Futuristic mini PC is like a spaceship ready to take gaming to new heights

Is there a reason why desktops and even mini PCs mostly come in flat boxes? Electronics are still rigid objects, and they have to adhere to flat or similarly boxy designs with today’s engineering limitations. As such, a tower or a box is the most space-efficient container for these pieces that work together to provide all your computing needs. But what if space was less important than aesthetics, especially with today’s more compact hardware? That’s the kind of revolutionary mindset that this mini PC is trying to present with a chassis that is almost literally out of this world, looking more like a spaceship that’s ready to take off and elevate your gaming, and it does so literally as well.

Designer: ACEMAGIC

Mini PCs are no longer that alien to people’s ears, especially thanks to the popularity of the non-PC Mac mini and Mac studio. These computers emphasize compact designs that save you some desk space while still cramming as much power in a tiny boxy. That doesn’t have to be the only design available, however, especially with how small some computer components have become. After all, the latest breed of handheld gaming PCs are technically portable mini PCs, though with even bigger constraints when it comes to performance.

The ACEMAGIC M2A is a mini PC that throws design conventions out the door. Technically, its hardware can all fit in what would be a slim and minimalist rectangular box, but that would be boring and completely unoriginal. Instead, the company aimed to make its product stand out, almost literally, but making it look like a spacecraft similar to those you’d see on sci-fi flicks and shows. Specifically, the main body itself tapers slightly to the side and then splits upward and downward into fins. The style is largely polygonal, which matches the sci-fi theme, with LED accents in front and on the tip of the wings for added flavor.

The design admittedly takes up more vertical space on your desk, and it won’t be something you can conveniently place underneath your monitor (unless that monitor is set up on an ergonomic stand or arm). It is, after all, designed more to have some visual impact rather than space savings, but it does have one practical benefit, whether intentional or not. The bottom fins act as legs that lift the mini PC up, allowing for better airflow into the bottom-mounted fans.

Internally, the ACEMAGIC M2A tries to be a compact gaming PC, and it seems to meet that description, depending on your needs. It practically uses hardware from 2022, so it might not be up to snuff when it comes to more demanding AAA titles today. There are definitely more powerful mini gaming PCs in the market today, ones with the latest CPUs and GPUs, which makes you wonder if this spaceship-like computer’s high price tag is really worth that distinctive design.

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Phone-sized mini PC lets you take your computer and your work anywhere

Our smartphones have become so powerful that, in theory, they have hardware equivalent to entry-level laptops from a few years back. But despite all that silicon muscle, they can’t really replace our everyday PCs mostly because of the operating system that’s used on most of these computers: Windows. Small, portable, and inconspicuous computers have always been a dream for both users and business owners, whether it’s for working on the go or setting up kiosks, security systems, or space-efficient workstations. This small brick tries to deliver exactly that, giving you the flexibility you need for any kind of computing in almost any context in a size that’s no larger than high-capacity power banks.

Designer: Minisforum

With the popularity of the Apple Mac Mini and, now, the Mac Studio, mini PCs have become more visible in the market. These desktop alternatives, however, are still meant to sit on a table or even on a shelf despite their small sizes. But while these small computers do offer plenty of power to support even some content creation or light gaming, that hardware also closes the door on many possible use cases that would have required them to be less tied down to a table.

The Minisforum S100 is a small, sleek box that you might easily mistake for a power bank. Ironically, it doesn’t actually have its own battery but is a mini PC that you can bring along with you or install in the narrowest of spaces. Despite its small size, it actually boasts a complete set of standard connectivity options, including Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 6.2, 2.5 Gbps Ethernet, USB-A ports, HDMI, and 65W USB-C.

The latter two are what make this design so portable and flexible. On a typical desktop, you can connect it to a USB-C monitor that supports USB-C PowerDelivery so that you don’t even have to plug the S100 into an outlet. You can connect another monitor via HDMI to have a dual-screen setup for increased productivity. And when you’re done for the day, you can pick up the palm-sized mini PC and go, maybe even work or chill in a cafe by connecting an external display and a power bank. The Ethernet port also supports Power-over-Ethernet or PoE, so you can use the S100 as the brains behind a camera security system and not have it plugged in at all.

