Azulle Byte3 Mini PC

Azulle Byte3 Mini PC Review

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Azulle Byte3 Mini PC is the first all-in-one PC featuring a fanless design, an Intel Apollo Lake Celeron processor, and integrated graphics, all in a compact design ideal for users on the go. This is also the world’s first 8-core graphics processor.

To put it simply, the Azulle Byte3 is pretty much the perfect portable PC.

Is the Azulle Byte3 a good value for money?Read our review to find out.

Azulle Byte3 Mini PC: Design

Azulle Byte3 Mini PC

As with the Intel NUC, the Byte3 is a small, square-shaped desktop PC. There is a small Wi-Fi antenna at the back of the mini PC, which weighs only 14 ounces and measures 5.6 in x 4 in x 1.5 in. It’s similar in some ways to the Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny, which includes an external Wi-Fi antenna and a compact square-shaped chassis. It is more like the Zotac Zbox Pico PI225 inside, with an Intel Celeron CPU and a fanless system that uses inductive cooling to keep things silent.

The power button and the glowing blue stripe on the front of the chassis add some style to the otherwise basic black (or near-black) box. In the bottom left corner, you’ll also see an IR sensor. With the Byte3’s remote control, Azulle makes it easy to use the small system as a home entertainment PC without getting up off the couch or using a clunky wireless keyboard and mouse.

In addition to convenient power and volume controls, the bundled remote control offers dedicated buttons for navigating menus and accessing the TV’s features. It isn’t enough for all your PC interaction, but it does give you enough input to browse Netflix without reaching for your keyboard and mouse.

The Byte3 lets you access some of the internal components and even add additional storage after purchase, with a free M.2 slot and a SATA port. The Byte3 is different from most mini PCs we’ve tested in that you can add storage once it’s purchased. The detachable bottom panel comes with screw holes and a support bracket for the drive, as well as the appropriate data and power cables. The only parts of your system you can’t change are the processor and RAM. Choose carefully.

It runs a bit hot due to the tight confines of the chassis and the fanless cooling of the Celeron processor. The top panel of the Byte3 reached more than 107 degrees Fahrenheit after running a few benchmark tests. It was decidedly cooler underneath the boxy mini PC, at 92 degrees.

Azulle Byte3 Mini PC: Ports

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Byte3’s port selection is one of its most appealing features, offering ample connectivity for entertainment and business alike. Right above the SD card slot are a pair of USB ports—one USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port.

In addition to its two USB 3.0 ports and USB Type-C port, the Byte3 offers a 3.5mm audio jack, an HDMI output for video and audio, and a VGA port for connecting older monitors and projectors. It offers wired networking and wireless AC connectivity via its Ethernet port and Wi-Fi antenna. Using a Kensington Lock slot, you can prevent theft of the small PC.

Azulle Byte3 Mini PC: Performance

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As part of Intel’s Apollo Lake line of CPUs, the Azulle Byte3 is equipped with a quad-core Intel Celeron J3455 1.5GHz processor. This unit includes 4GB of RAM and comes pre-installed with the 64-bit version of Windows 10 Pro.

Azulle’s Byte3 is primarily intended for streaming video to TV. It can stream video in 4K at a frame rate of 60 frames per second. During my use of the machine, it handled 4K streams from Netflix and Google Play Movies without any difficulty.

Streaming video and browsing articles online worked fine, as long as you kept the number of tabs to a minimum.Streaming video was smooth when running two or three tabs, but as you got to five or six, the quality began to drop and buffering became more frequent.

These specifications make it more comparable to smaller stick PCs, like the Azulle Access Plus (Intel Atom x5-Z8350, 4GB RAM) or the Zotac Pico PI225 (Intel Celeron N3350, 4GB RAM), and the Apollo Lake Celeron processor is not as powerful as the Intel Core processors used in more robust mini desktops, like the Apple Mac mini 2018 or the Lenovo ThinkCentre

Byte3 is equipped with a 32GB eMMC drive—essentially an SD card mounted as a system drive. We tested the speed of file transfer using a 4.97GB collection of mixed data files. It copied the files in 41 seconds with 122.43 MBps. The Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny (169 MBps) is faster than the Azule Access Plus (41.04 MBps) and the Zotac Zbox Pico PI225 (45.04 MBps). Even so, it is not comparable to a more powerful system, such as the Apple Mac mini (2018) (2,544 MBps).

