Mini Desktops Computer Showdown

Mini Desktops Computer Showdown

Mini Desktops

Mini Desktops Review

Small PCs from HP, Apple and Dell mean more computer in less space, and for less money.

mini desktop

Portability and space-saving for computers are generally traits of slim laptops and lightweight tablets, or the new generation of hybrid PCs that combine aspects of both. Several years ago, an eternity in technology time, there was another popular breed of small computers, called small form factor or media center PCs. Some connected to TVs for media streaming and PC-based DVR recording, while others were used as aesthetically appealing work or home computers for those who hated the look of boxy tower desktops.

Since then, home theater types have largely switched to streaming devices such as the Roku or Apple TV, and PC users have shifted in large numbers to laptops and tablets. A handful of small PCs, some hardly larger than a few Roku boxes stacked together, stuck around, but it wasn’t what we’d call a growth area.

Video About Mini Desktops
In late 2014 and early 2015, we’ve seen a small but significant resurgence in this category, with mini desktops that have been redesigned or upgraded to compete in both price and performance. Some are low-power boxes designed to work unobtrusively in the background, while others are surprisingly ambitious for computers that cost less than $500.

We’ve tested and reviewed three computers in this category over the past few months, each appealing to a different audience, and each with some impressive features, but also serious flaws. If you want a mini desktop, and don’t want to spend more than you would on, for example, a base model iPad Air, it comes down to a choice between lots of hard-drive storage, a faster processor, or budget gaming performance.

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