Don't let the Sotec branding fool you, the HDC-1L is made by award-winning home cinema gurus Onkyo, although anyone expecting a high-end A/V receiver will be disappointed as the HDC-1L isn't one. What it is, is a nettop and if you ask me it's the best looking one around - on a purely superficial basis at least.
Externally the HDC-1l is clearly on a different playing field to the Asus Eee Box. Not only has Onkyo decked out its system in a classy aluminium finish, but it hasn't left it under-featured either. In addition to a pair of USB ports at the front, there's a further quartet around the back, joining an Ethernet port, serial connector, VGA output Parallel port and, for those living in the dark ages still, PS2 ports for a keyboard and mouse.
There's even a set of phono connectors for hooking the system up to a pair of stereo speakers, should such connectivity be desired - harking to Onkyo's home cinema background. Internally Onkyo boasts an array of high quality audio kit to accompany that output capability. Frankly, we'd expect nothing less from the company. Elsewhere inside, things are par for the course; a 1.6GHz Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive should surprise no-one.
Available in Japan for some ¥59,800 (~£435) the HDC-1L is definitely pushing the limits of sane pricing for an Atom-powered system. Used for watching standard def video content, and perhaps coupled to a USB TV tuner, though, it could pose a pretty neat HTPC. I'd definitely be tempted, assuming a UK release happens, which is unknown.
Onkyo Japan (Google translated).