HP Pavilion Mini 300-20

HP's best budget desktop PC

The HP Pavilion Mini 300-20 was a surprisingly great value for anyone who wanted a small computer system to add to a home theater system. Its small size allowed it to be installed almost anywhere, and the included wireless mouse and keyboard let you use it when it's locked into a cabinet. Still, it could be used as a stand-alone desktop computer system.

Overall Findings

What We Like
  • Extremely compact design.

  • Wireless mouse and keyboard included.

  • DisplayPort connector for 4K video support.

What We Don't Like
  • Performance seems to lag at times.

  • Not as easy to upgrade as other min iPCs.

The Stream Mini was to be the low-cost option for those that wanted to get connected. At the same time, the more expensive Pavilion Mini 300 offered more performance and features for additional tasks. Both had the same small footprint, smaller than an Apple Mac Mini but taller than its slim counterpart. Overall, the design was nice and could fit about anywhere.

Different Configurations Available

There were several versions of the HP Pavilion Small, with the 300-20 being the most affordable retail version. It featured an Intel Pentium 3558 dual-core mobile processor that offered more than enough performance for someone looking to use this as a connected computer for browsing the web, streaming media, or productivity software.

It wasn't a strong multitasking system, or for higher-end applications, because of the processor and the 4 GB of DDR3 memory that the processor was matched with. It often seemed to be slow when moving between applications. However, the memory could be upgraded through a bit of work.

Storage

Storage on the HP Pavilion Small 300-20 was typical of low-cost mini PCs. It featured a traditional hard drive with 500 GB of storage space and a fast 7200 rpm spin rate. This provided a good amount of space for applications, data, and media files, but if you had a lot of high-definition video files, you might have found that you needed more space.

HP packed in four USB 3.0 ports, two front and two back, for use with high-speed external storage drives. One of these connectors was used by the dongle for the wireless mouse and keyboard and, if placed on the back, could potentially block other USB peripherals from using the neighboring connector. It is possible to replace the hard drive within the system, but it is not as easy as it is on the ASUS VivoPC. Like all mini PCs, there was no DVD drive.

Graphics

Almost every mini PC on the market has limited graphics performance. The same is true here with the Pavilion Small as it relied on the Intel HD Graphics built into the Pentium processor. This was fine for streaming video or standard graphics but was not suited for 3D applications.

The Pavilion Small had an advantage over other systems in that it offers both an HDMI and a DisplayPort connector. This means it would have been possible to hook up the system to a 4K display, but it did not have the performance suited for 4K video streaming.

Input

The HP Pavilion Small 300 came with a wireless mouse and keyboard. This was significant in two ways. First, it came with a mouse and keyboard, which Apple did not include with their Mac Mini, and second, it was wireless, which made it more suited for an environment like a home theater system as the keyboard and mouse could be used from across the room.

Pricing

Pricing for the HP Pavilion Mini 300-20 was an affordable option when compared to the Apple Mac Mini. Apple's low-cost offering had a bit more performance and a sleeker design but did not come with a mouse or keyboard or offer any memory upgrade potential.

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