Beelink MINI S Review – A Low-cost mini PC tested with Ubuntu 22.04 and Windows 11

Beelink MINI S review

Whilst the first mini PCs were relatively simplistic using low-powered Intel Atom processors with minimal memory, storage, and ports, more recent mini PCs have become so advanced they can challenge SFF builds for both performance and functionality. However, such mini PCs come with prices to match. Beelink has now released the MINI S which is a mini PC that goes back to the basics and is based on a cut-down version of their earlier Beelink U59 mini PC and priced to match. Beelink kindly sent one for review and I’ve looked at performance running both Windows and Ubuntu and compared it directly against the U59. Beelink MINI S hardware overview The Beelink MINI S physically consists of a 115 x 102 x 41mm (4.53 x 4.02 x 1.61 inches) square plastic case. As an actively cooled mini PC, it uses Intel’s new 10 nm Jasper Lake N5095 processor which is […]

Mekotronics R58 review – Part 1: Rockchip RK3588 mini PC unboxing & teardown

Mekotronics R58 is a cost-optimized Rockchip RK3588 mini PC and SBC that sells for as low as $169 with 4GB and 32GB eMMC flash. The company has now sent me a model with 8GB RAM and 64GB flash for evaluation, and in the first part of the review, I’ll do an unboxing, check out the hardware more closely, and boot it up for a quick check. Mekotronics R58 Unboxing There’s no retail package so to speak with just a white box and a sticker reading “MINI 8+64G” indicating the RAM and storage capacity for the device. The mini PC ships with a 12V/3A power adapter and cord, an IR remote control with two AAA batteries, two WiFi antennas, an HDMI cable, and a USB-A to USB-C cable probably to flash the firmware if needed. The mini PC is housed in a metal enclosure with plenty of ventilation holes at the […]

BP Doctor PRO review – A 2-in-1 smartwatch and blood pressure monitor

So far, If I wanted to monitor my blood pressure monitor and overall fitness, I’d use a Bluetooth blood pressure monitor (Koogeek BP2) plus a fitness tracker/smartwatch such as Weloop Key S3. It does the job, but WearWiz has come up with something much more compact with the BP Doctor Pro 2-in-1 device that acts as both a smartwatch/fitness tracker and a blood pressure monitor, and at $299, offers a cheaper alternative to the $500 FDA-approved Omron Heartguide. The company sent a sample to CNX Software for review, so we’ll have a look at the device and accessories, the Android app, and features such as blood pressure monitoring, HRM, SpO2 level monitoring, and more. The review is rather long, so if you are short on time, you may want to check the two sections: Blood pressure monitoring with BP Doctor PRO smartwatch Conclusion with Pros and Cons BP Doctor PRO […]

Beelink SER3 & SEi8 mini PCs review – Part 2: Ubuntu 22.04

Previously, I reviewed Beelink’s new SEi8 and SER3 mini PCs running Windows 11, so in this part, I will cover Ubuntu 22.04. Hardware Recap The SEi8 is an actively cooled Intel mini PC that physically consists of a 124 x 113 x 41 (4.88 x 4.45 x 1.61 inches) square metal case with a plastic top and uses Intel’s 14++ nm Coffee Lake Refresh Core i3-8109U processor from 2018 which is a dual-core 4-thread 3.00 GHz mobile processor boosting to 3.60 GHz with Intel’s Iris Plus Graphics 655. In comparison, the SER3 is an AMD mini PC and is physically very similar, consisting of a 126 x 113 x 40mm (4.96 x 4.45 x 1.57 inches) square metal case. It is also actively cooled and uses AMD’s 14 nm Zen Ryzen 3 3200U Picasso processor from 2019 which is a dual-core 4-thread 2.6 GHz mobile processor boosting to 3.5 GHz […]

NanoPi R5S preview – Part 2: Ubuntu 20.04 (FriendlyCore)

I started the NanoPi R5S review with an unboxing, a teardown, a quick try of the pre-installed OpenWrt-based FriendlyWrt, and some iperf3 benchmarks on the 2.5GbE interfaces that were rather disappointing. I test further I switched to the Ubuntu 20.04-based FriendlyCore image since I’m more familiar with Debian-based operating systems, and some tools will not run on OpenWrt. Note the performance is still not quite optimal, and that’s why I call this a preview since numbers should improve in the next few months as more people tweak the software. OpenWrt optimizations? But feature jumping to Ubuntu, I gave an updated version of FriendlyWrt a give as FriendElec told me they had added some optimizations: We have made some optimizations on the new image, such as NIC interrupt settings, and offload support… So I downloaded “rk3568-eflasher-friendlywrt-20220526.img.gz” found on Google Drive, and flashed it to a microSD card with USBImager, and booted […]

MeLE Quieter3Q Review – Ultra-thin fanless mini PC tested with Windows 11, Ubuntu 22.04

MeLE has released a new and updated version of the Quieter mini PC called the Quieter3Q. Like before, it is a passive mini PC but now features the latest low-powered Intel Celeron Jasper Lake CPU and an upgraded PCIe 3.0 x2 M.2 2280 NVMe SSD slot. MeLE has kindly sent one for review and I’ve looked at performance running both Windows and Ubuntu and connecting an eGPU. MeLE Quieter3Q Hardware Overview The MeLE Quieter3Q is physically the same as before consisting of a 131 x 81 x 18.3mm (5.16 x 3.19 x 0.72 inches) rectangular plastic case with a metal base plate. The top half of the case is finely grooved to mimic the fins of a heat spreader but is made of plastic rather than metal to allow reception to the WiFi antennas as one is directly connected to it. As a passively cooled mini PC, it uses Intel’s […]

NanoPi R5S router review – Part 1: Unboxing, OpenWrt, and iperf3 benchmarking

FriendlyElec has just launched the NanoPi R5S mini router powered by a Rockchip RK3568 processor, and the company kindly sent me two samples for review. In the first part of the review, I’ll check out the device itself, the internal design, the preinstalled OpenWrt, and run some networking benchmarks with iperf3. NanoPi R5S unboxing   The router comes fully assembled together with a 3M sheet with 6 rubber feet, which, as we’ll see below, are not really necessary. A microSD card socket can be found on one of the sides, while the rear panel comes with a USB-C port for power, a WiFi antenna hole (which can also be used to run cables for GPIO. UART console, etc…), two 2.5GbE RJ45 LAN ports, a Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, and HDMI video output. We’ll find a Mask button for firmware flashing on the other side, and the front panel features four […]

Khadas VIM4 SBC review – Part 3: Ubuntu 22.04

Here’s the last part of Khadas VIM4 review with Ubuntu 22.04 “Jammy Jellyfish”. You may want to check out our previous parts with the unboxing and first boot, followed by Android 11 if you haven’t already done so. Ubuntu 22.04 installation on Khadas VIM4 I used the same method of installation with OOWOW firmware that can download the image directly from Khadas server, and install it to the eMMC flash. Since I already had Android 11 running on the board, I had to keep pressing the function key (middle), then shortly press the reset button,  before releasing the function key and entering OOWOW interface. From there, I selected Ubuntu 22.04 Gnome, and went ahead with the download. The download was fast with the 758.2MB compressed image downloaded in a couple of minutes, then I simply selected “Install” to go further, and replace Android 11… .. and after rebooting the board […]