Prestigio Emporio ION 330 nettop review

By Shem Pennant,

You may remember that we went to visit Prestigio a while back (you have been paying attention, haven’t you?) and saw some of their range of brand “lifestyle” goods, targeting men aged 30-50. Although some of this range was simply leather USB keys and mice emblazoned with Ferrari logos (I’m under 30 so am blind to the charms of these items) other more interesting products included a wireless HDMI bridge and the Emporio ION 330 – an HTPC/net top.

Emporio ION 330

Like all net top PCs the Emporio ION 330 is small, but unlike most net tops, the Emporio has a really slick looking design – it looking design – it’s unobtrusive on the average home theatre shelf and looks great. And if you really don’t like the look of it you can hide it behind your flatscreen using the included mounting bracket.

The curved design is pretty slim, but you can beef it out with an optical media drive if you so desire. There is a optional USB-connected DVD drive (which in 2010 you probably don’t need all that much) or a Blu Ray player, so you can have a fairly modern home theatre set up in a diminutive package (it doesn’t have 3D blu ray support but unless you are really keen on cloudy with a chance of Meatballs then this is not really an issue).

The onboard NVIDIA® ION™ with Intel® Atom™ processor means you can coax the unit into stutter free 1080p playback and 2—4Gb memory onboard makes most tasks that one would do from the sofa chug along nicely.

The unit ships with Windows 7 Home Premium or Prestigio Suite 2010 on Kubuntu Linux. The skinned Prestigio Linux distro is customised for couch surfing (adjust your TV for overscan to ensure the screen stays on the edges) and Prestigio score multiple bonus points for including XBMC preinstalled. XBMC or XBox Media Centre is a open source project that represents the best of what the open source community can do when it puts its mind to it. Originally a hack for the original XBox to playback music and video file, it quickly became the defining media organising experience – something that none of the professional companies with DLNA-capable devices such as Sony, Samsung or LG have come close to touching. XBMC is possibly the best thing I’ve ever touched. Still. So that was amazing inclusion.

However I did come across some audio issues with HDMI audio. If you are used to Linux, then you will be no strainer to the subsequent Googling, forum posts, and Terminal commands that are need to fix this. If the thought of using the command line in this day and age horrifies you, then you are probably better off installing Win 7. Or you could try wiping the whole thing and installing an XBMC live CD.

The Prestigio Emporio ION 330 is out now.