There's more to a UMPC (ultra-mobile PC) than an ugly acronym with a straightforward explanation. Running various versions of Windows – the Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC is a Vista Home Premium model – UMPCs also come in both hard disk and flash memory versions.

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Sony opted for flash on its Vaio UX1, which offers size, weight and battery benefits as there's no spindle drive; Medion went for a 30GB platter with the Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC. It's appreciably cheaper. Medion's RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC undercuts the price of Sony's dinky 8GB UMPC by £1,200.

But the Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC is not the happiest of hardware. It takes several minutes to fire up. Vista has been accused of being a slow starter, so that may be the reason, but we wonder whether Vista Home Basic wouldn't have suited the 768MB Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC better.

Once the Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC is ready to roll (and you've ousted the Bullguard and Google Desktop apps Medion preinstalls), you're left with a 6.5in touchscreen widescreen display which on which the Vista desktop is somewhat stretched.

The Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC's touchscreen is responsive and navigation is made easier with the inclusion of a one-touch Zoom button and a navipad on the left of the Medion, a touchpad at bottom right and a sturdy stylus too. We recalibrated our Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC's screen as it didn't seem touch-sensitive at the extreme edges , which isn't great for accessing tools from the Taskbar.

Hidden below the Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC's screen is a proper qwerty keyboard. Slide up the front to reveal it. The Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC's keys are rather stiff, but they're a good size, if not quite large enough or sufficiently well positioned for true touchtyping. Propping up the Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC on its pullout stand makes typing easier.

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Medion preinstalls Microsoft Works Suite 8.5 as well as Nero Essentials 7.0 which is odd, given that there's no disc drive on the Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC. Files are instead copied across using the USB 2.0 port. Works' inclusion means you can work on most Office documents except the very latest Office 2007 and the Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC is actually a very functional device.

The a/b/g Wi-Fi quickly finds and locks on to a signal and the Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC is both large enough to work on comfortably and sufficiently small and light that it's no hassle to routinely take with you. Wi-Fi and power locks preserve the battery and your security and you can introduce photos and play them straight from the SD Card.

The RIM1000's battery life in use was two hours and 20 minutes - pretty impressive when we were truly putting it through its paces with some hefty apps.

Medion RIM1000: Specs

  • Windows Vista Home Premium UMPC
  • 1GHz Via C7-M processor
  • Wi-Fi
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • Nero Essentials
  • Bullguard Internet Security
  • USB 2.0
  • SD Card slot
  • D-Sub docking port port
  • 768MB RAM
  • 190x121z28mm
  • weight: 740g
  • Windows Vista Home Premium UMPC
  • 1GHz Via C7-M processor
  • Wi-Fi
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • Nero Essentials
  • Bullguard Internet Security
  • USB 2.0
  • SD Card slot
  • D-Sub docking port port
  • 768MB RAM
  • 190x121z28mm
  • weight: 740g

OUR VERDICT

The Medion RIM1000 ultra-mobile PC has some great touches and is jam-packed with features, but its in-between size means it's neither portable enough to succeed the PDA nor easy enough to use on a regular basis to supplant a laptop.

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