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I mini pc Windows they are an example of how technology tends to expand and progress over time. So, next to the classic laptops, accessories were then added that, only to an inexperienced eye, could appear less important and effective.
I mini pc in fact, they meet the interests of many people who need a cheap computer and aesthetically pleasing for activities of a mainly multimedia nature such as those carried out by a municipality media center (such as watching movies, TV series, cartoons), for surfing the internet or, again, for pure fun.
Before discovering together a kind of ranking of mini pclet's see what are mini pc and, above all, what many often tend to ask themselves: how mini PCs work.
What are mini PCs and how do they work
I mini pc with operating system Windows od Android they are very useful for make a TV smart, better if equipped with an HDMI port.
They constitute an accessory from price and by dimensions very small, capable of performing many functions very well, even without an excellent knowledge of modern technologies.
i mini pc windows, connected to the tv through the HDMI port, they interface with a display and therefore represent a hybrid, if we want, between tablet and PC, very close to media centers with additional features: they allow you to perform the same functions as a tablet, whether it is equipped with Windows or Android operating system, but with the need to connect to a monitor, and do not limit themselves to reproducing audio video, offering, instead, many more features.
They can be considered modern media centers with a resolution of the output video now very high, reaching up to 4k.
Why buy a mini pc?
I mini pc, as already mentioned, they are ideal for the reproduction of audio - video content with a very high resolution. So, if you want to benefit from Netflix, Youtube, Spotify, Amazon Prime Video, Kodi and other similar software, a mini pc will make your life much easier.
Softly lying on the sofa or lying on the bed, you can control the box connected to the TV with the remote control supplied (always present on the Android boxes, not on the Windows ones) or, even better, with a wireless keyboard.
The mini PCs also allow you to reproduce on the TV what is visible on the smartphone using the Miracast technology, open source unlike what happens with Apple's Airplay.
These compact TV boxes meet different needs: there will be the ultra-compact and economical one, the one that is much closer to a fixed PC, the one that represents the middle ground between the two roads.
They cannot replace the best notebooks, also because they do not have a display and are closer to affordable fixed PCs.
Mini pc Windows o box tv Android?
We assume that, in principle, mini pc e tv box they are synonymous with each other.
However, I believe, for my personal consideration, that there are products designed only for multimedia purposes, others, for both software and hardware reasons, also capable of lending themselves to a different use, very close to that of classic personal computers.
I box tv Android bring to the TV the typical experience that you live with smartphones and tablets equipped with the same operating system, Windows mini PCs offer greater compatibility with software developed for use on computers.
A practical example understandable by all is the use of the Office Suite: with a Windows mini PC you will have access to all its features while on Android you will have to resort to alternative applications.
Android, on the other hand, lends itself very well, for its interface and fluidity, to ensure an excellent experience as a media center, perhaps using pre-installed applications.
However, there are also dual boot solutions on the market that combine multiple operating systems in one, but do not always manage to offer a good general optimization of the whole.
Compatibility of Windows mini PCs with Sky Go, Premium Play, Netflix, Youtube etc ...
I mini pc Windows, unlike what happens on Android, they generally are compatible also with Sky go e Premium Play.
Both services, in fact, have imposed limitations for devices with installed root permissions and, recently, also Netflix has adopted the same system to combat piracy.
Thanks to root permissions, in fact, it is possible to get to the heart of the TV box even going to significantly modify the Android firmware.
Also in this sense, except in rare cases, Windows mini PCs are more versatile, ensuring full compatibility with Sky go, Mediaset Premium Play, Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Prime Video and many other services.
Who Should Buy a Mini PC with Windows?
I believe that a mini PC, in terms of costs and functions, is ideal for practically everyone: even if you have a PC, a smartphone or a tablet, the mini PC, as you may have understood, responds to specific needs.
I have personally ruled out the purchase of chromecast and similar keys, although tried in the past, to opt for a mini pc that manages, more or less at the same price, to cover many needs.
They can also be very useful for those who do not want to clutter too much or do not need a necessarily very performing PC. They also exist, as we shall see, too powerful mini pcs able to please everyone.
As with all pre-assembled PCs by the manufacturer, a mini PC does not require special skills to assemble a computer.
Windows mini pc: which one to choose?
Below I will go to list the best Windows mini pc, very flexible and suitable for any need, probably ideal for a wider audience than what Android TV boxes are intended for.
