Scan 3XS Mirage AIO245 review

Customisable and good value all-in-one PC

Scan 3XS Mirage AIO245 review
Great Value
The Scan 3XS Mirage AIO245

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Cinebench: 7.42
3D Mark: P2994

For straightforward computing tasks, such as browsing, digital photography, office work and playing music and video files, even the entry-level Scan 3XS Mirage AIO245 has a specification that will be fast enough for most peoples' needs. But once you add some extras, using it becomes spectacular.

Thanks to the SSD in our review unit, Windows 8 loads in less than 20 seconds from cold boot, and the 1TB of storage we chose is fine for modest media collections. Software loaded quickly and the system felt exceptionally responsive, despite the mid-range quoted performance of the lower-capacity mSATA SSDs available.

For gaming, we found it to be mostly excellent as well. A 3D Mark score of 2,994 points is a fairly average rendering performance, but still impressive considering the Scan 3XS Mirage AIO245 uses a mobile graphics card.

The only title that struggled was Battlefield 3, which is still a tough test of modern graphics cards. We could only play with a comfortably smooth frame rate on medium detail settings, at the Scan 3XS Mirage AIO245's native 1920 x 1080 resolution. The game still looked pretty on medium detail though, and most importantly, it ran well enough for multiplayer.

Dota 2, a less graphically intense multiplayer game, worked perfectly, although some of the prettier effects caused slight slowdown whenever the action got busy, with all the detail settings set to maximum. Sid Meier's Civilization V is more dependent on a computer's CPU than on its GPU, so it worked particularly well, and was fun to play using the touchscreen display.

That said, we switched back to standard mouse and keyboard controls after 15 minutes, thanks to a combination of arm fatigue and irritation at the gimmicky control method. We had a similar experience swiping and flicking on the screen to get around the modern UI in Windows 8.

Not everyone is convinced that this is the best way to use desktop computers, and you're certain to eventually revert to the mouse and keyboard, especially when using desktop software. That's an important consideration, given the possible savings when ordering a Scan 3XS Mirage AIO245 without a touch-sensitive screen.

The fans were mostly inaudible, save for a fairly faint hum after a long gaming session. The built-in speakers don't offer spectacular sound quality, but are sufficient.

Our only real criticism is the Scan 3XS Mirage AIO245's build quality, which pales in comparison with the high-end all-in-one desktop offerings from competing manufacturers.

While it looks absolutely fine when viewed from the front, it's less impressive at the rear. A clear gap between the display and the white plastic used for the chassis serves as a blunt reminder that all-in-one computers are merely components tacked to the back of a monitor.

The rear-mounted controls also feel tacky, and are poorly labelled and hard to reach. It's very easy to accidentally dim the screen by pressing the eco button, which seems like a fairly pointless addition for a non-mobile device.