This was posted 7 years 2 months 9 days ago, and might be an out-dated deal.

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Ainol Quadcore Windows Mini PC $101 USD Inc Shipping (~A $134) @ GearBest

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AinolMPGB

I've reviewed the Ainol Mini PC on Home Theatre Life and managed to secure a great coupon for my readers from GearBest so figured some people may be interested given the interest in these devices.

Key features are an all-metal case and a 7000mAh battery. The device is tiny, only slightly bigger than a 2.5" HDD, and is ideal for web browsing, using it as a HTPC (i.e. with Kodi) and some gaming. The battery can also be used to charge devices such as phones, etc.

It has the most impressive temperature profile I've seen. After running it through Prime95 for over an hour, temps never exceeded 58°C.

If you want more info, check out my detailed review on Home Theatre Life. I've put up video codec tests, benchmarks, demos, etc.

Ainol Mini PC Technical Specs

  • Chipset: Intel Baytrail quad core processor with Intel HD graphics (Z3735D Z3735F)
  • RAM: 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage: 32GB eMMC + microSD slot up to 128GB
  • Video & Audio Output: mini HDMI 1.4, 3.5mm Audio
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB: 1x USB 3.0 port 1x USB 2.0 OTG port, 2x USB 2.0 port
  • OS: Windows 8.1 with Bing (32-bit)
  • Other Features: 7000mAh Internal Battery

Update: Some commenters alerted me that Ainol have changed the CPU to the Z3735F mid-production. Whilst the specs are essentially the same, it will no longer have USB 3.0 but the port will be USB 2.0 instead. This is frustrating so if you need USB 3.0, please take this into consideration.

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closed Comments

  • Looks pretty awesome! I haven't come across one with a built in battery before.

    • +2

      Yeah, it was a feature that struck me by surprise but was handy when I lost power for a moment but the PC kept running.

      • +1

        you lost power? but monitor still on?

        • +11

          Nope, monitor turned off but the software kept running so when power returned 5 minutes later, I didn't lose anything. It's like a built-in UPS.

        • thats really handy

        • +3

          @Riczter:

          Like a laptop.

          But smaller.

          Who thinks of these things?! :)

        • +1

          @justtoreply: That's one of the big reasons that I love these gadgets - they take so many risks which results in some unique devices. Check out the PiPO X8…

      • +1

        This feature would make it a pretty good contender for a carputer.

  • +2

    Can this handle full HD movie playback without any issues?, such as lag or jerkiness?

    • +3

      Yep, full HD playback is supported via hardware decoding so no issues. I've got a whole list of codecs I tested in my review.

      • As extension, could this handle something like Plex Media Server to stream HD movies?

        • +1

          Yep EDIT: My bad, thought you meant Plex Client. I wouldn't use it as a server for transcoding as the CPU is only an Atom.

        • @Darkscythe: Damn - was considering as a replacement to my c2d htpc
          But I currently run Plex server and client on the same machine
          If server isn't transcoding on the fly to other devices would it not work on here?

        • +1

          @Noblejoker: Technically yes, but I'd be worried about wifi bandwidth for serving. You'd saturate it VERY quickly.

        • @Darkscythe: Thanks DS in most cases my server and client are this one machine - I don't do much serving to other household machines. Sounds like I will be right. Pulling trigger

        • @Darkscythe:

          Anything like this around, which would handle Plex transcoding?

        • @Argo: Not around this price I don't believe. Which end clients need the transcoding?

        • @Darkscythe:

          Plex on Tab S 10.5. I'd like to transcode 1080p down to 720p and make use of Plex's travel/device sync feature. I have a Synology NAS storing all files (and serving to a Roku and WDTV) but it's a 412+ model with an Atom processor model really not suited to transcoding.

          I'm happy to spend a bit more e.g. even a ~5th gen(?) Intel NUC if need be, but it's hard to nail anyone down on a recommendation :)

  • +13

    Oh it's Ainol again! Long time no see..

    • +2

      No pun? I had a whole lot of jokes I made sure I didn't type

      • +19

        Battery operated ainol device?