Despite the flexibility that the Minisforum S100 offers, its performance is hampered a bit by the quad-core Intel N100 processor that runs the show, definitely not the best among the chip maker’s “mobile” processors. Its lower-power operation, however, does allow the mini PC to sip rather than chug electricity and keep thermals equally low. You definitely won’t be running heavy applications, but for $189, a Windows 11 computer you can easily slip into your bag or even your pocket might actually be worth the price.

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ASUS ROG NUC mini PC offers a small gaming box with a big catch

Handheld gaming PCs might be the buzzword in the industry, but they’re not the only small-form gaming-oriented computers around. In fact, it’s probably thanks to the relative success of the likes of the Steam Deck, Lenovo Legion GO, and ASUS ROG Ally that the formula for compact gaming computers has been tested and proven. It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that gaming desktops in mini PC form would be popping up more frequently, like this latest entry from ASUS’ ROG brand that carries in its compact body some pretty big specs, a big legacy, and, unfortunately, an equally big price tag.

Designer: ASUS ROG

Gamers, especially those on the PC side of the fence, might already be familiar with the Republic of Gamers brand, but “NUC” might sound alien to them. The name, which stands for “Next Unit of Computing,” actually came from Intel and was used for the chipmaker’s line of mini PCs. After a decade of existence, Intel decided the product line really bore no fruit, definitely not in terms of profit, and decided to shutter the hardware and license the name to ASUS. Thus, the ASUS ROG NUC is pretty much the merger of two DNAs, one from Intel’s somewhat proof-of-concept mini PCs and the other from ASUS’s gaming house.

Unlike Intel’s NUCs, which were pretty much barebone general-purpose budget computers in a small box, the ROG NUC has the beating heart of a gaming laptop, just crammed in a small box that’s just around two inches thick. That includes an Intel Core Ultra processor, the kind that boasts upgraded AI chops, and an integrated NVIDIA RTX 4060 or 4070, depending on the configuration. There are plenty of ports for connection, as well as options for expanded storage that you can easily access thanks to its tool-less chassis.

While those might sound like juicy features for a gaming mini PC, the starting price of $1,629 makes it look less palatable, or $2,199 for the next step up in specs. For that price, you can already get a respectable gaming laptop with nearly the same or even better specs, and you won’t need to hook it up to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. And unlike a desktop PC, you can’t upgrade anything other than memory and storage, so performance is pretty much a fixed value.

These raise the question of who the ASUS ROG NUC will be for, and the answer is quite a niche market. It will be for PC gamers who don’t exactly need mobility but do have limited desk space for a tower. It might even be for users who already have a more powerful gaming desktop and just need a secondary computer for their office. Either way, these scenarios make that high price tag even less appealing unless ASUS holds a sale immediately after launching the product.

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Stylish mini PC with a detachable speaker can be carried like a luxury bag

Mini PCs are becoming quite the trend these days, but despite their small and seemingly portable sizes, they’re not exactly meant or easy to carry around. Their boxy shapes, while space-efficient, aren’t conducive for carrying around, not to mention they need to be plugged into a power source, monitor, keyboard, and mouse to even be usable. There are exceptions to this formula, of course, and one manufacturer had the rather unconventional and somewhat outlandish idea of a portable mini PC that you can carry with you without a bag because the PC itself becomes something like a glamorous purse or handbag just by adding a shoulder strap to its sides.

Designer: SOONNOOZ (via Mini Machines)

You can already tell at a glance that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill mini PC. It has a retro-futuristic vibe going with its round rectangle shape, glossy plastic finish, front grille, and chromed levers and feet. The lever at the top is a rather physical volume control that adds a little fun to the act of adjusting the volume. The design is both simple and elegant but actually hides a few tricks that set it further apart from other mini computers.

For starters, the design has two chrome buttons at the sides where you can attach a matching strap to carry it on your shoulders. You’ll probably still want to put it inside a large carrying bag for protection, but you can still carry it directly if you’re just transferring locations quickly, like moving from one room to another in the same building. That said, the SOONNOOZ Mini is not exactly that small, so it might look awkward carrying it like that. And at 1.5kg, it’s not lightweight either.

