Money is tight for many right now, what with the spiralling cost of living. So the arrival of what must be one of the most affordable Windows PCs ever is all the more welcome.
The AbacusBasic, from London-based startup Pentaform, fits a Windows 10 PC into a keyboard and touchpad chassis and slaps a starting price of $150/£120 on it; that’s the type of money you’d expect to pay for a super-cheap Chromebook, not a computer running Microsoft’s full-fat operating system.
Despite that low price, the AbacusBasic is rather presentable, with a compact but functional-looking keyboard and a trackpad where the numpad would normally be. What's more, it comes with an HDMI port, several USB- C and USB Type-A ports, a 3.5mm headphone and mic jack, and Ethernet.
With a 64-bit quad-core customized Intel Atom x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail, integrated Intel Gen8 HD graphics, and up to 8GB of RAM, the AbacusBasic is not exactly a powerhouse machine; 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. But there's enough here for straightforward computing tasks such as word processing, email, YouTube and other undemanding Windows 10 tasks.
This machine looks like a great little device to pop into a bag and take to work, school or college, then plug into a display so you can crack on with what you need to do, all without spending a great deal of cash.
It could also be a great PC to give to kids to help them learn how to use computers and even code and tinker with Windows machines. And with Windows 10 onboard, the AbacusBasic looks set to be more flexible and capable than affordable Chrome-OS based machines.
As someone who is currently writing this article using the Geekom Mini IT8 compact PC, I find small, affordable yet capable computers rather appealing, and at times more flexible for ‘desktop’ use than hooking up one of the best laptops to a display, keyboard and mouse.
The AbacusBasic is also made out of eco-friendly material and has a design that allows its outer housing to be easily separated from the internal components, so such hardware can be repurposed or easily recycled. Plus, the module holding the motherboard and chip on the left-hand side of the keyboard can be disconnected, so you can use the keyboard and trackpad separate from the actual PC part.
It's slated for a launch sometime this month (June), and you can sign up (opens in new tab) to get early access to the compact PC as well as a 20% discount. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to try the AbacusBasic soon, so we can bring you some first-hand impressions of what it's like in use.