IMO-Desk: a Look from the Outside
Let’s approach the IMO-Desk I651U from the outside. Here it is closed:
When closed, the system doesn’t snap shut as notebooks do, but again it is normal as you are not supposed to travel with it. As for the design of the system, it is rather questionable. There are no strict forms: the striped cover has vent holes in it and a bump in the center. This is hardly a perfect design solution, but we have to put up with it as it is forced by the ordinary desktop LCD matrix, which is used in this evice.
People from Chaintech said the quality of the plastic used for the system case would be different and better in off-the-shelf systems (we have received a pre-release sample), but I actually have no complaints about the material of the pre-release version already.
And this is the front panel of the IMO-Desk I651U:
The speakers are hidden behind the decoration grid. They are no hi-fi ones of course, but they are a way better than average “notebook” audio systems. Meanwhile, the IMO-Desk I651U offers you six-channel sound, so you may want to use an external speaker system with it. Next to the right speaker there are two jacks for connecting the headphones and a microphone. By the way, there is also an integrated microphone, buried deep inside the system that is why I will dwell on it a little bit later in our review.
There is a ventilation hole is in the center of the panel, and above it there is the card-reader and the IR port (for the remote control unit).
The front panel also carries two indicators: one is showing the card-reader activity, and the other lights up when you press a button on the remote control.
The right panel of the system carries two USB 2.0 ports (for some mysterious reason, they are placed upside down), an optical drive of the “slim” form-factor (the only component the IMO-Desk I651U has borrowed from mobile computers), and two IEEE1394 ports (4-pin and 6-pin). There is also an exhaust vent hole, where the warm air is blown outside the system case.
The left panel carries two more “upside-down” USB 2.0 ports, an infrared IrDA port, a vent hole for the HDD, two audio jacks and an optical S/PDIF output. You can live happily with the USB ports being upside down, but the audio outputs at your left hand are definitely not the most convenient thing. If you connect an external speaker system to the IMO-Desk, the cables will be lying on your desk, right under your hand, which you will hardly like that much.
Let’s now take a look at the rear panel.
This is a real horn of plenty! Look at all these I/O ports (from left to right). Here we find a PS/2 port for connecting a mouse or keyboard (if you don’t feel comfortable with the standard 88-key keyboard and the touchpad of the IMO-Desk), an RJ45 connector for a wired network, an S-Video input and an output for an external monitor, two legacy ports (serial and parallel) we hadn’t expected to find in this system, a PSU connector, an RJ-11 modem plug for the phone line, and the line-out jack. On the right of the back panel there is a grid through which the CPU cooler blows hot air out.
The IMO-Desk I651U is overloaded with various connectors and their placement may not be too convenient, as you may have noticed. On the other hand, it has everything necessary to connect any peripheral device you may want to use. A WLAN controller is missing in our sample, but it is an option you may find in other systems of the kind.