You’d still need to connect it to some peripherals to use it, of course, but you might not need to have it always plugged in. It has a built-in battery, not unlike a laptop, which could allow you a few hours of use before you need to recharge it. This makes it convenient as a portable entertainment system when paired with a portable projector, though you’ll still need a way to navigate the computer, like with a portable keyboard and mouse.

Its last trick is that its fascia is actually a detachable Bluetooth speaker that can be used on its own. As far as specs go, it’s a pretty standard mini PC that won’t really stand out in terms of performance, though certain configurations could definitely support some light gaming. Interesting as it might be, the SOONNOOZ Mini isn’t something you can acquire outside of China, so its novelty will probably never reach global renown.

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This cyberpunk mini PC adds a little RGB flavor to your workspace

Mini PCs are becoming quite popular these days, especially with improvements in the processors that drive them. They’ve become dependable desktop PC options, especially for those with space constraints or who detest bulky towers. Some are even capable of gaming, at least within certain limitations. Despite all the internal upgrades, the majority of mini PCs retain their stereotypical box shapes with rather uninspiring designs. And unlike their towering cousins, customization options are pretty limited unless you buy one that was designed with a specific motif from the get-go. That’s the kind of visual experience that this unusual mini PC is trying to offer, carrying a cyberpunk-inspired design and RGB lighting to light up your desk a bit, quite literally even.

Designer: AOOSTAR

The cyberpunk genre gave birth to a design theme that involves bright neon colors set against dark backdrops and a somewhat disorganized composition of lines and polygons that suggest the presence of panels that hide some jungle of wires and circuits underneath. The fictional settings might be gloomy or even disheartening (it’s “punk,” after all), but the designs ironically bring life to products and spaces, at least when done tastefully and with a reasonable balance of elements. The AOOSTAR GOD7 mini PC definitely has that effect without going overboard and turning your desk into a blinding light show.

The design is available in white and black colorways, but it’s definitely the black model that captures the cyberpunk vibe best. The RGB lighting inside shines through polygonal cutouts and vents, giving the semblance of glowing lines and markings prevalent in cyberpunk design. There’s some level of customization when it comes to the colors and “rhythm” of the lights, but don’t expect as much as pro gaming desktops or laptops from bigger brands.

The mini PC is advertised as a gaming computer, but take that label with a grain of salt. It definitely has enough muscle to run a good number of games, but gamers will have to set their expectations properly. Given its more compact size, there is no room for a desktop-grade graphics card, but you can theoretically connect an external GPU enclosure to really take things to the next level. Other than consideration, it’s actually a rather capable computer that would be able to handle most gaming and multimedia tasks you throw at it.

With the rise in both interest and production of mini PCs, it’s only a matter of time before designs become more diversified and, hopefully, more interesting. The AOOSTAR GOD7 packs a decent set of hardware in a design that adds a little pizzazz to your desk without going overboard or becoming too distracting. It has just the right balance of interesting details that will make you want to place it somewhere everyone can see while still having enough room for the more important tools of your trade.

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This innovative modular PC lets you set up workstations that adapt to your needs

Computers are now at the heart and center of our civilization, not only enabling technologies that make our lives more comfortable but also empowering people to turn their creative visions into reality. Despite these seemingly magical capabilities, computers like PCs and Macs remain almost stuck in the past, with forms and designs meant more for manufacturing efficiency than user convenience. Laptops, while portable, lock you forever into the configuration that you purchased, and although desktops offer nearly limitless upgrade potential, you are still left stuck with the box that the computer came in, which is more often than not something that ties you down to your desk. Fortunately, there are innovative and creative minds who won’t settle for anything less, and they have designed an advanced modular system that lets the PC adjust to your needs, whatever and wherever they are, rather than the other way around.

Designer: Khadas Design

Click Here to Buy Now: $928 $1278 ($350 off). Hurry, only 19/90 left! Raised over $270,000.

Khadas Mind – The perfect blend of high-speed computing and exceptional portability.

