Very affordable mini PC with performance caveats

Techaeris Rated 8.8/10

Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to review the GEEKOM Mini IT8 small form factor computer. Given the size and specifications, it was a pretty decent computer with an affordable price tag for basic home or business computing. The company does have a few other options as well, with varying specifications at varying price points.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Our GEEKOM MiniAir 11 review looks at a similar small form factor computer that is easily upgradable, VESA mountable, but with lower specifications and, as a result, a lower price point. If you already read our Mini IT8 review, this one will be pretty similar aside from the performance section. On that note, read on for our full review!

Specifications

The GEEKOM MiniAir 11 Mini PC we reviewed has the following features and specifications:

Processor 11th Gen Intel® Celeron® Processor N5095 (4 Cores, 4 Threads, 4M Cache, up to 2.90 GHz); TDP 15W
GPU Intel® UHD Graphics 605 (supports up to two 4K displays)
Memory Dual-channel DDR4 SODIMM, 8GB; expandable up to 32GB
Storage 1 x SSD (SXmicro NF830 2280 M.2 PCIe/SATA), 256GB; expandable up to 1TB
Ports 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, 2x USB-C ports (data only), SD card reader (USB2.0), 3.5 mm headphone jack, RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI 1.4 port, Mini DisplayPort, DC jack, Kensington Lock Slot
Ethernet Intel® 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet
Wireless Bluetooth v4.2, Intel® Wi-Fi 5
Operating system Windows 11 Pro
Dimensions (W x D x H) 4.61 x 4.41 x 1.35″ (117 x 112 x 34.2mm)
Weight 1.10 lbs (500.3g)

What’s in the box

  • GEEKOM MiniAir 11
  • VESA mounting plate
  • 65W power supply
  • HDMI Cable
  • mini-DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter
  • Soft carrying pouch
  • VESA mounting screws
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Thank You Card
What's included with the GEEKOM MiniAir 11 Mini PC
What’s included with the GEEKOM MiniAir 11 Mini PC.

Design

Like its sibling, the Mini IT8, the GEEKOM MiniAir 11 is small and pretty non-descript. It is about 4 5/8″ wide, 4 3/8″ deep, and a mere 1 3/8″ in height (1 1/2″ when you included the rubber feet). Black in colour, it does have rounded edges for a smooth finish. The top is gloss black with the GEEKOM logo printed across the middle and the Intel Inside logo in the upper right.

The front of this mini PC has a data-only USB-C port, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, a 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack, and a small power button. The back is where you’ll find most of the ports which include the small round 19V power port for the 65W power supply, a Mini DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, another data-only USB-C port, and an HDMI 1.4 port. The left and right sides have a grille finish for ventilation. The left has a full-size SD card slot while the right has a Kensington lock slot.

The bottom of the GEEKOM MiniAir 11 is solid, with four rubber feet screwed into the bottom. Removing the four screws in the feet allows you to easily access the guts of the system. Here you can easily add more storage to the device. Inside the main unit, you can see and upgrade the M.2 2280 PCIe/SATA SSD drive, as well as add a second SODIMM RAM chip in the extra empty slot. You can also upgrade your RAM easily by removing the first and replacing it with a larger RAM chip, up to a maximum of 32GB (16GB per channel).

The back of the GEEKOM MiniAir 11 Mini PC
The back of the GEEKOM MiniAir 11 Mini PC.

GEEKOM also included a soft carrying pouch for the unit if you’re going to be transporting it from place to place. While it fits the mini PC just fine, it doesn’t have enough room for the power adapter and HDMI cable.

Of course, to keep the price low, the MiniAir 11 does make a few sacrifices here. The first is that the USB-C port on the back is data only and not display-capable. Second, GEEKOM used an HDMI 1.4 port instead of 2.0. Third, there is no extra SSD slot for a 2.5″ SATA SSD to expand storage as the Mini IT8 has. While most people needing a very basic computer would be fine without the more capable ports, it is worth mentioning the key non-upgradeable differences here.

Overall, the GEEKOM MiniAir 11 Mini PC is compact but still easy to upgrade and add extra RAM to it. Easily VESA mountable, it can be tucked away out of sight as well behind a monitor for a cleaner workspace as well.

