If you're eyeballing a new computer for working from home, you're probably thinking laptop. But why? Portable PCs were designed for, well, portability, not desk duty. They're ergonomically unsound, with smallish screens that force you to hunch over because they're not at eye level. And if you're working from home anyway, why pay for a battery that's just going to wear out while it sits there? Allow me to make the case for a mini PC, the modern-day alternative to the hulking desktop towers of yesteryear.
For a very reasonable price, you can get a powerful machine that works with the monitor, mouse and keyboard of your choice — peripherals affording the comfort that's so crucial when you're stuck at your desk. I tested one such system, the Geekom IT11 Mini PC, and let me just skip to the verdict: It's great. I'll explain why below, but first there's a deal that needs mentioning: For a limited time, the Geekom IT11 Mini PC is marked down to $425. That's for an Intel Core i5 end configuration with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD). Regular price: $500. (Note that other configurations are available from that same page, with slightly higher or lower prices.)
Geekom IT11 Mini PC design and features
Preloaded with Windows 11 Pro, the IT11 packs a substantial amount of hardware into its 4x6 x 4.4 x 1.8-inch frame — which, I should mention, can mount to the back of most monitors using an included VESA bracket. That's a great option, as it keeps the system out of sight and cuts down on desktop cord clutter. It also makes the ports harder to access, but the IT11 is easy to pop on and off the mount as needed.
The configuration I tested includes an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 processor and, as noted above, 16GB of RAM and a spacious SSD. Amazingly, there's room inside for additional RAM (up to 32GB total) and even a traditional 2.5-inch SATA hard drive, in case you want more storage. Opening the case is as simple as removing four screws.
Although I didn't run benchmarks on the system (I test using real-world situations), the system booted in a flash and ran my software at a healthy clip. If you're someone who likes to keep a dozen-plus browser tabs open, the IT11 can power through that without breaking a sweat.
As for graphics, the integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics subsystem can handle up to 4K display resolution. It may bog down if you're doing any really complex image- or video-editing work, but I found I was able to play the classic PC game Borderlands at Full HD resolution. In other words, this may not be a graphics powerhouse, but it can tackle the basics just fine. In fact, the system supports up to four separate displays, using a combination of HDMI, mini-DisplayPort and USB-C ports.
I paired it with just one, the excellent Innocn 27C1U 27-inch monitor, along with a wireless mouse/keyboard combo. The latter relies on a tiny USB dongle, but that wasn't a problem because the IT11 serves up three Type-A and two Type-C USB ports. It also has an SD memory card slot and a headphone jack.
The IT11 even excels at Wi-Fi: It's loaded with dual-band Wi-Fi 6, so it should offer the fastest speed and strongest connectivity home users can get right now. Also onboard: Bluetooth 5.2, another latest-and-greatest wireless implementation.
The system doesn't have a built-in speaker, though, so you'll have to look to an external option (monitor, headphones, Bluetooth speakers, etc.).
Geekom IT11 Mini PC: Worth buying?
If your work doesn't require mobility, you probably don't need a laptop — in which case I definitely recommend the Geekom IT11. Yes, you have to BYO monitor and keyboard, but that's a good thing: You can choose larger, more comfortable ones that better suit your work-from-home setup.
Honestly, I struggled to find anything wrong with this PC. It's well-equipped right out of the box but has room for expansion. It's powerful enough for everyday computing tasks and even some gaming. And it's refreshingly small, no threat at all to even the most crowded desks.
If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)
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