        • +3

          None of the risks of plugging it into the wall during use…

      • +1

        I do not wish to try..

      • ?
        AI = Eye

        • -6

          Hmmm the ainol logo reminds me of a bum hole….

    • +1

      Ainol sounds like a hemorrhoid cream

  • +19

    i so so want this… but i don't know why!

    • +3

      Ainol?

    • +4

      It probably comes from a deep rooted desire to explore new things. I would suggest you give it a try if you are confident in yourself and the way you present yourself to the outside world.

    • Probably not what you looking for…

  • So would this technically be a better option for use as a media player than most media players? Given the size, access to full windows and wifi, plus plug and play capability for a HDD?

    • +2

      Yep, unless you need HEVC/H.265 (as only Android players have this capability at this stage). Windows means full HD Netflix, Kodi, automatic framerate switching, etc. Plus, you can upgrade the wifi using a USB dongle.

    • Pretty much what the pipo x7 was for so this is much the same. Pre-sale so remember to be patient.

    • In many ways yes, in particular htpc play all, well most, the obscure formats that retail players can miss out. Also lots if streaming tv options on a htpc..

      However generally there is a bit more messing about getting them working rather than just plug and play with retail media players.

      • Yep, a little more but most could get away with installing Kodi and they're done.

        • +1

          Must admit I am tempted..my htpc is from 2007 I think and the lights dim when I turn it on :)

        • Hmmm very tempted. This + HDD + Kodi + Samsung TV seem a pretty good combination and some handy portability. Been look for a good solution for my new house when we move in a few weeks.

          Any other solutions that people can recommend at a similar price point? Mainly looking for access to own files on HDD, some streaming (Netflix mainly) and access via multiple devices throughout the house.

        • +2

          @dead5pur: Maybe the PiPO X7S (which I haven't tested yet) or Minix Z64 (which is dearer)

        • +1

          @dead5pur: Alternative option is getting a Chromecast and play everything directly from the phone/tablet/pc. I play all my media files from the home server as well as screen online tv using my phone. Netflix, Youtube etc apps support casting to Chromecast. And for the local media files, you just need to buy the full version of one of the casting apps for $5/$6 from app store.

        • @ar993:

          wonder whats the apps for casting your local media file?
          thanks

        • +1

          @ee6oos:
          You don't need any of the 'Paid' casting apps anymore.

          ES File Explorer + it's Chromecast plugin is all you need. It will pay local content from your device as well as media stored on a NAS or a Network Share to your Chromecast.

  • +1

    Awesome piece of innovation. When does it ship, though?
    This is a pre-sale.

    • I asked and was told stock is arriving in the next 2 days.

  • Thoughts of this vs the pipo X7? I remember reading that the X7 had issues with heating?

    • +1

      I was waiting for someone to ask! Yep, this one trumps it by a long shot. The CPU is only slightly slower but thanks to its impressive cooling, it doesn't throttle like the X7.
      The PiPO X7 can be fixed with $20 of thermal pads but its whether you can be bothered. There's also a new device which is coming that looks impressive that I'll be testing very soon…

      • Whats this new device? Will you be getting it soon?

        • +1

          Can't let the cat out of the bag just yet but it'll be around $140. Hopefully will have it in the next week or two.

        • @Darkscythe: Does it have a LAN port?

          If yes, is it a gigabit port?

          Also I'm guess no battery on this new one (assuming it has an ethernet port).

        • +1

          @nmartin84: Yes on the LAN but only 10/100. No battery either.

        • +1

          @Darkscythe:

          Cheers, I really don't see the purpose of these 10/100 ports they keep putting on them. Can just get a cheap USB adapter for that if you want it, it's the 1000mbps that is sorely lacking. ; )

        • +2

          @nmartin84: Yep, I wish more companies would add them.

        • +1

          @nmartin84:
          A USB to ethernet will put a huge load on an already limited CPU and may not do any better in many situations.

      • Let me guess… the new device is the Pipo X8?

        • Nope! But would be interested in testing that unique experiment out!

