Many low power mini PCs equipped with Intel Bay Trail, Cherry Trail, Braswell, or Apollo Lake processors have been launched over the years, but most of those come pre-loaded with Windows 10, and many readers of this blog prefer to run a Linux distribution. It’s usually possible to install Ubuntu by yourself, but not always, and when you buy a Windows 10, this increases the price by several dollars (around $20). The ideal case would be to get such low power, low cost mini PCs pre-installed with a recent version of Ubuntu, without having to worry (too much) about hardware support, nor having to pay the “Windows tax”. MeLE used to sell Ubuntu mini PCs on Aliexpress, but sadly not anymore, so I went to Aliexpress to look for those Ubuntu mini PCs, and BBen offers three operating systems options for some of their systems with “Windows 10 Activated”, “Windows 10 pre-loaded” and “Ubuntu”.
The last two options have the same price, and the “Windows 10 Activated” adds $17 for the discounted Windows 10 license. I found two such models with an Ubuntu option: MN-C200 mini PC (left) and MN9 TV stick (right) powered by Intel Atom x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail processor starting respectively at $148.99 and $97.99 including shipping with 2GB RAM and Ubuntu, but you can also select 4GB RAM model. I could not find any more recent Apollo Lake models sold with Ubuntu pre-installed on any Aliexpress sellers. BBen does not specify the Ubuntu version used, so I asked for that information for the MN-C200 model, and the answer is somewhat perplexing at first:
It is 16.04 Ubuntu version.
But we don’t suggest the Ubuntu system. because you couldn’t adjust the time after we have set it well for you. Please know that.
We also have another mini pc that supports Ubuntu. You could have a look.
Thanks for your work and understanding. Any other question or anything I could do for you, just contact me freely. I will do my best to assist you.
The good news is that Ubuntu 16.04 is installed, but somehow it’s not possible to adjust the time in MN-C200, while it’s no problem with MN9 TV stick? I guess they mean the front panel clock display shown in the top photo does not work in Ubuntu, which may not be a big issue.
I continued searching for other Ubuntu computers up to $150, and many sellers are using “Ubuntu” are a SEO word, just to indicate that you could install it yourself, and/or get more traffic to their page. The only other alternative I found was MeegoPad T02, but it comes with an unsupported Ubuntu 14.10 version. The only advantage is that it’s quite cheaper than BBen MN9 at $80.84 shipped. So overall the choices are extremely limited, if you want a computer pre-installed with Ubuntu.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.