The Ainol Mini PC is a tiny desktop computer with an Intel Atom Z3735D Bay Trail processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and Windows 8.1 with Bing software. It also has a built-in battery.

It went on sale in China earlier this month, and now Geekbuying is taking pre-orders for international customers. It’s selling for about $128, and the Ainol Mini PC should ship in mid-March.

apc_03

The little computer has an aluminum case and measures 5.7″ x 4.5″ x 0.6″ and weighs about 12 ounces. It features 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and has a microSD card slot, mini HDMI port, Ethernet jack, two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, and a headphone jack. It uses passive cooling, which means there are no fans inside the case.

Like a number of other small, low-cost Windows desktops we’ve seen in the past few months, the Ainol Mini PC basically has the guts of a cheap Windows tablet minus the screen and plus a few ports. But this is one of a relatively small number of models I’ve seen that has a battery. Not only can the battery keep the PC running though, you can also connect your phone or other gadgets to one of the USB ports and use the Ainol Mini PC like a portable battery pack to recharge your other mobile devices.

According to the spec sheet, that 7,000mAh battery is good for up to 10 hours of run time or 40 hours of standby time. I suspect the battery will run down more quickly if you plugin a bunch of peripherals and try to run some CPU-intensive tasks. But the standby time is interesting, because it opens the possibility of treating this desktop sort of like a notebook: You can hook it up to a keyboard, mouse, and display and use it as your home computer and then put it into sleep mode, take it to the office and use it as your work PC without even rebooting.

Connect a USB-powered portable display and you could probably even use the system at a coffee shop like an awkwardly-shaped notebook.

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59 replies on “Ainol Windows Mini PC (and power bank) up for pre-order for $128”

  1. Hi, My Ainol is not booting up, when I press the power button, blue led flashes for a second, but that’s it, same when I connect power supply. Anybody had the same issue? How to reset this thing anyway?

  2. Can I connect this to a POE splitter? The splitter will put out 5V at 2A, but the specs on this computer’s power supply says 2.5A. Will the battery buffer this difference? Or will it create a fire hazard?

  3. This is kind of cool, yet still pretty borderline in spec as a full pc . . . and why a battery?

    I keep thinking that at some point a little cigarette box sized full x86 PC will become a standardized commodity and they will just turn them out in the far east by the millions for around $100-$200. (Sorry Intel).

    It’s almost happening but they do tend to be just barely usable spec, like this Atom with 2GB/32GB or something. That’s a pretty crummy Windows machine and most linux users will want about 2x that spec as well if you could pry the truth out of them.

    Also there is no standardized size & quick-mount (VESA is laborious screws and meant for mounting the monitor on a stand) that you can drop on the back of a monitor. I’m thinking maybe the open source community could get together and spec a mimimum full cigarette box PC spec with Core i3 level chip, 4GB, 128GB, standard type and number of ports, case dimensions, and slide-lock mount spec for attachment. Maybe also port locations with dimensions. I would call it the Standard Unit of Computing but that’s kind of a lousy acronym.

  4. I just thought of this, you could set this up with splashtop so you could connect to it with your phone! Then you would have a portable computer with you that you use your phone to access!

  5. If this plugs into one of those Motorola lapdocks, it would be great.
    Don’t know how many of those are still around to buy
    If none are left, making lapdocks might be a good business
    for some factory, provided they can make them cheap enough, say $50.

  6. I’d have preferred this if they used a micro-USB port instead of that 5V DC barrel port..
    And also a Z3736 instead of Z3735D processor..
    Otherwise it looks pretty nice having the USB 3.0 and a bigger battery

  7. the windows tax really bothers me on these. not long ago you could build your own mini computer for cheap and bypass MS altogether. now its getting near impossible to star avoiding it.

    1. VOYO:
      Lacks USB 3.0 port
      1000mAh Battery vs 7000mAh
      140g vs 335g
      Uses a standard micro-usb charging, but charges at 2A instead of Ainol’s 2.5A using a 5V DC plug

  8. Oh I’m sorry, guys, if this comes off as childish, but every time I see this company’s name and logo… they gotta change it for the western market.

    1. Yeah. But if you read the Chinese name its actually pronounced “I Know”. Still the words look pretty close to anal

      1. I know, pardon the unintended pun, that’s the correct pronunciation (though it can be misheard as something else, lol).

        I just wonder if this Chinese company knows the funny deal with their name and logo. They’re starting to make some decent products, as this mini PC that looks like a 2.5″ external drive is an example. All I think they need to do to really break into the U.S. market is come up with a better sounding brand name and logo. (The asterisk is also generic and suggests an afterthought/addendum to something else.)

        1. Eventually they’ll change their name to something
          avant garde and be done with the foolishness. Lenovo
          had to do that, they had a terrible name before, and
          have moved on.