I would point out, then, that the mini PCs will be divided by price range in ascending order, from least to most expensive, e not sorted in a ranking.
In fact, it is difficult to draw up, in these cases, a ranking or think of a mathematical comparison, which I leave to those who love numbers, benchmarks or other statistics that have little to do with practical use.
Each Windows mini pc will be accompanied by photos, brief opinion, data sheet, price and recommended shops for purchase.
I will avoid listing too many products by trying to recommend one for every price range and need.
The theoretical distinction between the various types of PCs with some information about the terminology used is necessary for the understanding of the guide:
- Mini pc Barebone: small computer whose hardware components are reduced to the essentials. You can usually find a small case, power supply, motherboard, and processor. Depending on the computers, other components may be missing (or added).
- Mini pc dual bay: the term "bay" in English means vain. You will understand well that dual bay means with double compartment, or with two slots for adding hardware components.
- Mini pc dual os o dual boot: these are computers that have a double operating system inside them (in general Windows plus Linux or Windows plus Android).
Best Windows mini PCs from 100 euros
The cheapest mini PCs fall into this price range. However, equipped with an operating system with a valid Windows 10 license, 2GB of RAM memory and a processor similar to the one mounted on 200 euro products, they cannot withstand the impact of heavy software due to construction and memory.
However, they behave very well as a media center or PC to navigate and use office programs (an example is the Office Suite that everyone knows).
Beelink BT3PRO II (replaces Maxesla Fanless)
Let's talk about one of the more products economic that the market has to offer at the moment. Obviously, the quality it cannot be overlooked and must be measured by price.
Il mini pc in question is a Beelink BT3PRO II very compact it is also pleasing to the eye.
The processor mounted inside it is a Intel Atom X5-Z8350 which is not distinguished by power, but is sufficient to offer the performance necessary for basic activities.
As far as connectivity is concerned, a link can be exploited HDMI and one VGA, which allow you to enter up to two monitors simultaneously.
The video card is the integrated one Intel HD Graphics 400 which clearly has almost nothing to offer, especially when it comes to video games.
On the other hand, we have 4 GB of RAM internal and 64 GB of ROM to expand up to 512GB with an SD card. WiFi is Dual band, i.e. 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz, and there is an input for the LAN, while the Bluetooth 4.0 allows you to connect various devices to your computer.
The operating system installed in it is 10 64 bit Windows, has two USB ports, one of which 3.0 and the other 2.0. Finally, when connecting the device for the first time it is advisable to do it offline, as suggested by the manufacturer.
Other 100 euro mini pc?
Here is a valid alternative in the economic, compact and effective range.
From the composition one would not say, yet the easiness with which it can be carried and the likeness of a small e light highlighters are its strong point.
We are talking aboutAsus TS10-B003D, easy to use and portable anywhere. By opening the cap we will have our entrance HDMI to connect to the desired monitor.
The CPU inserted inside is a Intel Atom X5-Z8350 which also in this case uses an integrated video card HD Graphics 400.
La RAM installed is 2 GB and the space available is 32 GB. Wifi supports a technology 802.11ac, so let's talk about high-speed and efficient connections.
As for connectivity we also have a USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0, for an Bluetooth 4.1 and an audio jack. The mounted operating system is Windows 10 and the weight does not even reach 80g.
Best Windows mini PCs from 200 euros
In this price range we find the first really interesting mini PCs as they are equipped with 4GB of memory RAM and, often, hardware components similar to those of cheaper devices.
Let's raise the bar slightly and dedicate ourselves to a mini pc more powerful and faster than the previous ones.
Let's talk about a Asus PN40-BC099MC compact and essential. The cost is around 200 euros and it is more than acceptable given the product.
The processor mounted inside is a Intel Celeron N4000 flanked by the work of the GPU Intel UHD Graphics 600. The RAM present is of X and ROM available is of 64 GB.
The favorable and convenient element of this computer is that there is the possibility of inserting the Additional RAM, as well as a HDD or a SSD.
It has 1 door USB Type-C 3.1, 3 ports USB 3.0 and 1 brings USB 2.0. The connectivity of the article includes a wifi 802.11ac, an entrance to the LAN and Bluetooth 4.0 to connect your devices.
