I'm a huge fan of first impressions, and the NUC blew me away. That simple Intel sound when opening up the NUC really did go a long way - and keeps the memory fresh in my head. The size of the NUC is utterly impressive, considering it sports a Core i3 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 180GB SSD and uses next to no power.
Compared to my usual desktop, which features Corsair's Obsidian 800D case, the NUC feels like an ant. But, just because it's small, don't let its looks deceive you - it's fast. These days, I don't use my desktop for much outside of typing on it for hours upon hours per day and streaming music through Spotify.
I have Google Chrome setup synced across every device I use, with bookmarks and extensions. I access my QNAP NAS through Chrome, and do most of my reading and writing for TweakTown through Chrome. I'm not a "power-user", who requires a Core i7 @ 5GHz (even though my desktop is clocked at those speeds), and I'm a big fan of SSDs - a big, big fan.
A simple Core i3 processor with 8-16GB of RAM (which is not that expensive anymore) and an SSD can feel like a true powerhouse system compared to a quad-core from a few years ago (Intel's Q6600 for example), and a mechanically driven HDD.
The NUC is going to have its place in the market, but Intel will have to push it as no one is going to know about it unless they look for it. It'll find a home in HTPCs, college and uni students and a select few others, but that is purely my personal opinion. I think we're going to see small business embrace it, for its small, compact size and fast internals but low power draw. We'll most likely see it being used in kiosks to plug into a HDTV to show off a video, or as a point-of-sales device.
I did have some niggly issues with the NUC, but the retail units could have these issues fixed. I'm sure it was just a driver-related issue, but if an end-user was to experience this, it would definitely put a sour taste in their mouth.
Intel's NUC is a step in a different direction for PCs, and one that I think has a future among the world of technology. PCs are getting smaller, chips are getting even smaller, and we're doing more work in the cloud. Intel knows this, vendors and companies know this and the NUC is really going to be remembered as that first real push.
I think Intel have more of a future in NUC than in Ultrabooks - as Ultrabooks are really just thin notebooks, but the NUC is truly different. I loved my time with the NUC, and it has now found its place as my everyday desktop machine, hooked up through Thunderbolt to my Samsung S27A950D monitor, and through HDMI to my Samsung Smart TV.
Thank you, Intel - for reminding me that the PC can be incredibly exciting when you get to use a device as fresh as the NUC.