Reviews / Meivo - Activehome-
» Activehome says 4/5
Attractively designed all-in-one PC-and-TV unit
We’ve seen some real monstrosities in the past from companies that have tried to merge a PC and TV into one, but Rocks Meivo TV is one of the more stylish to come our way.
The Meivo is similar in many ways to Apple’s iMac, as it consists of a computer and a widescreen flat-panel display combined into a single slimline unit. All the other components – such as the computer processor, hard disk, and DVD drive – are bolted onto the back of the monitor, keeping the unit down to less than 3in thick.
The widescreen monitor is 22in, and with its clear plastic bezel looks more like a large picture frame than a computer. Such a large screen isn’t really necessary for running standard software, but it’s really nice if you want to play DVDs or use Windows Media Center to play digital music or video clips.
The screen’s 1,680 x 1,050 resolution isn’t quite high enough for full 1080i or 1080p high definition but then it doesn’t have an HDMI interface for connecting up an HD source anyway. That’s obviously a limitation if you’ve got a Blu-Ray or HD DVD player, or a subscription to Sky HD, but the Meivo is still a good choice as an all-in-one PC and entertainment system that can play ordinary DVD and video material.
And, unlike the iMac, it’s also got twin TV tuners – both of which are hybrid analogue/digital tuners – which allow you to watch TV on one channel while recording a second channel onto the Meivo’s 250GB hard disk. Tucked away at the rear of the unit you’ll also find S-Video and composite video inputs, a Firewire port for a digital camcorder and a media card reader, so you’ll have no trouble using it with most types of video device and digital cameras (apart of course from an HD player or set top box that requires an HDMI). The Meivo has stereo speakers (3W each) and a subwoofer (6W) built into it, as well as 7.1 surround-sound output, so its audio features are pretty good too.
The PC side of things is fairly conventional. The Meivo is powered by a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo processor, which isn’t exactly top of the range, but should be fast enough to cope with most day-to-day computing tasks. The basic model costs £999 and has 1GB of RAM, although there’s a 2GB model available for about £100 extra. It’s got a DVD burner tucked away at the back of the unit, and there’s a built-in webcam for you to play with as well. The unit is also supplied with a wireless keyboard, which has a mini-joystick attached to it rather than a separate mouse, which makes it easier to use with the keyboard balanced on your lap. Or you can put your feet up on the sofa and control music and video playback with the remote control.
The Meivo’s only real weakness – apart from the lack of HDMI – is that it doesn’t have a very good graphics processor, so it isn’t going to be much of a games machine. Even so, it’s overall specification and features are pretty good.
At the back of our minds there’s still the nagging doubt that says products like the Meivo are really a bit of a compromise, and that you’d be better off spending the money on either a really good PC or a larger HD TV set. But if you’re looking for a stylish PC that can live in your front room as part of your home entertainment system then the Meivo is one of the better options currently available.
Good Points: PC power and widescreen TV combined in a single elegant unit.
Bad Points: Poor 3D graphics performance; no HDMI connectors
Overall **** (4 Star): A stylish combination PC and TV that won’t look out of place in your front room.