I spent less than 7000 pesos for this tiny computer and it's been perfect for my WFH needs
Yup, that's not a typo. I paid just 6700 pesos for this cute, barely-larger-than-an-ashtray CPU that runs on a mere 12V adapter (imagine the power savings on this thing)
I've been using this ultra-budget desktop (UBD) setup as my main workhorse for almost 2 months now and all I can say is:
Side note: My friend told me earlier today that his order have arrived (he bought one for his wife who now also works from home). Thank you daw sa recommendation. Apir.
My Quick Review of the BMAX B2
The main reason I bought this was because my son (6 yrs old) keeps on borrowing my laptop to play games. I don't really mind but it can become a bit of a hassle at times when I'm furiously working and trying to beat a deadline.
I could switch to my trusty old Chromebook to finish the job but it kinda away my flow and momentum, sometimes becoming irritating even, because I'll have to open up all my tabs again and adjust to the smaller screen. Not good.
Also, prior to buying this tiny, tiny PC (mas mahaba pa cellphone ko), the mechanical hard drive on my laptop was starting to slow down — booting up took 1-2 mins, opening apps took forever, and you can just feel the general slowness of it all.
I started to hate using it for work. (Side note: I bought and installed an SSD to act as the main drive for my old laptop (where the OS and main apps are installed) and connected the old mechanical drive via caddy method for file storage. Now it feels so much snappy and I like using it again — but only when I feel like it).
Originally, I considered buying a second-hand CPU since I already have a monitor. I thought it will mainly serve as a secondary computer anyway so there was no reason to spend more for a new one.
However, I remembered seeing a mini-pc in Lazada a few months ago from the same store where I planned to get a cheap laptop for backup. I really dig the small form factor and thought it was the perfect pair for my monitor since I also didn't want a bulky CPU tower (I have a tiny desk).
Although a bit anxious buying from a store in China and with just around 4 reviews for the item when I bought it (all were 5 stars though), I pulled the trigger and ordered it. A week later, it arrived in a small non-descript box you wouldn't think there was a PC inside.
So without further ado, here are the specs of this tiny pc that could:
BMAX B2 specs:
- CPU: Intel Celeron 3450 (4-cores @1.1GHz - 2.1Ghz)
- RAM: 8GB DDR4
- Storage: 128GB SSD
- 2 HDMI ports
- 4 USB ports
- Mic/Headphone port
This little computer can easily manage my typical workload of Word, Dropbox (app), and a couple of Chrome tabs (6-8) running at the same time.
I checked Task Manager for some insight on how its handling resources and found that the CPU is usually running anywhere between 70% to 100% load almost all the time. But that's to be expected because it's a Celeron (cmon, man).
But it's not really an issue for me since the system felt snappy enough for my needs. Of course your mileage may vary, I'm speaking from the perspective of someone doing light tasks only (no gaming, video editing, or similar demanding stuff).
I went ahead and ran a couple of benchmarks to give those of you (who care for synthetic benchmarks) a better idea on its overall computing capabilities.
And btw, booting up is a dream. Maybe it's because I'm so used to the painstakingly slow pace of old mechanical hard drives that it still amazes me (at least until I get used to it) when I can start working in less than 20 seconds (partida may log-in pa yon).
Why you should buy the BMAX B2
Let's list down the pros and cons of owning a tiny computer like this one. Note that this is based on my own perspective and experience so take this with a grain of salt.
Its offers superb value for the price
Have you tried checking desktop pc prices nowadays? Blame it on stores capitalizing on the pandemic (which resulted to more people working from home and kids doing school online), even refurbished models featuring dated processors and RAM (3 years and older generations) are now significantly pricier than they were last year.
And if you don't know much about PCs in general, you can get screwed fast. You'd think that Intel i5 CPU with 8GB of RAM and 500GB mech hard drive that you saw on FB marketplace is fairly-priced at 10k, until you realize it was a 2011 i5 release coupled with a slower DDR3 RAM. And don't even get me started on a used mechanical hard drive.
So you can end up paying more for a system that not only is relatively slow by today's standards, but also dead in the water in terms of upgrade path with parts that are potentially nearing their end-of-life.
Now I'm not saying there are no good deals for second-hand or refurbished items out there. There are definitely decent ones and even super-sulit deals.
My point here is that buying a PC can be tricky if you don't have much knowledge about it (myself included) and you can end up paying for more than what it's worth. When I saw the BMAX B2, I thought, "So for 6700, I'd have a fully-functional, space-saving, energy-efficient, desktop PC with legit Windows 10, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and Dual HDMI support? Plus, you can even add more storage (via m.2 SSD). How is that even possible? I mean, what's not to like?!
