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Ainol Mini PC can be a small and powerful HTPC

It is a rare occurrence when a new device truly surprises me. I could actually count these times with the fingers of one hand, in particular when it comes to media players. But, despite of the rare frequency of this, it was exactly what happened when I came across this small and powerful device: The Ainol Mini PC. This amazing mini computer truly packs a whole punch, in a small and affordable package, which we will take a look at, today. Now, bear in mind, mini computers are useful for many, many things, so in this regard you are not just limited to run HTPC applications, but you can also turn them into productivity machines, casual gaming rigs, or other uses you can think of. You might be wondering what makes this device so noteworthy, so read on to find out.

Ainol Mini PC, a small and powerful device for your HTPC.
Ainol Mini PC, a small and powerful device for your HTPC.

This Ainol Mini Computer has a very small form factor

Advertised as one of the smallest and lightest computers in the world, the Ainol Mini Computer truly lives to those expectations. This device fits on your backpocket with ease, with dimensions comparable to those of a smartphone. However, it is able to do much more; the small dimensions are in no way an obstacle for this Ainol computer to provide us with great computing power. With a 485g weight and a size of 146x115x14 mm, you can easily see where does the “mini” word in “Ainol Mini PC” come from.

This Windows mini computer offers great connectivity in pocket size
This Windows mini computer offers great connectivity in pocket size

A mini computer that is powerful and stable

Under the hood of this elegant device, you can find an Intel Quad-Core processor, decent amounts of RAM and ROM, as well as a blazing-fast boot time of 10 seconds. Not only that, but this tiny gem is also capable of running Windows 8.1 with ease, which makes it a no-brainer if you are seeking for compatibility with applications such as CouchPotato, SickBeard, SABnzbd, and other applications you would normally use in a Windows environment. This of course does not limit you to install Windows only, but it’s reassuring if you are still a bit wary about a device this small. The Ainol Windows Mini PC is able to run the 64-bit version of Windows, so this gives you an idea of the hardware we’re dealing with in here. However, if you want the hard numbers, we have a list of specifications right here.

  • System: Windows 8.1.
  • CPU: Quad core Intel Z3735F, 1.8GHz frequency.
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics Gen 7 4EU.
  • DDR3 2GB RAM + 32GB ROM eMMC, faster read and write speed, the boot time is just 10s!
  • WiFi: Support 802.11b/g/n.
  • TF card: Support 64GB.
  • Power: DC 5V charging.
  • Built-in 7000mAh battery, it can work for more than 10 hours and standby for 40 hours, this is the most efficient mini PC in the world!
  • Built-in battery, with Windows unique standby function, the works before standby can be went on, easy to achieve mobile office. Besides, it can also charge for your phone as a power bank ( Can fully charge for 2 iPhone 6 ).
  • Bluetooth 4.0 function, can connect the peripheral equipment together
  • OdB noise, more stable. Global initiative fanless nanometer graphite cooling system, is the most advanced cooling technology currently, lasting cooling without noise, it can make sure to work for 7×24 hours!
  • Mini size, just 335g weight, portable to carry.

Ainol Mini computer is a versatile device

This Windows 8 Mini PC has a solid connectivity; you can hook it up to USB devices via its 2 x USB 2.0 ports, and its HDMI or Micro USB ports. This opens up a world of possibilities, for home and office uses. In fact, because this device is so portable, you could probably carry it around with you and connect it at home and at the office.
A feature that surprised me about this mini computer is the fact that you can use its 7000 mAh battery as a power bank to charge your mobile devices in case of emergency. So, not only does this device offer a wide array of uses as a mini PC, but it also doubles as a power bank, which is a nice bonus and could make the difference in certain situations. [Read: 5 best Wireless HTPC keyboard and mouse options in 2015]

The Ainol Mini PC can be used as a power bank.
The Ainol Mini PC can be used as a power bank.

One of the uses this pocket size PC is very well suited for, is as an HTPC, because it is a low noise minicomputer. This fact, and the computing power it offers, as well as the video formats it can play (up to 1080p), make this device a very nice option to consider if you’re building your own Home Theater PC. Optionally, you can hook a remote control or even a gamepad to this Ainol mini PC, so you can use it for gaming or just relaxing from your couch while watching your favorite shows.

Is everything about this PC / TV box good? NO. As with almost all inexpensive PC or TV boxes from China, the Chinese language Windows 8.1 with bing is pre-installed. So unless you have a friend who knows mandarin it can be a nightmare to do initial setup and then change language to English. In our case, we ended up making Windows unbootable and we could not make the device boot from USB to reinstall Windows (or other OSes).

As you can see, the possibilities this device offers are quite varied. When you consider this, along with the very affordable price tag (GearBest has it for $101 with coupon code AinolMPGP) it is listed for, this device becomes a good candidate to be the next centerpiece of your HTPC system, or, perhaps, your pocket.

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About the author

Alejandro

Alejandro is an electrical engineer, working as a software developer and part-time writer. He has a passion for technology, languages and games, and has been around the web since 2004.