Acer's little Ion mini-PC seems slightly useful

Here’s a riddle. Why are little Ion PCs sporting Atoms and low-power GPUs being touted as such versatile machines? They are capable of the basics, like a Mac Mini, but not much beyond that. I’m skeptical of their actual capabilities. 1080p? Call of Duty 4? Does it slice and dice, too?

The AcerRevo promises a lot, and to be honest, I’ll believe it when I see it. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that 1080p playback is limited to certain bitrates, file formats, or players. Likewise gaming. The fact is this thing has the guts of a high-end netbook, and I haven’t heard of anyone playing CoD4 on an Aspire One or Dell Mini. Maybe on OnLive?

That isn’t to say it’s useless, but let’s not get carried away with everything the companies that make it want us to think. I’ll tell you what this thing is: your HDTV’s hub for streaming media and, if you’re into it, emulators. Get a couple wireless 360 controllers, load up a nettop with games, and you’re laughing. As for the other stuff, well, we’ll see.

We’ll keep our eyes open for AcerRevo pricing and availability.