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Acer Revo Build review – hands on

Acer Revo Build 2

Acer's second take on a compact Mini PC is even more flexible than the first thanks to modular upgrades

When it launched earlier this year, Acer’s Revo One mini PC proved you didn’t need to sacrifice storage space in order to get a full computer in a case no larger than a biscuit tin. The company is looking to go one further this year with the Revo Build, a modular mini PC with separate, interchangeable upgrades that can add extra storage, extra connectivity and even external graphics, without compromising on size.

While the Revo One was slightly curved, made of glossy white plastic and slightly subtle in terms of design, the Revo Build is almost the polar opposite. The black and orange colour scheme is downright aggressive when paired with the matt black finish and square-shaped modules. Each module stacks on top of the others using a series of magnets and pogo pins, which means there are no unsightly external wires or cables to worry about, and the 125mm square footprint means it won’t take up much space on a desk either.

The base unit is set to launch by itself, with the other modules available separately for anyone looking to upgrade. Inside, you’ll get either an Intel Pentium or Celeron processor, and although Acer has yet to reveal specifics, it’s looking highly likely they will be of the newly announced Skylake variety.

THe base unit might only ship with a miserly 32GB of storage, but two of the first modular upgrades will be external hard disks; a 500GB model and a 1TB model. These will be usable on other computers, appearing as a regular hard disk when connected over USB3, or stack on top of the Revo Build base unit for cable-free storage.

Acer Revo Build 1

You get HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet and two USB3 ports on the back of the base unit, but there’s nothing stopping Acer from releasing connectivity modules should anyone run out of ports, or want something different like USB Type-C.

A slightly more off the wall inclusion is the wireless charging dock, which will sit on the very top of any Revo Build stack and add a wireless charging pad for giving compatible phones a boost when they run low on battery. You can detach the base and take it with you too, as it has its own internal battery that acts as a battery backup.

The external graphics module is perhaps most exciting, sitting underneath the Base unit and connecting via its own proprietary port. Hopefully this should ensure it isn’t fighting with other modules for bandwidth, leaving plenty of GPU power for gaming. Acer has yet to reveal what graphics cards will actually be contained inside the module, only confirming that AMD would be supplying the silicon, but given its compact size it will most likely be a mobile version from AMD’s existing GPU line-up.

With no word on prices for the optional upgrade modules, or indeed any real details regarding hardware, it’s clear Acer is still settling on final specifications, but there won’t be long to wait until you’ll be able to pick up a Revo Build base unit. It’s set to arrive across Europe in October, with prices starting from €199 depending on hardware.

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