ViewSonic VOT120 PC Mini review

Since the Asus Eee Box started the nettop trend, recent mini PCs have taken one of two roads: either add Nvidia’s Ion graphics to create a media nettop, or keep it as is and just miniaturise the thing as much as possible. ViewSonic’s VOT120 takes the second option, cramming a fully functional Atom-based PC into a box that’s a good deal smaller than a Mac Mini.

The internals are nothing particularly new. It’s powered by a 1.6GHz Atom N270 with Hyper-Threading, assisted by 1GB of DDR2 memory and a 160GB, 5,400rpm laptop hard disk. This combination led to a standard score of 0.36 in our 2D benchmarks, which should tell you everything you need to know about the VOT120’s intended use – don’t try anything too intensive, but you should be fine for everyday tasks.

But power isn’t the important factor for a mini PC such as this; what you want is an adequate feature set, and the ViewSonic makes a decent fist of this. It comes with both Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n wireless, and along with a DVI output and four USB ports (two each on the front and back), there’s also an eSATA port should you wish to expand the existing storage capacity.

The whole device sits upright in a neat little stand, and it uses an external power supply. Under full load the ViewSonic drew a staggeringly low 15W, which fell even further to just 10W when idle. And with all this power-efficiency in mind, it understandably comes pre-loaded with Windows XP Home SP3.

At £178, it’s a fraction cheaper than a comparably specified Eee Box, and with its tiny dimensions and low power draw we can’t see any compelling reason to choose the Asus over this little PC. It’s efficient, cheap and small enough to throw in a bag or screw to the back of a TFT. It won’t match any of the recent Ion nettops for media capabilities, but as a basic system it’s an attractive purchase.

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