rock Meivo-E4300 review: rock Meivo-E4300

The Good Design; wireless keyboard.

The Bad Only a single TV tuner.

The Bottom Line The Meivo isn't quite large enough for our tastes, but it's a great example of an all-in-one Media Center PC. If you want a second PC with a contemporary, unintrusive design, and you're all about the multimedia, the Meivo is worth checking out

7.5 Overall

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The Meivo is rock's first foray away from laptops. It's designed to be used as a portal for multimedia, with television, PVR and streaming media all at its disposal.

We're no strangers to these all-in-one designs -- and neither, we presume, are the designers behind this incarnation -- but will the Meivo get things right like the iMac, or send a shudder through us like the Packard Bell Smart TV S320?

The Meivo's biggest selling point is the fact it looks nothing like a normal PC. It could pass as the slightly chubby offspring of a flat-screen television -- the 22-inch widescreen panel occupies the vast majority of the front panel and is flanked by a pair of speakers. This is jazzed up by a clear plastic outermost bezel -- as seen on some of Sony's Media Center offerings. It's an attractive unit whose PC heritage is only belied by the webcam above the screen.

The rear of the unit is home to an e-SATA port (for connecting an external hard drive), as well as S-Video and composite video output. HDMI has been omitted entirely so you can forget about connecting the Meivo to an HD TV -- not that you'd really want to.

The webcam above the screen lets you record video directly to YouTube

Also at the rear is a VESA connector, which lets you mount the Meivo on a wall for the ultimate in eye-pleasing installations. The left of the unit is home to a USB port, a mini FireWire port and a memory card reader with SD, MMC and Memory Stick compatibility. There are also a couple of audio jacks so you can connect the system to a set of 7.1-channel surround sound speakers. On the right is a slot-loading DVD drive.

All-in-all it's a good, solid and attractive design.

It may pose as a television and masquerade as a desktop PC, but the Meivo is a laptop at heart. Our sample uses an Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 CPU clocked at 1.8GHz, but for £100 extra you can plump for the 1.86GHz -- if you really need that extra 600MHz. RAM is 1GB as standard with an option to upgrade to 2GB. We suggest saving your cash and going for the bottom rung Meivo -- particularly if you're only going to watch movies and surf the Web on it.

The level of storage provided by the 250GB hard drive is adequate. At best, the 250GB drive is good for a couple of hundred movies, but keep in mind this number will drop when you start installing other applications. Other Media Center machines put the Meivo to shame, with 500GB or 1TB of storage, so be prepared to invest in a NAS or external hard drive before you start hoarding video. If you're handy with a screwdriver and don't mind voiding your warranty, there's a spare 1.8-inch drive bay inside ready for an extra drive.

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