Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Beelink Gemini J45 Mini PC review: small, but competent

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Beelink Gemini J45 Mini PC review: small, but competent



    The good:
    Beautiful, neat and compact design.
    Great build quality.
    Licensed Windows 10 Pro OS.
    Decent performance.
    Fast SSD.
    Lots of connectivity options.

    The bad:
    MicroSD card slot doesn't supports cards larger than 64GB.
    HDMI is not 2.0a standard.

    Bottom Line:
    The Gemini J45 is a beautifully made mini PC designed to deal with basic computing tasks, and it works as designed.

    With the Pentium CPU line refreshes from Intel earlier this year, we're starting to see a wave of revised mini PCs from different manufacturers. The all new Beelink J45 comes with the Intel Apollo Lake Pentium J4205 processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, up to 512GB built-in SSD, and an attractive new design, it is set out to be a strong contender in the race.

    Main specs
    Processor: Intel Apollo Lake Pentium J4205
    CPU: Quad Core 1.5-2.6GHz CPU
    GPU Intel HD Graphics 505
    Process technique: 14nm
    OS: Windows 10 Pro 64bit
    RAM: 4/8GB LPDDR4 2133MHz (8GB in our review)
    Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB SSD (512GB in our review)
    Network: Wifi ac + BT 4.2 (Intel 3165D) / Ethernet Gigabit / 1x miniPCIe for opcional Wifi
    Ports: 4x USB 3.0 / 2x HDMI 1.4 / microSD slot / 3.5mm audio jack / Kensington lock
    Accessories: 12V-2A DC adapter/ 2x HDMI Cable (1m & 0.3m) / User Manual



    Retail package



    The Beelink Gemini J45 comes with very attractive packaging, the combination of colors is young and refreshing, yet not overly colorful. The red capital letter "J" on the top side of the blue box looks extremely cool.





    Inside the relatively small box we have found a mini PC, a 12V-2A DC power adapter, two HDMI cables (1m and 0.3m), a bracket and some screws which can be used for mounting the J45 to the back of a monitor.




    Design and build



    The overall design of the J45 doesn't stray too far from previous Beelink Mini PC models. But the new combination of metal and plastic material used for the chassis is quite a catch, and vividly reminds us of the design of the much more expensive Intel NUC mini PCs.

    The shell of the J45 is a combination of metal and plastic. The top side is acrylic plastic, which is, in our opinion, an elegant touch as it gives the J45's top a glossy and reflective look, although it is also more prone to collecting all your fingerprints. There's a Beelink logo sitting comfortably in the middle. The other sides of the chassis are all made of high-quality aluminum.

    As small as it is, the J45 still offers a slew of ports and slots. The front side is home to a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, a red power button with activity LED (not lit in the photo).



    There are lots of vents on the left, right, and back side of the device.



    The right side also plays host to a MicroSD card slot, which supports storage cards up to 64GB. As 128GB and 256GB Micro SD cards are getting so cheap now, I don't understand why Beelink holds back here.



    The back side of the device sports another pair of USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI 1.4 ports, an RJ45 1000M Ethernet jack, and a DC-in port.



    Four small rubber feet are hosted on the bottom side.



    The J45 measures 115mm*102mm*43mm, and weighs only 300g, neither much bigger nor heavier than an average TV box. I found it extremely easy to move it around in the house. The build quality is solid and definitely well above average, as the mini PC looks particularly refined, with no ugly mold lines on the surface. It also feels robust and sturdy in the hands, you won't really break it without some serious force.



    Setting up



    Although it is very small, the J45 is still a Windows-based personal computer, and needs to be connected with a monitor (or TV, or projector), a keyboard and a mouse to work as designed, and that's how you should set it up.

    During first-time start-up, you will need to go through some of the Microsoft Windows initialization protocols (choosing your region and language, connecting to the network, logging into your Microsoft account, etc), which is easy but definitely takes some time. After that, you are good to go.



    System & apps



    Most mini PCs run on Windows 10 Home OS, but the Beelink J45 ships with licensed Windows 10 Pro OS, which offers lots of extra features over Windows 10 Home, the most important of which is being able to join a domain, including Azure Active Directory for single sign-on to cloud services (and have group policy applied as part of that).

