Minisforum N36 Windows 10 Pro Mini PC

There was a time when mini-PC’s were underpowered, under specified and suitable mainly for use as TV streaming boxes, often sold with no legal operating system installed. Times have changed and now mini-PC’s very often make perfectly usable desktop PC’s. This new £139.90 PC from Minisforum follows the trend and runs a 2.48 GHz Intel Celeron N3060 with 4 GB of RAM, 64GB of onboard SSD storage, dual-band wifi, Gigabit Ethernet, and has fully legal 64bit Windows 10 Home pre-installed. Whilst this no i7, it is much more than just a TV Box and is fully capable of most desktop computing tasks complete with support for two displays.

In the attractive mid-market product box was the 259 g, 12 x 12 x 3.6 cm mini PC itself, a power supply with UK plug, 60 cm HDMI cable, VESA mounting bracket kit, SATA cable (Inside the pc) and a nicely printed and well-written but rather a basic User Guide. I include a scan of the User Guide at the end of my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause as needed to read it.

There is no more setup required than with any other new computer. Connect the power supply and the monitor cable to your monitor and switch on. The device has HDMI and VGA monitor outputs which can be used together or separately. Sadly, there is no Displayport socket. You will then be presented with the standard Windows 10 setup screen which walks you through getting the computer up and running. You will need to connect either a normal keyboard and mouse or a wireless mini keyboard with USB dongle as I did. Windows recognised the dongle at once and so all setup could be done wirelessly. Once configured you can then activate and update Windows 10 to the latest build and security version. A fully legal licensed version of Window 10 Pro is pre-installed and no licence needs to be purchased. Using the included mount it is possible to mount the PC directly onto the rear of any VESA compatible monitor to save desk space.

The computer has a good range of ports and connectivity for the size and price: two USB 3.0, two USB 2, Gigabit Ethernet, audio in/out, micro SD card, HDMI, VGA, 5Ghz/2.4Ghz wifi, Bluetooth 4.2. There are no USB-C or micro-USB ports and no Bluetooth 5. The 64GB SSD can be expanded with the addition of an internal 2.5″ SATA HDD/ SSD up to 2TB for with the included internal interface and an external micro SD card up to 128GB.

Many people will wish to use this as a home theatre media player and there are a host of applications to support this. The PC is quiet in operation and although it has a fan, this is audible but never annoying. The computer is easily small enough to blend in with other set-top box devices behind the TV. However, it can do much more than that and is perfectly suitable for use as a general-purpose desktop computer capable of handling all but the most demanding tasks. Don’t try and use it for rendering 4K video files or high-end gaming, but for word processing, YouTube and general web browsing it is first-rate. Some users may wish to replace Windows with Linux for even faster operation. Minisforum produces other higher priced small footprint PCs for those that need a more powerful machine with more expansion options and indeed there is a high-end version of this machine with an Intel Core i3Processor, 8GB of RAM and a256GB SSD available for almost double the price of this one.

I now keep this mini-PC tucked away on my office desktop where I use it to stand in for my main computer when it is busy or otherwise unavailable. It is reliable, silent in use and great for 90% of computing tasks.

The Good
Good price
Gigabit LAN
Two Video Ports
Dual-band wifi
Celeron N3060 processor
Expandable SSD/HD internal Drives
Windows 10 Pro 64bit

The Bad
No Bluetooth 5

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