Alfawise T1 Mini PC (Beelink S2 aka cheap Intel NUC?) review

Alfawise T1mini computer  above

Minicomputers are hot and happening! Nowadays the traditional bulky desktop is disappearing from our homes because we all switch to laptops and our smartphones. Next to that, we use embedded functionality in for example our TV to watch movies and listen to music. If you want to have more control or have a specific application (Domoticz) you can also use a mini PC for that. One of the most popular is the Raspberry Pi. It is cheap, small but has two major downsides: it does not fully support Windows and it is not powerful enough for the resource intense applications or to play video games.
If you want to run windows and are in need of more power the changes are big that you get yourself an Intel Nuc variant. But hey those are not that cheap!

And then comes the Alfawise t1 (also know and sold as a Beelink S2). It has more power than most of the small form factor computers but is cheaper than a NUC. It has a Windows 10 license, some nice specs.
No don’t expect an Intel i7 game pc for video editing for this price, let’s find out if it is something for you.

Specifications

  • Intel GEMINI LAKE Celeron N4100 CPU with 4 cores 4 threads, 4M L2 cache and 2.4GHz
  • Intel HD Graphics 600 GPU, 250MHz to 750MHz
  • Support Windows 10 with Cortana
  • 4GB DDR4
  • 64GB ROM as Harddrive
  • Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 1000Mbps
  • Extendable with a 512GB M.2 SSD and 2.5 inch 2TB HHD
  • Interfaces: 3.5mm Audio,DC-in,HDMI,Microphone,RJ45,TF card reader,Type-C,USB3.0,VGA

Expectations

I expected a small computer that runs windows and is capable of playing videos with Kodi.

Alfawise T1 mini computer

I turned on the computer and it was pre-installed already. Not with a Chinese version but an Englisch one. All the drivers installed and no bloatware. After installing some windows updates, I was ready to roll.

First I installed Kodi as my favorite media center software and configures my NAS into the Kodi settings.
I was able to play my video’s. 4k, 1080p  with DTS, 5.1 and ac3 without problems.
My wife used to it really fast because she is able to switch from Kodi to the browser and use Netflix and Spotify as well. So I was not allowed to install linux anymore and test some other thing, because it’s our main production media center right now.

Packaging

Does it fit your mailbox?

Nope, not gonna happen 🙂

Alfawise T1 boxes

What’s in the box

  • The Alfawise,
  • a mounting kit (vesa),
  • Adapter
  • a long HDMI cable
  • A shorter HDMI cable
  • Instruction manual.

Features

  • Fanless
  • A microphone for Cortana usage,
  • 2 HDMI connectors (it allows 4k@60 frames per second on two monitors,
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • Gigabit
  • micro SD card reader
  • Wake on LAN
    Alfawise T1 Front

Build Quality & Design

The build quality is fine, it’s mostly plastic but it’s solid and well designed. It’s very shiny as you can see in the pictures 🙂

Heath / Power consumption /Noise

While playing video content the box is a little bit warmer than idle but not hot.
You don’t hear this computer because it’s fanless. And because it consumes only 10 watts it’s energy efficient as well.

Portability / Mobility

Yes, it’s so small that you can easily take it with you when you are on holiday’s (to watch your movies or backup pictures and video’s of the day).

Customizability

4gb DDR isn’t much these day’s but it can’t be expanded. So it’s enough for windows and small tasks, but don’t expect to multitask like a more expensive machine.

Home-Automation compatibility

You can install Linux, run dockers and try some home automation systems like home-assistant and Domoticz. But it has no GPIO pins to connect sensors if you need that.

pro/cons

pros

  • Plays VP9 and HVEC codecs with 10bit color
  • 64gb for a complete up to date Windows system isn’t much, you left around 35 GB, so placing another hard drive is a nice option.
  • Compact
  • power consumption
  • Fanless
  • Nice price

cons

  • bios settings are very basic (but the positive thing is that you cant break things :P)
  • no remote control or keyboard, buy separately.
  • No HDR support

Verdict

If you are looking for a nice Media center that can play almost everything without stutter this is a nice choice.
Would you use this machines only as mediacenter with Kodi I advise to look at Libreelec, it’s Kodi build on a Linux version with one goal: run Kodi. I have already a libreelec box, but I would like to use Spotify, Netflix and Videoland streaming in the browser, so with the Alfawise I’m covered. Close Kodi and switch to the other Windows Programs.  Windows is starting in 20 seconds and it’s fast enough for the basic media center things. But again don’t expect a full-blown computer to video edit, it’s not built for that kind of tasks.

I will also test to run docker with home-assistent and Domoticz as a test environment.

Where to buy?

Buy @ GearBest

Alfawise T1 -top view    Alfawise T1 top2

  • Design
  • Quality
  • Usability
  • Home-Automation compatibility
  • Price
4.4
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