When you see it you’ll…
The term innovative is bandied around an awful lot nowadays, usually by marketing types, but actual innovation is one of the real rarities in the tech industry. When Gigabyte’s BRIX Projector landed in our labs, we figured it to sit somewhere between curiosity and novelty. However, once we fired it up it became clear that this was one of those moments where actual innovation has occurred.
The BRIX projector comes as a barebones system, requiring the user to add SODIMM RAM, mSATA SSD and an operating system to get it up and running. Based upon Intel’s Next Unit of Computing (NUC) concept, the system features a Core i3-4010U CPU, with HD 4400 graphics, to which Gigabyte has paired a DLP-based projector, capable of outputting an image at 864 x 480 resolution.
What results is something with obvious limitations, but so much potential. It isn’t going to break any performance barriers, thanks to hardware akin to that found in an Ultrabook, and the projector resolution is admittedly low (one can’t even run Modern UI apps in Windows 8.1 – although that may be more blessing than curse).
Once we had the system up and running, though, all of our worries went out the window. The projector outputs a fantastic image in a semi-darkened room (the 75lm brightness means it struggles in brightly lit areas), and even though it isn’t HD resolution, videos looked crisp and clear, as did normal Windows desktop programs. Most importantly, we could see all sorts of weird and wonderful uses for the BRIX, from boring kiosk-type solutions to forming an integral part of one colleague’s ongoing Star Trek LARPing (it could even make an underwhelming technology like the Leap Motion useful!).
Of course this isn’t a product suitable for everyone, and its barebones nature means a reasonable amount of tech savvy is needed to get it up and running.
Ultimately though, not only is this by far the best implementation of the NUC concept to date, but it is a product that is both unique and innovative without ending up as a pure gimmick.