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Intel NUC 7 Home Mini PC Core i5 review: Small, but not perfectly formed

Our Rating :
$280.00 from
£477.40 from
Price when reviewed : £599
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Based on Intel’s Next Unit of Computing form factor, the NUC 7 is beginning to show its age


  • Large stock storage capacity
  • Good performance, despite its 4GB of RAM
  • Very light and portable


  • Performance doesn't match the price tag
  • Could be improved with more RAM
  • Better competitor designs out there

The biggest giveaway that the NUC 7 family isn’t quite at the cutting edge comes not from the presence of a seventh-generation Core i3 or Core i5 processor, but from a card included in the box offering a range of free downloadable software. Providing you travel back in time and redeem it before September 2018. This aside, however, there’s a lot to recommend Intel’s compact NUC form factor.

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Intel NUC 7 Home Mini PC review: Features and performance

The 7 Home Mini PC is both a lot smaller and lighter than other systems, and it’s one of the few to include Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 technology – making it compatible with external graphics housings for those who need a serious performance boost.

The machine’s surprising performance in the multitasking benchmark, given the mere 4GB of RAM on offer, can likely be explained by the presence of a 16GB Intel Optane acceleration module fitted in the M.2 slot from the factory; this is used to boost the performance of the 1TB mechanical hard drive that provides the bulk of the machine’s storage, acting as an invisible cache for frequently accessed data.

Intel NUC 7 Home Mini PC review: Specifications

The NUC 7 is a somewhat strange beast, though: while its 53.7W peak power draw makes sense given its specifications, its idle draw fluctuated wildly between a low of 11.1W to a high of around 30W. This is despite there being no active background tasks at the time.

While there’s no denying that the NUC 7 is impressively compact, and offers the largest stock storage capacity of any system on test this month, it still struggles to justify its price in the face of considerably improved competitor designs.

The 4GB of RAM is a particular bottleneck; with 8GB, responsiveness for memory-hungry tasks, including multi-tab web browsing, would be considerably improved.

Intel NUC 7 Home Mini PC review: Verdict

So, should you buy the Intel NUC 7? Where the Intel NUC really excels is in size and weight. It has the smallest footprint of any x86-based system we’ve reviewed and is the second lightest – which is bumped up by its mechanical hard drive.

Coupled with an ultra-compact plug-in power supply, which includes international adapters, the NUC could still be a winner for anyone who needs the ultimate in portability from their next machine.

Intel NUC 7 Home Mini PC specifications
ProcessorIntel Core i5-7270U 2.2GHz
Front-facing ports
2 x USB-A 3, audio in/out, 2 x integrated microphones
Rear-facing portsHDMI, USB 3.1 Gen 1 USB-C/DisplayPort/Thunderbolt 3, Gigabit Ethernet, DC power, microSD
Graphics cardIntel Iris Plus graphics 640
Storage16GB SSD, 1TB HDD
Operating systemWindows 10 Home
Warranty3yr RTB

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