10 Pocket-Sized Yet Powerful Mini Computers

Our daily activities are so powered by our computers and mobile devices that it was only a matter of time before mini PCs came to be. Like their much larger, old school counterparts, these mini computers carry processors, operating systems, RAM and even storage media but only need a fraction of the power supply to function, and also a fraction of the price tag to own.

They are also great space savers (which was the main point) and are usually not as noisy. That said, they could hardly take over the computer you are working on right now, and once they are out of the box, you will need to find peripheral devices (keyboard, mouse, screen, and the power supply) to start using these mini computers.

But for those who are on a tight budget or who are always on the go, perhaps these mini computers are the solution they seek. Here are 10 mini PCs that show you how far computers have, and can, shrink.

1. Hannspree

It is just a little bigger than a USB flash drive and it is equipped with an Intel Bay Trail processor with quad core for faster processing power, along with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of media storage. Plus, it comes with Windows 8 installed.

To use, just plug Hannspree into the HDMI port in your monitor or TV screen, and you can use it as your personal computer. (Price: 7)

The Specs

  • Processor: Intel Atom Z3735F quad-core
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • Space: 32 GB eMMC
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 (preinstaled)
  • Dimensions: 110.9 mm x 38 mm x 9.8 mm

2. Intel® Compute Stick

The Intel Computer Stick transforms your TV into a full computer. It uses a Quad Core processor from the Intel® Atom™ series. You can choose whether Windows 8 OS or Ubuntu 14.04. Windows has 2 GB RAM and 32 GB of on-board storage while the Ubuntu Linux version only has 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. Need more storage? Use the microSD card slot to get more.

One reported drawback that it has is that it has only 1 USB port, so you might need a hub if you want to plug in your keyboard and mouse together. (Price: 9 for Windows; 0 for Linux)

The Specs

  • Processor & RAM: Intel® Atom™ Processor Z3735F
  • Memory: 2 GB (Windows) and 1 GB (Ubuntu)
  • Space: 32 GB eMMC
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 with Bing & Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Dimensions: 103 mm x 37 mm x 12 mm

3. MINIX NEO Z64

MINIX is a manufacturer of products mainly for the TV box but interestingly, the MINIX Z64 is equipped with Windows 8.1 which allows a TV box to also function like a computer. It comes with 32 GB of eMMC built-in storage, 2 GB of DDR3L memory and a 64-bit Intel Z3735F processor.

With this little device you can enjoy full 1080 HD videos and also the XBMC media center. (Price: 1.90)

The Specs

  • Processor: Intel Z3735F (64-bit)
  • Memory: 2 GB
  • Space: 32 GB eMMC
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 with Bing (32-bit)

4. Zotac ZBOX PI320

Zotac ZBOX PI320 is from the Zotac Pico mini-PC series. Its size is small enough to fit in your pocket, so you can take it wherever you go. It comes assembled with a Quad Core Intel Atom processor, runs on Windows 8 and it allows you to play HD videos.

It has 2 GB of RAM on-board a storage capacity for 32 GB but if you want more space you can add them via the provided MicroSD card slots. (Price: 8.99)

The Specs

  • Processor: Intel Atom quad-core
  • Memory: 2 GB
  • Space: 32 GB eMMC
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1
  • Dimensions: 7.1″ x 7.1″ x 2.3″

5. Vensmile iPC002

Need a super thin one? Here’s a mini computer that is only 10 mm thick. Vensmile iPC002 features an Atom Bay trail quad core CPU which runs Windows 8.1 (pre-installed) with Bing. It carries 2 GB RAM, and you can keep your files and data in its 32 GB media storage.

