You may have thought you saw it all after Zotac’s latest Zbox release and the introduction of the first (obscure) Windows 8 stick PC. But boy, were you wrong. Miniature fanless PC producer CompuLab proves there’s room for further advancements and surprises in the tiny desktop market.
The Utilite2 isn’t quite as small as the MeegoPad T01, and nowhere near as productive as the Zbox PI320 pico. But it juggles two operating systems, Android and Ubuntu Linux, which is pretty outstanding for a mouse-sized contraption.
That’s right, this thing measures 3.4 x 3.4 x 1.1 inches, so it’s probably not a good idea to squeeze it into a stocking come Christmas. Not because it won’t fit, but because you risk losing sight of it, or someone assuming it’s a toy.
The miniature PC still finds room for HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and no less than four USB 2.0 connectors. There’s also a microSD card slot capable of reading cards with up to 128GB data, and SSD storage expansion options of up to 512GB.
Default storage is rather cramped, at 4GB, so you’re going to need those storage upgrade options. The pre-installed random-access memory is not as shoddy as you might expect, at 2GB; more than enough for Android or Ubuntu. The RAM is soldered to the logic board, though, and thus impossible to replace or upgrade.
Processing power is provided by an ARM-based quad-core Snapdragon 600 SoC that’s not exactly cutting-edge. But paired with Android and Linux on the software side of things, it’s likely up to the challenge. It’s also a major upgrade over the first-gen Utilite, which packed a cringe worthy single-core Cortex-A9 Freescale CPU in its entry-level “Value” configuration.
Ready to ship just in time for Christmas, the Utilite2 is “to offer a better price-performance ratio than that of its predecessor.” Unfortunately, exact pricing is up in the air at the moment. Care to venture a guess? We’d say… $100 and up.