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Compact Mastery: The Power in Pint-Sized PCs

In an era where ‘compact’ has gone from being a novel concept to a leading trend, it was inevitable that our once mammoth PCs would undergo a significant downsizing. Enter the mini PC, a marvel of condensed computing power.

Reflecting on the days when computers engulfed entire office floors, it’s nothing short of astounding to realize that today, a device no larger than your favorite novel (remember those?) can harbor a powerful Intel Core i9 processor. All thanks to energy-efficient CPUs that not only support the playback of 4K videos but also run an array of complex software with ease. These computing wonders, nestled in petite sticks or boxes, render traditional laptops as relics of a bygone, clunky era.

The diminutive stature of mini PCs, colloquially known as barebones computers, offer several compelling advantages:

  • Perfect for computing in spaces that come at a premium, like a compact home office or busy reception desk.
  • Easily portable – most are no larger than a good old-fashioned bagel.
  • An excellent choice for children and those who prefer less convoluted machines.
  • Facilitates using a television as a large-scale computer monitor.
  • Can be mounted behind a monitor as an economical substitute for an All-in-One PC.
  • Low power consumption and near-silent operation.

Consider using a mini PC as an emergency backup for your full-sized desktop. After all, even the most reliable PCs can falter, and keeping a hulking tower on standby isn’t exactly practical. With critical data stored on external hard drives or in the cloud, a mini PC can be swapped in quickly and seamlessly when needed.

While mini PCs may not be the speediest or boast the most extensive storage, they offer room for optimization. They may not be a top-of-the-line MacBook, but they are by no means pushovers. Boasting specs that pack a punch, they can handle a wide range of tasks, from managing emails to running diverse software, streaming high-definition video, and facilitating calls on Zoom or Teams.

Purchasing a mini PC requires additional investment in a keyboard, mouse, and monitor, unless you’re repurposing existing ones. Additional storage can be achieved by connecting an external hard drive to a USB 4.0 port. Modern mini PCs can connect to displays via HDMI, mini-HDMI, DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt interfaces, while networking can be accomplished via Ethernet, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi 6E. It’s fair to say that while mini PCs may be small in size, they’re unquestionably mighty in capability.

Of course, you can go wild and get a whole load more peripherals if you wish, meanwhile we’re off to test the best mini PCs on the market.

 

1. KAMRUI AK1 Plus Mini PCKAMRUI AK1 Plus Mini PC, Intel 12th Gen N95(up to 3.4GHz) Mini Desktop Computers Windows 11 Pro, 8GB RAM/256GB M.2 SSD Micro Computer Tower Support 4K UHD, Dual Wi-Fi, BT 4.2 for Business Home Office

Overview

The KAMRUI AK1 Plus Mini PC is the answer to your desktop dreams. Powered by the 12th generation Intel Alder Lake Quad-Core N95 processor, this mini PC is as small in size as it is big on performance. Don’t let its compact size fool you. With 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, dual Wi-Fi, BT 4.2, and Windows 11 Pro, this Mini PC delivers an astounding amount of power, making it a perfect fit for both business and home use. Aesthetically, its sleek design which lights up blue when powered on, adds a touch of elegance to your workspace.

What We Like

What sets the KAMRUI AK1 Plus Mini PC apart is its compactness without any compromise on the performance. Its impressive quad-core processor ensures speedy execution of tasks, while its dual Wi-Fi capability ensures seamless internet connectivity. Its design to support 4K UHD adds to the immersive experience, be it for work or entertainment. The space-saving solution this Mini PC provides, particularly with the option to mount it on the back of a monitor, is simply genius.

What Needs Improving

The KAMRUI AK1 Plus Mini PC is near-perfect. However, while the internal storage capacity is quite impressive, we would love to see an option for larger internal storage. Currently, it allows for the addition of a 2.5-inch SSD/HDD for storage expansion. Also, while the blue light adds a cool aesthetic touch, it would be great if it could be customized or turned off for users who prefer a more minimalistic look.

