BenQ and UMID unveil minute PCs

Small is beautiful according to a handful of new releases from PC firms.

This week, both BenQ and South Korean firm UMID have been demonstrating very small form-factor personal computers.

Digital device manufacturer BenQ has been showing off its new all-in-one PC, the nStation. The i91 has a 19:9, 18.5" display and contains an AMD Semperon 210U processor, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. The firm said that it was as easy to control as a television set, and indeed the unit is controlled in part at least, with a knob on the front of the screen.

Also included are a webcam, 4-in-1 memory card reader and Wi-Fi. However, despite its appearance no TV tuner is included. The i91 will also be one of many products to feature SRS Labs' SRS TruSurround HD surround sound technology.

"Our mission with each newly developed product is to bring both enjoyment and quality into the digital lifestyle of our users, both advanced and novice," said Peter Chen, general manager of BenQ's technology product centre, in a statement.

"We've recognised that clear, crisp and broad sound is as equally important as video content, and we're confident that, by designing in SRS TruSurround HD, we've found the perfect solution for a balanced experience."

Another version also announced by the firm, the i221, is slightly larger, measuring in at 21.5". nStations are available in Taiwan now, however no details of a release elsewhere are as yet available.

Announced and demonstrated at last week's Mobile World Congress, UMID's Mbook netbook has a 4.8" display and fits into a shirt pocket. Despite its tiny size, the unit promises a 1.1GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, 32GB SSD and a six-hour battery life. Although its screen may be too small for some, the firm said that it offered incredibly strong performance for a netbook.

The Mseries is currently on sale in Korea, where it sells for the equivalent of just under 300. It can run Linux and Windows (XP and Vista) and offers a range of connection options.