Vensmile includes a built-in 3000mAh rechargeable battery, so you don’t have to worry about power supply wherever you go with it. (Price: 8)

The Specs

  • Processor: Intel Atom Z3735F Quad-core
  • Memory: 2 GB
  • Space: 32 GB eMMC
  • Operating System: Windoes 8.1 with Bing
  • Dimensions: 151mm x 90mm x 10mm

6. Cloudsto X86 Nano Mini PC

Here’s a flat mini PC that can fit in the back pocket of your jeans. This mini computer from Cloudsto comes with two variety, one running Windows 8.1 and another version running Ubuntu 14.04. Don’t let the size fool you, it features 3 USB ports, Micro SD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone output. This mini computer runs on Intel Atom Z3735F Bay Trail processor with 2 GB of RAM.

The available storage is 32 GB, but is extendible with microSD. Cloudsto has a built-in 3000 mAh battery which you can even use to charge your smartphone. (Price: €129.99)

The Specs

  • Processor: Intel Atom Z3735F Quad-core
  • Memory: 2 GB
  • Space: 32 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu 14.04
  • Dimensions: 148mm x 79mm x 9mm

7. Asus VivoMini UN62

VivoMini UN62 is equipped with Intel Core i3 or i5 with RAM of up to 16 GB. It also requires low power consumption and is pretty quiet enough, releasing only 26.3dB at full load; that’s 60% quieter than the average computer in the market. Its integration with SonicMaster Technology offers good sound quality and it can output 4K/UHD quality images to your screen.

Best of all, it can run on a power supply of only 6.95 Watts and it comes with fast-charging technology. (Price: 8.27)

The Specs

  • Processor: 4th Gen Intel® Core™ processors (Core i3 and i5)
  • Memory: 4 GB Up to 16 GB
  • Space: 32 GB Up to 256 GB mSATA SSD
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Dimensions: 131mm x 131mm x 42mm

8. MSI Cubi

MSI Cubi computers are sold as "barebones" computers, which means you have to add the memory, storage, and operating systems yourself. Another way of looking at it is that you get to build your own computer and fit it with the specs you want. You can add between 2 GB and 16 GB of memory and install an additional 2.5" HDD for a bigger storage capacity. For the CPU, you can choose from:

  • Intel® Celeron™ 3205U
  • Intel® Pentium™ 3805U
  • Intel® Core i3™ 5005U
  • Intel® Core i5™ 5200U

It is a real quiet computer (the noise is only about 20.1 dB) and it consumes less than 30 Watts of power. (Price: from 8)

The Specs

  • Processor: Celeron, Pentium, or Core i3
  • Memory: 2 GB – 16 GB
  • Space: 2.5″ HDD/SSD
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1/7
  • Dimensions: 115mm x 111mm x 35mm

9. Meerkat

The Meerkat has an elegant and beautiful design, and has a size that is almost the same as the Cubi, just slightly taller. Like the MSI Cubi, Meerkat is a barebone computer. You can configure the hardware before buying it from its website. There are two processors available, Intel® Core i3-5010U or i5-5250U, and you can choose between 4 GB up to 16 GB of memory. For media storage, they offer SSD from 32 GB to 500 GB.

On the product site, you can also add other devices like monitor, speakers, keyboard and mouse. (Price: from 9)

The Specs

  • Processor: 5th Gen Intel® Core i3-5010U or i5-5250U
  • Memory: Up to 16 GB
  • Space: M.2 SATA SSD, 2.5" drive. Up to 2.5TB total
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 with Bing
  • Dimensions: 114.3mm x 111.76mm x 48.26mm

10. Intel NUC

NUC or Next Unit of Computing is Intel’s take on the mini computer. Intel NUC NUC5i5RYK is equipped with the 5th Generation Intel Core i5-5250U processor. The kit doesn’t come with memory, storage and OS, so you need to install it yourself. You can plug in up to 16 GB RAM and for storage there are M.2 slots for SATA or PCle SSD.

If you want SSD/HDD in, you can opt for another taller model with a larger storage space. This computer integrates Intel HD Graphics 6000 which is good for 4K videos. (Price: 9)

The Specs

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-5250U
  • Memory: up to 16 GB
  • Dimensions: 4.5″ x 4.4″ x 1.3″

Now Read:
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