Linux Ubuntu

Pantera Pico delivers incredible power in a small footprint

Looking for a small form factor PC that doesn’t perform like a miniature? Jack Wallen thinks the Pantera Pico is exactly what you want.

Image: Pantera

Mobility comes in all shapes and forms. From smartphones to tablets to laptops: if you can take it with you, it’s part of the wonderful world of mobile technology. Another device that could easily be considered adjacent to this category is the small desk; these very small computing devices that can be stored in a pocket and taken with you.

SEE: Raspberry Pi: After Launching Five Devices in Under a Year, Here’s What They Do Next (PDF Cover Article) (TechRepublic)

Think about it: you have a PC configured to your exact specifications and you have to move from one place to another. Do you set up a second PC as a clone of the first, or shut down, unplug, tidy up and go? It’s a kind of mobility that I could use on the rare occasion that I have to venture beyond the doors of my home office (which I must admit is rare these days).

But with the Pantera Pico, that’s exactly what I can do. Measuring approximately 2.62 x 2.63 x 1.75 inches, this tiny computer case packs a lot more power than you might think. I got a review of the Pantera Pico unit a while back, thinking it would just be another disappointing small form factor device that would barely register on my impress-o- meter. I was wrong. Very bad.

picoa.jpg

The Pico Pantera shown against a coffee mug for the scale.

Image: Jack Wallen

When I finally got around to throwing this baby, I couldn’t believe how well it was running on Windows 10. That’s right, Windows 10. I could have waited for a Linux version but thought that I should do this review sooner, rather than later. Also, I could always blow Windows 10 and install whatever Linux distro I want (which I most likely will).

What are the characteristics of the Pantera Pico?

Let’s put that aside (because what’s a review without some specs?). The specification list looks like this:

  • 2.7 GHz Intel Celeron J4125 Quad Core processor
  • Dual band 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz 422 Mbs Wi-Fi
  • Up to 8 GB LPDDR4 (two 4 GB operating in dual channel mode)
  • Up to one terabyte M.2 SSD
  • Four USB ports — three USB3.0, one USB2.0
  • 12V USB-C power port
  • Two SSD storage
  • MicroSD expansion card slot
  • Windows 10 / Linux 64-bit compatible
  • Combined speaker / microphone jack
  • Powerful fan
  • Rugged heat sink

The housing is aluminum, with an illuminated plastic top. It’s built like a tank, so it should have no problem traveling with you or being deployed in less than ideal situations (just don’t add water). Anyone looking for a small PC would be remiss not to consider this device.

How would you describe the Pantera Pico experience?

I have already mentioned the performance of the Pico. It runs Windows 10 like a champ. Granted, you won’t be using this device as a node in a Kubernetes cluster (although you can probably do that with Linux installed, at least for development purposes), the Pico is an absolute beast with average use. Almost anything you would do in a web browser is perfectly comfortable with this machine.

As a diehard Linux user, working with Windows (in whatever form) always seems like a step backwards for me. But I didn’t want it at Pico. And while it seemed to take forever to go through all of Microsoft’s nonsense (when setting up a new PC), the whole onboarding experience was pretty straightforward. Once that was sorted out, I expected the Pico to show its true nature: combating the weight of use. This was not the case. This baby didn’t care about everything I did. Keep in mind that everything I did was from an end user perspective (browsing, writing, social media, shopping, etc.). However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t install a few admin tools on this box and use it as a little grade testing device. Or maybe you have a situation (like a kiosk) that requires full PC power but doesn’t have the room to accommodate. There ! Pantera Pico to the rescue.

How much does the Pantera Pico cost?

At the moment, the Pantera Pico is still in Kickstarter mode. According to the Pantera Kickstarter page, the devices will cost $ 149 (for a device with 4GB RAM / 64GB ROM) up to $ 989 (for five devices with 8GB RAM / 512 ROM). The devices are expected to be delivered in November (just in time for the holidays).

You can select the operating system of your choice (between Windows and Ubuntu) and even purchase add-ons (such as a carrying case, keyboard, speakers, projector, keyboard, mouse, USB hub, etc.) during payment. And, for those who are curious, the Pantera Pico is ready for Windows 11.

Is Pantera Pico worth it?

I didn’t expect to be impressed with this little device. With that in mind, I’m always happy when my doubt turns out to be false. If you are looking for a small form factor PC (for mobile reasons or deployments that will not support standard PCs) I can gladly recommend the Pantera Pico. Don’t be fooled by its size: this device will exceed your expectations.

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