The Khadas Mind Module PC offers three distinct modes tailored to your specific needs. Opt for ‘Mind Only Mode’ when you need extreme portability, switch to ‘Mind Dock Mode’ for multitasking prowess, or choose ‘Mind Graphics’ when you’re ready to unleash your creativity in design and gaming.

Khadas Mind

At the heart of this groundbreaking computer system is the Khadas Mind itself, a mini PC that already pushes the envelope of its category. At only 0.99lbs (450g) light and with a compact size of 5.7 x 4.1 x 0.7 inches (146x105x20mm), this extra slim box can slip easily inside any bag or even a coat pocket, allowing you to bring your work and entertainment with you anywhere you need to be. Despite that diminutive size, the Kadas Mind is no underdog, powered by a 13th-gen Intel Core i7-1360P processor with Intel Iris Xe graphics, up to 32GB of fast LPDDR5 RAM, and capable of holding up to 4TB of NVMe SSD storage. It has its own set of ports, so all you really need to do is plug in peripherals and a power cable and you’ll be up and running in no time. The built-in 5.55Wh standby battery even lets the Khadas Mind sleep for up to 5 hours without an external power source, allowing you to unplug the mini PC and be on the move in a snap.

Mind Dock

Easy Docking for Minimal Downtime – Simply slot your Mind to the multifunctional base. Mind Dock instantly supplies power and connectivity without the fuss of fiddling with an intricate tangle of cables.

Enhance Mind’s I/O Capabilities – Maximize productivity by effortlessly connecting external devices for monitoring and editing tasks, all facilitated by 8 high-speed I/O ports on the Mind Dock.

Access-friendly Design – Experience enhanced security with Mind Dock’s built-in fingerprint scanner.

Physical volume button for quick adjustments.

While the Khadas Mind is already impressive on its own, it becomes even more powerful once you start combining it with the other modules in this flexible system. Khadas’ patented Mind Link Interface drives this connection between the Khadas Mind and other modules, opening the doors to even more potential and use cases. The Mind Dock, for example, expands the selection of ports so you can connect almost any peripheral or cable you need. The dock even features a fingerprint scanner for added security, a volume dial, built-in AAC speakers, and a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port for a faster and more stable network connection, providing you with a complete desktop PC experience at only a fraction of the size.

Mind Graphics

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060Ti Graphics – Elevate your design and gaming experience by slotting your Mind into Mind Graphics — a dedicated external GPU bay hosting the formidable NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060Ti.

USB4 Supported – Mind Graphics also includes Thunderbolt 3.0 / 4.0 support, so it can be used to turbocharge not only your Mind experience but also your other devices.

The Mind Graphics module, on the other hand, transforms the Khadas Mind from a productivity tool into a creativity powerhouse. Inside the box lies a desktop-grade NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060Ti that not only makes games pop but also brings your creativity to life. Along with the Khadas Mind Link, the Mind Graphics features an electronic switch lock that firmly keeps the two pieces together, preventing accidental disconnections that could ruin your day and throw you off your groove. The graphics box doesn’t skimp on the connectivity ports either, featuring USB-C with USB4 and Thunderbolt 4 support, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 x3, two HDMI 2.0, 2.5Gbps Ethernet RJ45 ports, and an SD card reader. It also features high-quality, full-range 5W speakers so that you’ll have a complete entertainment and content creation package in a compact box.

Mind xPlay, Mind Talk & Mind Studio

The fun and creativity don’t stop there, thanks to the ingenious modular design of the Khadas Mind. The Mind xPlay, for example, will provide a portable display with a built-in battery, and dock for the Khadas Mind to fit into, letting you work and collaborate with others anywhere. The Mind Talk, on the other hand, upgrades office meetings with its array of microphones and audio hardware specially designed for this setting. Finally, the Mind Studio Display really takes your creative pursuits to the next level with an extra-large touchscreen with support for stylus input. Wherever you are and whatever computing power you need, the Khadas Mind modular workstation will be ready to open your mind to a world of possibilities.

Click Here to Buy Now: $928 $1278 ($350 off). Hurry, only 19/90 left! Raised over $270,000.

