Pipo X7 & Pipo X7S full review
Looking for a cheap PC? For less than £80 these tiny metal boxes can turn any HDMI TV into a full Windows 8 or Android PC. But which should you buy? We compare the Pipo X7 and Pipo X7S. See all budget PC reviews.
The Pipo X7 has been available for a little while now (we received our sample from Geekbuying back in January). Described as a Windows TV box, you simply plug it into a TV via HDMI (you'll need to supply your own cable), connect it to the mains (Geekbuying will supply a suitable adaptor for your country) and your TV instantly becomes a Windows 8 PC.
We say Windows 8, but the Pipo actually runs 32-bit Windows 8 with Bing. This is identical to full Windows 8, except by default Bing is set as the default browser. You can change that in any case, so buying a PC running Windows 8 with Bing is a great way to save some money on the OS. It comes with a year's free Office 365 preinstalled, but no bloatware, making the X7 even better value.
Indeed, although you will need to factor in import duty if shipped from Geekbuying's Chinese warehouse, the Pipo X7 costs a tiny £78.97 at the time of writing. That's great value for what is in essence a full Windows 8 PC - you need only supply an HDMI screen (a TV is ideal), keyboard and mouse. Also see: Grey-market tech buying advice.
The newer Pipo X7S is different only in the fact that it's a dual-boot machine, with both Windows 8 and Android 4.4 KitKat preinstalled. It also has a Micro-USB port among its range of connection options: four USB 2.0 (two front-facing), HDMI, fast ethernet, a headphone jack and a microSD card slot (supporting up to 64GB).
Surprisingly, then, the Pipo X7S is actually cheaper than the older X7. Right now it will cost you £76.96 from Geekbuying.
However, chances are you will use both Pipo X7 and X7S only as Windows 8 PCs. The version of Android preinstalled is very basic and does not have access to Google Play, which means any apps you want to install have to be sideloaded.
Pipo X7 vs Pipo X7S: Design and build
In design the Pipo X7 and X7S are identical, save for the aforementioned micro-USB port on the rear of the X7S. Our samples are both silver aluminium boxes, although each is also available in black, and the X7S in gold. On top is a discreet Pipo logo, but the box is otherwise plain. Four screws on the bottom allow very easy access for tinkering. Also see: Best budget laptops 2015.
The Pipos are incredibly compact and lightweight, just 188x26x128mm and 440g. There's no fan, but there's plenty of space for air to flow inside the case, plus cooling vents at either end and on the base. Combine that with the fact there's 32GB of flash storage rather than a spinning drive and the Pipo X7 and X7S run incredibly quietly (which is important if you'll be plugging them into a living-room TV), although not entirely cool.
An external power adaptor plugs into the rear and, although this is a two-pin plug, Geekbuying will supply a suitable adaptor for your country. You may find the external power adaptor off-putting, but it's not overly bulky and at least if something goes wrong you can replace it. Once plugged in the Pipo X7 and X7S are powered on using a small button at the front.
Four rubber feet on the bottom hold the Pipo X7 and X7S steady on a desk, while a plastic antenna at the rear folds down for easier storage. For the money, we were expecting a much cheaper-looking, plasticky design.
Pipo X7 vs Pipo X7S: Hardware and performance
Keep in mind that these are very cheap Windows boxes, and you shouldn't expect blistering performance from the Pipo X7 and X7S. These PCs are reasonably quick to boot and suitable for casual day-to-day use, but nothing more.
X7 and X7S feature the same core hardware. There's an Intel Atom Z3736F quad-core chip clocked at 1.33GHz but able to boost to 2.16GHz, 2GB of DDR3L RAM and 32GB of fast Nand flash storage.
That's not a lot of storage for a Windows PC, but there are plenty of ways to add more: you might plug in an external drive or flash drive, add a microSD card (up to 64GB), or utilise network- or cloud storage.
In terms of connectivity the Pipo X7 and X7S both support Bluetooth 4.0, fast ethernet and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. There's an HDMI port at the rear for hooking the device up to a screen, and four USB ports - two at the front that will be useful for a keyboard and mouse (or if you're using Bluetooth peripherals then perhaps a USB flash drive), plus two at the rear. Note that these are of the slower USB 2.0 variety rather than USB 3.0.
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Pipo X7 & Pipo X7S: Specs
- Windows TV boxes
- Windows 8 with Bing 32-bit (X7S dual-boots Android 4.4 KitKat)
- 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3736F
- 2GB DDR3L RAM
- 32GB Nand Flash
- microSD support up to 64GB
- Intel HD Graphics
- 4x USB 2.0
- 10/100 ethernet
- Micro-USB (X7S only)
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.0