Software

While most systems ship with Windows 10/11 Home, the GEEKOM MiniAir 11 Mini PC ships with Windows 11 Pro, giving you full access out of the box to all the consumer and business features Windows 11 has to offer. If you’ve read any of our other recent laptop or desktop reviews, you’ll know that we’re pretty big fans of Windows 11 here at Techaeris. It’s a decent OS with a modern look and feel and runs just fine, even on a system with an 11th-Gen Intel Celeron processor.

Best of all, there’s no excessive bloatware, including antivirus programs, pre-installed on this system so it’s as clean as it gets when it comes to a fresh Windows 11 install.

Performance

Typically speaking, I steer clear of Celeron processors. Given I had some misconceptions about the IT8 with its 8th-Gen Intel Core i5 processor (which ended up being pretty suitable), I figured I’d give the MiniAir 11 a chance. On that note, the 11th-Gen Intel Celeron N5095 processor does have 4 cores, 4 threads, 4MB Cache, and runs at up to 2.90GHz. Our review unit also shipped with a 256GB SXmicro NF830 M.2 2280 SSD and 8GB of Wooposit 2666MHz DDR4 SODIMM RAM.

First off, I ran the usual hard drive read/write benchmarks:

CrystalDiskMark Seq Read (Q8T1) 546.24 MB/s
CrystalDiskMark Seq Write (Q8T1) 436.61 MB/s
AS SSD Seq Read 502.87 MB/s
AS SSD Seq Write 391.78 MB/s
ATTO Seq Read (max) 499.51 MB/s
ATTO Seq Write (max) 428.71 MB/s

As you can see, even though it is an SSD, it is quite slow. However, the speeds are just fine for everyday tasks such as web browsing, office apps, and audio/video playback. Using Edge with a few tabs open was fine as well, it took 10 or so before it started to slow down. If you’re not doing any type of graphics work or gaming, and aren’t a power user, this box will do the trick, albeit a bit slower than other mini PCs like the IT8 with better internals.

I did, of course, use it extensively for day-to-day work for a bit and had no issues with it the onboard graphics worked well for document processing, web browsing, and video streaming (Netflix at 4K HDR), and I had no problems running two 4K monitors on it briefly during testing. All said, it wasn’t as slow as I thought it would be based on my previous (albeit years old) experience with Celeron processors.

The GEEKOM MiniAir 11 Mini PC opens easily for RAM and SSD upgrading
The GEEKOM MiniAir 11 Mini PC opens easily for RAM and SSD upgrading.

I did test Heroes of the Storm and even on medium settings, it offered up pretty low framerates. As such, you’ll likely want to stick with very basic games like Microsoft Solitaire on this PC. In addition, when running and in use all day, the Mini Air 11 didn’t get overly warm to the touch.

Sure, you can add more RAM and even upgrade to a different SSD, but then you’re adding to the cost here. If you do need something with a bit more oomph, I’d definitely go with the Mini IT8 for the extra price.

Price/Value

The GEEKOM MiniAir 11 Mini PC retails for a mere US$279.99 with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. Even better, the unit is currently discounted to $199 on the GEEKOM website (after coupons are applied) for Black Friday. If you want to save a couple more dollars, Amazon has it listed at $195, putting it in impulse purchase territory if it suits your needs.

Wrap-up

Given the specifications and performance of the GEEKOM MiniAir 11, you are limited in what you can do with it. However, given its very affordable price tag, if you’re looking for a smaller PC that is more than adequate for basic home or business computing tasks, or for use as a TV box/server, you can’t go wrong here. If you require a bit more performance and some light photo/video editing capabilities, I’d pass on this and pick up the Mini IT8 instead.

Last Updated on November 23, 2022.

GEEKOM MiniAir 11 Mini PC

US$279.99

The GEEKOM MiniAir 11 Mini PC

Nailed it

  • Compact size
  • Acceptable performance for basic web/office tasks
  • Easy to upgrade RAM and storage
  • Plenty of ports
  • Ample ventilation
  • Quiet
  • Includes VESA mounting adapter plate
  • Includes all cables required (including HDMI)
  • Very affordably priced, especially on sale

Needs work

  • Only one configuration available
  • M.2 SATA, not NVMe
  • USB-C not display-capable
  • HDMI 1.4 instead of 2.0
  • Low-end CPU
  • Lower end SSD and RAM slows performance

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