This is probably one of my most awaited review. Most of my usual readers who saw my initial social media post about this ASUS MiniPC was well received and they are eager to know how good this mini PC is. I have done my review for the past week and here is my full review on the new ASUS MiniPC PN Series.
Unboxing and ASUS MiniPC’s Big Reveal
The exact model for this ASUS MiniPC is PN62S. There are many other models out there but as I understand it, this is ASUS’s latest model that was launched sometime late last year. ASUS has a reputation of making awesome mini PCs in the past and this one is exactly that – awesome. One thing I can say, don’t let the size fool you. Let’s see what’s inside the box, other than Intel.
The ASUS MiniPC came in quite a big box. It was a surprise to me because hey, mini PC would come in a small box right? But as I opened the box, I kind of understand why. Will tell you that later. Opening the box reveals the mini PC itself, placed snuggly in its little space in the box. In a box next to it, contains the other needed essentials.
Here you can see the power cable and the power brick. Good to note that the cable for the power brick is quite long. Useful when your power outlet is far from your working desk. That is exactly how my setup is. My table is quite far away from the power outlet so this long cable comes in handy. In the same compartment, you will get ASUS wired mouse and some reading materials which includes the warranty.
Now this plate is probably useful to some of you. With this metal plate, you can mount the ASUS MiniPC onto a wall or have it fixed permanently on your desk. Best bet is the wall. But that is entirely up to your creativity to keep minimal space on your desk. My idea would be to mount it on the underside of your table. That way you can keep it hidden from view and obstruction.
Now when you lift up both box compartments, you will see that there is a wired keyboard hidden underneath it. Now we know why it came in a big box. It is very thoughtful of ASUS to provide a mouse and keyboard with the mini PC. At least you don’t have to buy a new keyboard and mouse to use the ASUS MiniPC with.
Let’s take a look at the ASUS MiniPC up close and personal.
The size is small. That is the intention. And what I think about the size? Perfect! Cute was what my wife said. Indeed it is. The ASUS MiniPC is small and cute. The plastic enclosure feels strong and sturdy. You can see the Intel sticker at the top and this ASUS MiniPC comes with 10th generation Intel Core i5. There is also a Windows 10 sticker up front.
The front panel consists of an audio jack, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB type-C port, a MicroSD memory card slot for that extra storage, an IR receiver and the power button with a tiny LED light indicator. Around the back is where it gets interesting. There are not one, but two HDMI ports available. TWO! If you have a dual monitor setup, you don’t need an additional adapter for that second monitor. You can immediately plug-in both your monitors into the ASUS MiniPC. So convenient.
There is another USB type-C port at the back, 2x more USB 3.0 port, a LAN port and the power connector. So you can do the math. There are more ports on this ASUS MiniPC then what’s available on my laptop. With this many ports, you can be sure it will be useful for your daily use.
On the sides, you can see the ventilation grille. Same goes when you flip the mini PC upside down. You can remove the bottom section for easy upgrades. You can easily remove the bottom panel to replace or upgrade the NVMe SSD and the RAM module. So yes, this mini PC is upgradeable. And best of all, you can do it yourself.
Now it’s time to assemble the ASUS MiniPC on my desk.
Assembling the ASUS MiniPC is simple. Even a toddler can do it although I wouldn’t let my son to even touch it. But you get the idea. You simply need to plug in all the essentials to the respective ports and you’re done. This is how it looks like when everything is plugged in. It’s not as cramped as I thought it would.
Anyway, since this is a mini PC, I thought that it would be nicer to use my wireless keyboard and mouse. And it being a mini PC, I’ll use my mini wireless keyboard with it. It is a match made in heaven. It connects easily via wireless connection and/or Bluetooth. With all the “compact” setup I’m having right on my desk, it is now ready to boot up. Ok, the only oversized attachment will be the 32″ LED TV that I’ve hooked up to the mini PC. I also connect a Bluetooth speaker to the mini PC for audio, minimizing any wired devices.
It took a while for the initial boot up. But all that took about 8 minutes, which is relatively fast. Also to note, there is a small fan somewhere inside the enclosure to blow out hot air. I can hear it turned on when I first boot up the mini PC. Once I’m done with the profile setup and logged in, I’m ready to start using the ASUS MiniPC.
User Experience and Performance
Just like any other laptop or PC running Windows 10, the ASUS MiniPC runs smoothly as well. The Intel i5 is made for normal home or office use which is what most of us need nowadays. And most of us need a reliable machine to keep our work at optimum condition. The ASUS MiniPC provides all that, but it can be pushed to do more as well. Coupled with 8GB RAM and 256GB of NVMe SSD storage space, you can literally throw anything at it, except maybe for heavy graphic gaming that requires a high-end graphic card. The ASUS MiniPC comes with a built-in Intel UHD graphic, which is just enough to run graphic editing softwares like Photoshop and Illustrator. More on that later.
In the software/app side, it came pre-installed with McAfee Antivirus to protect your mini PC from any malicious attacks and Microsoft Office 365. You are able to start your work right from the get-go. You don’t need to install much needed office based softwares because everything is there ready to use. That is just awesome.
