Ockel Sirius A review

Ockel Sirius A - Front
Ockel Sirius A - Front

In May of this year the Dutch company Ockel released their second mini PC, called the Ockel Sirius A. With this, the company claims to ‘reinvent the PC’. The mini PC is shipped with Windows 10 and has a 6 inch touch screen and a battery included. During that time, I did not want to spend 700 euro on a device with an identity crisis. By coincidence, I got the opportunity to test the Ockel Sirius A, so I could finally check what all the fuzz was about.

Specifications

  • Internals: Intel Atom z7-Z8750 processor // 4GB LPDDR3 // Intel HD Graphics 405 // 64 GB eMMC flash
  • Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 (5V, 3A), USB-C (5V, 2.5A), HDMI (1.4a), DisplayPort (1.2), 3.5mm audio port, RJ-45 (1GBit), Micro SDXC slot.
  • Wireless: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual band // Bluetooth 4.2
  • Sensors: Fingerprint Scanner, Accelerometer, Gyroscope
  • Camera: 5 MP Full HD.
  • Battery: 3500 mAh
  • Adapter: 12.5W (5V/2.5A)
  • Material: Aluminium.
  • Dimension: 85.5 x 160 x 8.6 – 21.4mm / 3.4 x 6.3 x 0.3 – 0.8″
  • Weigh: 334g / 11.8oz

Expectations

We The specifications are hopeful: the processor and RAM  should be sufficient to run Windows 10 smoothly. The number of ports is much higher than the average portable notebook these days. My main concern is the atom processor: does it have enough space so it will not overheat. Or will it quickly switch into thermal throttling loosing valuable processing power?

Packaging

The Ockel Sirius A is packed very decently in a cardboard box. This outer box protects the inner box with on the outside printed the Canis Major  constellation. This constellation (which includes the star Sirius) is a recurring theme which is also printed on the back of the Ockel Sirius A. 

Does it fit your mailbox?

No. The box is too big.

What’s in the box

  • The Ockel mini computer
  • USB charging cable
  • 3 power bricks: Type A (US), C (EU) and G (GB).
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Quick Setup Guide
  • Warranty Card
Ockel Sirius A - Included cables

Features

Features as stated by Ockel:

  • Very Powerful
  • 100% silent
  • Seriously Small

Build Quality & Design

The build quality of the Sirius A is very good. The aluminum body feels solid and there are no moving parts. Ockel did an outstanding job designing a PC that fits in suck a small housing. On top of that, it also includes a 3500 mAh battery and it contains a lot of ports. They had to be very cleaver in their design. For example, the back side is part of the cooling solution of the mini PC.

Holding the Ockel for the first time is a strange experience, because it feels relatively heavy for its size. With its weight of only 334g it is not very heavy, but because the current generation smartphones are about the same size and weigh less more than one third less. That’s probably why we are a bit biased.      

Heath / Power consumption /Noise

You don’t need a stress test to stress the Ockel Sirius A. You can just wait for a Windows update to kick up things a little bit. To start with the positive: it does not produce any noise because it has passive cooling. When you use the device for a while the temperature of the whole device increases. This is also because of passive cooling, and that the back acts as a giant heath sink. The specified battery life is 3,5 hours when watching video. We experienced a little more when not using video, so around four hours of battery life.

Usability

When using the Sirius A in tablet mode its is interesting to see how Windows 10 copes with a 6 inch screen. On the default full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) reading from and controlling the 6 inch screen is a bit of a challenge. Luckily Windows allows you to scale up the screen to 125 or 150 percent. This makes working with the Sirius somewhat easier. However, Windows 10 is not just that useful on a screen like this. The device is too big to handle it with a single hand and does not have enough room next to the screen to hold it comfortably (especially in portrait mode). The design of the Sirius allows the device to stand up in both landscape and portrait mode, which is a nice feature.

The Sirius A can also act as a normal PC. With sufficient ports, you can hook it up to your monitor or TV using the DisplayPort, HDMI or even USB Type-C. There are also plenty of options to connect to your wired or wireless network and other peripherals. When using the device as a PC, the Atom processor really becomes the bottleneck. It has four cores but due to the limited cooling performance is seriously throttled back when the device gets to hot. An this happens a lot. You can certainly do your perform your tasks on the device, but don’t expect the smoothest experience when the tasks become processor intense.      

When using it as a personal device the Ockel Sirius A has only limited value. It’s not a bad product, but for each purpose there are a lot of devices that are better suited for the job. However, in professional context the Ockel can be of more value. For example a mechanic who is on the road all day and needs a local Windows 10 environment to do his job this device has sufficient power and connectivity to replace a full size laptop.

Customizability

The only thing you can customize in the Ockel Sirius A is putting a micro SD card in the SDXC card slot. Memory can not be expanded nor the internal storage. You can choose to buy an Ockel Sirius A with higher specs: a double amount of storage and RAM will cost you a premium of 100 euro. 

Pro/cons

Pros

  • Original design
  • Quality (e.g. fingerprint reader) and quantity (number of ports) of components is good. 

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • The Ockel Sirius A is not powerful enough as a PC, not mobile enough for a tablet or smartphone.
  • The touch screen is too small for Windows 10 to work well.  
  • Gets relatively warm

Verdict

Unfortunately the Sirius A is not the best of both worlds of PCs and tablets. And when taking the price of 700 euro in account, it is better to choose for either a mini PC or a tablet. But if you choose for a min-PC like the recently reviewed Alfawise T1, you can also buy a good tablet and still end up with more money in your pocket.

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