Now if I'm being honest, I would prefer a more traditional PC with a graphics card for better all-around performance (and gaming capability). But that can easily cost above 20k (without a monitor) and it misses that bang-for-your-buck value that the BMAX B2 provides.
It was a no-brainer for me — as someone looking for an alternative workhorse to my laptop — the amount of functionality and features I'm getting from such a tiny and affordable device is simply amazing considering its price.
It's complete and ready to useWhen I received the BMAX B2, I immediately plugged the HDMI cable from my monitor and booted the system up. I was able to connect to WIFI and use my Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. In minutes, I was working on my projects in Google Docs. I didn't have to buy a WiFi or Bluetooth dongle, install Windows, buy HDMI cables (it comes with one) or deal with any potential hassle that comes with setting up a new PC. It simply worked.
It's energy efficient
Having a low-powered CPU means it consumes significantly less power than the typical i3 (or AMD-equivalent) and higher-tiered processors. I bet my laptop (which has a video card) consumes more electricity than the BMAX. If you'll be using a computer for more than 8 hrs a day, everyday, then the power savings can be quite significant (versus a more powerful setup.)
It's just right for my needs
Would you really need to hire a truck to transport a dining table when an L300 van could accomplish the same thing --- at a cheaper price? Exactly. And I had the same mindset when I bought the BMAX B2 mini PC. Do I really need a full-pledged desktop PC for Google Docs and a couple of other Chrome tabs? Uhm, yeah — NO.
Remember, when buying something, context is key. Knowing what you'll be using the machine for is the most important thing to consider when buying a PC. And in my case, the workload doesn't demand much in terms of horsepower so the BMAX B2 is perfect.
It can be a great PC for online school
My 6-year old kid uses my HP Chromebook (with touchscreen) for his online schooling (they use Google Classroom). It's less powerful than the BMAX with its Celeron 3060 and 4GB of DDR3 memory (and a measly 16GB of hard drive storage).
The experience has been nothing but smooth for him (considering its specs) and I bet the BMAX will easily beat it in terms of performance. If budget's really tight for online school, hook the BMAX B2 to your TV via HDMI, buy a decent web cam, and you'll have a full rig for less than 7k that manages online school workloads like a champ. Anlaki pa ng screen matutuwa mga bata.
It's super small
Man, I still can't believe that my main computer is just about the size of a typical platito (or ash tray). It even comes with a mounting set (screws and bracket) so you can mount it behind your monitor (with VESA support) for a really minimalist look. It's also very quiet and doesn't get hot at all. If you want that super-clean desktop style, you can't go wrong with this one.
Easy Smart TV.
I have the BMAX hooked up to my main monitor (a 21.5 inch Benq) and our old 32-inch TV. When someone else is watching on our main TV, I turn on the BMAX and switch on the attached TV to watch Netflix or YouTube. Sometimes, I use both screens while working but the TV screen is mainly just for playing Netflix continuously (on mute) while I work (keeps me company till the wee hours of the morning) on my main monitor.
Why you shouldn't buy the BMAX B2
Syempre kahit maraming pros, meron pa ding cons. Here are a few scenarios I can think of where the BMax B2 wouldn't fit.
If you deal with medium to heavy workload
If you'll be dealing with medium to heavy workload, skip this one. It's just not powerful enough for those tasks (editing video, graphics, etc.,)
If you want to use it for games
Can't do it, sorry. Unless you're still into Plants vs Zombies or Bejeweled. Fun fact: I tried to run an old Need for Speed game (2010 title) and it was able to run it (surprisingly) at 25fps average (low settings).
If you're a heavy multi-tasker
If you have dozens of Chrome tabs and apps always open at the same time, you'll need a more powerful processor to switch between tasks without feeling the lag. While the BMAX's RAM is sufficient for that, the CPU will struggle. Since I hate staring at a boatload of tabs anyway it's not an issue for me (I keep things below 8 tabs max plus desktop apps).
I never intended to write an article about the BMAX B2. However, the more I use it, the more I felt the need to let others know about it. Why? Because it offers such a great value for its price.
With more and more of our fellow kabayans needing a cost-effective computer for WFH and online school these days, I just felt compelled to let them know that such an option exists. Hopefully, they find this "guide" useful.
Anyhoo, that's all for now. If you have any similar recommendations for other readers, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
Till the next one, kabayan!
Oh and here's the link to the product in Lazada (not a sponsored link, I'm not getting paid anything for sharing this) in case you want to take a look. Unfortunately, the price increased by more than a thousand pesos na pala. Badtrip.
However, I still think it's a good price considering the value you're getting, and I hope it gets back to its original price para mas affordable (or maybe buy one during a sale)