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XULU XR1 LITE Mini PC Review: Good Things Can Come in Tiny Packages


  • Compact, portable form with a distinctive profile

  • Plenty of connectivity options, including 7 USB ports

  • Upgradable memory and storage

  • Decent performance for its size and price


  • Doesn't come with an operating system pre-installed

  • Only one USB-C port




The XULU XR1 LITE offers powerful computing in a tiny, memorable box that puts bigger computers to shame.

When people hear the word computer or PC, most will probably think either of laptops or towering desktops (and their Apple equivalents). Of course, computers today come in sorts of forms and sizes, not even counting the powerful slab of metal and glass in your pocket. Long before the Steam Deck popularized the idea of handheld PCs designed specifically for gaming, mini PCs tried to compress as much computing power into significantly smaller boxes compared to the typical desktop PC towers in the market. These boxes, however, have had a reputation for sacrificing power too much for the sake of size, which was an unfortunate consequence of the technical limitations of their time. Fortunately, things have changed a lot for the better, and the new XULU XR1 LITE promises the most powerful computer in a compact size and at an affordable price. So we turn the power on and give its fans a spin to find out just how much it pushes the limits of technology and design in such a small package.

Designer: XULU


Just like the majority of computers in the early stages of the industry’s history, the design of mini PCs has largely been driven by practical and technical considerations, which is to say they all come in box shapes. Thanks to advancements that have seen many of these components shrink down in size, allowing for not only smaller sizes but also variations in forms. The XULU XR1 LITE doesn’t exactly stray too far from that standard but makes enough changes that make it look more distinctive and memorable.

What you’ll immediately notice is the computer’s small size, probably falling more under “tiny PC” than “mini PC” at this point. It’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, though you aren’t going to use it that way, of course. And while you might argue that there are technically much smaller computers like the Raspberry Pi, the XR1 LITE and its siblings are exponentially more powerful than that single-board computer.

This small, compact form is more than just for boasting, though. It means that you won’t have to sacrifice too much desk or shelf space for your new desktop or media server. It also means you can carry it almost anywhere you need it, with the right peripherals, of course. You can easily hide it somewhere if you really need to make it invisible, but you might not want to anyway. Unlike earlier generations of mini PCs, the XULU XR1 is designed to actually stand out and add some visual flair wherever it stands. It’s available in 7 colors, including “normal” black and gray.

It isn’t a straightforward box shape either, with an incline in the front for an informative display panel. The sides are pretty clean except for the XULU branding and a single row of vents at the bottom. The rest of the airflow vents are located at the back and on the top, right above the large cooling fan, away from your direct line of sight. Its design is pretty minimal and it’s actually impressive how they managed to still make it look neat and tidy despite the plethora of ports available.


You won’t be holding the XULU XR1 LITE in your hands while using it, so the usual ergonomics standards don’t really apply here. You might, however, find yourself carrying it around a lot, whether transferring from one desk or office to another or actually carrying the computer with you wherever you go. At less than half a kilogram, it’s not a difficult feat to pull off, especially when XULU provides a nice hard carry case where you can put not just the tiny PC itself but also the power adapter, HDMI cable, and maybe a foldable keyboard. If you have a large phone, tablet, or portable monitor, you can probably set up a workstation anywhere there’s a power socket available.

Of course, the XULU XR1 isn’t that useful on its own and you’ll have to plug in peripherals, particularly monitors, a keyboard, and a mouse at the very least. Thankfully, the XULU XR1 LITE makes that super easy, not just with the number of available ports but also because of their placement. The most important ports, such as the lone USB-C port, two full-sized USB ports, and a headphone jack, are all located on the front for instant access. The rest, including the HDMI ports, are on the back. This means that peripherals that you will rarely remove can be conveniently hidden from view, while more transient devices have easy access to essential ports.

One small but important part of the tiny PC’s ease of use is access to the computer’s internals. With a simple Allen wrench, you can easily remove the top and back plates when you need to upgrade or replace some parts. Admittedly, you have limited options in this regard, but it’s still a lot more compared to a more closed system like a laptop.


