Jan 14, 2014 Nick Rego
When we think of a desktop PC, we don’t necessarily think of small-footprint devices. We conjure up images of tower-PCs or all-in-ones, but seem to forget that sometimes size can be a deceiving thing. There are a number of manufacturers who have manage to whittle down the traditional PC into something roughly the size of a book, and it’s a trend that has certainly helped to save desk space in the long run. Recognizing this trend, ASUS has released the ASUS miniPC VC60, a compact and stylish mini-PC that it hopes will be perfect for business use.
The design of the VC60 is certainly eye catching – an almost square metallic box in brushed aluminum is all you’ll find, with a thin slot on the front that glows to indicate that the VC60 is operational. At the back of the unit is where you’ll find all of the good stuff, including a massive array of ports. The VC60 also comes equipped with the new standard of wireless 802.11ac, which makes for faster wireless speeds with compatible equipment.
Thanks to its size, the VC60 can also be mounted using a standard VESA mount, so you can hide it completely behind a computer monitor. The only downside being of course that you restrict access to the USB ports and such. But other than that, the VC60 is small enough to hide almost anywhere on your desk, and only at a second glance will you realize that this stylish little device is actually a PC.
Given its small footprint, you won’t be running very intense applications on the VC60. General office tasks and applications will run without any problem, especially if you’re running apps through Citrix or another remote desktop application. There’s also enough storage space on board to store your files, and swapping out the HDD for an SSD makes the VC60 almost whisper-quiet. Don’t expect to use the VC60 for scenarios like photo manipulation, as the on-board graphics weren’t powerful enough to render our large test images quickly enough. I did run into one recurring issue with the Wi-fi constantly disconnecting every few hours – I’m marking this down to potential incompatibilities with my Linksys router that was operating on a 5GHz network. The VC60 also allows you to connect your smartphone or tablet using the Wifi Go software, enabling remote access to your files and PC.
ASUS also bundles a wireless keyboard and mouse with the VC60. The keyboard felt responsive enough and keys were spaced out well, making typing on it problem-free.
But where ASUS seem to have lost a screw or two is with the wireless mouse. The bundled mouse looks something out of a Star Trek film, with a large circular face that acts as the left and right mouse buttons as well as for gestures. While the concept is certainly very unique, as a mouse it felt really weird and somewhat uncomfortable to use. Due to its flattened shape it won’t support your hand very well, and clicking was only responsive near the edges, not near the middle of the device. The gestures seemed like a smart idea, but it felt a bit awkward at times having to try and do these on a mouse face than on a trackpad. ASUS does include a suite of software to fine-tune the mouse, but it didn’t seem to improve the experience very much. The other downside is that both the keyboard and mouse each had their own separate wireless module, which meant that two USB ports on the VC60 were used up. But since ASUS have included plenty of USB ports to begin with, this is something you can overlook.
The VC60 makes little to no sound most of the time. Even when stress-testing the unit, the internal fans made only a slight whirring sound, which would be barely audible in a typical office environment. The VC60 did get a little warm towards the back of the device, but it’s not something you should really worry about, unless you’re constantly man-handling it on your desk.
For a business machine, the VC60 is actually quite good. It certainly looks a lot better than other mini-PCs we’ve seen in the market, and performance-wise it was able to hold up quite well. I recommend ditching the fancy wireless keyboard and mouse and opting for something simpler (unless you’re a closet Trekkie).
A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys playing videogames during work hours and tinkering with the latest gadgets.
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