Medion is a name more familiar with budget than blistering tech, so it came as a bit of a surprise to see a Full HD, touch-touting mode called ‘the Touch’ join its ranks.
Medion has chucked everything but the kitchen sink at this sleek 24in computing monster, which is hoping to both answer all your multimedia needs and find a spot next your favourite painting with a little help from its wall mount.
Ins and outs
The Touch certainly has its full complement of connections: HDMI in and out, VGA input, digital audio output, a connection for eSATA hard disks and a card reader are all clamouring for attention.
Then there’s the Freeview and Freesat tuners, Blu-ray drive, media remote and a slick keyboard with playback shortcuts. Phew.
Beneath the screen is a hinged media control bar, home to a fingerprint reader, a row of touch-sensitive media controls, a pair of USB ports, a volume knob and a set of stereo speakers. Unfortunately, sound quality isn’t great, so you’ll want to hook it up to a pair of external drivers or a surround system.
Sideshow nice touch
There’s plenty of power for computing tasks, while a Windows Sideshow display on the control bar shows desktop gadgets like RSS feeds, the weather and instant messages. It also acts as a touch-sensitive input, letting you create playlists and the like. Cute? Certainly. Necessary? No.
The Touch raises a common conundrum with touchscreen media-centric machines: where do you put it? If it’s on a desk, you don’t want it right in your face, but if it’s at arm’s length you’ll have to stretch to use the touchscreen.
If you’re close enough to poke the screen without straining, you’re probably too close to view it comfortably. This is a 24in panel after all, not a 10in tablet.
Mount it on a wall or place it on a cabinet and The Touch makes a good entertainment centre with its TV tuners and Blu-ray player.
The media bar at the bottom apes the controls of a TV and PVR, but the backlight on the Sideshow window switches on an off at seemingly random intervals, which is distracting when watching movies. With a capable remote supplied in the box, the media bar will probably end up getting very little use.
If it’s TV you’re interested in, a generous terabyte of hard drive space puts plenty of room at your disposal for pausing and recording shows from Freeview or Freesat using either its digital terrestrial or satellite tuners.
However, as there’s only one of each, you can’t watch one Freeview channel while recording another, and likewise with Freesat. Also, the Freeview tuner is standard-def only, so if you want hi-def TV you’ll have to use the Freesat option.
Gaming isn’t the Medion’s strongest suit either, but it’s still possible to get just about anything running. The more demanding 3D games will need to be scaled back to run at sensible framerates, so don’t expect to play the latest first-person shooters with all the trimmings.
Touchscreen games for Windows 7 are still in their infancy, so the choice is limited here. One of the most promising, the real-time strategy game Ruse, has been put back to a September release.
The Touch is a big departure from the usual line of budget PCs rolled out by Medion, and it certainly packs an entertainment punch. But at nearly two grand and with rivals like the HP TouchSmart, it’s unlikely to find a way into too many homes.