Rated 4.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
(1 customer review)

Access3

$140.00$399.99

Introducing the next generation of portable technology – The Access3.  The Access 3 is a fanless mini PC stick that fits in the palm of your hand and lets you effortlessly convert any HDMI compatible TV, monitor display, or projector into a fully-functional computer for business or entertainment in an instant.  

Built with (2) 3.0 ports, the Access3 encourages users to create their perfect work or play space. Customize your setup by connecting your personal mouse, keyboard, control, and other accessories. The Access 3 offers duo connectivity options – with both WiFi and Ethernet connection available for uninterrupted light or heavy computing.

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Description

Introducing the next generation of portable technology.

Specifications

Processor Intel Apollo Lake N3450|Quad Core 1.10 Ghz to 2.20 Ghz
Intel Gemini Lake N4100|Quad Core 1.10Ghz to 2.20 Ghz
Operating System Windows 10 Pro/Iot/ Ubuntu
BIOS Wake ON LAN/PXE/Auto Power ON
RAM 2GB /4GB
Storage 32GB/64GB
Wifi Dual Band 2.4Ghz.5.0Ghz
GPU Intel HD Graphics 500
Ethernet 1 Gigabit
Bluetooth 4.0
HDMI Output 1.4b 4K @ 30 fps / 2.0
USB Ports x2 3.0 Ports
Micro SD slot Up to 256GB
Audio Output 3.5mm Jack
Power Supply 5V/3A
Dimensions 5.2in x 2in x 0.75in

Additional information

Weight N/A
RAM/Storage

2GB/32GB, 4GB/32GB, 4GB/64GB, 6GB/32GB, 6GB/64GB

Processor

Dual-Core Apollo Lake N3350, Quad-Core Apollo Lake N3450, Gemini Lake N4100, Quad-Core Apollo Lake J3455

Operating System

Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, Windows® 10 Pro, *NIX OS-Like

Condition

New, Used-Like New

Accessories

Logitech K400 Keyboard, Logitech K400 Keyboard & Logitech HD Pro C920 Webcam, Lynk Multifunctional Remote, Lynk Multifunctional Remote & Logitech HD Pro C920 Webcam, None

1 review for Access3

    Rated 4 out of 5

    theguru

    Disclaimer: This review was provided on a product provided as a free media review sample to The Tech Buyer’s Guru (techbuyersguru.com).
    ————————-
    The name Azulle may not be known to most PC enthusiasts, but it deserves a little recognition. This small PC manufacturer, based in Miami, Florida, is turning out some very innovative compact PCs positioned to upstage the heavy hitters. And so when Azulle reached out to us about testing its latest Access3 Mini PC with Intel’s brand-new “Gemini Lake” CPU onboard, we decided to jump at the opportunity.

    Description and Features

    Now, we’re just going to get one thing out of the way first: while Azulle refers to this as a PC Stick, we’re not going to do that. We’ve tested a PC Stick before (specifically, the Intel Compute Stick), and there are two things that are quite clear based on our testing: first, the Access3 is a lot less “stick-like” than the Compute Stick (we’d call it a palm-sized PC, actually), and furthermore, the Compute Stick was such a bad product that after buying one at retail to review on this site, we decided we had to return it and skip publishing a review. It was just that awful. The Access3 may be bigger, but at least it’s a whole lot better!

    Specifically, the Access3 is 5.6″ x 2.4″ x 0.75″ including its HDMI  connector and WiFi antenna (Azulle’s official dimensions oddly include neither). In terms of weight, it comes in at 132g (just over a quarter pound) according to our scale. How light is that? Very light! In fact, it’s about 10g lighter than the Access3’s power adapter, so yes, you’ll want to take that into account when travelling! Indeed, the 5V/3A power adapter, which is only slightly more powerful than a typical phone charger, is unusually big and heavy. Azulle’s marketing images suggest that you could slip the Access3 into your pocket, but this would be both uncomfortable and would mean you couldn’t power up the PC once you got to your destination. At least the total package is still a very portable two-thirds of a pound, far less than any laptop and most tablets as well. This includes the 13″ HDMI extension cable that you’ll probably need to carry too.

