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Review Beelink BT4 Mini PC (Real World Review), Affordable...Bang for buck general PC.

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TSvoncrane
post Jan 16 2020, 06:11 AM, updated 3y ago

Noir et fier!
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Hey all and welcome once again to yet another one of my real world reviews. This time I'll be reviewing Beelink's BT4 Mini PC. As of time of writing this review, its selling price is just $USD125 (about RM510). For this low amount, you get a slim Mini PC sporting the Cherry Trail Intel Atom x5-Z8500 CPU, a quad-core 4-thread 1.44 GHz processor capable of being boosted to 2.24 GHz with Intel’s HD Graphics 8Gen GPU. You also get a legitimate Windows 10 Home license, Gigabit Ethernet, not one but 1 HDMI & 1 VGA port (connect 2 monitors and run at up to 4K 30fps) and 4 USB 3.0 ports. Full specifications below;

Specifications
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Cold Boot takes a total of 40 seconds for a fully loaded desktop. 25 seconds from pushing the power button till the welcome screen shows. Shutdown takes about 10 - 15 seconds, depending on actions it has to complete before safely shutting down. All in all, okay times given the specs and price point. The power button (rubber) is located at the back of the unit and is flush, while at the front, a single status led that turns and stays blue to signal when it's plugged in or in sleep mode. Typically, I tend to begin with updating the system as much as possible before commencing usage and tests. I used Intel's own Driver and Support Assistant to update the drivers. Made the process much easier to complete. Plus, the software runs in the background afterwards, monitoring for driver updates, popping a notification when there's one available to install.
Updated Intel drivers
>>>Intel® Graphics Driver for Windows* (Latest version: x.x.x.5107...Installed Version: x.x.x.4424)
>>>Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 #2 Windows® 10 Wi-Fi Drivers for Intel® Wireless Adapters (Latest version: 19.51.26.1...Installed Version: 19.51.21.1)
>>>Intel® Wireless Bluetooth® for Windows® 10 (Latest version: 20.100.6.4...Installed Version: 20.100.5.1)

The BT4's outer shell is mostly made out of plastic and rubber. Matte finish (with varying shades & texture) on the top and bottom. Black glossy plastic on the sides and part of the rear. The presence of 4 rubber stubs helps the BT4 to stay in place on a flat surface without sliding. The BT4 employs both active and passive cooling. There's a small fan (which gets a bit noisy when the device gets warmer from being pushed) and vents on the sides and bottom in an attempt to keep things cool.

Box & Actual Hardware
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OOTD & Update Build Information
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Network Speed Test
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CPU-Z
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HWiNFO
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Novabench Report
Online Results
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SSD information and Speed Tests.
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PassMark
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3DMark
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PCMark
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UserBenchmark
Online Results
CPU: Intel Atom x5-Z8500 - 19.1%
GPU: Intel HD Graphics - 1.5%
RAM: Hynix 2x2GB - 24%
MBD: AZW BT4
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Media Playback
Driving a single monitor at default 4K30FPS...This section is where this device truly struggles.

>>YouTube using Chrome. 4K is downright unwatchable, 2K struggles to play smoothly, however one can notice the jerkiness.. 1080p is alright (in windowed mode).. Full-screen? I gave up and switched to Microsoft's Edge browser, hoping at least that should be better at FHD and below resolutions... This was worse, I figured.. If Edge can't save it.. Well, that's it for testing YouTube Playback while driving a 4K monitor at native 4K resolution. I tried switching the display's resolution from 4K to 1080p, but was met with the following notification;
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So I reverted to native 4K once again.

>>Kodi playback...4K H264 jellyfish files are fine, at least up to 160mbps. HEVC files one the other hand struggle to play. Unwatchable, even as low as 60mbps.
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>>Vlc Playback...Similar results as Kodi above.

