Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Not only is the Voyo V2 a rather attractive little Windows 10 Mini-PC, but it also features a battery for portable use. It’s available now for a little over $100 from GearBest.com – should you grab one?
At the end of this review, we’re giving away one of these super little devices for one lucky reader – watch the whole video for some extra entries into the competition!
Design and Specifications
Measuring 13.1 x 8.3 x 1.6cm, the demure 230g Voyo V2 device consists of a gold-colored metal casing and tempered glass on the top. It looks surprisingly good, actually, despite the fact I’m usually averse to both white and gold in any combination on consumer electronics.
Inside, you’ll find:
- Intel Baytrail T Z3735F Quad Core Processor with integrated graphics
- 8,000mAh battery
- 2gb RAM, 32gb mmc storage (expandable to a 64gb SSD)
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Wi-Fi b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 1 x USB2.0 port
- Windows 10 (32-bit)
You’ll notice here an extraordinarily large failing in the Voyo V2: there’s only a single USB port, so you need to either choose between a wired keyboard or mouse, or connect a USB hub, or use one of those funny combination trackpad and keyboard multimedia efforts, or go wireless. Yes, I presume the idea here is to use primarily Bluetooth accessories, but you still need to plug things initially to configure those – and should the moment ever arise that your Bluetooth device is out of power or simply unavailable, you’ll have to make do with that single USB port. As a permanent desktop replacement, this isn’t a huge concern: your monitor will like have an integrated USB hub, or you’ll have one lying around. But for portability, make sure your Bluetooth stuff is all ready to go with full charge.
It’s not quite as sleek once everything is plugged in, of course.
Booting the Voyo V2 was actually faster than my desktop PC – around 5-10 seconds to get to a Windows desktop. It’s also worth noting that by default, the machine will automatically log you in as the “voyo” user, bypassing any security options or the usual “let’s configure Windows” first time nonsense. Of course you can easily add a user account in the usual way –one that’s tied to your Microsoft account–should you wish. But as someone who doesn’t actually want a Microsoft account, resents having to type in my secure Xbox password just to access a desktop, and really doesn’t need to transfer my Metro-style menu settings across every PC I own, I very much appreciate the fact that they’ve pre-installed a user account that bypasses all of that. This is Windows 10 for the non-Windows user. No-nonsense guarantee!
The Z3735F processor is almost identical to the Z3756F in the Pipo X9 hybrid machine I tested a few weeks back – but anecdotally, the Voyo just feels a lot snappier. There’s no delay on any of the basic UI functions, and not once did I experience the abnormally slow app launch that I did on the Pipo. The internals may not indicate there should be much of a difference, but while I’d be hesitant to use the Pipo X9 hybrid in Windows 10 mode for anything except emergencies, I’d have no issues at all with the Voyo as a general purpose Windows desktop replacement. Perhaps it’s the touchscreen overhead that crippled the Pipo.
PCMark also confirms not a lot of different between this device and the Pipo; both scored similarly and on the decidedly bottom end.
The Gigabit Ethernet connection really makes all the difference to media or Steam streaming from a home server or gaming machine: I was able to very comfortably play some Civ: Beyond Earth without any lag or stutter. Granted, it isn’t a twitch game so the occasional frame drop doesn’t matter, but you really shouldn’t be streaming a twitchy game anyway.
Media performance was equally great, though I should note that the new Plex Media Player (exclusive to Plex Pass members for the time being) outright refused to run – it requires a 64-bit OS, while this only came with 32-bit Windows 10 installed, and I wouldn’t risk trying to install 64-bit Windows in case it became a paperweight. Plex Home Theater ran as usual, though it’s not clear how long that will be around.
With an 8000mAh battery, the Voyo can actually run at full speed off just the battery charge. It’s a neat feature, but I question the usefulness in reality: since you need to plug into a TV or monitor anyway, it’s almost certain there’s going to be a socket around when you need the desktop. I had hoped that the battery might also serve to charge a smartphone, and while you can just power on the Voyo and plug in a mobile device to charge without a monitor or anything else attached, it is technically running the whole device, not just charging, and only offers a measly 440mA of power.
Unfortunately, the battery won’t act as an uninterruptible power supply – by which I mean, if you accidentally pull the power cord out, the device will immediately turn off, losing the session and any unsaved work. You can turn it back on again, even without the cord plugged in – but there’s no continuity. This is unlike any laptop or mobile device, which can of course both charge and discharge (i.e., be in use) simultaneously and without interruption when switching between the two states. Given this circuitry can fit into wafer thin mobile phones, it seems like a terrible omission here.
Despite being left with the charger in for a few days, the battery charge indicator wouldn’t progress past 47%; and when plugged in with Windows running, claimed to be “not charging”. It’s possible this was a defect with just my review unit though, or a dodgy plug adaptor, so don’t take this as inherent manufacturing issues – I haven’t found mention of it elsewhere.
Is the Voyo the Mini-PC for You?
Both the Pipo X9 and Voyo V2 are quirky devices that don’t make an awful lot of sense: the Pipo came with a touchscreen, but no battery. The Voyo on the other hand does have a battery for portable use, but no screen. Still, it’s a solid performer for the price point, and if you need a little machine for general purpose Windows computing or a secondary device, the Voyo will certainly do the job. With support for 4k output, it’ll also serve well as a media center, but if you wanted a dedicated media device then I’d look elsewhere – the overhead of having to run Windows just isn’t worth it.
Grab a bargain on the Voyo V2 from GearBest.com.
It a solid performing Windows 10 Mini-PC suitable for general purpose computing and media tasks, regardless of whether you need the battery feature.
Send your products to be reviewed. Contact James Bruce for further details.