Money is tight for many people right now, thanks to the rising cost of living. As a result, the arrival of what has to be one of the most affordable Windows PCs in history is all the more welcome.
The AbacusBasic from London-based startup Pentaform packs a Windows 10 PC into a keyboard and touchpad chassis for $150/£120; that’s the kind of money you’d expect to pay for a low-cost Chromebook, not a computer running Microsoft’s full-fat operating system.
|CPU||Intel Atom x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail Quad-core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.84 GHz (Turbo) with Intel Gen8 HD graphics @ 500 MHz|
|RAM||64bit dual-channel LPDDR3-1866, with 2GB/4GB/8GB options|
|Storage||eMMC module (Optional industrial compatible high performance eMMC module, 16GB-128GB available), micro SD card slot (supports up to 512 GB)|
|Wireless||WI-FI 802.11 ac 2.5 GHz / 5 GHz and Bluetooth 4.2|
|Ports||HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0 OTG X1, USB 2.0 HOST X2, GbE LAN, USB-C with PD support, Qualcomm Quick Charge|
|GPIO||40-pin expansion header, 2 x UART, 2 x SPI bus, 2 x I2C bus, 1 x PCM/I2S, 1 x SPDIF, 2 x PWM, 1 x ADC, 6 x GPIO, 2 x 5V DC power in, 2 x 3.3V DC power in|
|OS support||Windows 7, 10 and 11, any x86 Linux|
Despite its low price, the AbacusBasic is quite presentable, with a compact but functional-looking keyboard and a trackpad in place of the numpad. It also has an HDMI port, several USB-C and USB-A ports, a 3.5mm headphone and mic jack, and Ethernet.
The AbacusBasic is not a powerhouse machine, with a 64-bit quad-core customized Intel Atom x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail, integrated Intel Gen8 HD graphics, and up to 8GB of RAM; in fact, you may want to avoid the 2GB of RAM option if you want to open more than a few Google Chrome tabs at once. However, there is enough here for simple computing tasks like word processing, email, YouTube, and other undemanding Windows 10 tasks. Read more; MacBook Air 2022 vs MacBook Pro 2022
This machine appears to be a great little device to pop into a bag and take to work, school, or college, then plug into a display so you can get on with your work without spending a lot of money.
It could also be an excellent PC to give to children to help them learn how to use computers, code, and tinker with Windows machines. With Windows 10 on board, the AbacusBasic appears to be more versatile and capable than low-cost Chrome-OS machines.
As someone who is writing this article on a Geekom Mini IT8 compact PC, I find small, affordable yet capable computers appealing and at times more flexible for ‘desktop’ use than connecting one of the best laptops to a display, keyboard, and mouse. Read also; HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook: Price and Release Date
The AbacusBasic is also made of environmentally friendly materials and has a design that allows its outer housing to be easily separated from its internal components, allowing such hardware to be repurposed or recycled. Furthermore, the module holding the motherboard and chip on the left side of the keyboard can be disconnected, allowing you to use the keyboard and trackpad independently of the actual PC part.
It’s expected to be released this month (June), and you can sign up to get early access to the compact PC as well as a 20% discount. We’re hoping to get a chance to try out the AbacusBasic soon so we can give you some first-hand impressions.