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EMTEC Reveals Sexy ION Nettop

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When I attended the Emtec press launch yesterday the focus of attention was expected to be the company's latest addition to its multimedia HDD range, the 'P800'. Then this rather stole the limelight...

The 'GBox' is Emtec's first step into the nettop market and despite being a prototype (even the name isn't finalised) it makes one heck of a good impression.

First up the GBox looks superb, a sort of Wii/electric radiator cross - but in a good way! It is also remarkably thin (approximately 1in), weighs under 1Kg and is based upon nVidia's exciting ION platform which means a Full HD capable GeForce 9400 CPU combined with an Intel Atom CPU. Elsewhere it sticks to the nettop guides with a 160GB HDD and 1GB RAM while Windows XP is the OS of choice. It is fan-less so will operate silently.

In terms of connections it does make a real effort with no less than 6x USB (four on the back, two behind a flip cover on the front), 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks, VGA and Ethernet. There is no HDMI on the base model which is targeted at businesses but it will come as standard on consumer models. There will also be a VESA mount in the box in a move popularised by the Acer Revo.

Pricing will also be around the £179.99 mark which means it will also undercut both the Revo and Asus Eee Box. Looks like a winner to us...

In related news - and really the main reason for the event! - Emtec unveiled the 'P800' multimedia HDD box. This really is a jack of all trades product with DVB-T and analogue tuners, time shifting, networking, web radio, WiFi and audio, video and image playback from either memory cards, USB drives or the included 250GB 2.5in external HDD.

The trouble is the P800 does lack a few key basics. Namely it doesn't support MKV and MP4 video formats or AAC audio. Furthermore, tags are not supported in music files, there's no series linking in the TV menu and despite the HDMI port there's no High Definition playback.

Pricing for the P800 is reasonable at £279.99 considering the varied feature set and there is little like it on the market, but at the same time Emtec does admit it recognises the omissions. In fact it says these will likely be rectified with the eventual successor to the P800 which rather makes me think that might be worth waiting for...

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