Just a few years ago, it would have been unimaginable for a computer of this size to do anything beyond browsing, email, and document processing. Today, we have the XULU XR1 LITE, which is capable of doing a lot more than those, including some gaming and content creation. There are three models available in the XULU XR1 line, and while the LITE is clearly the more budget-friendly of the three, it is hardly an underdog in performance.

This particular model is powered by an AMD Ryzen 3 5300U which comes with a Radeon RX Vega 6 graphics. It’s definitely no powerhouse, but it has enough muscle for light to moderate computing tasks of all sorts. There are options for 8 or 16GB of RAM (our review unit came with the lower configuration), and 512GB of SSD storage, both of which are upgradable. You’ll have to set limits, of course, like lowering game settings or limiting Photoshop layers, but most apps will remain usable. And since it’s a normal PC, you can install any application you need, or any operating system for that matter. The XULU XR1 is compatible with Microsoft Windows and Linux distributions, but it comes without any OS installed, leaving that up to the decision and cost of the owner.

One of the biggest appeals of this extra small computer is that, despite its size, it has a nearly complete set of ports for all your computing needs. There are two HDMI ports, both of which are capable of 4K resolutions, one USB-C port, six USB ports (Gen 3 and Gen 2), an Ethernet port, and a good old-fashioned 3.5mm headphone jack. This should fit most of your needs and more, especially when you consider you can have a triple 4K monitor setup thanks to DisplayPort support on that lone USB-C connection. Sadly, there is indeed only a single USB-C port, which is disappointing in an age where almost everything is turning to the universal connector.

The mini PC is powered by a 19V adapter with a typical barrel-type DC plug, again a minor disappointment since it runs the risk of not finding a suitable replacement if the power brick or cord gets damaged. There is a small OLED screen in front of the box that lets you quickly see important stats like temperature, fan speed, and others. Strangely enough, there is no indicator for storage drive activity, not even the typical flashing light on many computers. It’s a very minor nitpick, however, considering all the other features the small but powerful box offers.


The XULU XR1 LITE stands in between desktops and laptops not just in size and portability but also in their flexibility. Laptops are locked systems that offer very few options to change parts while desktops have nearly limitless possibilities. Although you can’t exactly upgrade the CPU and GPU, the XULU XR1 at least easily lets you change the two other most important parts that affect a computer’s overall performance.

The XULU XR1 LITE can support up to 64GB of DDR4 memory and up to 2TB of NVMe SSD storage, which is pretty much the standard for many workstations today. More importantly, getting access to these parts doesn’t require extensive surgery, just four screws to be precise. That’s true whether you want to upgrade or need to replace broken memory, helping extend the life of the computer for years.

Other than that, however, repairing any other part of the XULU XR1 will be a challenge that requires mastery of electronics. Not that the computer is prone to damage, especially given its sturdy metal chassis and adequate cooling system. The only worry you might have is the entry of dust into the box, especially with big vents on all sides. Then again, that is also a consideration for most desktop computers, and the XULU XR1 doesn’t really escape that fate.


The XULU XR1 LITE comes at a rather odd moment in the mini PC market. Intel has just announced the retirement of its NUC mini PC hardware, while Apple just updated its most powerful mini Mac yet, the Mac Mini. Some of the bigger PC brands seem to be stepping back from this market, giving plenty of opportunity for others to take up the cause. But with new products popping up left and right, what value does the XULU XR1 LITE bring to the table?

Simply put, this tiny PC brings the trifecta of performance, portability, and price to computer users of all levels and needs. While there are more powerful options in the market, including the XULU XR1 Pro and Max variants, the $300 price tag on the most basic configuration makes it accessible to anyone looking for a reliable computer with a very small footprint. The fact that you can practically carry it anywhere or that it looks quite stylish on your desk definitely adds to its appeal, helping set it apart from the myriad mini PCs with forgettable faces and unrealistic price tags.


Computers have become an important part of our lives, even for those who probably wouldn’t consider themselves proper computer users. This has created a need for products that can meet not only varied use cases but also varied lifestyles and tastes. Not everyone will be OK with a towering box on or below their desks, and some might also be dissatisfied with a portable yet locked-down laptop. The XULU XR1 LITE offers a cozy middle ground, but one that doesn’t sacrifice too much to get there.

