Packaging and System
Intel's circuit marketing design is one I have come to love, it just has the perfect amount of complimentary color contrast, which makes enthusiasts like me adore the box as much as the product. The box is just as small as the product itself and the NUC is very well protected from the elements.
The box includes an FSP branded AC/DC power adapter with inserts for the different wall sockets you will find in regions around the world. A VESA plate with screws is included and there is also a decent guide on how to set everything up.
The top is very simple and elegantly designed. A little HDD status indicator light is also located right above the pushbutton. The bottom is what you might expect form a unit you need to open to use, four screws is all it takes to unveil the circuitry underneath. The rubber feet felt sturdy and I opened and closed the unit many times without any noticeable wear to the rubber feet.
The front is simple, two USB 3.0 ports and a headphone jack. The yellow USB 3.0 port is a charging port capable of fast charging your devices. I have used it a few times for my phone and it works very well, as fast as charging directly from the wall.
The back features two USB 3.0 ports, RJ-45 1GBit LAN port, DisplayPort 1.2, mini-HDMI 1.4a port, and a DC power input jack. The two rectangular slots at the top of the unit are for the exhaust from the CPU blower fan.
Both sides are pretty simple and have slotted bottom for air intake. There is also a Kensington lock slot.
What is unique about the new NUCs is that you can remove the top easily and replace it with a customized one. More interesting is the prospect of add-ons such as a TV tuner or another device that could expand the usefulness of the mini PC.
Opening the NUC and installing the M.2 drive and memory is a breeze. Notice that there is a large thermal pad on the lid which covers the length of an M.2 drive. That thermal pad is a must if you use a high performance M.2 drive like the Samsung XP941. You will notice there is also an SATA port for a SATA DOM, which isn't a very widely used storage method.
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