    You also get Hyper-V for virtualization, BitLocker whole disk encryption, enterprise mode Internet Explorer, Remote Desktop, a version of the Windows Store for your own business, Enterprise Data Protection containers (a feature that comes later in the year) and assigned access (which locks a PC to running only one modern application, to use like a kiosk). Pro users can get updates from Windows Update for Business, which includes options for scheduling updates so they don't reboot PCs at important business times.

    Fortunately, the Windows 10 Pro here is very clean, as we didn't find any pre-installed 3rd party applications and bloatware. There are thousands of apps available in the Windows Store, if they are not enough, you can also install any traditional PC apps you need.

    We don't feel like digging into the main features Windows 10 offers. For those who is still unfamiliar and curious with this dominant PC operating system, we highly recommend you to watch some tutorial videos on YouTube.



    Performance



    The J45 is powered by the Intel Apollo Lake Pentium J4205 processor (1.5-2.6GHz). This chip isn't designed as a powerhouse and won't match the latest Intel CoreTM processors found in mainstream laptops and desktops PCs in terms of performance, but it is still very capable of dealing with normal everyday tasks. There is also 8GB LPDDR4 RAM under the hood to take care of multi-tasking, and up to 512GB built-in SSD for storing your files.



    First, we ran three versions of Maxon's CPU-crunching Cinebench test, which is fully threaded to make use of all available processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU rather than the GPU to render a complex image. The result is a proprietary score indicating a PC's suitability for processor-intensive workloads.



    In the Cinebench R10 test, the Gemini J45 scored 2091 in single core, 6573 in multi-core, and 2599CB-GFX in OpenGL.



    In the R15 test, the J45 was returned with an OpenGL score of 13.45fps and a CPU score of 158cb. These scores are not impressive even by mini PC standards, since the Celeron N4100 powered Chuwi Gbox and Celeron J3455 powered Vorke V1 got better results in the same tests.



    In the latest R20 CPU test, the J45 scored 287. We did not run this test on most of the other mini PCs so we don't have sufficient data for comparison.



    The Fritz Chess benchmark returned a predictable score of 4,131, not bad, but not good, either.



    In Geekbench 4 CPU test, the J45 got 1649 in single core and 4661 in multi-core, and 9276 in GPU computing.



    Somehow, the Gemini J45 could not finish the PC Mark 8 Home Accelerated test. We ran the test twice and each time the device reported an error.





    The SSD in the J45 isn't the fastest we have seen, but it is definitely faster than the eMMc storage found in cheaper mini PCs and Windows tablets. In the AS SSD benchmark, the J45 scored 664. The sequential read and write speeds are 484.9MB/s and 436.05MB/s respectively. There are 3 variants of J45 in terms of built-in storage (128GB/256GB/512GB), the one that we received has 512GB mSATA SSD. If you want more storage, you can replace the stock SSD with a 2TB drive.



    The J45 is capable of outputting 4K, but 1080P is still a more reliable choice. The absence of a discrete graphics card was felt on many occasions when we set the display resolution at 4K.



    We witnessed significant improvement in the real-world performance with the J45 when compared to Celeron and Atom-based mini PCs released in the last couple of years. Launching apps is a lot faster, so is loading and switching between image-heavy webpages in Opera and Chrome. We also tried editing some of our presentations on the Gemini J45. Although there was a short delay when we were adding a big video file to a slide, the whole experience was generally smooth. Trying complex filters in Photoshop is a different story, as the J45 took much more time than the Huawei Matebook 13 did in each application.





    The J45 was capable of playing all the media files we threw at it, including various 4k video clips. We used the Thunder Player to play all the video clips and there was no sign of struggling at all, the playback was always extremely smooth.





    We also played many YouTube videos in Chrome. 1080P and 4K videos were generally smooth. 8K clips were playable, but with extremely low frame rates. Since the maximum video output of the Gemini J45 is 4K, there's really no point in playing 8K on it.



    Having 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM on board, the J45 was also able to handle serious multi-tasking. The active cooling system inside the shell did a fantastic job in keeping the computer from overheating. We could hear the fan making sound when the J45 was under loads, but it never really became a noise of any kind. And when we used the J45 as an HTPC in our living room, I couldn't even hear any sound from the PC from 2 meters away.





