on November 28, 2012
I have tried other small form factor PCs for use with my home theater, and returned every one of them because they could not stream high quality video at 1080p. This one can, and does it like a champ. The unit comes with a bluetooth keyboard, a bluetooth mouse, and an infrared remote control. The documentation is poor (still have no idea what 2 of the buttons on the remote do,) but the product is superb. Note that the optical drive is DVD, not Bluray, so if you need the latter this is not the gadget for you. This Revo comes with Windows 8, which I have found to be mildly annoying because of the changes to the layout from previous versions, but no big deal.
on May 7, 2013
Many moons ago, Windows Media Center got me hooked on the notion of creating 'the perfect living room PC', and here it is.
The Acer Revo L80 is a good looking, characterful little machine that you want to stroke from the moment you take it out of the box. Just make sure you're wearing gloves or your fingerprints will be over it in no time.
Booting up for the first time revealed the usual OEM desktop clutter. I could have sat there for an hour uninstalling programs, but had an SSD I wanted to install in place of the 750GB hard disk.
Even the internals of this machine are aesthetically pleasing, with everything laid out beautifully. There are a few screws to undo, but once in bits, replacing the drive was a cinch.
So far, so good. Now, I confess I'm old-school: I know lots about BIOS but zip about this new-fangled EFI, or UEFI depending on who's confusing you. Installing Windows 8 was seemingly impossible, with errors thrown up all over the place, so tried WIndows 7 instead, which was very much trial and error, but I got there after a few hours (yes, a few hours). Determined not to be beaten, however, I then spent another 8 hours trying to install Windows 8. Eventually, I gave up and am stuck with Windows 7 - not a bad choice of OS, but this machine is designed for Windows 8, so I'm interested in discovering the differences / benefits. Unfortunately, converting the disk from GPT to MBR meant wiping out the recovery partition, but hopefully the instructions I discovered this morning will help me in my Holy Grail-like quest for the perfect virgin Win 8 install ([...]
I'll be honest - so far, this has been the single, most frustrating install I've ever done, without doubt, but the blame doesn't entirely lay with Acer: EFI is the way forward; it's a new technology that will eventually completely replace the ageing BIOS (which has been around since the 70s, let's face it). So I have to learn a new technology - no biggie; I just wish I'd known about it beforehand. This is where Acer is to partly to blame: there is nothing in their (somewhat limited) documentation describing the new tech or explaining how to build your own installation from the ground up. PC manufacturers clearly want you to stick with their 'official' release, but surely they're not so naive as to think nobody every replaces their software?
One final gripe: why Microsoft hasn't released a 2nd Service Pack for WIndows 7 yet is beyond me. Seriously, it took 2-3 hours to install the various Windows and Office updates yesterday, which could've been sped up considerably with a single SP2.
Now, the good stuff.
This machine is speedy. It's much speedier than its specs suggest. I use XBMC to deliver all my 1080p HD content (movies, TV shows plus DVT-T2 HD TV recording across 2 tuner sticks). I've yet to see a stutter. 5.1 audio is delivered faultlessly to my DTS/Dolby receiver/amp. The only issue I have is getting my RC6 MCE remote working with the built-in IR receiver, so at the moment am using an external USB IR blaster. This is the one final tweak I'm working on, then it'll be a perfect system.
I've yet to find a set top box that provides the same functionality as XBMC: there are compromises all over the place - STBs that do everything but don't collect the rich metadata on your external HD movie collection, YouView boxes here in the UK that sound ideal until you discover you can't connect external storage. My PC has two uses: XBMC and web browsing, so have never really needed the horsepower of my ageing XPS420.
If you want a perfect living room PC, this is the one to beat if all you want to do is plug in and go. But go in with your eyes open if you're planning on re-installing the OS, to save you many hours of fiddling.
on April 10, 2013
I've only had this product for a few days, so I can't vouch for its longevity... but overall its pretty fast and capable for its small form factor. It was very snappy, and seemed to handle Windows 8 fine.
There were some minor issues, however, that sort of irked me.