9.4Expert Score
The Final Verdict

This Mini PC is not just a device, it's an experience. Our score: 9.4/10. If you're looking for a powerful, compact, and stylish mini PC, look no further. The KAMRUI AK1 Plus Mini PC is a fantastic investment for your business and home office needs.

$199.00  in stock
Amazon.com
as of June 20, 2024 8:32 pm

2. Apple 2023 Mac Mini Desktop Computer

Apple Mac Mini Desktop Computer, M2 Chip with 8-Core CPU and 10-Core GPU, 16GB Memory, 256GB SSD, Early 2023

Overview

Small but mighty – that’s what springs to mind when one thinks about the Apple Mac Mini Desktop Computer. With its M2 chip, sporting an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU, this is the powerhouse you’d want on your desk. It’s not just about performance; the 16GB memory and 256GB SSD storage add depth to its capabilities. The fact that it’s compact and silver adds an aesthetic charm that is hard to resist.

What We Like

There’s a lot to like about this desktop. Its high-performance credentials, with the M2 chip and 16GB memory, make it a perfect fit for any demanding tasks from gaming to video editing. We also love the MacOS, providing a slick, intuitive user interface that just works. The impressive array of ports allows for maximum versatility and compatibility with a wide range of peripherals. Plus, it’s hard to resist the allure of Apple’s iconic sleek, silver design.

What Needs Improving

While there’s a lot to like, even the best can have room for improvement. The storage, at 256GB, might feel a bit restrictive for those with extensive digital collections. However, with the option of using external SSDs, this issue can be circumnavigated. The lack of a built-in monitor might be a turn-off for some, but the freedom to choose your own display could be viewed as a plus point.

9.5Expert Score
The Final Verdict

The Mac Mini Desktop Computer is undoubtedly a formidable entrant in the desktop market. Its exceptional performance, coupled with the compact and stylish design, makes it a must-have for any tech enthusiast or professional. There are minor drawbacks, but they are far outweighed by the benefits. This beauty gets a strong 9.5 out of 10.

$798.95  check latest price
2 new from $798.50
Amazon.com
as of June 20, 2024 8:32 pm

3. GEEKOM Mini PC

GEEKOM Mini PC, Mini IT11, Intel Core i5-1155G7 (Up to 4.5Ghz) 16GB DDR4 512G M.2 SSD, Mini Desktop Computer 8K HDMI | Type-C | USB4.0 | WiFi 6 | BT5.2 | Mini Computer

 

Overview

The GEEKOM Mini PC, Mini IT11 is a powerhouse that outshines most of its competitors in its category. Under its sleek, compact, black shell hides an Intel Core i5-1155G7 processor, 16GB DDR4, and a 512GB M.2 SSD. This computer is small, but do not let its size fool you. With the latest Windows 11 Pro, an abundance of connectivity options, and a robust cooling system, this mini desktop is designed to serve your everyday, education, and business needs without breaking a sweat.

What We Like

We adore its compact size coupled with its powerful performance. The GEEKOM Mini PC proves that good things do come in small packages. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-1155G7 processor that clocks up to 4.5GHz, it allows for ultra-fast computing. We are also impressed by the Intel Iris Xe Graphics, offering stunning 4K UHD resolution display and support up to 8K UHD resolution. The support for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 offers blazing-fast internet connectivity and seamless device integration. The upgradable memory storage and the dual-system & multi-monitor support deserve a special mention.

What Needs Improving

While there is little to fault with the GEEKOM Mini PC, we would love it if future models came with more initial storage space. Although the storage is expandable, having a larger initial SSD capacity would take this Mini PC’s convenience to a whole new level. The upgrade process, as pointed out by some users, could be a tad easier.

9.1Expert Score
The Final Verdict

Considering its top-notch features, we're happy to rate the GEEKOM Mini PC an impressive 9.1 out of 10. It's a fantastic investment for those looking for a compact yet highly powerful PC, perfect for multitasking and even handling demanding tasks with ease. So whether you're an entrepreneur, a student, or simply a tech enthusiast, the GEEKOM Mini PC, Mini IT11 is bound to exceed your expectations!

 check latest price
Amazon.com
as of June 20, 2024 8:32 pm


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