  9. It’d be nice if it had a 5″-6″ screen and a slide out keyboard with thumb trackpad.

  10. Would have been the perfect device for many, if it came with 802.11ac instead of the half-decade old 802.11n.

  11. I wonder if this is really loaded with windows … or just a trial version like some of the stick pcs?

  12. Or maybe use it as the heart of a remote (weather?) (process?) monitoring station complete with it’s own built-in UPS?
    That or the core of an Imperial Probe Droid, but that’s how I roll.

  13. It’s like my asus x205ta I paid $100 for but a little more expensive with usb 3.0 and without screen

    1. And also without webcam, microphone, speakers, keyboard, touchpad. All those things cost money.

  14. lol. How funny would it be to just tote a 24″ monitor into the coffee shop with one of these.
    At first I was thinking that for the same money I could get a tablet with all that. But I might actually be willing to trade a screen for the extra ports.
    Hang a USB drive off this and it might make an excellent HTPC, at least for playing stuff. Not enough power to record off a network tuner perhaps.

  15. The description states that it includes an “…Ethernet jack…” ; looked at the pictures; I did not see the Ethernet jack. Does it include the Ethernet jack?

    1. Good question. I have asked that question on the Geekbuying site. We’ll see what they say.

      Pete

      1. I finally got a reply from the Geekbuying site. They said the inclusion of the RJ45 jack in the specifications on their site page was a mistake, as we suspected.

        Pete

    2. That might be my bad — I was pretty sure I saw that on the spec sheet when I wrote this article, but I can’t seem to find it now, and you’re right: there doesn’t seem to be a jack on the case. So if you want Ethernet, you’ll probably need to use a USB to Ethernet adapter.

    1. I know I am making this posting from a $60 computer lol They should just make 4 inch mini-tablets instead of these boxes to get free windows license

    2. I wonder how cheap these OEMs can get a Core M into these fanless micro-PCs. The Atom is fine and all but I’d like to speed up certain things like my automated backup and compression of the PC’s data where the compression can make use of all the cores. I can set the backup to a lower priority but I’d like to make it faster than what the Atom provides (at least the Bay Trail Atoms I’ve used aren’t quick enough for me).

  16. I think they should stick a 4 inch LCD on it and call it a tablet to get a free windoze license make it cheaper lol

    1. It would cost more for the 4″ LCD than to zero out the cost of windows.

      1. If you use the crappiest OEM LCD with resistive touch it shouldn’t be too much OEM windows is like $40

        1. Don’t forget the cost of engineering that screen into an existing product.

        2. You’re forgetting that this is the Bing discounted version, which means it’s just $15!

    2. These coming cheap and tiny PCs are the direct result of advances in mobile technologies over the last several years. Demand for tablets appears to be waning, so companies look to be shifting their resources to building tiny PCs instead.

      1. The only thing “waning” about tablet sales is its growth, which is stable due to market saturation. Once the Intel and Microsoft subsidies are gone most of these Atom devices will be too.

        1. Tablet saturation is one factor but the slowdown is also because many users have simply decided they’d rather invest in a phablet than continue to carry both a phone and a tablet… First quarter of 2014 saw about a 369% increase from the previous last quarter and it’s still the most rapidly growing part of the mobile market…

          While MS isn’t really subsidizing… They’re just moving towards a more Google like business model where they’re starting to focus on alternative revenue sources instead of charging the customers directly…

          This mini-PC, for example, simply has the search engine defaulted to Bing and that’s why it’s discounted because MS gets revenue from users using Bing…

          Intel, on the other hand, is losing quite a bit of money subsidizing and getting minimum gains but they are gaining market share, however small, and establishing networks of business partners that could help them stay in the mobile market even when they finally have to give up subsidizing…

          At the very least, they should already have gotten everything updated to 14nm and their deal with Rockchip should already have gotten the SoFIA 3G/LTE integrated SoCs to market and allow Intel to actual compete with the likes of MediaTek, Qualcomm, and Samsung… So, it’s still a wait and see on them… and the success or failure of Windows 10 are one of the random factors that have yet to play out as well…

  17. Only other I know of like this was the cheaper Guleek i8, announced a few months ago. It was never in stock, and now there’s no place to preorder, either. Vapor.

      1. Deal Extreme used to sell it…they allegedly had the ones with the european power adapter in stock, but the US power adapter version was almost always in preorder mode, but there’s not even a place to order at dx anymore, Vaporous.

        1. try nuc, gigabyte and zotac celeron versions. they are priced around 100-150usd but without ram and hdd. they have ethernet, hdmi and many ports.

    1. Keep in mind that long as a device has a USB3 port you can connect a USB3 hub + gigabit ethernet adapter combo to it.

      1. I never said it was a big cost. But as you say, the battery does add almost $17 to the price. Money that could have been spent on, for example, an ethernet port since that doesn’t seem to be included despite the product description saying it should be.

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