1) Wireless mouse and keyboard do not work out of the box. I had to plug in a USB mouse and keyboard, as I couldn't get these to sync up. That is sort of a problem, because Windows 8 requires you to answer a few questions. I can easily see someone not being able to get passed the initial setup because the wireless keyboard and mouse didn't work with it. Its ok to me, because I didn't want to use the supplied keyboard and mouse anyway.
2) I could not boot to CD or USB drive with the default settings. Secureboot needs to be turned off in the BIOS, and launch CSM needs to be set to always in order for this to work. The Launch CSM setting is actually deceptive, as it takes on a grey color that usually indicates you aren't able to change it in the BIOS. It took me a while to notice it was there.
3) Gigabit ethernet driver needed to be updated - This one was sort of a big one for me. This machine shipped with a barely working driver for the built in gigabit ethernet. Using a LAN cable, it crawled and the connection often stalled. I had to connect using the built in wireless and use device manager to search online for a more recent driver. You could also download the updated driver from Intel's website, although it seemed to me that the driver that device manager found made the network traffic a little more snappy than the one from Intel's site..
4) The UEFI bios and the requirement to use Launch CSM made the linux install I did very difficult. The fact that I needed to use compatibility mode to boot to CD meant that I could not install Linux on the disk while using GPT. Since compatibility mode (Launch CSM - always) was on, Linux thought the machine was only capable of booting using an MBR, and would not install on a free partition. I had to wipe the machine and make the disk boot via MBR instead of GPT. This was sort of s***ty, since I really wanted to keep Windows on there as well.
I also ended up loading a special firmware for Linux on there. I'm not sure why I had to do this, but everyone seemed to recommend this.
So, in effect, the hardware is quite good in this machine. I really hate the BIOS in this machine. I can't stress that enough. Never had this problem with an Asus UEFI bios. The driver for the NIC and the failure of the KB and Mouse to work out of the box was annoying, but it was easy enough to work around these problems.
on June 2, 2013
Update 7/23/2013. - Upon receiving the. Computer back from its 4th repair, it crashed 10times in the first 30 minutes. Oh the frustration. Acer had said they could not duplicate the problem during the 3 days the senior tech was working on the computer, however they replaced the ram anyways. This being a friday night, i decided i would spend the weekend trubleshooting the pc myself and deal with acer on monday. I installed whocrashed. This program reviews the minidump filed and tells the probable cause. A great little program that helped me conclude that ITE....a program associated with the infrared receiver, was causing the crashing. I unistalled ITE and the computer has not crashed since then. I will at some time reinstall the newest update for ITE and see if it will work, however because i do not use the remote that came with the computer, i am not concerned about this one program..
Now that i have i working computer, i have updated my origonal 1 star (because i could not give negative stars) , to 3 stars. The negaties are due to acers poor service. I now feel fortunate that in the last 18 years of purchasing computers that i have never needed tech support before this. I have always repaired everything myself. The computer's remote control is unusable to me at this time, so i cannot review how well it works or if it works.
The small size of the computer is the reason i purchased it. I have this hooked up to our tv for use as a htpc. We get all of our tv through the internet. With hdmi output, small size, dvd reader, and wireless keyboard, this pc is great for the use in which i intended. The $500 price tag is more than i would have wanted to spend, but the size is the only reason i gave in. I would have hooked up a small laptop and spent less on it, but my wife did not want the laptop sitting by the tv. The pc cmes with a wireless keyboard and mouse. I use a logitech k400r instead. It is a wireless keyboard with combined touchpad, which is makes it easier when using it as a htpc. I use the witeless interent option. It streams video niceless and have had no problems(since i fixed the computer).
Update: 6/24/13-this computer is now into Acer repair for the 4th time.On 3rd repair, Acer reinstalled Win8.Not a smart tech, since that had been done numerous times.
