Each system in micro-desktops line boasts versatility, upgradability and affordability in pint-sized packages. It’s very easy to think of HP or Acer when you come across the AK1 Mini PC, as it borrows a lot from the HP Elite Slice, only that it gets a different set of components and very fair pricing. Unlike most barebones in the same category that require extra components before you can use them, the Pro comes with everything you need: Windows 10, memory and storage space.
Plus, it has lots of potential to grow into something bigger through upgrades and useful connectivity options. For the enterprising DIYer who needs a miniature PC without spending too much, you’ll find real value here.
Teensy and compact, the AK1 Mini PC is one of the most travel-friendly PCs out there. Compared with other micro PCs, this system is slightly bigger on the z-axis, though not prohibitively so. It measures 56mm thick, including detachable unit that adds an expansion slot to the baSe unit.
On the HP Elite, the detachable part is called a ‘slice’ but on the AK1 is a 2.5-inch module that holds the external hard drive bay that attaches to the main unit via a USB Type-C connector. I see at as design flaw to have an external hard drive on the outside like this, I am sure most users will see it so. Removing the disk expansion slot is straightforward, just unlock and pull it out.
There’s 32GB eMMC of onboard storage, but the system comes with the aforementioned 2.5-inch HDD/SSD expansion box that can support up to 2TB of additional storage. To add the hard drive, you’ll have to undo two screws and plug the SATA hard drive. You get VESA mount option on this system, an addition over its predecessor from last year.
Connectivity is excellent and varied. There’s an assortment of I/O ports including: two USB 2.0, one USB 3.0, one USB Type-C (a rarity among budget systems), Ethernet, a microphone jack, HDMI 1.4 and SD Card reader. To connect to the Internet, you can either use the LAN connector for wired connections or wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.0 or dual band Ac3165 that supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.
This version of the AK1 Mini PC features a 1.5GHz quad-core Intel Celeron J3455 processor, 4GB of memory, with integrated Intel HD Graphics 500. This is the same configuration as our Editors’ Choice Mini PC, the Intel NUC Kit NUC6CAYS, save for double the memory in the ACEPC system. For basic computing needs and multimedia consumption, this unit is just the right choice, at the best price. It may not be a power dynamo, but for what you’re paying and size, it does have a lot going in its favor. The fact that you can add a few components via the available expansion slots makes it even more exciting.
With this speed and feature set, it qualifies as a secondary media streamer for your home, or you can set it up with a display and use it for a presentation or demo. The integrated graphics won’t crack 3D games, which have –obviously– not arrived in the pint-sized PC category yet.
Many will see the AK1 Mini PC as a clone of HP’S Elite Slice, but it has a lot going for it. It may not be quick enough to use as a primary PC for your media projects or a multitasking powerhouse, but it will perfectly handle your average daily tasks. If you need more power in a mini PC, you’ll have to look at something like theIntel NUC6i7KYK Mini PC or the HP Slice Elite – both of these are faster with Intel Core i7 processors, but they cost more. But if your budget can’t stretch that far, the AK1 Pro offers better value and versatility that can easily fill the role of a Mini PC that will get the job done. It presents better functionality than most of its competitors and raw potential for the future.
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