The operating system is not already installed and it will be necessary to provide it in person (entrust this step to a technician or an expert) in order to exploit the piece in question. Finally, as outputs for viewing the video has a HDMI and a Display port.
Best Mini PCs from 300 euros
The mini pc with the best value for money according to what is my opinion. Within 500 euros, in fact, you can buy a computer that is compact, elegant and sufficiently powerful.
If you have different needs and a budget superioreinstead, it is better to opt for a different configuration and assemble a desktop PC by yourself. In fact, you cannot think of playing with a mini pc, even though it can be very powerful.
But this does not mean that mini PCs are to be discarded: even Apple's Macs are not designed to play, for many reasons, but they are still the most coveted and expensive.
Beelink L55 (replaces MINIX NEO N42C-4)
The costs start to become less for the Beelink L55, the price of which is justified by the power and quality of the materials of the product.
The processor installed inside is a i3-5005U, whose work is assisted by an integrated video card Intel HD 5500.
A very good point in favor of this mini pc, among the best with Windows 10 (64 bit), and the presence of 256 GB available to SSD. Also, the installed RAM is 8GB DDR3L and it is possible expand up to 1TB memory space with an M.2 2242 SSD, increase the RAM up to 16 GB and add up to 2 TB plus with a 2.5-inch SATA HDD.
For the video it has a double output, that is a HDMI and a Display port and supports a resolution in 4k. The wifi is Dual Band, i.e. 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz of the type 802.11ac, and has two entrances LAN to manage the internal and external networks of our devices.
Finally, it has 4 doors USB 3.0, 2 ports USB 2.0, a connection Bluetooth 4.0, a slot for inserting a SD card and an entrance for the microphone and headphones. The weight does not exceed 300 grams and is as big as the palm of a hand.
Very interesting is the proposal of the Sedatech manufacturer which offers various combinations for the personalization of your mini pc. It will thus be possible to choose between various configurations proposed by the company.
I want to offer you a mid-range Windows mini pc chosen by myself, halfway between the economic one and other absolute top ones.
It starts, in fact, from a barebones mini pc with Intel dual core processor without HDD, to arrive at a configuration of about 1300 euros which includes a processor i7-7700T 4×2.90Ghz of the seventh generation which, alone, would cost about 400 euros, which are combined with the integrated graphics card Intel HD Graphics 630, well 8Gb RAM, 1000GB HDD mechanical type, 250Gb SSD, reader DVD-RW with excellent overall connectivity.
The mini pc that I would like to recommend, perhaps the right balance between all those proposed for value for money, is the one that Sedatech equips with Asrock J3455-ITX motherboard, Intel Celeron J3455 Quad Core processor e 4gb di RAM DDR3 a 1600 MHz.
I chose the configuration with a ssd da 120GB which greatly improves its performance.
The mini pc is completed with a passive heatsink, USB 3.0 and HDMI2.0 ports.
The computer is sold without an operating system, but there is a CD for installing the drivers.
Also compatible with the Linux operating system.
Best Mini PCs between 350 and 500 euros
As already mentioned, between 350 and 500 euros you can find really interesting and functional computers.
There are so many possible configurations, but I will select for you the ones that I think are the most interesting.
Medium - high range Hamsing Mini Pc
Hamsing, a brand of Chinese origin, offers really interesting computers for value for money.
Among the many available, I have selected and tested one of the best and most powerful, that is the variant with processore Skylake i7 6500U (sixth generation, please note), 8GB RAM memory, 256GB of SSD fast and good overall connectivity.
There are, in fact, display port, 4 USB 3.0 ports, LAN and card reader.
The performance is truly amazing. The operating system is not installed, but it will be very easy to do.
Best mini PCs between 500 and 700 euros
From 500 euros upwards you get a real PC capable of performing almost all functions, except for games that are badly suited to this kind of computer.
As repeated several times, dimensions, heat dissipation and video card are not compatible with extreme gaming.
Asus VC65R-G026Z VivoMini PC
This mini pc of the Asus it comes out a bit from the box: it is a mini pc only in size, but very performing in terms of hardware and performance.
THEAsus VC65R is from 2016 and, recently, its successor has also arrived on the market, the VivoMini VC66 offers a week generation processor, DDR4 2400MHz RAM memory for maximum responsiveness and, more generally, advanced features.
But the VC65R deserves a lot of attention precisely because, released in 2016, it offers an exceptional quality - price ratio.
