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  PCChips EZ-Watcher EZW-3060 Mini-PC 
  Nov 10, 2003, 09:30am EST 

A Look at the Exterior

By: Dan Mepham

The exterior of the unit is quite nice. Visually, the EZW-3060ís blend of gloss black, satin silver, and chrome looks quite slick, though we generally prefer not to comment too heavily on such subjective details, and rather let buyers decide for themselves.

We would classify the exterior materials as satisfactory to good, but certainly not excellent. The aluminum casing feels rather flimsy and tended to scratch easily, and while the plastics feel generally solid, we wonder if the silver paint may be prone to wear over time. What put us off the most, though, was the overclocking dial itself. The dial feels hollow and brittle, and the detents are so soft and hard to feel that theyíre virtually non-existent as the dial is rotated. Further, the material is cheap clear plastic with a very thin chrome paint that leaks backlighting, and will almost certainly peel off after prolonged use. This singular lapse somewhat baffled us, as the dial is really the centerpiece of the whole unit, and the one control that uses are likely to have their hands on the most. Not the best place to cut corners. In our opinion, spending an extra two dollars for a more hearty dial with more positive feedback and detents would have been a smart move here.

Front audio ports are provided, as well as a single Firewire and USB port. Some users may wish to see two or more front-mounted USB ports, but considering there are four more on the rear of the unit, just 12 inches away, we donít see this as a major issue. PCChips also smartly equipped the front of the unit with a multi-brand card reader. The card reader is capable of accessing all major formats, including SD/MMC, CompactFlash, SmartMedia, and Memory Sticks. Standard color-coded ports are provided at the back of the unit, including a Firewire port, RJ-45 network port, and four USB 2.0 ports.

1. Introduction
2. Meet PCChips' EZ-Watcher
3. A Look at the Exterior
4. Under the Hood
5. The Heart of the Beast
6. Performance
7. Summary

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