The Best Mini PCs 2022: Portable Desktop Computers Reviewed - Rolling Stone
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RS Recommends: The Best Space-Saving Mini Computers

These mini PCs contain a full desktop computer inside, freeing up your workspace and letting you easily take your work with you as well

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Apple/Intel/HP

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If you’re considering downsizing your desk, or are tired of bulky towers taking up precious floor space, it may be time to pick up a mini PC. Don’t be fooled by the size — the best mini PCs contain a full desktop computer inside, freeing up more of your workspace and letting you easily take it with you as well.

What Is a Mini Computer?

Instead of a traditional tower-type hard drive for a desktop machine, a mini PC contains everything in a simple space-saving little unit, which you then hook up to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. They’re much more compact, and give you the option of an entire desktop computer that you can now carry around with you, or sometimes even mount to the back of the monitor itself.

What Is a Mini Computer Used For?

While most any mini PC can handle the basics of everyday internet life, such as web browsing, streaming, and social media, anything beyond that is something you’ll want to check the stats for, to see if your mini computer can deal with what you need. For example, heavy gamers using a mini PC with an average RAM and processing speed would face lots of annoying lag and latency, not to mention a unit that’s at risk for overheating (and gets obnoxiously loud when the cooling fans kick in).

But for regular usage, like schoolwork, spreadsheets and office tasks, getting a beefed-up machine with loads of storage would be a waste, as those types of applications don’t weigh down the CPU processing and put much of a strain on it.

There’s also the customizable aspect too. While many of the best mini PC brands let you choose between a few pre-built ones that are ready to go right out of the box with varying storage and memory amounts, others are designed to be further customized once they arrive, as more experienced users add their own parts and remove others.

What Are the Best Mini PCs?

There are a lot of good mini PCs available, and shopping for one can be overwhelming. So we’ve selected four of the most accessible and versatile computers to get you started. Read on to find out what’s going to work for you, your online and offline lifestyle, and your space – both physical and memory-wise.

1. Intel NUC11PAHi5 

Intel mini pc

Amazon

Fueled by an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 processor with up to 4.2gHz of speed (the base unit supports 2.4gHZ, but you can add components to make your PC more powerful), there’s a lot packed into this little unit.

There are Intel graphics integrated, allowing you to stream mostly clear video and use this mini PC for your basic productivity needs. You’ll be able to connect up to four monitors as well via the HDMI, mini DisplayPort and two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

You’ll also be able to pick anywhere between 8 to 32 GB or RAM and up to 1TB of storage. We suggest choosing one of the heftier options if you plan to game or create with your new PC. If you’re using it for basic productivity needs and don’t plan on downloading storage-heavy apps, you’re fine choosing a more barebones option.

Your new Intel PC is fast, responsive, and portable (at just 1.32 pounds), this is recommended more for users who have built and maintained machines before, as it might be confusing or overwhelming for newbies. It can handle regular internet usage and mild gaming with no problem, but heavy gamers will probably need something more powerful and with a better response to overheating.

Buy: Intel NUC11PAHi5  at $599.00

2. Apple Mac Mini

apple mini pc

Amazon

Apples Mac Mini is a good choice for Mac users and is both incredibly compact and portable. 

There are two storage sizes to choose from (256GB and 512GB) and both pack 8GB of RAM, just enough for your work-from-home needs, as long as your job doesn’t involve heavy video editing. You’ve also got Apple’s M1 chip built-in which features faster processing times with lower fan speeds. 

The performance will be quick, fast and powerful and Apple even claims that the M1 chip boasts faster graphics processing for clear visuals.

The macOS is also super user-friendly and intuitive with hundreds of useful apps and top-notch privacy settings available,  making this a great option for beginners who don’t have much experience building PCs and just need something to get their day-to-day work done. 

Buy: Apple Mac Mini at $669.00

3. Raspberry Pi 4 Model B

raspberry pi pc

Amazon

If you want to create your own setup and figure out what works best for you, the Raspberry Pi 400 B is the PC you need. 

Don’t be fooled by its exposed design — this PC is just as powerful as any other we mention on this list. It’s got two USB ports and two HDMI ports, supporting 4K video. Built-in RAM is at 4GB and speed’s at 2.4GHz to start. This is a basic enough setup for casual streaming or web browsing, but you’ll need to upgrade your PC based on your daily needs. 

What’s more, this Mini PC can be tinkered with and used to build anything — which means you can use this PC even if you want to try your hand at robotics or build your own smart display. If you’re new to the Raspberry Pi ecosystem, you can even purchase one of the kits to get you started. 

Buy: Raspberry Pi 4 Model B at $139.99

4. HP ProDesk 400 G6 Desktop Mini PC

HP mini pc

HP

The HP ProDesk 400 G6 packs a punch with a 10th generation intel i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. It’s also got Intel UHD graphics integrated so you know your videos, games and presentations will look clear and vivid. 

This mini PC has got Windows 10 Pro as well, and you can even get a free upgrade to Windows 11 if you so desire. As for ports, you’ve got an HDMI port, a Display Port and multiple USB ports, plus an audio jack. 

It’s also relatively light weighing just under three pounds, so you can carry it around when you’re traveling on business.

Buy: HP ProDesk 400 G6 Desktop at $824

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