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Beelink U59 review: the Ultra of budget mini PCs

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    Beelink U59 review: the Ultra of budget mini PCs



    The good:
    Beautiful, neat and compact design.
    Licensed Windows 11 Pro
    Dual-channel memory
    Decent performance.
    Full of connectivity options.

    The bad:
    No SD or MicroSD card slot.
    The top side easily attracts scratches and figerprints.



    Beelink’s mini PCs range from budget Atom-based models all the way up to the AMD Ryzen 7 and Intel Core i7 powerhouses. The all new Beelink U59 is a budget mini PC which comes with the latest Intel Jasper Lake Celeron N5095 processor, configurable RAM and SSD of up to 16GB/512GB, a neat and attractive new design, and a moderate price tag. It is designed for basic home and office use, and it works as designed.

    Main specs of the Beelink U59
    Processor: Intel Jasper Lake Celeron N5095
    CPU: 4 cores, 4 threads, 2.0-2.9GHz
    GPU Intel UHD Graphics
    Process technique: 10nm
    OS: Windows 11 Pro 64bit
    RAM: 8/16GB DDR4 2400MHz (16GB in my review)
    Storage: 256GB/512GB SSD (512GB in my review)
    Network: WiFi5 + BT 4.0 / Ethernet Gigabit
    Ports: 4x USB 3.0 / 1x USB-C / 2x HDMI 2.0 / 3.5mm audio jack
    Accessories: 12V-3A DC adapter/ 2x HDMI Cable (1m & 0.2m) / User Manual



    Packaging



    Finally, Beelink has redesigned the packaging of their products, we saw that on the SER, which we just reviewed last month, and now, the retail package of the U59 is also simple but attractive.



    Inside the packaging you will find a U59 mini PC, a wall-mount bracket, a 36-watt power adapter, two HDMI cables, a bag of screws, and a user manual.


    Design



    The U59 is tiny. Measuring only 124*113*42mm, it is not much bigger than an average TV box, and takes up almost no room on your desk. You can even make it disappear by using the included bracket, which mounts the mini PC onto the back of a monitor.

    The U59 has a simple, but elegant design. The material used on the top is acrylic plastic, which gives the PC’s top a glossy and reflective look. It may be easy on the eyes when it’s clean, but unfortunately, it is not only a fingerprint magnet, but also easily attracts scratches.

    As a budget mini PC, the U59 has a plastic case, but thanks to the beautiful metal-like coating, it doesn’t look too plasticky or cheap.




    The front of the mini PC sports a CMOS reset hole, two USB 3.0 ports, a multi-function USB-C port, a 3.5mm audio jack with mic support, as well as a red power button which has a status LED built in.



    The rear side of the U59 plays host to two USB 3.0 ports, a full-size Ethernet, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and a DC-in port.



    The system is actively cooled, so there are plenty of vents on three sides of its case.



    There are four rubber feet on the bottom side to elevate the U59 while it sits on the desk.



    Getting access to the internals is quite easy, just remove the four screws on the bottom and you will be able to upgrade the RAM and SSD. There is also a slot for a 2.5-inch SATA hard drive of up to 1TB.



    The U59 weighs only 330g, not much heavier than some of the latest smartphones. Moving it around in the house or taking it on a journey shouldn’t be much of an effort. The build quality is solid and definitely above average, as the mini PC feels robust and sturdy in my hands, and looks like it will survive a reasonable amount of office abuse, possibly even occasional falls.


    Setting it up



    Setting up the U59 is extremely easy. Plug in the power adapter, a mouse and a keyboard, then you are good to go.

    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 does take some time.



    Software & apps



    The U59 ships with licensed Windows 10 Pro, but since it has the TPM2.0 chip and meets all the requirements of Windows 11, you can get the upgrade right after booting it up for the first time, at least that’s what I did. Average consumers may not know the difference between Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro. But for power users, Windows 11 Pro offers lots of extra features, such as being able to join a domain, Hyper-V for virtualization, and getting updates from Windows Update for Business.

    #2
    Performance



    This mini PC is powered by an Intel Jasper Lake Celeron N5095 quad core processor (2.0-2.9GHz). This 11th generation Celeron chip is not a powerhouse and won’t match the latest Intel Core and AMD Ryzen processors found in mainstream laptops and desktop PCs in terms of performance, but it is more than capable for basic office tasks, media playback and light gaming. The U59 I received has 16GB LPDDR4 memory under the hood to take care of multi-tasking, that’s a hell lot of RAM for an entry-level PC.



