Beelink S2 is the new mini computer of which today we present its review, thanks to the collaboration of the Beelink brand we can pass our battery of tests to this model that premiers the new Intel Gemini Lake processors. This model has two versions, we are going to test the less powerful with Intel Celeron N4100 processor and 4 GB of RAM, soon will be available the most powerful version with Intel Pentium Silver N5000 processor with 8 GB of RAM. In this two mini PCs we have the same configuration where its two HDMI video outputs stand out. Sufficient specifications to use it as a mini PC with desktop applications, light games or as a multimedia center. Let’s see how it is defended in the following pages where we perform tests in detail.
|CPU||Intel Celeron N4100 @ 1.1 / 2.4 GHz / 6W TPD|
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics 600 – 12UE @ 200 MHz / 700 MHz|
|OS||Windows 10 Home 64bit|
|Chipset||Intel Gemini Lake|
|RAM||4 GB DDR4 2400MHz (not upgradable)|
|WiFi||Si, Intel Wireless AC 3165|
|Ethernet||Si, Realtek Gigabit|
|Audio||Gemini Lake audio – HMDI
Realtek ALC269 – Audio jack
1x M.2 disk (2242)
1x 2,5″ SATA Disk
|Ports||2x HDMI 2.0 / 4K@60fps
2x USB 3.0 Type-A
1x USB 3.0 Type-C
2x USB 2.0
Audio jack in/out
microSD reader / 128GB Max.
Digital microphone (Cortana)
Long HDMI cable
Short HDMI cable
VESA support 100/200
DC adapter 12V 1.5A (18W)
Dimensions: 6.2 x 5.2 x 1.2 inches
Weight: 0.6 lb
The Beelink S2 mini PC comes to us in a cardboard box with the same design as the Intel NUCs. Inside we find the central unit in an upper compartment accompanied by a manual in English, a 12V / 1.5A transformer, a VESA support, a long miniHDMI video connection cable and a short one in case we mount it using the VESA support, a nice detail.
The Beelink S2 mini PC case is made of black plastic with rounded lines. In the upper area we find in the logo of the brand, in the front we have the microphone for Cortana, a USB 3.0 Type-C, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, microSD card reader up to 128GB, blue status LED and power button .
In the rear area we have the BIOS reset, security lock, round power connector, two HDMI 2.0 connectors that allows 4K@60fps video output on two monitors at the same time, Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports and a audio jack with microphone support.
In the lower part we have four rubber feet that raise the box a little and hide the screws to remove this cover, we also have some lines of perforations as air inlet from behind and two threaded inserts for the VESA support. In this area we have the cover for the disk bay that we can disassemble with two screws.
If we remove the disk cover we can see the SATA 3 connector, the housing allows us to mount any 2.5″ disk since a lid press the disk adapting to the different thickness.
Disassembling the Beelink S2 and observe the motherboard where we find a large aluminum heatsink that covers the SoC, the 4 GB of memory and the storage of 64 GB eMMC. On the motherboard we also have a slot for the M.2 2242 disk, from the wifi module we see two cables that connect to the Wifi antennas stuck on the top cover. The internal battery is glued in the rear area that is not visible in the photo.
CONNECTING THE DEVICE
To turn on the mini PC we connect the power source to the Beelink S2 and press the power button, as indicated by the specifications we have Windows 10 Home 64bit properly activated, we check the list of devices and note that none of them runs out of drivers.
The Beelink S2 comes with the 1709 version so we will have to update it to the new 1803, something that is done automatically without problems, after updating we recommend to clean the previous version of Windows to win free disk space, use the windows clean tool as administrator.
- Startup time: 21 seconds
The new Beelink S2 mini PC runs correctly the environment of Windows 10 Home, thanks to its 4 GB of RAM and the Intel Gemini Lake Quad Core processor, the eMMC memory has enough speed to execute the most common tasks launched by the user. In general a passive mini PC that works very well for desktop or multimedia use in a completely silent way with a minimum power consumption, something that will help us to save some money without a doubt.
We start the system BIOS by pressing the ESC key repeatedly while restarting the miniPC, the system BIOS is quite limited and we can only change the boot system. As we have seen in this model we do not have auto power on when connecting it to the electrical network, we list some of the options of the bios below.
- Wake on LAN to boot from network
- On from programmable internal clock (RTC)
- Secure boot option
- No LEGACY mode
From the Beelink website we have information about their products and a FORUM where there are different files to download, on our website you can ask questions about this product too.
The latest version of Ubuntu boots perfectly and detects all the devices in the system, as we know this system always have certain limitations in the aspect of video decoding. We also try to start LibreELEC on PC but it can not start, it seems that we will have to wait for a compatible version.
To remotely control the Beelink S2 we can install Intel Remote Keyboard Host on the the mini PC, and then we can use our mobile or tablet to control it installing the Android or iOS app. We can use tactile gestures, virtual mouse or remote keyboard, we just have to have both devices on the same Wi-Fi network.