    So now that we know exactly how large (or small) the Access3 is, let’s talk about what it offers in terms of features. First off, this is the newest version of the Access3, using Intel’s Celeron N4100, code-named Gemini Lake, which hit the market in 2018. It’s Intel’s latest system-on-a-chip designed for ultra-low-power applications. While it’s a big improvement over Intel’s original Bay Trail, circa 2014, it unfortunately is caught in the same Intel vortex as everything else the chip giant is peddling these days: it offers little more than a new name versus last-generation products, in this case 2016’s Apollo Lake. In fact, the CPU is just barely touched (a larger 4MB cache being the biggest change), and the graphics chip may have a new name (“600”), but it has the exact same hardware specifications (12 processing units and a base speed of 200MHz) as the “500” series in Apollo Lake. The only difference is a features update to built-in 4K video processing, as well as native HDMI 2.0. These are great improvements for home theater enthusiasts, but don’t mistake Gemini Lake as something you’d want to play games on any more than its predecessor was. 

    Also on the spec list for our test model is 4GB of RAM and a 32GB solid-state drive, the former being totally adequate for basic PC usage, the latter being almost entirely inadequate. The issue is that as shipped, Windows 10 takes up about 16GB of the available 29GB of formatted capacity, and major Windows updates, which arrive every Spring and Fall, require 10GB of free space to install. Do the math on that and you’ll find that if you want to store practically anything other than the operating system itself, you’ll need to use add-on storage. An upgraded Access3 with 64GB of onboard storage is available for an extra $100, and while this would be better for running a number of applications off of, we think the price puts it in an entirely different price class in which it can’t really compete. We’d stick with the base model. On the bright side, the Access3 gets integrated Intel 3165 802.11ac wireless networking plus Bluetooth, and of critical importance is the external antenna that Azulle has included with the Access3. While it may make the device a bit more ungainly, it’s also what allows the built-in WiFi to actually work. We’ll provide some performance numbers on the next page, but as a bit of a sneak peak, we’ll say that we were able to pull down 150Mbps at a location from which our previous Intel Compute Stick couldn’t even connect to the Internet. We’re talking exponentially-better performance here.

    As we mentioned, the Access3 isn’t exactly pocket-sized, and it’s most definitely not what we’d call a stick PC. And the bad news about this isn’t so much that you can’t pocket the Access3, but that you can’t actually use it as a stick PC at all. On all three HDMI-equipped monitors/TVs we tried using it with, it would not fit. Either there were other ports that blocked the Access3 from being inserted, or the frame of the monitor got in the way, or as in one case, the monitor was too close to a wall to allow the 5″+ Access3 to be inserted into a rear-facing HDMI port. In short, we’d bet the chances of being able to fit the Access3 directly into a monitor’s HDMI port, as shown in Azulle’s promotional photos, is going to be very slim. And unfortunately, the HDMI extension cable that Azulle includes is only 13″ long, which isn’t going to be long enough to even use the Access3 with most TVs without having the device dangling in the air. We think Azulle should just give up on the whole “stick PC” concept, include a standard 3-foot HDMI cable, and call it a day. This would avoid a whole lot of frustration and disappointment.

    The good news is that Azulle makes the most of the Access3’s relatively large size when it comes to ports. In addition to the obvious HDMI connector, the Access3 also features two USB 3.0 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones (our guess is that a microphone is not supported, but we didn’t test this), plus a microSD card slot for cards up to 256GB. It’s possible that larger cards, such as SanDisk’s 400GB model, would work, and that Azulle simply hasn’t updated its specifications to keep up with the rapidly-increasing capacities of these tiny cards. Also included is a Kensington lock port, which will be of great help for commercial installations of the Access3, as well as a Gigabit ethernet port, an impressive piece of tech to cram into a device this size, but again one that will mostly be of use to commercial users. Home users will almost certainly be using the built-in wireless. The one letdown in terms of exterior features is the power button, which is surprisingly small. If the Access3 is positioned behind your monitor or TV, you’ll need to do a lot of fishing around to find it. Ideally, Azulle could make the button larger and round like standard PC power buttons, construct it from tacky rubber rather than slippery plastic, or ideally both (a big round button on top would we awesome!).

    One last thing we’ll mention about the Access3 is that it’s made of a metal heatsink-like material. Azulle has added ridges to what would otherwise be a slick metal surface like a modern laptop’s shell (we’re guessing its some type of magnesium alloy), and this greatly increases heat dissipation potential. In our testing, the Access3 got noticeably warm under heavy load (as when installing large Windows software updates), and our recommendation would be to avoid placing it on delicate surfaces, like an antique wood desk.

