Atom-powered mini PC bosts a rubbery keyboard, built-in touchpad

Kevin Parrish
Digital Trends
Atom-powered mini PC bosts a rubbery keyboard, built-in touchpad
Vensmile is now taking pre-orders for a new miniature PC with a built-in bendable keyboard and touchpad. It's powered by an Intel "Cherry Trail" Atom processor, the same one that's packed in the upcoming Asus Transformer Mini 2-in-1 PC.

Remember earlier this week when we reported that the Asus Transformer Mini is already up for pre-order on the likes of Amazon? The Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor used in that 2-in-1 device can also be found in the upcoming Vensmile K8 mini PC desktop that’s shipping later this month. It’s nothing like the Asus device, but the innards are similar nonetheless, packed into a wallet-sized form factor with a connected keyboard.

Up for pre-order now for a cheaper $200 (compared to the $400 Asus Transformer Mini), the Vensmile K8 should be great for professionals who travel quite a bit and don’t want to carry a laptop. Just hook the device up to a hotel room HDTV, attach a mouse (if needed), and pros will be good to go. The device already comes with Windows 10 Home installed, so no additional OS purchase is needed.

On that note, here are the hardware specifications:

Vensmile K8 Mini PC
Processor: Intel Atom “Cherry Trail” x5-Z8300
(quad core)
Processor base/burst speed: 1.44GHz / 1.84GHz
System memory: 4GB DDR3
Internal storage: 64GB eMMC Flash
Networking: Dual-band Wireless N
Bluetooth: Version 4.0
Microphone: Internal
Size: 15.15 x 4.72 x 0.59 inches
Weight: 0.5 pounds
Ports: 1x HDMI (3,840 x 2,160 max)
1x VGA (1,920 x 1,080 max)
1x USB 3.0
1x USB 2.0
1x Headphone jack
1x Micro SD/TF card reader (32GB max)

What makes this pocket-sized PC interesting is that it’s permanently connected to a keyboard. While that may sound completely annoying and inconvenient, this particular keyboard is flexible, allowing users to wrap the peripheral around the main device and shove it all into their pocket. This “waterproof” keyboard provides 87 soft keys with illuminated letters.

Even more, the actual miniature PC sports a touch surface on top, providing a makeshift touchpad for finger-based navigation. This feature supports 10-point touch input, allowing users to utilize gestures in the Windows 10 Home environment.

Related: Zotac’s Magnus mini PCs pack a lot of power thanks to Nvidia’s new graphics chips

When laid out, the flexible keyboard is mounted on the left side of the main unit with the majority of I/O ports residing on the right. There’s also a Wi-Fi antenna mounted on the left side which must be raised to grab a network connection, and which doesn’t overlap any keys when lowered back into a resting position. The HDMI and VGA ports are located on the side facing towards the HDTV or monitor.

As we showed in the Asus article, Intel has a newer processor than the Atom x5-Z8300. The older chip was released in the second quarter of 2015 whereas the newer x5-Z8330 appeared in the first quarter of this year. There really isn’t any difference between the two save for a higher burst speed of 1.92GHz. That’s not much higher than the x5-Z8300, thus it’s understandable that the company chose Intel’s cheaper processor option.

If you’re not familiar with Vensmile, the company offers a number of miniature PCs, a steaming dongle, and more.