Getting around to the software side of things, there are only four applications pre-installed: Avast Antivirus Home Edition, Skype, VLC and Nero7 SE – and three of these are freeware you can just as easily download yourself. The advantage is that for those who wouldn’t know how, there is a basic package for essential functionality installed, but I don’t see this kind of customer buying a gaming rig from a boutique PC vendor in the first place. Also, it would have been nice to have some Ultimo-branded – or at least gaming-themed – wallpaper, rather than the plain black you’re presented with. At least Ultimo can’t be accused of installing unnecessary bloatware, and given the choice, most gamers probably prefer the minimalist approach.
Overall, you get a relatively compact system with decent build quality, and adequate features – wireless being a nice addition. Hopefully the poor remote reception was a flaw unique to our sample system, in which case the media side of things is very well handled, with more features in that regard than most gaming PCs would offer. And though somewhat noisy, it does feature a range of top components which make it capable of breezing through most games at top details and high resolutions (57FPS in Call Of Duty 4 at 1,920 x 1,200 at maximum detail and with 4 x anti-aliasing enabled). It’s worth noting that on its website, Ultimo offers our Nano PC with an nVidia 8500GT as the ”only” option, which we hope will change soon.
The one factor where the Ultimo PC SpaceSaver Nano falls down is on price, since – even taking into account the premium for the smaller case which few manufacturers offer – you can get better specified gaming systems for less money from other custom PC builders, with the same guarantee and delivery options. Not that Ultimo offers bad value for money, but we saw a full-tower system offering similar base specs with a Geforce GTX260 video card, 1TB HDD, Core 2 Quad Q9550 processor and Blu-Ray drive for the same price! Even the CyberPower Gamer Infinity Crossfire HD Ed looked at recently offered twin ATI 4870s and an awesomely overclocked 4GHz Core 2 Duo for only £50 more.
If you really want a relatively compact gaming system, the Ultimo Nano Space-Saver Series is worth considering, but otherwise it’s simply too expensive compared to some of the competition.