The MINIX NGC-1 is a fanless mini PC with a fully licensed Windows 10 operating system. It offers 4k
Playback and has a hefty amount of RAM 4 GB of DDR 3L. This allows the system to handle a ton of applications and programs and perform well as a media center. At $399.00 the system is at a premium price but it is very much a premium product with a metal case and a stout weight. MINIX products always have a solid build and this one tops them all. Think of it as a pre-assembled Intel-based NUC. It is fully functional right out of the box and can be configured for multiple home entertainment and productivity needs in mind. Read on to get our overall impressions of the device.
Operating System Windows 10
Ah Windows 10, the operating system so exciting Microsoft skipped past Windows 9. Windows 10 was not built to be a media player interface. No version of Windows was unless you count the Xbox. Navigating made
me miss the Windows Media Center. With a wireless keyboard, the navigation is very natural because it is just like using any computer. Windows 10 is plenty fully capable of supporting a vast number of programs and applications. But if one chooses to use the device as a media player it would be helpful to utilize a front end system like Kodi or the Plex Home Theater.
Windows 10 utilizes the Windows app store. While not as robust as the IOS or Android store the Windows App Store has all of the big name apps the typical consumer would look for like Netflix, Hulu, Watch ESPN, Crackle and Plex. Users are hardly limited to the selections in the store of course. Plex itself offers numerous channel options when paired with an active server.Users can also download Kodi and other media apps directly from their respective websites. We set up Kodi 15.2 for Windows in a matter of minutes.
Install full servers for Plex, Kodi and PlayOn
When it comes to media servers some people swear by Kodi/XBMC while others argue that Plex’s ability to work as a peer to peer hub make it superior. While there are any number of Android media players set up around Kodi as well as some lighting fast Linux machines very few set-top boxes can be used as a Plex server. The NGC-1 can.
Because it is a full Windows PC with RAM to spare it easily handles Plex and Kodi at the same time. It can also support the Plex Home Theater which is a far more capable application than any of the Plex application available on other devices. Another option that we tried was PlayOn. PlayOn is a media center built to be used as a DVR for digital content and offers users an easy pathway to TV network based websites amongst other things. All of the media centers functioned quite well playing back media in HD The ability to handle all of these options helps set the device apart from numerous competitors.
The NCG-1 does not ship with a remote of any type. This is common with mini PC’s. The system supports USB and Wireless controllers. For set up purposes the best route is a wireless keyboard. We used a Logitech
wireless keyboard which made entering passwords for the numerous apps and server programs easy. Once set up is complete a simple air mouse will do. I have to think that the type of user who would invest in a mini Windows 10 PC likely would have a workable solution handy. But in the absence of one another purchase will be required.
It makes me sound much older than I am to say this machine has more than 3 times the RAM of the computer I had custom built by Annand Shimpi before I started college (also indecently before he finished 11th grade). With 4 GB of DDR3 RAM it will power through any basic Windows program. If a user chooses to they can utilize the NGC-1 as a desktop computer with a printer etc. It’s HDMI port will support a monitor and any peripherals needed.
You want it you got it. It comes loaded with Microsoft Explorer and Microsoft Edge. The best thing about Microsoft Explorer is that you can use it to download Google Chrome. We did that immediately. With a full browser as opposed to an Android/mobile browser users can access any website including CBS or Hulu to get content that cannot be accessed via apps. Users can also access the Plex Web App if they choose to and bypass downloading any other
interface. Any media site can be accessed through a television and if it turns out that a site is best optimized by something else just download it. There are no flash issues to negotiate or any other protocols.
Dual Band Wi-Fi is an industry standard so it should come as no surprise that the NGC-1 supports it. As with any wireless connection the performance will have a great deal more to do with the strength of one’s home network than the hardware on the computer itself.On the hardware side the NGC-1 has two external Antennas to give users the best Wi-Fi performance possible on the network.
The NGC-1 has 3 USB 3 ports along with an Ethernet port, a combined headphone/microphone jack and optical audio port and the power adapter port (of course). There is no SD card port which is odd for both a computer and a set top-
box. If you choose to utilize SD cards I would recommend using a USB based one.
The NGC-1 has a silver metal case which differentiates it from the traditional black cases that the company typically utilizes. The company uses the same supplier that Apple uses for the Macbook. It feels like a premium product, heavy, substantial and sturdy.
SoC Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core processor @ 1.6 GHz / 2.08 GHz (Turbo) with 2MB L2 cache, and Intel HD graphics with 12EU (4W SDP / 6W TDP)
Memory 4GB DDR3L
Storage 128 M.2 SSD
Video Output HDMI 1.4 up to 4K @ 30 Hz (not true 4K) and mini DisplayPort
Audio HDMI, 3.5mm stereo jack (microphone + headphone), and optical S/PDIF
Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 with two external antennas
USB 3 USB ports on
Want to order an NGC1? Pick it up from our Amazon Powered store Here