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Shuttle Nano XPC review: The adorable little PC that could

Quick Read:

Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver
Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver

Once it gets going, Shuttle’s Nano XPC is a delightful little computer that does exactly what it needs to. Watching videos online on your TV is significantly easier. It is also a fantastic solution for offices or small businesses that need a PC that you can just plug in and work with once you’ve done the installation. Just be prepared to do a little bit of DIY work beforehand.

Build and Design

The Nano XPC is adorable. Seriously, the box is so small and light that the accompanying cable and mounts weigh more than the setup. The miniature motherboard, PSU and CPU means that everything fits into a tiny little box. So small in fact it makes my router look ungainly by comparison. It also means that any cables plugged into the box seem massive, so if you are obsessive about tidy cables this might prove to be a challenge.

Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver
Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver

There is one thing to note however for anyone who buys this PC. The main reason why it’s so light is that it comes without a hard drive or RAM. The XPC has an easy installation design where the removal of the top and bottom cover can be done quickly with a simple screwdriver. After swiftly plugging in two Kingston DDR3L 4GB RAM sticks, and a 256GB Sandisk HDD, the device will be almost ready to use.

Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver
Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver

The flexibility allows you to choose your desired performance of the device based on what type of user you are. Installing the software is just as simple, but be sure to have a USB disk drive handy. If there are any issues with the installation, you can contact the local Singapore Shuttle distributor (such as Beyond Geek), and they’ll be sure to help you out.
Another feature of the NC02U is the thickness of its chassis. Shuttle has enhanced it a little bit higher so we can fit in the 15mm height HDD. This saved me a lot of trouble!

Ports:

Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver
Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver

The XPC is tiny, but not lacking for ports. On the back you’ll find two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 (including a 3.1 type-c USB port), a LAN port, HDMI, power and SD card reader. It does all of this without feeling crowded or hard to reach. Whilst not having the versatility of a larger form-factor, there is more than enough here to be able to set it up and have it running.
I tested out pretty much every port, and everything works like a charm. Even my Hard Drive formatted to work with a MacBook Air did not pose any problems for reading. This little PC has absolutely no problems when it comes to reading external devices.

Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver
Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver

Cooling:

Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver
Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver

The whole PC is cooled by a small proprietary fan, which functions more than adequately. Shuttle says that the Nano can function in just about any environment and shed excess heat without any issues. For the most part I have found this to be true. The device does feel a little warm to the touch after been on for a while, but not reaching any dangerous levels. It is also one of the quietest PCs I have used in the longest while.

Performance:

The XPC Nano is very much designed for a specific function in mind. This PC is great for if you need a small PC that can run efficiently a variety of functions from basic office work to video streaming. I found that there has been absolutely no problem with running a variety of videos from different sources. Internet-based streaming was only let down by the speed of my home connection. Reading from an SD card or from an external HDD also proved to be no trouble at all. It even supports 4K Video playback, for those who have made the leap to Ultra HD.

This is not a gaming PC by any stretch of the imagination. For offices, stores or other locations that just need a basic computer that takes up the least amount of space possible, this fits that bill exactly. Shuttle even states that the Nano can run in a wide range of ambient temperatures, ranging from 0 to 50 Degrees Celsius. This I couldn’t test, but the Nano performed perfectly in a non-air-conditioned room with high levels of humidity.

It is important to note that of course there is no CD-Drive. In the modern world of the internet this is not a deal breaker, but be sure to have a USB CD-Drive if you have anything that needs to be installed the old fashioned way.

Final Thoughts:

Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver
Image courtesy: Thomas Oliver

I could see this being a great device in locations, which would normally be the death of computers, like on-site offices for construction companies. The highly portable nature and the ability to attach it to the back of a screen makes it perfect when space is at a premium. The way I tried it out, plugging it into the TV, works amazingly, and if you don’t have room for a desk office it is a great compromise. The only concern is that although it is good to be able to have the choice of what RAM to use, less computer-literate users might have a hard time with this machine. However, Shuttle has local distributors in Singapore, so if there are any issues during installation users can call them up for help.

Conclusion:

Whether you need a small office PC, a video streaming device for your TV, or a portable computer, the XPC Nano is an excellent choice. It runs beautifully, is unobtrusive and perfectly finds the balance between being small and being functional.

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