A tiny PC with reasonable performance, but it's limited in its usefulness
Processor: Quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3735F, RAM: 2GB, Front USB ports : 0, Rear USB ports: 1, Total storage: 32GB, Graphics card: Intel HD Graphics, Display: None, Operating system: Windows 8.1 with Bing
The Hannspree Micro PC is a Windows 8.1 (with Bing) PC that is only slightly bigger than a Chromecast dongle. It weighs just 38g, too, so will happily support itself when plugged into the back of your monitor with its HDMI plug.
HDMI doesn’t provide power, so you’ll also need to plug the Micro PC into a power supply via its Micro USB port. You’ll also need a way to control the PC, but this is where things become a bit trickier. As the Micro PC only has one USB port, you won’t be able to use a conventional keyboard and mouse. A wireless keyboard and mouse set will work, as this only uses one dongle, but if you want to keep a USB port free for a printer, gamepad or any other purpose, you’ll also need a USB hub. The hub will also have to be a powered model, as the Micro PC couldn’t provide enough power for both a keyboard and a gamepad through a passive USB hub in our testing.
The other option is to connect a keyboard and mouse via Bluetooth, but here you’ll run into trouble with Windows’ perennially useless Bluetooth support. With a view to keeping the single USB port free, we managed to pair a Bluetooth keyboard with a built-in touchpad with the Micro PC, but whenever the keyboard went into standby the PC would lose the connection, and it’s not possible to re-establish the link without plugging in a separate wireless keyboard and mouse.
We also found Bluetooth wasn’t much good for audio. The Micro PC doesn’t have a headphone socket, so your sound options are either HDMI or Bluetooth. This won’t be a problem if you plug your Micro PC into a TV, but if you want to use a monitor you’ll need to check that it has a 3.5mm audio output that will pass sound from HDMI. We managed to pair a Bluetooth headset with the Micro PC, but the resulting sound stuttered. You could always use a USB sound card with a headphone output, but of course this will require you to have a powered hub.
The Micro PC has a Quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom “Bay Trail” processor and 2GB RAM, and runs Windows 8.1 acceptably. Start screen and window animations are smooth, and web browsing is only very slightly slower than on a high-specification computer. We noticed that programs took a while to install, and although the Micro PC can play back Full HD video smoothly, YouTube videos in Chrome were jerky. The Micro PC has 32GB of built-in storage of which only 25GB is available to Windows; out of the box, we found it had around 10GB of space left. This is enough to install a few programs, but you’ll want to plug a microSD card into the integrated slot to store your documents and media files.
Our chief difficulty with the Micro PC was working out what it was for. You could use it as a small media PC running a media center program such as Kodi, but we found it was too slow to run Kodi’s interface smoothly, and we would rather use a £30 Chromecast controlled from a tablet. We also thought it could work as a target for in-home Steam streaming, where you host the game on a more powerful PC and stream the game to a different computer, so you can leave your main PC in the office and play on your living room TV. However, while we had no problems setting it up, gameplay on the Micro PC was much less smooth than on the host computer.
Considering it comes with Windows 8.1 installed, the Hannspree Micro PC is potentially a bit of a bargain at less than £130. However, the single USB port, coupled with Windows’ poor Bluetooth support, limits its usefulness. If you’re after a media streaming device you’re better off with a Chromecast, and if you need an inexpensive home PC you’d be better off finding around £180 (or £250 with Windows) and building your own desktop, which will be far more useful.
|Quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3735F
|Intel Bay Trail
|Ports and expansion
|Front USB ports
|Rear USB ports
|Micro PC stick
|Case size HxWxD
|PCIe x1 (free)
|PCIe x16 (free)
|Serial ATA (free)
|Memory slots (free)
|Drive bays 2 1/2″ (free)
|Drive bays 3 1/2″ (free)
|Drive bays 5 1/4″ (free)
|Memory card reader
|Optical drive type
|Intel HD Graphics
|Intel SSD audio device
|Sound card outputs
|Micro USB cable, HDMI extension cable
|Windows 8.1 with Bing
|Operating system restore option