Windows on ARM sucks, mainly because it lacks basic app support. Developers just aren’t interested in spending time on such a niche operating system, especially when the only platform to test Windows on ARM apps is a $1,000 Surface Pro X. But things may change soon thanks to the ECS LIVA Mini Box QC710, a new Snapdragon mini PC that costs just $219.
Qualcomm and Microsoft worked together to build this mini PC, which was supposed to go on sale a few months ago. It features a Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 chip, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage, and support for both Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0. There’s also a dedicated microSD slot, two USB-A ports (2.0 and 3.2), and an HDMI jack. (While this mini PC does feature a USB-C port, it’s only for powering the machine.)
Now, I wouldn’t suggest buying this Snapdragon mini PC. It’s only intended for development and testing, and as such, it runs on some pretty low-end hardware.
But the ECS LIVA Mini Box QC710’s release marks a major turning point for Windows 11 on ARM. It shows that Microsoft is finally (hopefully) taking the future of computing seriously, and that Windows could make a successful transition to ARM in the next few years.
The benefits of ARM are hard to ignore—ARM mobile chips require less power than the typical Intel or AMD processor, leading to better thermal performance and battery life. Mac users have enjoyed these benefits since the M1 chip’s 2020 launch, but the world of Windows is still stuck on x86.
If everything goes right, the ECS LIVA Mini Box QC710 will be remembered as a major stepping stone for the Windows operating system. But there’s a chance that we’re being overly optimistic. Admittedly, Microsoft has made bold steps toward ARM in the past and still has very little to show for it.
ECS LIVA Mini Box QC710 Desktop
The ECS LIVA Mini Box QC710 Desktop is a $219 ARM PC capable of running Windows 10 and Windows 11. It’s intended for app development and testing. Oh, and Microsoft doesn’t accept returns for this item.
Source: Microsoft via Thurrott