This year we’ve seen a handful of companies release tiny desktop computers measuring just 2.8″ x 2.8″ x 1.8″ and housing a 10-watt Intel Celeron N5105 quad-core processor, typically with prices in the $200 to $300 range at launch.
But there are a growing number of products in this category, and some previously launched models are getting cheaper. These days it’s not hard to find one selling for as little as $165.
I started to notice this trend after spotting an AndroidPC.es article about a new model called the GK3V that’s available from AliExpress with prices starting under $200. Then I noticed that the nearly identical GMK NucBox5 that hit the streets earlier this year is now selling for as little as $185 at Amazon or $190 at the GMK store. And the ZX01 is even cheaper at AliExpress.
One thing that could set the new GK3V apart is that the AliExpress product page suggests it may eventually be available with 16GB of RAM, although there’s no option to buy a model with that much memory yet.
All of the other 2.8 inch mini PCs with Celeron N5105 chips that I’ve seen so far have 8GB of LPDDR4-2933 RAM and 128GB to 1TB of storage. The RAM is not user upgradeable, but the storage is, since the little PCs have an M.2 2242 slot for a SSD.
In fact, if you already have an SSD and don’t mind installing your own operating system, the cheapest model I’ve seen so far is a $145 ZX01 that comes with 8GB of RAM but no storage.
These 2.8 inch mini PCs all feature dual HDMI 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio jack, and USB 3.0 Type-A ports on the back, along with a USB-C port for charging (it doesn’t appear to support data).
On the front there are two more USB Type-A ports and a power button. And there’s a microSD card reader on one side.
Wireless capabilities typically include support for WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2, although it’s possible that this could vary from model to model. The GK3V product listing includes marketing material that says the mini PC supports WiFi 6, but the text of the product description mentions 802.11ac wireless support, which would actually be WiFi 5.