It mounts a Intel I5 6400T processor accompanied by well 8GB of memory RAM for definitely above average performance. Internal memory is from 1000GB with mechanical hard disk. Surely with an SSD, as happens on other PCs, the performances are clearly different.
But what make Asus' VivoMini PC series is the modularity: there is space to mount up to 4 SSDs or DVD players and, more generally, all the accessories you need, without negatively affecting the dimensions that remain extremely compact (20x20x2 inches).
Asus' VivoMini VC65R features a wide connectivity being able to interface with other devices thanks to: six USB 3.0 ports, a 4-in-1 card reader, an audio output jack, HDMI, DisplayPort + +, VGA and COM ports. It integrates 802.11 AC Wi-Fi module for wireless connection to the network which is of excellent quality.
We come to the part software: the pre-installed system is Windows 10 with valid license as in common laptops. Excellent general fluidity, comparable to that of a mid-range laptop.
Built-in RAID support makes it ideal for mini server or NAS systems.
Windows mini pc from 800 euros
In this price range you can start thinking about high-profile solutions that are comparable in all respects with those of pc desktop therefore capable of carrying out any type of operation.
If other mini PCs in the guide are, in fact, almost a fallback choice for those who want to contain both space and costs, the same cannot be said for these PCs capable of combining design and performance.
Let's start immediately with a nice little monster, the Asus Rog Gr8 II-T022Z.
ASUS ROG GR8 II-T022Z
La ROG series, as is well known, it is developed to offer important performances, often for gaming (from which, however, the term Republic of Gamers derives) or for the video - editing pushed.
In the case of the computer in question, however, the speech is partially different since we have very small dimensions (29,9 x 8,8 x 28,1 cm) that would not allow the use of excessively pushed hardware.
It therefore comes down to compromises to have a PC that weighs 1.284 grams without giving up, however, the usual fluidity of ROGs.
Furthermore, the design is very elegant and modern without falling into the tacky as has happened in the past with this kind of PC. It is very reminiscent of a console from which it stands out, however, for refinement.
The hardware is composed as follows: processor i5-7400, Video Card GTX1060 3GB GDDR5, 8GB RAM memory type DDR4 ed ssd da 256GB.
With this machine it will be difficult to have slowdowns and it will also be possible to play many of the latest video games in maximum detail.
While wanting to reckon with the servant, the Asus mini pc, sold to a price around 800 euros (with shipping and Amazon Prime warranty), it is not even that expensive: if you want to assemble the PC yourself, however, it would have an important cost with those hardware components.
ASUS VC66-B083Z i5-7400 Mini PC in 2L size
This Asus mini pc is a truly complete, silent and very fluid latest generation device. In a small space it manages to condense a great power. It turns out to be the most powerful Windows mini pc tested by myself.
Although perhaps there are others even higher and more expensive, I believe that this really represents an excellent solution capable of replacing even a fixed PC. The dimensions, on the other hand, also make it useful for professionals who have particular mobility needs. Ironically, it could be moved from one studio to another without great difficulty.
Le dimensions they are 15,3 x 7,4 x 17,7 cm in which they fall DVD player and any type of interface for connection with other devices: the VivoMini VC66 has four front USB ports, including a reversible USB 3.0 Type-C port.
On the rear panel it integrates two USB ports, Intel Gigabit Ethernet port, a 4-in-1 memory card reader and an audio output.
VC66 also features HDMI, DisplayPort ++, DVI-D outputs. A serial port extends the capabilities of this mini pc which can be easily connected to systems such as barcode scanners, printers, routers, modems and other point of sale and vending devices.
THEhardware is cutting edge: the CPU is seventh generation (Intel Kaby Lake per computer desktop); la RAM memory is DDR4 2400MHz type.
The mini pc supports display 4K UHD and, at the level of internal memories, M.2 SSD / HDD or 2,5-inch SSD and an optical disk drive.
The configuration of the mini pc in question guarantees great versatility: it can really be used for any type of use.
Personally I tried and I would recommend the VC66-B083Z version with the already affordable i5-7400 processor.
Doubts or advice?
For any doubt, advice or opinion about the purchase of mini pc Windows, do not hesitate to write to us in the comments: we will be happy to help you with our experience.
If you are looking for traditional laptops, you can read our guide to the best laptops.