. I doubt I’ll feel immersed in content using the Ativ One 7, but I’m positive touchscreen functionality would come in handy for activities like Netflix browsing, photo flipping and Angry Bird launching.
Buy the Ativ One 7 for what it is and not what you’re likely to think it is. It’s a fast enough desktop with a beautiful build whose tremendous speakers can get the party poppin’.
But don’t be fooled by the shiny new object. Curved screens have their place, I just don’t think that place is in small form-factor all-in-one computers.