    The HD Graphics 505 GPU here had no problem running 3d games we installed from Microsoft Store, including the visually stunning Asphalt 8, Battle Tanks and Game of Emperor. We were actually surprised to see how smooth and responsive the J45 was during gameplay. However, without a discrete graphics card in it, the J45 was expected to struggle with big desktop titles, and it did. We tried "DarkSiders II" and set the graphics at 720P, although the game took a very long time to load, and there were some stutters in the middle, it was generally playable with decent frame rates. But when set at 1080P, the game became too laggy to play. We had similar experiences with "GS:GO". More demanding games such as "Assassin's Creed: Syndicate" and "Crysis 3" were unplayable even at medium settings.



    Connectivity



    The J45 supports dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz & 5GHz). The connection was as stable as it was on my Huawei Mate 20 Pro. The Beelink AP34 Ultimate usually struggled to reach a decent download speed on my TV cabinet, as the Wi-Fi router was placed in another room, but the J45 had no such problem.

    The J45 can be connected to input devices and sound systems (headphones or speakers) wirelessly via Bluetooth, which saves you from the messy wires on your desktop, and frees the USB ports for other devices.

    There are 4 USB 3.0 ports on the J45, you can mount lots of external devices at the same time. We mounted a 4TB Seagate mobile drive, a 128GB Samsung mobile SSD drive, and A 128GB flash disks, the computer has no problem supporting them all at the same time.

    The USB 3.0 ports on board are quite fast. It only took us a few seconds to copy an HD movie file from our mobile drive.

    There are two HDMI ports on the Gemini J45, which means you can connect the computer to your TV and monitor at the same time. Unfortunately, however, you won't be able to get 4K/60fps, as the HDMI port is of 1.4 standard, which only supports a maximum video output of 4K/30fps or 2K/60fps.

    The J45 also has a 1000M RJ45 Ethernet jack, 3.5mm audio jack, and even a MicroSD card slot.



    Verdict

    It is exciting that mini PCs are getting so good nowadays. With an upgraded Intel Pentium processor, 8GB LPDDR4 RAM and up to 512GB SSD under the hood, the Beelink Gemini J45 can get a wide variety of things done, including some lightweight productivity tasks. It has the potential to be more than just another HPTC placed at your living room for media consumption.

    It won't beat the mainstream laptops or desktop PCs in terms of overall performance, nothing this size or at this price point will. But for those who don't use heavy apps or game intensively on their PC, the Gemini J45 is worthy of their consideration.
    Last edited by jupiter2012; 08-12-2019, 08:55.

    #2
    Very Impressed with this compact little computer. The machine is attached to the back of the monitor. Works very well!

    Comment


      #3
      Yes, a very cool piece of tech, indeed.

      通过我的 LYA-AL00 上的 Tapatalk发言

      Comment


        #4
        jupiter2012 This information is incorrect:
        latest Intel Apollo Lake Pentium J4205 processor
        If this device had the LATEST available Intel Pentium low powered chipset it would have the Gemini Lake Pentium J5005 processor which outperforms the Apollo Lake on average by 10-15%. Apollo Lake is 2017 chip and Gemini Lake is 2018 chip.

        Comment


          #5
          Yes, pretty weird that it is called Gemini J but powered by an Apollo Lake processor.

          通过我的 LYA-AL00 上的 Tapatalk发言

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by RiCkLaR_atvX View Post
            jupiter2012 This information is incorrect:


            If this device had the LATEST available Intel Pentium low powered chipset it would have the Gemini Lake Pentium J5005 processor which outperforms the Apollo Lake on average by 10-15%. Apollo Lake is 2017 chip and Gemini Lake is 2018 chip.
            Thanks for the correction.

            通过我的 LYA-AL00 上的 Tapatalk发言

            Comment


              #7
              Very nice review, indeed.

              Comment


                #8
                Great Review!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by GadgetSino View Post
                  Very nice review, indeed.
                  Thank you so much.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Bange23 View Post
                    Great Review!
                    Thanks!

                    Comment

                    Working...
                    X