Moneual MonCaso: Touchscreen Gadgetry and Solid Cooling in One?

Cases|Damping
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Nov 1, 2007 by Devon Cooke

Product
Moneual Moncaso 932
Home Theater Enclosure with 7" LCD Touchscreen
Manufacturer
Moneual
Market Price
~US$500

The key to a successful home theater PC is interface. Most users won't put up with adding a keyboard and mouse to the ever-growing pile of remote controls in the living room, so the standard interface for HTPC rigs has become a remote control, usually a Windows MCE-ready model or something similar from iMon.

The trouble is, navigating a large media database through a remote control tedious at best. Moneual's answer to this is elegant, if somewhat expensive: A 7" LCD touchscreen built into the front of their flagship HTPC case, the Moncaso 932. It's an intriguing idea — but it takes more than a shiny front-panel gadget to make a good HTPC case. Besides, Moneual already has some competition in this high-end arena. Silverstone's LC-18 and Thermaltake's DH102 are two other products based around the same iMon touchscreen.

Moneual is a name we haven't encountered before, and a quick glance through their web site reveals that they are going after the high-end market with a vengeance. Their main products appear to be whole systems built inside their custom enclosures. They have taken a leaf out of Apple's book, selling mostly on sleek style. Their tower enclosure resembles an oversized iPod Mini — it's even available in a choice of six brushed-aluminum finishes.


The large accessory box seems more appropriate for a whole system.

Style is in the eye of the beholder, but the appearance was understated and should fit in well with most other home theater components. Like many other HTPC cases, we found the Moncaso a bit big for a home theater. Obviously, the height is limited by the LCD screen, but we're sure Moneual could have shaved an inch off if they hadn't chosen to stack the screen right above the optical drive. The case is also very deep, which may post a problem underneath a flat panel screen. That said, the 17" width is the same as most A/V components, so stacking the case shouldn't be too much of an issue.


The LCD is protected by a taped-on plastic sheet during shipping.

The front panel is surprisingly sleek for the amount of stuff packed into it. Aside from the LCD screen and the other essentials, there is also a barely-visible IR receiver for the remote control, a volume control knob, and a ten button control panel. There are also a pair of flip-down doors that hide a wide assortment of ports: The usual mic, headphone, firewire and USB ports on the left, and a multi-card reader on the right.


The usual front ports, though only a single USB port is available.


The control panel and flash card reader.

Aside from the usual screws and cables, Moneual includes a screwdriver in the accessory kit. We were pleased to note that the screwdriver was both magnetic and long enough to reach the screws on the bottom of the case, which made it superior to our usual lab driver. Our only criticism: The Phillips head was too small to fit the screws shipped with the case.

From left to right: ATX power tap for front panel, installation screws, remote control and batteries, stylus for touchscreen, long-shank magnetic screwdriver, manual and software CD, DVD tray cover.

SPECIFICATIONS: Moncaso 932 (from the product page)
Case Type
Home Theater PC
Case Dimensions
17"(W) x 18.5"(D) x 6.75"(H)
Color
Black (Silver version also available)
Material
Aluminum
Motherboard Type
Standard ATX
Power Supply Type
Standard ATX
LCD Touchscreen
- 7 inch Screen Size
- 15:9 Ratio
- 800 x 600 (recommended resolution)
- External D-sub Video Input
- Internal USB touch screen input
Remote Control Unit
MonCaso Remote Control
Rear Fan
2 x 80mm (pre-installed)
External 5.25" Bay
1
External 3.5" Bay
0
Internal 3.5" Bay
4
Expansion Slots
6
Front Panel I/O
- Mic Jack
- Headphone Jack
- IEEE1394 (Firewire)
- USB 2.0
- Media Card Reader
- Volume Knob,
- 10 Media Control Buttons
Operating System
Windows 98 / ME / 2000 / XP / XP MCE / VISTA
Accessories
- Screw Driver
- Assemble Screw
- AAA Battery
Weight
16.6 lbs (w/o package)



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