I wanted a chess computer that created as closely a possible the experience of playing chess against another person. To me that means sitting at a full size wooden chess board and moving the pieces.
Chess programs have their place, but I do not find sitting in front of a screen very relaxing. There are many chess computers, but most of them are plastic. Better than a screen but not the real thing.
There are a few wooden chess board computers, but they are either not quite right or too expensive.
I have looked at the Novag Citrine, but the board is jut a bit too small and the pieces a bit cheap looking for my taste. It also costs around £300, not too bad. I nearly bought one, but the look of it put me off.
There used to be a chess computer called the Mephisto Executive Senator which was full size, apparently beautifully made chess computer. It was very expensive and has been discontinued.
An alternative is the DGT board, that is also expensive and you need to attach it to a computer. It isI think intended mainly as a tournament board or for experts to use to analyse positions, so it does not contain a method for signaling opponent moves.
While I was mulling this over and nearly buying a Novag Citrine I came across a couple of sites that explained how to build a USB chess board. Basicaly a chessboard shaped keyboard you could plug into a computer and play programs like Fritz or Arena. That set me off. I built one, and in doing so, saw thhere was a way of building my own fully fledged high quality chess computer for less than £100. Six months later and its done!
I now own a full size wooden chess computer that I can play games with. This blog / Site tells you more and with a bit more research shows how you could build one too.
If you are interested please post a comment and I will add more detail.