Do you have a (family) house with one or two mediocre computer monitors, speakers, keyboards and mice? Do you want a decent, cheap desktop for browsing the ‘net, watching videos, maybe some light document editing work? I did! So I decided to do some research.
Mini PCs cram the power of a Windows ultrabook into a computer the size of a paperback beach read, which means they’re more than powerful enough for browsing the web, handling basic photo and video editing, and working in documents or large spreadsheets. But unlike ultrabooks or most all-in-ones, mini PCs are easy to upgrade if you want to add more memory or storage, and they have all the ports you need to connect two or three monitors and your favorite keyboard, mouse, and webcam.
That I would have to “bring my own” keyboard, monitor, mouse, etc. fit my supply of discarded computer gear in my family’s house. I also liked the idea of buying something once and upgrading it as needed. And of course I could swap in other peripherals as needed.
Wirecutter’s guide hasn’t been updated since June 2021, and their top pick currently starts at $355.50. So while that was an OK starting place, I wanted to see if there were newer, cheaper options available.