XDO Pantera Pico Reviews | Tom’s Guide
XDO Pantera Pico: specifications
Price: From $ 219
CPU: Intel Celeron J4125
RAM: 4 GB, 8 GB
Storage room: 64 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB
Ports: 3x USB-A 3.0, 1x USB-A 2.0, microSD, HDMI
Dimensions: 2.6 x 2.6 x 1.75 inches
Weight: 6.2 ounces
Small form factor PCs like the XDO Pantera Pico have always been a niche, but I find them interesting nonetheless. Of course, such devices are quite limited due to hardware constraints, limited to the most basic tasks (web browsing, web applications, etc.). However, they can also excel as a Home Theater PC (HTPC). The Pantera Pico I received for review found a home like this: an HTPC that could possibly replace my Nvidia Shield or Chromecast TV.
The real disappointment with the Pantera pico has XDO used Kickstarter (and now Indiegogo) to fund the project, but at least the thing actually exists. You can pre-order any of these in a few different configurations and save money with early bird rates. But even at the full price, it’s a great little PC for basic tasks. Plug in a monitor, plug in a mouse and keyboard, and off you go shopping – or a remote, if you opt for the set-top box.
In this XDO Pantera Pico review, I won’t just touch on the merits of this tiny computer, but also how it ultimately turned out to be an HTPC.
XDO Pantera Pico review: pricing and availability
The Pantera Pico is available in a few different configurations. The base model has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for $ 219. The 8GB + 256GB variant will retail for $ 249, the 8GB + 512GB variant $ 279, and 8GB + 1TB $ 349.
If you pre-order on Kickstarter, you can get some great early bird prices. Early Bird rates have been extended on Indiegogo.
XDO Pantera Pico Review: Design
The Pantera Pico is available in fun colors and I received the red model. While it certainly stands out against my dark furniture and appliances, it also adds life to the PC itself. But you can also get black, pink, blue, bronze, and lavender.
Otherwise, the PC is a small cube, measuring 2.6 x 2.6 x 1.75 inches. The front and back contain the ports and the vents line the sides. There is a blue light that goes around the transparent border on the top, where you will also find the glossy black cover and the XDO logo.
If anything, this design choice belittles the Pantera Pico for me. The aluminum body is quite nice, but not the light square and top. A matte cover and a simple single power LED would have been sufficient – the blue light is quite bright and the glossy top shows fingerprints and dust quite prominently.
XDO Pantera Pico Review: Ports and Scalability
Being a stand-alone system, the Pantera Pico doesn’t have much room for scalability. You’re stuck with the options you select at checkout, whether it’s the 4GB or 8GB RAM options or plenty of storage choices.
As for ports, the Pantera Pico has three USB-A 3.0 ports, one USB-A 2.0 port, one HDMI port, one USB-C port for power and one slot for micro SD card. There’s plenty of room to plug in peripherals or drives for storage – you can turn this thing into a miniature NAS as well if you want.
XDO Pantera Pico review: Performance
Considering the Celereon J4125 processor, you can’t expect the Pantera Pico to do too much work. The chip is great for basic tasks like streaming media, web browsing, and writing short to medium length documents. It’s not a gaming machine, given that it’s Intel UHD 600 rocker graphics. This means that this small PC can also output 4K.
Despite this, we took the Pantera Pico through some of our usual tests.
|Geekbench 5.4 (single / multi-core)||449/1485|
|25 GB file copy (transfer time / rate)||269 s / 100 Mbps|
|Hand brake (Mins: Secs)||51:23|
The Pantera Pico’s processor does its best, but this PC was never designed for hard work. You get modest performance, but it’s enough for what it’s ultimately supposed to do.
Although I have the Pantera Pico in my living room, I noticed it was quite hot in slow motion. Make sure to leave your device in a well ventilated area.
XDO Pantera Pico review: Software
You can install Windows 10 or any Linux distribution of your choice on the Pantera Pico. My review unit came with Windows pre-installed, and that’s what we performed the performance tests on. However, I thought this little PC would work better in my home as an HTPC, so my search for a suitable operating system began.
I came across LibreElec which is a Linux distro that uses Kodi as its front end. It’s a TV-first UI, so I have a remote to control everything. I had hoped I could replace my Nvidia Shield (2017) TV, but the limitations of some of the apps my family uses have kept the Pantera Pico from really shining as a replacement.
But as an HTPC desktop for Plex and YouTube casting, LibreElec performed well. It’s blazingly fast on the Pantera Pico, but I struggled to get the installer to work properly. As it turned out, the problem was with LibreElec’s USB burning software – switching to Etcher fixed the issue.
XDO Pantera Pico review: Verdict
The beauty of the Pantera Pico is that it is versatile. Whether you want a nice, small desktop for basic tasks, an HTPC, and maybe some sort of server (Home Assistant, Pi-Hole, Plex, NAS, etc.), this little guy will serve you very well.
It faces competition from Intel’s NUC products, but the Pantera Pico has a price advantage in many ways. Don’t sleep on this one. I had a lot of fun playing with this little PC.