Acer’s Veriton L460 replaces Acer’s cheap and tiny Aspire L320
which earned a spot on our A-List last September. It looks similar but there are key differences. Aesthetically there’s little difference but, at the front, there’s no longer a stylish flap hiding the USB ports (up from two to four) and the two audio jacks. FireWire and the media card reader have been completely removed. At the back are four USB ports, six audio jacks, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA and DVI ports. It doesn’t come with an LCD which is good as it doesn’t lock you in to a mediocre Acer model. The new keyboard feels rather cheap, stiff and plasticy but the optical mouse is fine. The slot-loading dual-layer DVD-writer and the low-end USB speakers are the same as the L320’s.
The insides aren’t upgradeable: the diminutive chassis is built for a specific thermal envelope which only supports the parts included. There’s not even room for a power supply – an external brick is used instead.
Powering the system is one of Intel’s new low-power 1.8GHz Pentium E2160 dual core CPUs. It’s joined by 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard disk. The L460 scored 0.60 in our benchmarks, which might leave hard core encoders and serious photography buffs frustrated if dealing with complex files, but it’s fine as a web-browsing family workstation.
But it’s 13% slower than the L320 – another retrograde step. We naturally hoped to see a big reduction in the price and were happy with the figure of $799, which is almost half the price of the L320. It will still happily cater for people who simply want a cheap, good-looking, unobtrusively small, low-powered and quiet PC for the home. The warranty is poor at only one-year RTB, but the good overall value proposition means it still takes its place on the A-List.