I’ve been both baffled and intrigued by nettops for a while. Sure, it’s cool to stuff a fully functional computer into a box about the size of DVD drive. But the only reason I can see for needing your computer to be that small (often while packing high performance graphics and a low power processor) is that the nettops are intended for use in the living room, not the home office. And I personally prefer a device that has an optical disc drive, TV tuner, and faster processor in my Home Theater PCs.
Still, companies are continuing to pump out nettops, and indeed I should have a review of the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q150 soon — and it really is a pretty nice machine (although it’d be nicer with a disc drive and TV tuner). But when Engadget posted a few photos of new set top boxes from Acer and Asus this afternoon, I couldn’t help but think that they make a lot more sense as living room PCs.
The Acer Revo 2 and Asus set top box both run Windows Media center Embedded software and have the same Intel Atom CE4100 processor that’s powering the Boxee Box. They can pump out 1080p HD video through HDMI outputs. The Acer Revo 2 also has an optical drive and a hard drive, while the Asus is currently driveless.
Neither machine will be out until 2011, and there’s no word on the pricing yet. But there’s something compelling about a low power media-centric PC that doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not.
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe nettops aren’t just for the living room. What do you think? Do you have a nettop? What do you use it for? Or have you been thinking about getting one… and why?