REVIEW: Minix Neo Z83-4 Pro (Windows 10 Mini PC)

Minix Neo Z83-4 Pro

$189.98
Minix Neo Z83-4 Pro
9

Design

9.0/10

Connectivity

9.0/10

General Performance

9.0/10

Gaming

8.5/10

Video Playback

9.5/10

Pros

  • Sturdy, durable design
  • Exceptional gaming performance on a device of this kind
  • Great video playback
  • 4K capable
  • Good connectivity

Cons

  • Only 32GB Storage
  • No VGA port

I recently got sent a new piece of hardware, the Minix Neo Z83-4 Pro Windows 10 Mini PC. I have messed around with a couple of Windows boxes in the past, such as the Beelink BT3 and the EnyBox, but never had the opportunity to review and get really hands-on with one. It was certainly an interesting experience…


Specifications


  • OS: Fully licensed Windows 10 Professional Edition
  • CPU: Quad Core Intel Atom X5-Z8350
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 400
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3L
  • STORAGE: 32GB

First Impressions


First impressions are that this is an extremely well-built device with a spec sheet to make any Android TV box look pretty feeble. When we power this up it is apparent that this device could easily be used an everyday PC that is more than capable of general computing tasks such as word processing and web browsing amongst other things. It also handles gaming very well and can handle a variety of titles from older, retro style titles through emulators, slightly more intensive games like Fallout: New Vegas and even new titles such as Minecraft Windows 10 Edition and Asphalt 8: Airborn.


Connectivity


Connectivity is not a problem with impressive I/O support. The box comes with 3 USB 2.0 ports and a turbo speed USB 3.0 port as well for lightning fast data transfers. To output to a display you have the choice between the HDMI 1.4 output, capable of playing back Ultra HD, 4K video at a respectable 30fps, and, the quite unexpected, Mini Display port. Video playback is not an issue at all and videos look stunning, the only gripe I had was with the Netflix app that I downloaded from the Windows 10 Store, obviously an issue with the application itself and not the hardware.

WiFi signal strength is very good which is helped with the large, external WiFi antenna. The Z83-4 Pro is packing a dual-band WiFi chipset supporting both 2.4ghz and the latest 5ghz technology. It also supports Bluetooth 4.0, which is great when the need for connecting wireless keyboards, mouse and joypads arises.


CPU & Storage


The Neo Z83-4 Pro utilizes Intel’s line of Atom processors and I must say the X5-Z8350 is a prime example of how versatile this line of CPUs can be. The Cherry Trail line of CPU’s is aimed at the tablet market and is a much-improved step up from its predecessor, with a faster clock speed and overall better performance. Unfortunately, the Cherry Trail range is now obsolete with the introduction of the much improved Apollo line of Atom processors. The hardware found in this Minix Z83-4 Pro makes good use of the X5 processor, with 4GB of DDR3L RAM, it is certainly is a capable little device, however, it is a shame we don’t see more up to date hardware.

The amount of storage on this box is somewhat disappointing, especially for its price range. 32GB of storage is included, but, taking into account the amount of space that is allocated to the Windows 10 operating system, you only really get a meagre 20GB of usable storage. Expanding the storage with an external hard drive (or even a large SD card) is acceptable, however.


Photo & Video Editing


tried out a myriad of different tasks on the Minix Z83-4 Pro and it did not falter at all for the most part with the exception of GameCube emulation. One of the first things I did was connect my Wacom graphics tablet and installed the required drivers, the process was a breeze and I was up and running with it in no time, afterwards, I installed Photoshop CS6 and I have to say the performance really surprised me, I did some basic photo manipulation and drawing without any problems, even some more graphically intensive tasks such as Photoshop’s ‘Liquify’ tool seemed to behave as intended. I also tried a spot of video editing using a lower-end video editing quite called CyberLink PowerDirector 15, the process, on the whole, was OK, not fantastic as it lagged in some parts but mostly everything worked fine and without too much delay.


Gaming Performance


Gaming performance really shocked me, I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular by any means, but I decided on a slightly older title to test first, I went with 2010’s Fallout: New Vegas (my all time favourite video game), expecting a somewhat hindered performance I was pleasantly surprised at how well this title performed, everything was set to medium settings as per the games built-in performance tool that checks your hardware and sets everything accordingly, I could run about, shoot, talk to characters and generally cause mayhem without damaging the performance and without any noticeable drop in frame rate. I also tested Asphalt 8: Airborn, a recent title that we usually test on Android devices, I noticed it was available on the Windows 10 store so gave it a shot, with the visual settings at the ‘Extreme’ (highest) level, the game was flawless, a really good experience all around. Minecraft Windows 10 Edition was next, again flawless and I could have easily played for hours. Lastly, I tried some emulation, N64 ran very well, Gamecube did not, however. So for a box of this price and spec, gaming was top notch for my needs.


Final Thoughts


This box has many positives but the storage is lacklustre for me, don’t let that entirely put you off though. The Minix brand is a strong one and you should expect good firmware support. There have already been several BIOS and bug fixing updates and Minix have stated that they are very close to completing a fully working port of Ubuntu for this box which I look forward to testing. In conclusion this is a very impressive device and can perform a variety of different tasks with ease.


Here are the full specs for both the NEO Z83-4 Pro and the original Z83-4, both appear to have exactly the same specifications.

MINIX NEO Z83-4

MINIX NEO Z83-4 PRO


Un-boxing and Video Review



Scott

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