Conclusion
Major cons includes poor >FHD YouTube playback, I expect this might change for the better is one pairs the BT4 with a single 1080p/2K display instead. This should tax the system less. Then there's the poor cooling. Despite what should be adequate ventilation holes, the inclusion of a tiny fan and heat-sink, all these are simply not enough to counter the amount of heat generated by the device. It's so bad, that even after the PC shuts down, the fan can still be heard spinning trying to rapidly cool the device. This goes on for a couple more seconds before powering off for good. Similar to how some modern car engines keep the radiator fan spinning after the ignition is turned off. It's my first encounter of such a phenomenon. Fortunately the fan's noise is only slightly audible (even in a quiet room) and thus not annoying to listen to. Unlike other Beelink Mini PCs, I've tried and reviewed, The BT4 cannot be expanded with an extra internal drive. So you are stuck with the 64GB drive. You'll have to rely on the cloud and external drives for additional storage, should you require more. Nevertheless, we must remember that this is an affordable Mini PC, nay.. It's a cheap Mini PC. For extremely light gaming and normal office/productivity functions? It absolutely excels. You'll have minimal issue doing those even whilst driving two 4K monitors at their native resolutions. As such, it's a good deal for a beginner or lightly used Home PC and or project.

Detailed System Reports
Attached File  CPU_Z_TXT_Report.txt ( 34.88k ) Number of downloads: 78

Attached File  PCMark_10_Report.pdf ( 580.36k ) Number of downloads: 67



Official Amazon US Store Purchase URL
Official Aliexpress Store Purchase URL... Cheapest price at the moment.
Additional information on the Beelink BT4 Mini PC...
Beelink official website
Beelink orders

If you want to order machines in bulk or become a Beelink distributor, please contact our foreign trade sales as follow. Discounts and further customized services are available.
Email contact information..

For more information, please pay attention to this space. I'd like to thank Beelink for providing the review unit. As usual, do feel free to comment below should you require further specific information on the Beelink BT4. I'll be glad to assist. smile.gif

This post has been edited by voncrane: Jan 16 2020, 09:44 PM
blurjoey
post Jan 16 2020, 10:54 AM

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voncrane Think I can call you the Beelink ambassador d laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif
TSvoncrane
post Jan 16 2020, 09:47 PM

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QUOTE(blurjoey @ Jan 16 2020, 10:54 AM)
voncrane Think I can call you the Beelink ambassador d  laugh.gif  laugh.gif  laugh.gif
*
Still a work in progress fam... innocent.gif blush_ani.gif
TSvoncrane
post Jan 17 2020, 10:57 PM

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Review Update
So I hooked the BT4 to a 1080p only display and unfortunately, YouTube and local file playback appears the same..For normal H.264 files, it'll play up to 4K with no issues... Only HEVC/H.265 files appears to pose an issue. I suspect the processor isn't capable of handling that higher level of compression. Good thing is, most public media files are in the h.264 format.. So should be good for that..
xxboxx
post May 4 2020, 12:10 PM

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QUOTE(voncrane @ Jan 17 2020, 10:57 PM)
Review Update
So I hooked the BT4 to a 1080p only display and unfortunately, YouTube and local file playback appears the same..For normal H.264 files, it'll play up to 4K with no issues... Only HEVC/H.265 files appears to pose an issue. I suspect the processor isn't capable of handling that higher level of compression. Good thing is, most public media files are in the h.264 format.. So should be good for that..
*
I got a different brand mini PC with same x5-Z8500 3 or 4 years ago. 1080p hevc should be ok. But even going around Windows feels laggy.
Use for about a year then ditch it for something much more powerful.
TSvoncrane
post May 7 2020, 04:39 PM

Noir et fier!
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Joined: Oct 2011
From: Wakanda


QUOTE(xxboxx @ May 4 2020, 12:10 PM)
I got a different brand mini PC with same x5-Z8500 3 or 4 years ago. 1080p hevc should be ok. But even going around Windows feels laggy.
Use for about a year then ditch it for something much more powerful.
*
Thanks for the input.. I'll fire up the BT4, update what needs to be and recheck it's media playback performance levels again. However, I don't recall moving around Windows to be laggy. Don't get me wrong.. I know it's no Cheetah, but it's no Tortoise or Sloth either. Nevertheless, more power is always recommend in any tech device for those who require it. smile.gif .. Prolly, install Ubuntu on it too. i expect that or a lighter distro would fair just nicely.

This post has been edited by voncrane: May 7 2020, 04:41 PM

 

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