In the miniPC Beelink S2 we have a new processor Gemini Lake specifically the Intel Celeron N4100 that works between 1.1 GHz and 2.4 GHz, a low power processor with only 6W TPD thats scale down his speeds quickly to reduce the temperature. In this model we have an Intel HD Graphics 600 GPU that has 12EU (execution units) and works finey with video at 4K@60fps resolution as we will see in the review.
In the tests performed we verified how the 4 GB of DDR4 memory works at 2400 MHz and achieves a pretty good speed compared to the Single Channel models, it seems that this memory really works in Dual Channel mode.
In the tests we observe the speed in Dual Channel and verify that it effectively works at 2400 MHz as indicated by the specifications, a consistent behavior with respect to the configuration.
Storage and ports
The internal storage is 64GB eMMC integrated into the board, after installing all the windows patches and cleaning the unnecessary files we were left with about 38 GB of free space for us. Enough for office applications, browsing and support Windows updates. The USB 3.0 ports behave normally and we have the usual transfer speed.
The results of the 64 GB eMMC memory installed are correct, the system moves correctly and we do not notice that for the users we have critical slowdown problems.
As we can see in the following comparison it is interesting to add an M.2 or 2,5″ disk drive and change the disk operating system to improve speed and increase the available space.
|Internal eMMC||Crucial MX500 SSD|
Temperature and noise level
We pass the classic thermal tests on the fanless Beelink S2 and we verify that they have correct results for this hardware, the N series of Intel lowers the speeds of the processor quickly when it detects a high consumption and protects it thermally.
- Average measurement temperature 25°C
In the extreme performance test with the CPU and the GPU at 100% and the system rises temperatures while it begins to limit the maximum speed of the processor, the system goes up to 61 ºC as top but the speed of the processor remains in a maximum of 1.3 GHz, this is a protection measure.
We have checked in our test on DOTA 2 in a normal game session the CPU keeps jumping between frequencies at quite low levels and as it does not usually go over 1.6 GHz, the maximum temperature is about 64ºC during a long session.
The internal heatsink perfectly fulfills its function and we have a correct thermal dissipation, the top part of the miniPC gets quite hot but it is not worrisome since it just fulfills its function of thermal dissipation.
In the aspect of electrical consumption using the Beelink S2 we obtain quite controlled consumption values in the line of similar models, in normal use the systems remain very contained and we only reach a maximum of 10 W when we put the GPU to max work. If we connect a hard disk or install an M.2 disk they will be a bit higher.
Wi-Fi, Ethernet and Bluetooth
On the network aspect the Beelink S2 has a Intel Wireless AC connection adapter that also integrates the Bluetooth 4.0 adapter. We test the network adapters with the iPerf measuring tool with which we can see the maximum connection speed. With this wifi adapter we have a speed of 44 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band and 212 Mbps in the 5 GHz band, the range is quite correct although it could be better with an external antenna. The Gigabit Ethernet connector gives us 905 Mbps results, correct figures. The Bluetooth system behaves correctly and we connect peripherals without problems.
The Beelink S2 at hardware level have the Intel Celeron N4100 Quad Core processor that moves between a speed of 1.1 and 2.4 GHz in turbo mode, in the graphical section we have integrated an Intel HD Graphics 600 that has 12UE and has a working speed between 200 MHz and 700 MHz. A processor that represents the usual jump in the generations of Intel, with this performance we can surf the Internet, play multimedia content, run office applications, design at a basic level and run simple games if they do not have an excessive 3D load, the latest generation games are out as is logical.
With this test we can see the performance of the device in an office environment and common desktop use.
Graphic performance test where we can see the gross performance capabilities in this environment and compare the performance of GPU’s historically.
This benchmark in SoC offers a fairly reliable numbers of CPU’s working in a single core or multiple cores ate the same time, it also has a section of GPU computing that gives us an overall result of the processing capacity.
A brute force tests on both CPU and GPU, this benchmark always help us to see a very clear reference of power.
We perform our performance test in games using the Beelink S2 mini PC, the results are in line with this type of product, the Intel HD Graphics 600 GPU has the same performance as the 500 in this field. These SoC of the N family lower the performance in the big consumption scenarios, if we want to use it for this purpose we have to change the energy profile of Windows to “High performance”, even so we can not expect miracles. As is the norm in the Celeron or Pentium the popular game Fortnite does not boot, it seems that it is not compatible with the Gemini Lake and the Apollo Lake processors, perhaps it will be fixed in a future update.
