The petite and attractive Asus Nova P22 is about the size of a hardback novel, but the Asus P22 lacks many features we associate with true media centre PCs, and has little room for upgrades.
Asus advertises its Nova P22 as a 'multimedia computer' - a term we associate with 1992 and CD-ROM drives - and the PC does come with a remote control and Windows Vista with Windows Media Center. But the Asus Nova P22 lacks many features that true media centre PCs offer, and its small size leaves little space for upgrading its internal components.
The petite and attractive Asus Nova P22 is about the size of a hardback novel, weighs 1.8kg, and comes in white with orange trim or in all black. A set of small, built-in speakers plays laptop-quality sound. Touch-sensitive buttons control the power and the DVD drive, but they may be too sensitive; we often found ourselves accidentally turning off the Asus Nova P22 by brushing the power button. It does run very quietly, though.
The Asus Nova P22's quiet operation helps it fit into a living room setting. Nearly all other media centre PCs have TV tuners, and some have slots for receiving HDTV programming. But the Nova P22 lacks a tuner card and can't accommodate one except via external USB, which would increase its overall size.
We couldn't find a way to get the cover off, but the Asus Nova P22 is too small to accept an extra card anyway. It has only a DVI connector - no HDMI port - so if you want to connect it to a TV, you'll need a DVI-to-HDMI adaptor. It does have an optical port for sending high-quality audio to a receiver, though.
The Asus Nova P22 carries a 160GB hard drive - impressive for a laptop, but woefully inadequate for a media-centric PC. With its 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 1GB of RAM, the Asus Nova P22 managed a PC WorldBench 6 score of 66. But because it relies on integrated graphics - again, with no upgrade path - it's unsuitable for gaming. The system's integrated wireless-n and Bluetooth let you download movies and audio, and play media files hosted on other PCs around your house.
The Asus Nova P22 comes without a monitor, mouse, or keyboard; the only standard input device is the mediocre white plastic media centre remote, which, like most media centre remotes, feels pretty cheap. You can connect your own keyboard, mouse, and other USB input devices, because the computer has four USB ports on the back. The Asus Nova P22 also has a laptop-style docking connector to "allow future capabilities expansion", according to the thin manual.
Asus Nova P22's is a good-looking machine, and its size suits it for space-constrained settings. But for the same money, you can get a far more capable, true media centre PC, albeit bigger and less stylish.