Can Android Mini PC Replace Desktop PC?

The current trend in small and mobile computing has shaken up the computing industry over the last several years. A lot of people are now wondering if these smaller computing devices will eventually overtake traditional desktop PCs.

With the advent of powerful laptops, Ultrabooks, and tablets, people are starting to do more and more with their mobile devices. Current trends seem to suggest that it might replace the desktop for certain tasks, but not quite for everything.

What an Android Mini PC Can Do

Running Programs

So, is an Android Mini PC actually capable of running a desktop operating system? Well… kind of. While most Android Mini PCs will run a standard version of Android very well, many have trouble with anything more resource-intensive. Since most Android Mini PCs are built to use the same specs as low-cost smartphones and tablets, they don’t come with a lot of processing power.

They also usually only have a few GBs of internal storage, greatly limiting what you can do…if an Android Mini PC even has enough space, to begin with. Luckily, most manufacturers are starting to offer devices with more than the bare minimum specs for this very reason.

Downloading Programs

Aside from running programs, another problem facing potential users is the issue of downloading programs in the first place. The fact that Android apps run directly on your Android Mini PC means that you can download any app available on Google Play.

This is not always ideal though since there are many different types of apps and some just won’t work well or at all without desktop-level hardware. Also, most app stores only cater to the type of device they are selling. So you can expect a very different feel from Google Play as opposed to Amazon Appstore.

Working with Data

Working with data on an Android Mini PC is much easier than it used to be, but still has some serious limitations. Although some manufacturers have created Android Mini PCs that use USB 3.0 and/or eSATA ports for transferring large amounts of data quickly…most devices rely on Wi-Fi for this purpose.

Let’s face it…Wi-Fi just isn’t as fast as required if you really need to transfer some important files off of your device quickly. The fact that not all apps play well together is another factor to consider when working with Android Mini PC.

Playing Games

Playing games on an Android Mini PC is pretty much the same as using any other Android device. The only thing you will need to keep in mind is compatibility, screen size, and input/output methods. You should be able to play the most popular titles right out of the box without needing root access. But for those really intensive games…you may run into some problems.

Big Screen

Using an Android Mini PC as your main computer means you need access to a large screen. Since most devices do not come equipped with HDMI ports, you will likely have to purchase an adapter or use wireless screencasting technology if you want to hook it up to your TV set. While wireless streaming is great, it still isn’t perfect and can cause quite a bit of trouble if the device doesn’t support the right features.

Benefits of an Android Mini PC

With all of the diverse features and functions available with an Android Mini PC, it should be quite obvious as to why they may replace a desktop PC. But let’s take a look at some of the main benefits these devices offer:

Mobility

The first major advantage that comes with using an Android Mini PC is mobility. You can use your device pretty much anywhere you go without having to worry about finding Wi-Fi or running out of power. This makes it great for those who work on the go and need access to cloud computing services anytime, anywhere.

Small Size

Another major benefit is the fact that most Android Mini PCs are quite small in size…especially compared to larger desktop PCs or laptops. And the fact that they don’t take up a lot of space opens up a whole new world of design possibilities. With their small footprint, you can find a way to fit just about any Android Mini PC in your home or office no matter how crowded it may be.

Price

Last but not least…you will save money when using an Android Mini PC as opposed to other types of computer systems. Although prices vary from model to model…most devices do not cost nearly as much as full-sized PCs or even other mobile devices like laptops and tablets. So if you are looking for an affordable alternative to traditional desktop computing, this could be it.

Downsides of an Android Mini PC

Although there are many benefits to using an Android Mini PC as your main computer…there are quite a few downsides as well. The biggest downside by far is the limited processing power of these devices. Not only do you have to contend with less-than-stellar specs, but many manufacturers cheap out on other components too. So you will definitely want to do some research before making a purchase.

The other big problem with Android Mini PCs still remains their lack of compatibility with desktop apps and operating systems. Although most manufacturers now offer devices that come pre-installed with Windows or Ubuntu Linux for this very reason, getting these devices up and working can be very difficult for novice users who don’t have much experience working inside the command line.

Conclusion

Android mini PCs are great if your main use of a computer is to consume content. For many forms of productivity, however, it can leave something to be desired. They’re still solidly made devices, and priced very inexpensively compared to most other Android devices, likely because they don’t include a screen or many of the extra sensors found in your average phone or tablet. But for more intensive work, it’s not quite there yet.

Android Mini PCs do have a lot of potential, but they still have a long way to go before they can truly replace desktop computers. If you are willing to take the time and put in some extra money, then an Android Mini PC may be just what you need. Just don’t expect to get the same level of performance from these devices as you would from a full-size computer…even if it is your first time using one.

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