Even though the Byte3 may be intended for use with an entertainment system or as part of electronic signage, it still packs some processing power. The Byte3 scored 4,011 points on Geekbench 4, beating the Azulle Access Plus (2,401) and the Zotac Zbox Pico PI225 (1,475). However, the Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny (8,010) nearly doubles that score, and the Apple Mac mini (2018) (13,666) more than triples it.

Byte3 ran through recent Excel tests in 14 sec, smashing past ThinkCentre M710q Tiny (1:21).

On the other hand, in an older version of OpenOffice, the system matched 20,000 names and addresses in 10 minutes and 1 second. Byte3 again outranks Azulle Access Plus (16:47) and Zotac Zbox Pico PI225 (21:55). The Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny (3:52) was significantly faster, however.

The Byte3 also scores 59.29 in the Jetstream browser benchmark test, which measures online performance. While this is a significant improvement over the pocketable Azulle Access Plus (45.81), it falls short of the Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny (154.58) and the Apple Mac mini (2018) (281.84).

The graphics hardware inside-the Intel HD Graphics 500 integrated graphics technology-isn’t very impressive. Despite its limited graphics performance, it scored 25,138 points on 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, outperforming the Zbox Pico PI225 (13,462) and the Azulle Access Plus (18,805).

In comparison to the Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny (69,398), which is equipped for basic office tasks, it still falls short. In spite of this, the system can handle video streaming and similar media-focused tasks quite well, but gaming is not an option.

Azulle Byte3 Mini PC: Configurations

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The Byte3 is offered in four different retail configurations, each with a different amount of RAM and storage. As part of our review unit, we received 4GB of memory and 32GB of onboard storage. 

The base model of the Byte3 ($219) is very similar in most ways, but has half the RAM. It sells for $239 alone (like our review unit), or more when bundled with some accessory options.

There are two top-of-the-line models that come with either more RAM or more storage (but not both). This model, which sells for $359, comes with 8GB of RAM but the same 32GB of storage space as the others.

One model, which was not available as of this writing, keeps the middle-of-the-road 4GB of RAM but bumps up the storage to 64GB. When available, it costs $289.

Azulle Byte3 Mini PC: Accessories

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Byte3 can be bought on its own, without any peripherals, or as part of a bundle package. The Byte3 comes with various packages, including a Bluetooth-connected multifunction remote control, a wireless keyboard, and a webcam.

The Lynk multifunctional remote controls are the first option. Not only is it easier to control than the included IR remote, but it also comes with an air mouse (which lets you point and move the remote to move your cursor) and a backlit QWERTY keyboard. Besides the swiveling scroll wheel and microphone, the remote also offers a swiveling scroll wheel. You can even connect it to other devices, including game consoles and Android set-top boxes, which makes it a great addition to your home theater system. In addition to the remote, you can bundle it with the Byte3 for $25, which costs $29.99.

A second option is the Logitech K400 wireless keyboard, which comes with a built-in trackpad and connects wirelessly via a 2.4GHz USB dongle. If you purchase the keyboard alone, it will cost you $39.99, but the price will increase only by $30 when purchased with the Byte. This keyboard and mouse combo is a pretty good choice if you’re looking for a reliable setup.

Another option is the Logitech HD Pro C920 webcam, which has Full-HD capture (1080p at 30 frames per second), a 78-degree field of vision, and built-in microphones. The webcam connects to your computer via USB 2.0 and has a mount that lets you attach it to the top of your monitor or television without using fasteners or glue, or having to balance it precariously in place. Various retailers sell the webcam alone for $65 or $70, but it only adds $60 to the bundle price for the Byte3.

Warranty and Software

Azulle sells the Byte3 as a bare-bones system, but most retail options include pre-installed Windows 10 Pro. It was no exception for us. The setup is bloat-free, with no extra programs or proprietary apps, though you will receive the usual Microsoft offerings: Cortana, Skype, and Microsoft Office.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Performance is better than expected. There are a few features on the included remote control.
A good choice of ports There is no RAM upgrade available.
adaptable to future changes. Multitasking is tedious.
The fanless design is completely silent.
Affordable
Perfect for 4K streaming.

Final Verdict

The Byte3 takes the mini PC concept—simple PC hardware in a tiny chassis—and puts it in your home theater setup, so you can stream media from the PC. It even includes a remote control you can use at home. Despite having similar components, the Byte3 outperforms smaller stick PCs and provides a surprising amount of value for the price.

In a similar form factor, the Apple Mac mini (2018) should fit the bill, but it’ll cost much more. An even smaller PC option is a stick PC like the Azulle Access Plus, though it offers less power and fewer ports and won’t save you much money.