HCL Beanstalk Ultima All-In-One: Chooses Looks Over Performance

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All-in-one PCs are an ideal solution when you need a computer that’s stylish, hassle free and easy to setup. Today we have with us the HCL Beanstalk Ultima, which not only looks fantastic, but also offers excellent features too. However, let’s see if value for money can be counted as one of its strong points.

 

The beauty of all-in-one PCs: No cable clutter and wireless usability

Design
Aesthetic appeal is the biggest asset of the HCL Beanstalk Ultima. In fact, it will be a major deciding factor if you consider buying this machine. The piano-black frame with a transparent acrylic strip around it, makes the machine look pretty slick. Even though it’s an all-glossy unit, we’re not considering that a downside because you’re not going to handle (move) the machine much. Even the bundled wireless mouse and keyboard share the same color and finish. Also, when it comes to build quality the unit is rugged and stable, thanks to the heavy-gauge plastic and the strong adjustable flip stand.

 

We ran a few game benchmarks, but FPS and other demanding games are not meant for this PC.

Being an all-in-one, all the buttons and ports are pretty much within reach with the exception of display options and a few ports at the rear. On the left-hand side, there are two USB ports, a memory card reader and a DVD writer. On the right-hand side, you’ll find buttons for power on/off, menu, screen adjustment and for switching the monitor on/off.

 

The buttons hide snuggly behind the acrylic border, but with the lit signs they're easily accessible.

In terms of ergonomics, the bundled keyboard isn’t the best we’ve used. The spacing between the chiclet keys is more than required and the keys are smaller too. However, overall the unit is pretty neat and excellent to look at. It’s an ideal machine for a lifestyle home, like if you have a modular kitchen, or you can use it in your study, where space is a limited. Better yet, if you need a stylish all-in-one PC for your office desk, this one could prove to be pretty useful.

 

Thankfully there's a DVD writer, which more often than not, is absent in entry-level all-in-one PCs.

Features
There are two ways of looking at it, the hardware doesn’t justify the price tag at all, but again, when it comes to functionality, this machine has all that makes a good all-in-one home PC. Speaking of functionality, this isn’t just a PC, as in you can even connect your cable TV, watch your favorite soaps and sift through the Media Center wirelessly using the bundled remote. We watched full-HD movie clips on the crisp 21.5-inch (1920 x 1080) screen and the experience was awesome. So basically, more than a performance personal computer, the Beanstalk Ultima is a good all-in-one multimedia option.

 

You can plug the wireless dongle at the back panel to free up the two USB ports at the side.

Built around an Nvidia ION platform, this computer is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 processor, has 4 GB RAM and a 500 GB hard drive. At the rear, you’ll find, the power jack, a cable TV jack, VGA, 4 USB ports, HDMI, eSATA, 2 Audio jacks, SPDIF, an Ethernet jack, and Kensington lock slot. The machine bundles with it a stylus, wireless keyboard and mouse, a cable TV wire (co-axial) and a wall-mounting kit.

 

The cable TV dongle goes into the gold connector between the VGA port and the power jack.

Finally the machine also has a webcam and comes preloaded with Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit). So overall, there is no doubt that this machine is rich in features, but when you compare it with a standard PC, it’s just hard to justify the price for this sort of hardware.
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HCL Beanstalk Ultima Performance Scores

Performance
The price-performance ratio is where this machine loses its luster. The hardware is rather old and doesn’t go great guns in the number-crunching department. So if you’re thinking of running heavy video/audio editing or heavy photo editing, you’d be better off with a powerful mainstream desktop PC in half the price. We ran the standard synthetic and real-world benchmarks and the results are obvious. Clearly, this computer is meant for multimedia, and also, we don’t see much use for the touch screen, unless you’re using it at a kiosk.

 

Even an entry-level Core i3 laptop scores better

Also, multimedia is limited to HD movies and music, and gaming is not an option. We ran the Left 4 Dead benchmark at medium settings and with 15 fps and found that online or light gaming is the only possibility.

It’s a known fact that built-in speakers on LCD TVs and all-in-ones are not that great due to space constrains, but it is a good-to-know fact before you invest a considerable amount. Onward, the built-in speakers on this machine are horrible, at least that’s the impression we got with the Windows default sound theme. Even after listening to some music and watching a couple of movie clips, the vocals are noticeably good, but there is no bass whatsoever. If you’re looking at watching TV and listening to soft music, then it’s fine.

 

Ideally we don't run this test on a machine without discrete graphics, but this gives a rough idea of how good (or bad) the integrated GPU is.

Options
Thankfully, the price range of these machines starts from Rs 58,000, and considering a cheaper variant makes more sense. In Rs 79,900, you can assemble a good gaming rig or even a powerful, feature-rich HTPC. Again, these are two different concepts altogether, which is why there is a premium, but a pretty high one at that.

Personal Take
It’s also a known fact that, the larger the screen panel and higher the resolution, the more expensive the TV or monitor. And that’s exactly the reason this PC is so expensive. Also, it is looks over value for money and functionality over performance. So unless you need a touch screen, entry-level performance, and a stylish computer for your home, I don’t recommend the HCL Beanstalk Ultima.

Specifications

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T6600
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Hard drive: 500 GB
  • Graphics: Nvidia ION
  • Optical Drive: DVD-Writer
  • Screen: 21.5-inch multi-touch screen
  • Connectivity: 10/100 Ethernet and WiFi N
  • Bundle: Wireless mouse and keyboard, mouse pad, power adapter, antenna, adapter for cable TV (co-axial), stylus and a wall-mounting kit.
  • Price: 79,990

Published Date: Oct 29, 2010 03:39 pm | Updated Date: Oct 29, 2010 03:39 pm