Armed with capable hardware, a near-exhaustive selection of ports, and a charming, small form, this tiny PC brings a new face to the market that tries to appeal to all classes of users, especially budget-conscious buyers. It’s far from perfect, of course, and there are places where XULU clearly cut corners to reach that sweet price, but these are the small compromises some might be willing to make to get their hands on a computer that can meet their computing needs and last them for a very long time.

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How this multifunctional mini PC can be a laptop, a desktop, or a gaming console as needed

The events of the past three years have proven how much we’ve become dependent on computers, from doing our work, accomplishing homework, or just chilling out after a tiring day. Computers, however, come in different shapes and sizes, depending on what they’re used for. Laptops are great for portability but are hampered by their size when it comes to raw power. On the other hand, desktops and consoles can do almost everything except let you use them away from a wall socket. There’s no one size fits all, which sometimes results in a nightmare trying to manage different machines in different places and contexts. Having a single computer to rule them all is perhaps a computer user’s dream, but this intriguing mini-computer design is trying to make those dreams come true by offering a single machine that can meet all those needs without too many compromises.

Designer: Khadas

Mini PCs have existed for quite a while, popularized by the likes of the Apple Mac Mini and Intel’s now-retired NUC line. But while they do come in a more compact form that lets you move them around and bring them with you almost anywhere, they actually also bring the worst of both laptops and desktops. They’re fairly limited in terms of hardware performance and you still need to connect it to peripherals like a screen or keyboard and mouse to be useful.

At first glance, the Khadas Mind is just like any other mini PC, albeit one that comes in a very slim package. On its own, it’s already quite powerful and useful, with the basic assortment of ports to connect a display and other peripherals to accomplish common computing tasks. What makes it notable, however, is where you can use the computer, thanks to a trio of devices that transform the mini PC into a computer for any and every occasion.

The equally slim Mind Dock, for example, expands the number and types of connections available, so you can have more displays, more storage, and more devices as your work requires. The boxy Mind Graphics, on the other hand, brings in the big guns when it comes to graphics power, turning the small computer into a gaming box or a content creation machine. The Mind xPlay is a portable display with a detachable keyboard and built-in battery, allowing you to use the same computer literally anywhere.

There are still some caveats to this otherwise multifunctional design, primarily in how you need to buy into the whole ecosystem to really make the magic happen. Although the technology behind it is an industry standard, the connector that the mini PC uses is proprietary, so you can only use it with the accessories that you have to buy separately from the same brand. Khadas Mind is also currently not yet available for purchase, so there’s no clue yet how much this flexibility and freedom will cost you, not to mention the other pieces you need to truly have a PC you can use anywhere.

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Acer Chromebox CX15 and Add-in-One 24 land at CES 2023 to upgrade offices and classrooms

Google’s Web-centric Chrome OS had humble beginnings, catering primarily to educational and business sectors using low-power and affordable laptops. Chromebooks today, however, are a far cry from their ancestors from nearly a decade ago, and Chrome OS itself has undergone a rather radical transformation worthy of rivaling the big operating systems. Aside from supporting multiple platforms like Android and Linux, Chrome OS devices now also come in different forms, like the modest Chromebox. It’s pretty much a mini PC running Chrome OS, but there’s no rule that says it has to be just a box that sits on top of your desk or hidden behind it. At CES 2023, Acer is doing more than just show off its new and shiny Chromebox, it’s also introducing a new “Add-in-One” solution that helps make the Chromebox more practical and more space efficient in the places where it’s needed the most.

Designer: Acer

At the heart of Acer’s new Chrome OS lineup is the Chromebox CX15 and its business-minded sibling, the Chromebox Enterprise CX15. On its own, it’s already a fine device that you won’t feel embarrassed to be seen on your desk, whether lying flat or standing up. Powered by 12th-gen Intel Core processors with up to 16GB of DDR4 memory, the Chromebox has all the processing muscle you need for your business workflows as well as educational programs. The Chromebox Enterprise CX15 also comes with business-minded solutions, including Chrome Enterprise Upgrade, Intel vPro, hardware-based security, and integrated malware protection.

