When we opened the box for the Dream PC from Pioneer, we though there must have been some kind of mistake. Coming in a form factor reminiscent of external hard disk units, the Dream PC packs an entire P4 system in a surprisingly small space, and at 3kg, it weighs less than some notebooks.
The Dream PC is powered by an Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz, and has 256MB DDR-RAM, so the spec is decent. Storage is handled by a quiet 40GB notebook hard drive and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive. Video and audio are onboard and the Dream PC offers a good deal of connectivity with three FireWire ports, four USB ports, a serial port and 10/100 Ethernet port distributed over the front and back for easy access. The whole compact unit feels solid, and the only real requirement for safe operation is that the fan-grill remains clear.
When fired up, the Dream PC was quiet, with the only sounds coming from using the DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive. While performance was generally smooth, it lacks a powerful video chip. It also doesn't offer surround sound, nor can it compete with a similar desktop supporting a discreet video card. It's smaller than most mini-PCs, and this makes it a handy for travelling 2D gamers.
The abundance of ports means that it can be used in a home-office environment, and the Dream PC can happily be used with camcorders, digital cameras etc.
It does however, lack an internal modem, and upgrade capacity is low. We also found the power and reset buttons tedious to use. None of the surfaces had rubbery attachments, and on a smooth surface the PC presented no real resistance to sliding.
What the Dream PC lacks in raw power it makes up for with portability and looks. It offers a range of options for connecting peripherals and has the technology to handle productivity, basic games and multimedia. The Dream PC comes with Microsoft Windows XP, and different configurations are available to order.