    Performance

    The very first thing we tested once we had the Access3 hooked up to our sample Vizio M50-E1 4K TV was whether the Access3 delivered on the main benefit of the new Intel Gemini Lake SoC: 4K/60Hz output. From our point of view, this is the real reason to upgrade from the older Apollo Lake generation. When we first booted up, we experienced the telltale laggy mouse movements of a 30Hz refresh rate, and it’s a shame that this was the default setting. Luckily, once we got into the display properties control panel, we were able to select 4K/60Hz output. Hallelujah! So we’re half way to perfection when it comes to home theater use, but could the Access3 really process streaming 4K video? We’ll get to that shortly.

    In our opinion, flat-out performance isn’t what you buy an ultra-compact PC for, but it does need to get its job done. One of the real challenges of building something as small as the Access3 is getting wireless networking to work. This was the biggest pitfall of Intel’s Compute Stick (which is still sold, by the way). It was much smaller than the Access3, and used an internal WiFi antenna, translating to abysmal networking performance in our testing before we gave up on it. In contrast, the Access3 is fantastic with regard to networking. At five feet from our high-powered TP-Link Archer AC5400, it was able to download data at 250Mbps and upload at around 180Mbps. This is very much on par with the high-end stand-alone wireless adapters we’ve tested. More amazing was that at about 75 feet away and up one story, it still hit 166Mbps download and 80Mbps upload, which is again more than fast enough for any home or business computing need.

    So the good news is that you can get access to incoming data with little trouble, but the bad news is that you’re going to start waiting on it once it arrives. There are a number of issues that cause this, specifically CPU speed, storage speed, and graphics speed, and we’ll address each of them in turn. The biggest, and truly most disappointing, is Intel’s terrible track record over the past five years when it comes to pushing CPU performance ahead. Consider that the Celeron N4100 quad-core used in the Access3 is only about twice as fast as the anemic Atom Z3740 quad-core we tested in the Asus Transformer Book T100 way back in December 2013, despite using 50% more power. Seriously, Intel? Five years and all we have is a 33% increase in performance/Watt at the same price? This is clearly a company that’s run out of mojo.

    What this translates to is a compact PC that isn’t particularly speedy at computational tasks. It’s about 1/2 to 1/3 the speed of a modern high-end laptop running Intel’s latest Core i5-8250U, but more problematic is that it’s even further behind very low-cost Pentium CPUs used in inexpensive desktop PCs.

    Another issue is storage speed, and this is where Azulle probably has a little room to improve. The 32GB solid-state drive is extraordinarily slow. For example, in app launching and document opening tasks, our Pentium desktop and Core i5 laptop were two to four times faster thanks to their mainstream 256GB solid-state drives. That said, the Access3’s drive is much better than a hard drive: it booted in 23.5 seconds, which no hard drive-equipped PC will ever do. So it will still feel faster than your average off-the-shelf “modern” desktop PC saddled with 1990’s era hard drive technology.

    Alas, the biggest issue we have with the Access3’s performance is one we didn’t anticipate: graphics performance. While we had no intention of testing games on it, we experienced dropped frames in some YouTube videos, as well as a generally laggy Windows interface. Opening the start menu took 1-2 seconds, minimizing application windows demonstrated noticeable lag, and as we mentioned, some of our YouTube videos skipped frames. Oddly, it was in 1080p videos on Youtube; the 4K samples we tried, including the mind-blowing Alpha Jetman video, worked perfectly. We chalk this up to Intel endowing the Gemini Lake chip with the latest in 4K decompression capabilities, while not focusing as much on less-efficient encoding used in lower-resolution video, in which the onboard GPU was totally maxed out.

    Conclusion

    Overall, we were very impressed with the Access3 from Azulle. It’s no speed demon, but it offers a lot of functionality at a very low price. To get anything faster in this palm-sized form factor, we’ll need to wait on Intel to design some new CPUs, which probably won’t arrive anytime soon. And while we didn’t find the Access3 convenient to plug directly into a monitor or TV, it’s small enough that it can fit just about anywhere. We also think it looks quite nice, a nice perk at its pricepoint.

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