Easy to Use?
Let’s try the thing in practice. I realize most users will use it with an external mouse, keyboard and monitor, but I am going to trying finding out how you would feel using the IMO-Desk I651U without any externals.
Let’s start with the LCD matrix. The IMO-Desk I651U comes with a fully-fledged LCD monitor with a 15-inch diagonal and 1024x768 resolution. It differs positively from LCD matrixes of ordinary notebooks. It reproduces colors naturally, and its brightness is nearly twice as high as that of an average notebook LCD panel. The response time is up to the mark, too, while the viewing angles are simply good (120° horizontal and 100° vertical). That’s what a multimedia system should be like: you can watch a movie in a company of your friends and people who look at the screen at a small angle will see everything properly, without any noticeable distortions.
The integrated audio subsystem is of pretty average quality. You can’t expect the two small speakers to represent the entire frequency range, especially basses, but they reproduce the audio picture at large quite normally.
The 88-key keyboard resembles those of many notebooks, but with larger keys as the IMO-Desk I651U is generally larger than notebooks. They are even larger than keys on some ordinary “desktop” keyboards, which will definitely please the users with large fingers. Besides, the keys are soft, easy to press. Overall, it is a nice comfortable keyboard.
The IMO-Desk I651U offers you a touchpad instead of the mouse. The working surface of the touchpad is pushed into the case to prevent it from a casual touch. There are two buttons below the sensitive area and there is also a microphone input hole at the lower left corner of the touchpad.
Indicators are placed to the left of the keyboard. There you can find a bright yellow power-on light and a few green LEDs indicating the system status (suspend mode), HDD activity, and showing if you enabled caps lock, scroll lock or num lock.
The power button is located below the keyboard, next to the keys that launch your browser and e-mail client, eject the optical drive, and reset the system. There are also two programmable buttons, which you can assign your own functions.
Although the IMO-Desk I651U is positioned by Chaintech as a home PC for multimedia applications and Internet surfing, the system is not bundled with any specific software. The only utility you receive with this computer is for programming the software keys. Besides, you can also download a special DigiDoc utility for system status monitoring from Chaintech company site. However, this is not exactly what we were looking for. We expected an operation system and a DVD player at least, as the system comes with a DVD-ROM. It would also be great if they shipped some unified interface for multimedia content processing, which could be easy to work with even for unsophisticated users.
Maybe the system integrators (who will assemble these systems) will create a software bundle for the IMO-Desk, but the manufacturer of the platform offers no unified solution. However, this is a common problem of all SFF PCs manufacturers, who regard their customers as mainboard buyers, although the latter type of users usually have more computer-related experience.
I would like to add in this respect that luckily the situation with Chaintech IMO-Desk is not so hopeless. The company representatives told us that Chaintech engineering team is working hard on the problem and by the time the solution starts shipping in mass quantities, IMO-Desk should already acquire unified software interface for audio and video playback.