Acer Chromebox CX15:

Despite its simple looks, the Chromebox CX15 checks all the boxes for integrating the mini PC into your office or school system. In addition to Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 wireless connectivity, the box has a variety of ports and expansion slots to extend its capabilities. It can even support up to four external displays thanks to a tandem of USB-C ports and dual HDMI 2.1 ports. As a compact box, the Chromebox CX15 can be placed almost anywhere, including behind a monitor, courtesy of its VESA mount kit.

Where it really shines is in the Acer Add-in-One 24, and no, that isn’t a type. This is a tag-team productivity package composed of a Chromebox CX15 or Chromebox Enterprise CX15 and a 24-inch 1080p FHD monitor. The Chromebox CX15 slides inside a specially-designed dock on the back of that monitor, making it trivial to replace it with a backup unit in a worst-case scenario. There are also specialized screws that prevent the unauthorized separation of these two devices.

Acer Add-in-One 24:

The monitor itself is a perfect complement to the Chromebox CX15, providing a built-in 115-degree wide-angle 5MP webcam that has become necessary for both work and school these days. That camera comes with a physical shutter to protect users’ privacy when it isn’t in use. There are also dual mics and dual 4-watt speakers for video conferences and communication. Thin bezels maximize the viewable area of the screen, and the ability to tilt the screen gives lets users adjust the monitor to their comfort. With this space-saving two-in-one solution, the Acer Add-in-One 24 delivers a complete all-in-one package that still leaves plenty of room for changes and customization down the road.

  • The Acer Chromebox CX15 will launch in North America sometime in the first quarter, starting at $289.99
  • The Acer Add-in-One 24 will also arrive in Q1 with a starting price of $609.99

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Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini Gen 8 is a mini PC that will look fabulous on your desk

Not everyone needs a portable computer like a laptop, but not everyone might want a hulking tower on or below their desk. The Apple Mac Mini has long proven that there is a very lucrative market for computers stuffed in small boxes that can still offer some of the performance of desktop towers while leaving plenty of room to move it around your desk or even the house. Mini PCs have become a bit more popular in recent years, but most of them are literal black boxes that seem to be designed to be hidden from sight. While that does help keep things tidy and clean, it can also be a lost opportunity to make a positive visual impact on your desk. The new Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini Gen 8, in contrast, is meant to be seen, and it will look stylish on any desk, whether it’s lying down or standing up.

Designer: Lenovo

Mini PCs like the Mac Mini almost have the same problem as laptops in how much power they’re able to cram in a small box. Their size problem might even be bigger because they don’t have the excuse of having to include a keyboard and a monitor to explain away the size. Fortunately, technology has come to a point where even a box that can sit on your hand can have enough power to match a high-end laptop but with more flexibility in the things you can connect to it.

The eighth-gen IdeaCentre Mini, for example, supports processors up to the next-gen Intel Core i7, which is plenty of power for such a small box. It has two memory slots, so you can have up to 16GB of RAM if you want. You can also cram in as much as 1TB of storage, but you can always connect an external hard drive easily to expand that space. The box has its built-in power supply unit (PSU), which means that its power cable won’t have a large black block hanging from it. All this power is kept cool with two vortex fans inside, allowing it to run at its maximum power without becoming a safety hazard.

What really sets the upcoming Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini Gen 8 apart from its kind, however, is its design. Eschewing even the stereotypical black color, this white box looks elegant and aesthetic, placing as much emphasis on appearance as on its performance. The top of the box has stylistic diagonal ridges that catch your eye, while round corners give the cold technology a slightly softer look. Although it’s primarily built to lie flat, it can also be made to stand on its side to save space without looking awkward or unappealing.

Lenovo makes no mention of the mini computer’s use of recycled materials, but, being a desktop computer at heart, it has the advantage of having a longer life thanks to modular parts. Opening up that beautiful chassis is also made easy so that you can upgrade or swap out components without too much effort. The Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini Gen 8 will be available sometime in the second quarter of 2023, carrying a price tag of $649.99.

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