        • @Darkscythe: According to the MINIX reps the screen is really bad, but they are competitors after all…

        • @Clear: Thanks. I didn't expect it would be great as it's a cost-cutting measure ironically :p

  • +3

    Nooooes,
    No ethernet port or woulda just bought a few

    • get a dongle
      $3.44AUD

      • Yeah but if you're going to use it as a ghetto server/networked drive then you'd be choking that usb port with both the hard drive and network bandwidth

        • I don't think that's the intended use for this device though… it's more of a client/terminal.

        • @Make it so: no it's not but it would've been a nice bonus

          Edit: well after seeing get the reviews claim the usb 3 drive maxing out at 38mb and 26mb read and write I withdraw the idea that this can be used as a ghetto server. Would've been nice since it barely breaks 9watts on power consumption

      • Can't check there while at work.

        How much for a usb 3 to 1000mbit ethernet adapter? :D

        • AX88179-based USB 3.0 Gigabit adapters aren't bad (you can get 800+Mbps out of them, they work on Win/MacOS/Linux/BSD) and are around $15-25 on DX/eBay.

        • I'd probably go for a USB 3.0 Hub + Gigabit Ethernet for $22.59AUD . That also solves the issue of a lack of ports. But I am not sure whether the USB3 port on this mini-pc is standard or micro. It does not appear to be full-sized.

  • This seems like it would pair nicely with one of these projectors - https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/191949#comment-2712085
    Especially if it has enough power output from the inbuilt battery, otherwise a Xiaomi powerbank will do.

  • Can you upgrade the RAM?

    • Nope, all soldered down I'm afraid.

    • Does it need it??

      • I'd argue no for most use cases. During my tests, it handled everything fine. Anything that choked was more CPU-limited than RAM.

    • IIRC the CPU is limited to 2GB addressable RAM.

  • Did you manage to test WiFi performance? My NAS and router are 3 rooms and a corner or 2 away.

    • Yep, there are detailed stats in the full review but I didn't have any issues streaming 1080p video.

  • Do these charge via USB as well as DC?

    • +2

      Seems like it's DC only as far as I can tell.

      • +1

        Would a DC to USB cable work and have it powered off the TV's USB port?

        • +3

          definitely not from a TV's usb port.

      • ^beat me to it
        Pretty sure there are usb to 5v DC cables around, interesting to see if it would take it and charge.

        • The power adapter spec is 2.5A so I'd doubt it.

  • Can we get a link to the review?

  • +1

    Does this comes with a fully legitimate licensed version of windows 8.1?

    • +2

      Yes, Windows is activated and legit.

      • Yep.. Its full version of windows 8.1 bing edition. That means you cannot change the default search, but you can always use different browsers.

        • +1

          You can change the default search engine - it just comes with Bing set as the default.

        • I think windows 8.1 with bing is same as windows 8.1. With bing means OEM (Ainol in this case) Can't Change the default search engine on this device.

        • @Darkscythe:
          Glad to know that .. I don't have experience with Windows 8.1 bing edition and based my comment on the following page :
          https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/dn...

          OEMs will not be able to change the default search engine with the SearchScopes unattend setting, Registry key, or 3rd party installation tools. When a user starts Internet Explorer, Bing is automatically set to the default Search Engine and will override any OEM-configured search provider. No other Internet Explorer defaults are changed.

    • +2

      The one downside to the "with bing" version of Win 8.1 is that they have disabled the native ability to remote into the desktop to manage the box. A pain I discovered with my Pipo X7, as i most use the box to run other "bits" without the TV on.

  • -2

    doesn't look to be too bad, but not to sure with a name like ainol…

    • It could be Chinese for "Super happy fun play".

      • they try their hardest, i guess

      • +11

        Their old slogan was "Enjoy Life, Enjoy Ainol" ;)

    • +1

      I proudly tell people the brand just for the looks. I'd almost consider it a plus!

      • Haha good on ya!

  • @Darkscythe, If i had a wireless mouse and keyboard, it will work with the unit right?

    • Yep, definitely. It's just a Windows PC in a tiny package. I use a Microsoft wireless set when I test these devices so you'll have no issue.

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