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Minix Neo G41V-4 review: The lesser of two Neos

Our Rating :
$239.90 from
Price when reviewed : £275
inc VAT

A decent low-profile PC with some nice individual touches, but the Neo J50C-4 is better overall


  • microSD support
  • Cheap
  • Powerful enough for daily use


  • Connectivity is limited
  • Components aren't replaceable

According to its packaging, the Minix Neo G41V-4 is designed for commercial use: think of the tiny PCs that power digital signage, or those self-service touchscreens in restaurants. This could have fooled us, as its dinky yet complete chassis, mix of input and output ports, and Windows 10 Pro operating system sound like all the ingredients for a space-saving home desktop.

Editor’s note: This article frequently references our review of the Minix Geo J50C-4, which can be found by following this link.

Minix Neo G41V-4 review: Specifications

That’s with emphasis on space-saving, as this is a truly teensy PC: at 38 x 290 x 290mm, it’s even more petite than the Acer Chromebox CXI3. It’s also completely fanless, so when it’s switched on – and even when it’s running relatively intensive programs – you won’t hear a peep out of it, save for a single beep on startup.

There is, however, a catch. Without a large radiator, which the Neo G41V-4 clearly doesn’t have, only low-power processors can safely run on silent passive cooling. Sure enough, the CPU of choice is Intel’s Celeron N4100, which has four cores but a lowly base speed of 1.1GHz and a maximum boost speed of 2.4GHz. This should immediately tell you that while the Neo G41V-4 is a very little computer, it also has little computing horsepower, and the low 4GB of RAM might not inspire confidence, either.

In fairness, this is a very cheap system as well as a very small one – how often do you see full-size Windows 10 desktops for under £300? – so as long as the Neo G41V-4 can make it through basic everyday use, it will have done its job.

Minix Neo G41V-4 review: Performance

In our 4K benchmarks – which completed without incident, unlike on some entry-level PCs like the Intel Compute Stick – it scored 49 in the image test, 43 in the video test, 18 in the multitasking test and 32 overall. These are all low scores, to be clear, but they’re also high enough that you’ll be able to read emails, browse the web and write Word documents without the entire system slowing to a crawl. For the money, that’s good enough.

We only suffered a nasty slowdown once, when attempting to search for a YouTube video, but this wasn’t a regular occurrence. The Neo G41V-4’s comparative lack of power only reliably manifests when you try to juggle several different applications at a time, a predictable limitation of its low multitasking test score and its less than generous amount of RAM.

Also unsurprising is the lack of gaming ability. The Celeron N4100 processor has only an extremely basic, integrated Intel UHD Graphics 600 GPU, and this was able to manage 14fps in Dirt Showdown running at 720p and with High settings enabled. Somehow, it also produced 14fps at 1080p with Ultra settings, but neither of these are playable, so you’d have to stick to simple browser games.

The other (and similar) Minix PC in this roundup, the Neo J50C-4, only scored 33 overall and peaked at 17fps in Dirt Showdown, so it’s hardly a big step up in performance. However, it also has measurably better single-core heft, so will be very slightly more comfortable with most bread-and-butter Windows applications.

The Neo G41V-4 has marginally faster eMMC Flash storage than the Neo J50C-4, posting a sequential read speed of 308MB/s and a sequential write speed of 254MB/s in the AS SSD benchmarks. Unfortunately, this brings us to the single biggest issue with both PCs: there just isn’t enough storage space.

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Minix Neo G41V-4 review: Features

Using slower eMMC instead of a desktop-grade SSD is a forgivable compromise for the low price, but 64GB is going to run out fast if you use this as your main PC. Nearly half of that is unavailable straight out of the box, as Windows and all its associated files and apps are already saved on there.

Upgrading storage is, therefore, essential, although luckily this is easier than it is on most systems. The underside has a convenient flap, which after removing just a couple of screws opens up to reveal an M.2 slot on the motherboard. Simply install a new SSD, close the flap and it’s sorted.

We also found that the entire bottom panel can be taken off, by removing the stick-on rubber feet and undoing the screws hidden underneath, but there’s no benefit to this as there are no more additional expansion slots to work with. Even the memory, a prime candidate for future upgrades, is soldered in on the opposite, inaccessible side of the motherboard. The Neo J50C-4 might lack a quick-access M.2 flap, but at least it lets you easily add more RAM as well as an SSD.

We also prefer the Neo J50C-4’s selection of external ports. Not that the Neo G41V-4 is poor in this regard: four full-size USB ports is enough to suffice, and the microSD card slot is a less common quality on mini PCs than you might think. The 3.5mm headphone jack also has a very neat trick: plug in the bundled S/PDIF adaptor, and it can output to much more advanced hi-fi systems and soundbars.

Having both Gigabit Ethernet and built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi is another point in its favour, not to mention its Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity. However, half of those USB ports use the slower USB2 standard, and although there are multiple video outputs, only two of them – the HDMI and DisplayPort sockets – have much business on a 2019 PC. The third, a VGA port, can’t even handle resolutions above 1080p. USB Type-C is simply nowhere to be seen.

Minix Neo G41V-4 review: Verdict

Both Minix systems can be reminders that you get what you pay for, but unless a microSD slot is somehow essential to you, the Neo J50C-4 is the better of the pair. It has more modern connectivity, and we’d rather be able to upgrade the RAM than save a couple of minutes with an M.2 flap.

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