    First, I ran Maxon's latest CPU-crunching Cinebench R23 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. The U59 scored 629 in single core, 1544 in multi-core.



    I also ran the Cinebench R20 test in order to compare the U59 to other budget mini PCs I had tested before, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was way ahead of the Beelink GK mini, which runs on a Gemini Lake Celeron J4125 processor, and even edged out the Intel NUC 7, which is powered by an Intel Kaby Lake Core i3-7100U SoC.



    In the cross platform Geekbench 5 test, the U59 scored 608 in CPU single core, 2009 in multi-core, and 2125 in OpenCL.



    The U59 also did quite well in the Fritz Chess Benchmark, achieving 7975 kilo nodes per second.



    PCMark simulates different real-world productivity and content-creation workflows. We use it to assess overall system performance for office-centric tasks. The U59 scored 2358 in this test, a huge improvement from the score (1791) of the GK mini.



    In the more graphics-focused 3DMark, the U59 scored 2495 in Sky Diver, 657 in Fire Strike, and 210 in Time Spy.



    The U59 features an m.2 2280 SATA SSD, which obviously lags behind those NVMe drives in high-end models such as the Beelink SER and Lenovo ThinkCentre, but is still faster than the eMMc or HDD in older and more basic models.



    In my daily use, the U59 was fairly efficient in all kinds of office workflows, web-browsing, and multi-media. The system didn’t slow down while loading a dozen image-heavy webpages in Microsoft Edge and running a few other apps at the same time. Working on my presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint was also a smooth experience, there weren’t lags or delays while I was adding some relatively heavy content to the slides.



    Editing videos in Power Director should be challenging for budget systems like the U59, but to my surprise, it held its own nicely. When I added filters to multiple clips simultaneously, I could notice that the U59 took more time to finish the task than, say, my Lenovo YOGA Duet or the Beelink SER, but there were never really system halts, or significant delays.



    I played quite a number of 4K video clips on the U59, and enjoyed fairly smooth playback. And when it comes to online video playback, the U59 had no problem streaming 4K, 60FPS YouTube Videos in Chrome, but it did struggle with videos above that resolution and frame rate. Since the maximum output of the mini PC is [email protected], there is no point to try that anyway.



    The Intel UHD Graphics in this mini PC is not designed for graphics-intense gaming, but the U59 can run older titles in moderate settings. LOL was generally smooth while I set the resolution to 1080P, and graphics to low. The average frame rate of this game is 41fps. I only experienced noticeable frame drops in some intense battle scenes.



    You can also play any game installed from Microsoft Store without issues. “Asphalt 9”. “Angry Birds” and “Battle Tanks” (Microsoft Store Variant) are both quite smooth. More demanding titles such as War Frame and Conqueror’s Blade are simply not suited for mini PCs like the U59, the average frame rates of both games were lower than 15FPS.


    Power and stability



    For a mini PC that sits on your desk or behind your monitor (where it's nearer to your ears), noise is also something you need take into consideration. Fortunately, the U59 is quiet most of the time. Although it's not a completely silent, fanless design, and you will hear it while it’s running heavy applications, yet the noise is not constantly in your ears, and will be easily drowned out by other sounds in the background.

    With an active cooling system inside, the U59 is also amazingly stable, as it passed the 3DMark Sky Diver stress test with flying colors.



    Connectivity

    The U59 supports 2.4GHz/5GHz dual-band WiFi 5, but not the latest WiFi6. It also has Bluetooth 4.0 on board, thus can connect wirelessly to input devices and audio systems. It would have been nice to see Bluetooth 5.0 instead of 4.0, but that’s not going to add much to your overall experience with the U59.

    There are two HDMI 2.0 ports and a multi-function Type-C port, all of them support video output of up to [email protected] You can hook the U59 to as many as three monitors at the same time, this can be extremely useful if you have some complex productivity tasks at hand.



    Verdict

    Priced at $237.15 for the 8GB & 256GB version, and $296.65 for the 16GB & 512GB version on Amazon, the U59 is an affordable mini PC which checked a lot of the boxes. It has a compact and attractive design, decent internal hardware, plenty of I/Os, and licensed Windows 11 Pro. Besides basic office workflows and media playback, you can even use the U59 for some lightweight creativity tasks and a fair amount of gaming. For those who are looking for a decent but inexpensive mini PC, the U59 is worthy of your consideration.

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