Nettops have never achieved the same popularity as their portable
Its 15.6-inch screen is no bigger than most laptops, but the X50 is ideal, we think, as a bedside or kitchen computer. You could use it to play movies, music from or to browse recipes in the kitchen without getting meat grease all over your cookbooks. Sure, you'd get meat grease all over the X50, but it feels relatively sturdy and can be wiped clean.
The touchscreen can be controlled either with a finger or with the accompanying stylus, which is tucked away in its top-left corner. Unfortunately, Shuttle hasn't bothered supplying a keyboard or any sort of dedicated touch interface, so you'll need to put up with Windows Vista Home Premium and all its finger-hating foibles.
Inside, the X50's packing an Intel Atom 330 CPU -- a desktop-oriented, dual-core alternative to the Atom N270s you get in most netbooks -- 1GB of DDR2 533MHz RAM, a 160GB hard drive, a 1.3-megapixel webcam. That's all standard fare for a machine of this type, so the fact it costs in the region of £535 is a little shocking (although we should mention you can buy it without an OS for £470). The identically specced , which comes with a keyboard, mouse and dedicated touch software, costs under £400.
Does the X50 have what it takes to kickstart the nettop market? Probably not, but we thought you might like to hear about it anyway. We'll have a full review shortly, but in the meantime it's available to buy now from Ambros Direct.