Though the screen is large and crisp with its 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution (making it suited, by definition, to 1080p video), it lacks any touch support, even though the release of Windows 8 is on the horizon. Given that Win 8's Metro interface emphasizes touchscreen features, it's imperative that new systems take advantage of touch going forward. With touchscreen tablets so popular in the device market and Microsoft's own Surface tablet set to run Windows 8's Metro, desktops must have touchscreens to stay on a par with such competition. Also, a few gimmicky touchscreen games can really pique some consumers' interest.
On the plus side, not being a touchscreen means less cleaning. The black border of the ET2701's screen is a fingerprint magnet and will get smudged as you tilt or move it. The menu and mode-select buttons are touch sensitive, so you don't even need to push them for activation. A slight graze will send your computer searching for HDMI input or will open the menu. The screen itself looks good from most angles (Asus claims 178 degrees of vertical and horizontal viewable angles), but it is very reflective when under direct light.
The system comes with a single 7200-rpm, 2TB hard drive split into two partitions: a small one for the Windows 7 Home Premium operating system and a few programs, and a second partition labeled as a data drive. Such a split feels unnecessary, especially since everything is already on a single drive. Since programs naturally install to the C partition, which quickly fills up and causes low disc space warnings, I anticipate some confusion and frustration for casual PC users.
The ET2701 is well connected all around. It has the typical gigabit ethernet adapter and wireless 802.11n connection. The addition of Bluetooth is nice for connecting applicable devices without having to use up the scarce USB ports.
The system has a total of five USB ports: two USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA/USB 2.0 one on the side, plus two USB 2.0 ports on the back. This is far too few, especially since the dongle for the wireless mouse automatically takes up a slot. Other ports are an SD card reader, VGA (input only), an antenna, and an HDMI-in for hooking up a game console or media device. Including an antenna and an HDMI port is becoming common for many all-in-ones, as it supports the notion that they are not only PCs, but desktop televisions as well. It's great to kill two birds with one stone and get a completely functional television, but the lack of any kind of video output means no support for dual displays. On the other hand, Asus has included a Blu-ray optical drive, a great amenity on these high-definition, media-centric machines. An included wireless mouse and keyboard keeps the desk mess to a minimum. Finally, the all-in-one standard webcam and integrated microphone are included for online calls.