Azulle Byte Plus (2016) Review

by Reads (4,123)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Design
      • 6
      • Features
      • 7
      • Performance
      • 5
      • Utility
      • 8
      • Total Score:
      • 6.50
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Surprisingly peppy performance (for basic use)
    • Solid quality
    • Plenty of ports
  • Cons

    • Only 32GB of internal storage

Quick Take

The Azulle Byte Plus delivers exceptional value if you’re looking for a small, low-cost PC for basic tasks.


Azulle is a Florida-based company specializing in low-cost consumer and business electronics. We recently reviewed their Lynk Multi-Functional PC Remote Control with nearly all praise. In this article, we’re reviewing the Byte Plus, the company’s latest mini PC. It’s small enough to fit in one hand, and has just enough performance for basic day-to-day tasks, like office productivity and video streaming. Starting at just $169, this little computer packs an impressive amount of value.  

Azulle Byte Plus

Azulle Byte Plus

Azulle Byte Plus Initial Setup

The Byte Plus is just about ready to go out of the box. It gets its power from a wall-mounted AC adapter with two prongs. The length of the cord is about three feet.

You’ll need to supply your own keyboard and mouse, although Azulle offers configurations of the Byte Plus that include them for a little extra. Lastly, you’ll need to connect a monitor or TV to the desktop’s HDMI or VGA ports.

From there, it’s a matter of pressing the power button on the front of the Byte Plus and getting through the initial setup screens in Windows 10. From the time we unboxed it until we were actually using the Byte Plus, it took us a little less than 15 minutes. That includes the time it took for Windows to apply some critical updates.

We were happy to see that there was no junk or trial software pre-installed on the Byte Plus.

P1440768_1920Azulle Byte Plus Build and Design

The Byte Plus has a friendly cube-like appearance, with overly rounded corners and a black and silver color scheme. It’s quite mini in appearance; here you can see it next to a standard AA battery. The Byte Plus measures just 8x6x3 inches.

This two-pound little desktop has a solid, durable feel. The silver piece on top is aluminum, which has a beveled edge for a bit of flare. The rest of the construction is plastic.

The power button on the front side is the Byte’s only button. It illuminates in orange when the desktop is off or in standby, and a dark blue when the unit is powered on.

P1440770_1920 P1440780_1920

The protruded corners of the desktop’s underside are rubberized to prevent it from sliding around. There are also two mounting holes here, in case you don’t want to sit the Byte Plus on your desk.

On the right side of the chassis is a MicroSD card slot. This is one way to expand the total storage. Note that the Byte Plus has no user-accessible components; the 32GB of onboard storage can’t be upgraded, so adding storage is the only way to get more.

P1440775_1920 P1440777_1920

The desktop’s rear houses its port connectivity. The wireless antenna can be swiveled around as desired. To its right is a legacy VGA port, and next to it is a USB Type-A 2.0.

On the bottom left are the headphone/microphone combination jack and Kensington cable lock slot. A pair of USB Type-A 3.0, the Ethernet jack, an HDMI v1.4 out, and the AC power jack round out the list. We would have appreciated if some of the ports were on the front of the desktop, especially the headphone jack. The ports are difficult to find by feel alone. That said, it’s not exactly difficult to pick up the Byte Plus and plug something in, if needed.

Azulle Byte Plus Performance

The Byte Plus is sold in two configurations, with our $189 review unit being the more expensive of the two. The base $169 model has just 2GB of RAM and a 32GB storage drive, meeting the bare minimum requirements to run Windows 10. Our review unit has double the RAM at 4GB, but all else the same. The extra RAM gives the operating system some much-needed breathing room for multitasking.

Both Byte Plus configurations include an Intel “Cherry Trail” Atom x5-Z8300 processor. It has four cores running at 1.44GHz, with a Burst speed up to 1.84GHz. This processor uses so little power that it doesn’t need a fan, and therefore the Byte Plus is completely silent. The top of the unit becomes slightly warm to the touch after extended usage, but nothing close to concerning.

The trade-off for low power usage is low performance. The Atom processor has come a long way over the years, but is still a far cry from even Intel’s entry-level Core m3 and i3 processors when it comes to overall performance capability.

The internal storage on the Byte Plus is just 32GB. Over half of this is taken up by Windows 10 or lost to drive formatting, leaving you with about 11.4GB of free space. That’s just enough to install Microsoft Office and a few other programs. Unfortunately, no upgrades for the internal storage are available on the Byte Plus. You can, however, add extra storage using its MicroSD card slot. There’s also the Cloud and external storage, as well.

P1440778_1920In real-world usage, we found the Byte Plus was surprisingly responsive. It handled 1080p video streaming from Amazon Prime just fine. Web surfing was mostly smooth, too, except when browsing websites with heavy animations. These tended to slow down the system a bit, causing a second or two of delay when switching between browser tabs in Microsoft Edge. The 4GB of RAM in our review unit certainly helps if you want to keep more than one application open at a time; for $20 over the base model that has 2GB, it’s a no-brainer.

We timed the Byte Plus at 39 seconds from pressing the power button to being able to open a web browser and start surfing the Internet. That’s not bad at all.

In our testing, the Byte Plus had no trouble maintaining a wireless connection through a wall and across a medium-size room.

Given our past experience with Intel Atom processor-based devices, we were pleasantly surprised at the overall responsiveness of the Byte Plus. It works well for general usage. However, don’t let that get you too excited. This isn’t a computer you’ll want to use for video or photo editing, or complex tasks such as rendering and encoding. It’s also not good for modern 3D gaming.

Azulle Byte Plus Benchmarks

We ran our PCMark 8 benchmark to measure the baseline performance of the Byte Plus. Specifically, we ran the Home Accelerated test, which is designed to score a computer for general day-to say usage.

The Byte Plus achieved a score of 1,401. Compare this to the 2,674 scored in the same test by the Lenovo Yoga 710-11, an entry-level notebook with a Core m3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. As we stated earlier, the Byte Plus is perfectly capable for everyday usage, but won’t get you much further than that.

wPrime 32M processor comparison results (listed in seconds – lower scores mean better performance):
wPrime

PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
PCM8_HomeAccelerated

PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):
PCM8_WorkAccelerated

3DMark Fire Strike measures the overall gaming performance of the GPU (higher scores mean better performance):
3DM_FireStrike

CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
CDM

Final Thoughts

The Azulle Byte Plus is a solid investment if you’re looking for a small, low-cost PC for basic tasks. It has a compact design, solid overall quality, good wireless range, and plenty of ports. We also gave it points for its surprisingly peppy performance in general tasks, like web surfing. This isn’t a PC you’ll want to use for demanding applications like photo editing, but it can otherwise get the job done.

We recommend the $189 configuration with 4GB of RAM over the $169 version that has just 2GB of RAM. Having double the memory makes multitasking more practical, and helps the system responsiveness in general. We’d like to see more than 32GB of storage, but the Byte Plus isn’t offered with more. You can expand its storage via its MicroSD card slot, though, or by using external or Cloud-based storage.

In terms of value, the Byte Plus does rather well against its competition. Next to something like the Lenovo Ideacentre Stick 300, a $99 PC, the Byte Plus offers considerably better performance and greater connectivity. As we noted, having 4GB of RAM makes a big difference.

P1440770_1920Pros:

  • Surprisingly peppy performance (for basic use)
  • Solid quality
  • Plenty of ports

Cons:

  • Only 32GB of internal storage



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