Looking at the internal specifications, I use CPU-Z to have a look at the details. From what you can see below, all the specifications matched with what’s in the user manual. No hanky-panky with the internal specs here. What you buy and what you get. I just wish it uses the 11th generation Intel chipset to keep up with the times but nevertheless, the 10th generation does not disappoint.
After looking at the spec details, I installed Novabench benchmarking software to quickly run some benchmarking tests. I didn’t want to run too many benchmarks on this mini PC because I wanted to get into doing some heavy graphic works, just to see whether it can perform well. So I ditched the other benchmarking test like CrystalDiskMark, PCMARK 10, GeekBench 5 and Blender. On Novabench, the ASUS MiniPC scored a fair 1344 points. This placed the ASUS MiniPC on par with most of the standard workstation PC and laptops. What more can you ask for from a mini PC anyway? It is meant to provide you with a stable and reliable mini companion, and it did the job well.
And then I installed the Adobe CC graphic softwares. I installed Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom and Premier Pro. Firing up Photoshop for the first time is rather quick. Surprised? Me too. I took less than 10 seconds for everything starts up and ready to go. How about graphic editing? Well, the ASUS MiniPC does wonderfully. I was skeptical at first giving that the mini PC only uses the built-in Intel graphics. You know your graphics sux when you can see trails or jitters when you drag the image around the screen, right? That is not the case with the ASUS MiniPC. Everything was handled beautifully, smooth as butter and without any lag. It was a relief for me. I can do many heavy graphic tasks for this little monster.
Illustrator does the same. First time load took just over 10 seconds and I can immediately start my work. I opened one of my biggest AI file and to my surprise, it loads quick, and from a USB flash drive. I guess the USB 3.0 port really helps. I started playing around with the AI file by selecting, moving everything about, add few dummy texts and vectorized a few graphics. And wow, it worked smoothly. More thumbs up from me here.
So I guess working with RAW photos in Lightroom can be done smoothly too. I was right. Importing photos into Lightroom is fast and editing was a breeze. My own PC setup can’t do the task as quick as the mini PC. I’m also using an Intel i5 but from the older generation 8. Same RAM count and same 256GB SSD storage. But not as quick as the mini monster. I now bow to you, ASUS MiniPC.
Fine, graphics may be easy for you but what about videos? Fired up the Adobe Premier Pro also took about 10 seconds, maybe slightly more. But get this, importing a UHD video at 60fps, about 300+MB in size loaded up quickly as well. Did a few cutting and adding footages here and there. Then I rendered the final cut to UHD 60fps MP4 format but not changing the audio output format. The full process took less than 5 minutes to complete. I remember it took close to 10 minutes on my own PC. It was a short, less than 1 minute video. And it does everything quicker. Wow.
So I threw in the towel and said, “You, my mini friend, is a winner”. It has won my heart as my personal choice of a mini PC for years to come. After all that, the surface of the mini PC stayed slightly warm. Just warm, not hot as what my own laptop would feel after some heavy duty graphic works. Just amazing.
If you’re into video or game streaming, you have a great hardware with you here. I also installed an Open Broadcasting Software (OBS) in the ASUS MiniPC. I am into mobile gaming, specifically PUBG Mobile. It took little to no time setting up the OBS and linking my phone to the mini PC. Then I added the video source in the OBS and voila, I’m ready to stream. The ASUS MiniPC able to stream, render and record the video smoothly. I did not notice any lags while streaming. Only slight millisecond delay for the input to be sent from the phone to the video capture device and to the mini PC. That is normal for any hardware anyway, so I give the mini PC another thumbs up.
One additional point that I have not mentioned earlier is that the ASUS MiniPC has a built-in WiFi. I can either connect to my internet connection via WiFi or LAN cable. For the streaming, I use LAN for that extra stable connection. WiFi works great too, but best to use that for normal web browsing or if you want to minimalize the wired connections.
Movies? No problem. Not much to say here just that it can play 2k videos smoothly.
How else should I conclude this? The ASUS MiniPC amazed me in many ways. First of all, it’s the form factor. It is cute and small, as how my wife puts it. It uses minimal space on your desk and by using a mini wireless keyboard, you will have ample space to work around with.
With the dual HDMI ports available, you can have an additional monitor attached to the mini PC. I use a dual monitor at home. Very useful when I need to write a blog entry on one monitor and work on graphics on the other monitor. That is exactly what the ASUS MiniPC can do too. Awesome companion for working at home, especially during this pandemic time.
So if you’re looking for a quick and affordable setup that works, I would highly recommend this ASUS MiniPC PN Series. Installation time is very minimal. Just plug-in everything and you’re good to go. You don’t have to clear your table before installing the mini PC as you would with a normal large desktop setup. Everything just works.
The ASUS MiniPC PN series is available now for purchase. You can get more details about this ASUS MiniPC PN62S from their official website and where to buy it from. The official retail price is RM2,449.00