Purchased 3/24/13. Constant crashes(bad pool header) have sent this computer to acer for repair 2 times already and it is scheduled to go back this week. I like the compact size and the included wireless keyboard and mouse work well. Wireless internet and hdmi make this a great home theater computer option(if only it would not crash constantly, making it unusable until it is fixed). I will add to my review if hopefully the computer is repaired by acer.
on January 30, 2013
I have liked Acer products for years and chose one of the first small form factor PC's for my business. I don't use the RL80 as a media center but as a desktop PC and, as such, it's a fabulous machine. Speedy and great graphics but Windows 8, or rather Metro, sucks on a desktop. If you liked games like Internet Backgammon, say adios. Microsoft is force training it's users into cloud computing which I don't appreciate. Source Forge has open source software that will give you back your Start button and boot into the desktop. Metro doesn't have multiple windows displayed concurrently so the "windows" desktop has been reduced to the tablet or smart phone limitation. Finally, don't even think about installing ANY other operating system instead of Windows 8. There are no drivers available. Don't believe me? Google to see the many people who tried.
on January 29, 2013
If you know what a HTPC is and have been holding off on Windows 8 look no further. There is a bit of a learning curve but with perseverance and looking up things on the internet when you get stuck, you'll end up loving this little machine. As far as form factor, and included specifications its harder to do better if you're looking for a HTPC.
on November 26, 2012
I bought this for my living room to stream movies, play DVD's and surf the internet all of which it does easily.
I had concerns with streaming video to a nettop but this unit handles streaming seamlessly. The product itself is excellent, great build quality comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse. Plugged in a webcam and can now skype from the living room. Plays DVD's and with a region free player it can play my UK as well as US DVD's.
The only reason this unit did not get 5 stars is purely down to Windows 8 and Microsoft not ironing out all the bugs in a new operating system. I have no doubts that the early bugs will be patched quickly but some applications do not work at present unit they are updated. I had to use the accessibility mode in the operating system as the fonts are quite small when viewed on a 60" TV from 15' away.
5 Stars when Microsoft sort out Windows 8.
on November 27, 2012
I got this PC delivered to me today and I have played with it for a couple of hours and so far I love it. It is faster than the Acer RL70-UR10P which I also own and it has a few additions compared to RL70-UR10P. There is Bluetooth connectivity, faster CPU, Blu-ray DVD player and more RAM. It also comes with Windows 8 (not PRO).
I did have one small issue though. I wanted to do a clean install of Windows 8 PRO and it was not able to boot up from the Windows 8 DVD or even Windows 7 DVD. I did set in BIOS CD/DVD media as a primary boot option and it still wouldn't boot up from either DVD which did work on another PC. I even tried an external USB DVD player/recorder which also would not work.
If anyone knows a solution to this issue, let me know.
on January 28, 2013
I like the hardware, everything I'm looking for in a compact desktop: current generation Sandybridge processor, high memory, HDMI connectivity, built in wifi (the optical drive is optional for me), comes with a nice wireless keyboard and mouse. I use the desktop stand to connect to the back of my flat screen LCD screen.
Windows 8. I hate it. Secure boot, EFI lockdown, crash galore. I desperately created a recovery disk (which requires more than 16GB for the acer image) and windows update. Desperate, because windows 8 would randomly crashes and reboots. I tried to move off windows 8 completely but moving to a different system, like ubuntu 12.10, made it difficult with secure boot and new gen EFI. The switch over in modeset is making it difficult.
I feel locked on windows 8 for now till either windows 8 improves or intel makes framebuffer drivers more mature on open platforms.
on November 26, 2013
After researching the different models that Acer builds the REVO in I selected this one because it has an optical drive, built in bluetooth and the ability to mount it to the back of your TV. Granted the optical drive is a DVD drive and not Blu ray. After setting everything up and turning on the computer I was not happy the supplied keyboard and mouse would not connect. I had to USB keyboard the initial setup and figure out what when wrong. In short, the keyboard and mouse supplied are not bluetooth, they are wireless. And the the dongle is in the mouse battery compartment. After sticking the dongle into a open USB 2.0 port on the computer, gave it a min, the mouse and keyboard are fully functional. The computer doesn't do anything special or have any big hang ups right now. Works as advertised. Right now I'm trying my hardest to get used to Windows 8, heck of change! If it doesn't work out in the next few weeks I'm going to take out the original hard drive and replace it with Windows 7 on an SSD and get a Bluray drive. Then this should be perfect for me.