- GTA V, Low settings, 720p resolution
- Overwatch, Low settings, 720p resolution
- DOTA 2, Low settings, 1080p resolution
- Fortnite, Low settings, 720p resolution
- World of Tanks, Medium settings, 1080p resolution
* On mini PC’s with powerful GPU’s the settings are in medium and 1080p resolution
With the Beelink S2 we have made a special gaming test with DOTA 2 and another with League of legends (LOL) with a screen resolution of 1920 × 1080, in the lowest performance scenario the system in DOTA 2 has about 19 Fps while running LOL we can get up to 30 Fps which makes it playable, as we see this title is less demanding than DOTA 2.
As we see, with this hardware it is advisable to play simple titles such as those found on Android phones by downloading them from the Microsoft Store. Also indie 2D titles or have a basic load in 3D, emulators are also feasible but at most we are in some simple Wii titles.
VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST
Video format test
We perform our classic video playback tests with the Beelink S2 mini PC and get good results. The integrated Intel HD Graphics 600 GPU has hardware support for VP9 and HVEC codecs with 10bit of color, a substantial improvement over previous generations. In this model we have two HDMI 2.0 video outputs which allows a maximum resolution of 4K@60fps but does not have HDR support.
This miniPC as we have tested works very well with any video at 1080p or 4K resolution with good bitrate in general, as we can see in the tests we only have limitations in high-level concrete VP9 files.
- If you are interested only in KODI you can try the LibreELEC system for PC
|BBB – H.264 8bit – Simple@L1 – 1080p@25fps – 7 Mbps||Correct|
|Samsung Oceanic Life – H.264 8bit – High@L5.1 – 1080p@30fps – 40 Mbps||Correct|
|Timelapse – H.264 8bit – High@L5.1 – 4K@24fps – 43 Mbps||Correct|
|Anime – H.264 10bit – High 10@L5.1 – 1080p@24fps – 10 Mbps||Correct|
|Tears of steel – HVEC 8bit – Main@L6.2@Main – 1080p@24fps – 17 Mbps||Correct|
|Samsung UHD Dubai – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.2@Main – 4K@24fps – 51 Mbps||Correct|
|Jellyfish – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L6.1@High – 4K@30fps – 392 Mbps||Minimal frameskip|
|Anime – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L4@Main – 1080p@24fps – 21 Mbps||Correct|
|Life of Pi HDR10 – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.1@High – 4K@24fps – 45 Mbps||Correct|
|LG Demo – Dolby Vision – HVEC 12bit – Main 10@L5@Main – 4K@24fps – 30 Mbps||Correct|
|Planet Earth II – HDR HLG 10bit – Main 10@L5@High – 4K@25fps – 31 Mbps||Correct|
|The world in HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 4K@60fps – 20 Mbps||Frameskip|
|Peru 8K HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 8K@60fps – 20 Mbps||Frameskip|
We test the compatibility to play Ultra HD Blu-ray formats, as we see in the test the system is not compatible since several required security modules are missing. The formats MKV, Bluray ISO and BDRemux are not a problem since they are only containers, they usually come in H.264 format and with 1080p resolution, we can use KODI to play them.
Audio format test
Testing the Beelink S2 using a Yamaha RXV-577 AV receiver we check that the miniPC supports DD and DTS 7.1 pass through, is curious because the default hardware only supports stereo and does not have licenses for DD or DTS formats. We recommend, as always, to update all the drivers with Windows Update to the latest before connecting the device to our AV receiver.
|Dolby Digital 5.1||OK||–|
|Dolby Digital Plus 7.1||Core||–|
|Dolby True HD 7.1||OK||–|
|Dolby Atmos 7.1||OK*||–|
|DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1||OK||–|
|DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1||OK||–|
- PCM – Stereo downmix from DD or DTS
- Core – Only the core of the format Dolby / DTS is played
- * Our AV receiver does not support these native formats but we check that it does downmix fine
We play streaming for test some content on the Beelink S2 in the usual channels like YouTube or other sources and we verified that we have no problems when playing videos. In YouTube we can play content with the VP9 codec quite correctly up to 4K.
Streaming services with subscription
We test the most common streaming services playback various contents and we verified that all work properly, the power of this device is more than enough to see any kind of content with them. In Netflix we get to FullHD quality without complications, in the rest of services we get the maximum resolution possible.
|Service||Video Quality||Audio Quality|
|Amazon Prime Video||HD (720p)||Stereo|
After our detailed testing over the new model Beelink S2 we can say that this is another interesting mini PC from this brand, in this new version we now have an Intel Gemini Lake processor that improves performance somewhat compared to the Apollo Lake. As additions we also have double HDMI 2.0 output that allows us to connect two monitors at once up to 4K@60fps, we also have disk expansion options through an M.2 unit or a 2.5″ disk in its SATA internal bay.
The Beelink S2 in an interesting fanless model with low consumption which will save us good money in the long run. We can use it perfectly as a mini desktop PC to navigate, view multimedia content without disturbing fan noises, use light editing applications or simple gaming, although as we have tested we can perfectly play LOL for example. In short, an interesting product if we want an economical mini PC with a lot of connectivity options.
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