TR Member Perks!

Giada F200 Mini PC Review

Bryan Heraghty / December 1, 2015 at 8:00 AM / Reviews, Technology

The Giada F200 is a mini PC about the size of three CD albums stacked on top of each other. While it’s performance compared to even a laptop can leave users wanting more, its inexpensive price tag and Windows support left me looking back on my time with this little PC a positive memory. I used the Giada F200 as a living room PC hooked up to our 50″ screen. If I were advising any use of this product, I would absolutely recommend using it as an entertainment hub, as it is in this environment, I feel, the device has its greatest value. Included with the mini PC are a WiFi antennae, a motherboard driver CD, and installation guide. You won’t really need the guide though, as  the device is designed for turnkey installation, and I (who’s no genius himself) had the F200 up and running within a couple mouse clicks.

Design

The Giada’s slim profile easily lets it fit into any living room or desktop without taking up space or getting in the way. It’s small and light enough to mount on practically any monitor or television and can just as easily be placed behind or under most objects to be concealed. I think it speaks volumes that on more than one occasion I had difficulty finding where I had placed it because its design is so low profile. Its flat sides and angular corners allow the device to neatly fit almost anywhere. The matte black finish can be an unfortunate fingerprint magnet however.

Along the back of the device you’ll find two USB 2.0 ports, a JAHC switch, a DCIN power jack, an HDMI port, and Ethernet port, and the option for a screw on wireless stick. Along the front there’s a single power button, an Audio out and Mic in jack, and a USB 3.0 port. Beyond that, its a fairly minimal design with nothing on either of the sides, bottom, or top. The Giada F200 doesn’t come with any keyboard or mouse, so if you’re planning on buying this to save money, just know you’ll have to buy those as well if you don’t have any lying around to use.

The visual design of the F200 is nothing remarkable. It’s not an eyesore but it isn’t very pretty either. That may be part of why it’s so easy to miss, but a more visually pleasing device never hurts. At the end of the day, visuals are the least most important thing when it comes to computers, performance, or more accurately, performance to price point is what really matters.

20151127_181405

Performance

When both my 2013 MacBook Pro and the Giada F200 were wired to the router, I found that on average the Giada F200 actually beat my Mac to certain web pages a number of times. Giada’s turnkey installation let me get started setting up the device quickly and easily. Within a few minutes I had downloaded a new web browser, set up accounts, and was browsing the web form my couch.

A feature selling point of the Giada F200  is its noiseless design. Given the popular use of these mini PCs is their viability to be entertainment centers in the living room, the less noise the better for keeping from interrupting your content. During my numerous hours using the device, it remained perfectly quiet the entire time, never making so much as a peep. The F200 is also touted as a “dust proof” device, which is accomplished by making the only openings on the device (six small holes) on the bottom. The N2807 processor caps at 5W of power, so I never noticed the little PC getting hot while using it, even when trying to push it to its limits.  Those limits however, show fairly quickly. As soon as more than two or three  browser tabs were open, the Giada F200 began to noticeably slow. Scrolling up and down would become jagged, loading would stall, etc. As soon as things loaded, the device would be mostly consistent again, but even still things like scrolling or switching tabs had noticeable lag at times. Even little demanding browser games such as Adventure Quest played with some choppy-ness.

20151127_182053

YouTube videos, Netflix, and music streaming worked just fine. Web browsing, despite the hiccups, was still enjoyable and on a big screen was a fun experience to have. Spending the night with one of my roommates, browsing various websites for funny .gifs, and watching videos without using the PS4’s god awful YouTube interface helped me see why something like this isn’t necessarily obsolete by the gaming consoles of today. Comparing this to something like the Google Chrome or Amazon Fire Stick is a different matter. True, you’re going to see more noticeable lag with something like those. Any movement of your mouse is going to be registered two seconds later on the TV, but at a third the price of a mini PC, these flaws are certainly mitigated. Two features in the F200’s favor are its modular design and memory.

With its modular design, a user with the know how can add Bluetooth, WiFi, SSDs, and more. Of course these are added expenses to the user, but having an option is always going to be better than not having one. Additionally, being able to save things on the Mini PC means you can leave this as its own device—you don’t need to whip out your laptop or phone to use it, which can become a question of value for a consumer. If you have a perfectly capable device in your hands, how much is that extra screen real estate really worth? But this being a fully fleshed out device with memory and storage lets it stand on its own, and be useful in any scenario.

20151127_182832

Value

The Giada F200 supports both Microsoft Windows and Android OS. For Microsoft Windows, the device supports Windows  7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. At $110 (~£73, ~€103) this mini PC feels appropriately priced. I could easily recommend this to anyone looking to do some browsing or work from the couch on the big screen (I wrote the majority of this review laying on my side on a couch.) If you already own a laptop, a game console, and a cell phone, and haven’t ever wanted to browse the web from the couch, I might recommend you against this product. It’s not that it isn’t functional, it works great despite some jitters. If you already have these means, this product’s benefits might not be worth your money. If you like to work while traveling on a bus, train, or plane, well then this also won’t be very useful to you. If you’re looking for a second PC for light browsing, maybe one you could bring with you for travel, I would absolutely recommend this over a laptop. It’s wonderfully cheap, easy to store, works well, and can even be upgraded.

This product was sent to TechRaptor by Giada for review purposes.

What are your thoughts on the Giada F200? Does it look like something you’d go for, or are you holding out for something more? Let us know in the comments below!

7.0
 

Very Good

Summary

A decent performing option for browsing the web and consuming entertainment from the couch. Though flawed, the Giada F200 manages to show its worth in an increasingly crowded market.


Bryan Heraghty

Staff Writer

Avid shooter and platformer fan. Coffee is the only power up I need. In the spare time I have I will listen to more podcasts than has scientifically been deemed healthy. Hit me up on Twitter if you ever want to chat with me about games, tech, or whatever.