Xulu XR1 micro PC review

When a Chromebox isn't going to cut it.

Xulu XR1 Max
(Image: © Xulu)

Android Central Verdict

The Xulu XR1 Max is a powerful PC in a package that fits anywhere. If you need access to software that won't run on a Chromebox but want the small form factor it's worth a look.


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    Powerful Ryzen CPU

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    User upgradable RAM

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    User upgradable storage

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    Seven USB ports

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    Wired Ethernet


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    No integrated speaker

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    No HDD indicator light

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    May have issues with dust

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    Only one USB-C port

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    No Windows 11 license included

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Xulu is a relatively unknown manufacturer of accessories like keyboards, projectors, and computer mice that also happens to make great micro form-factor PCs. I've been using the company's Pantera Pico PC as an HTPC for almost two years and am 100% satisfied with it.

When the company told me it was releasing a Ryzen 7-based upgrade I knew I had to check it out because it addressed the one issue I have with my current setup — the Intel Celeron CPU in my Pantera PC. It's showing its age.

What I like

Xulu XR1 Max

(Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand)

Specs and the power that comes with them is where the XR1 Max shines and it's a substantial upgrade over my current unit. It's also a solid alternative to a Chromebox for anyone who needs to use software Chrome OS just won't run or play games that needs a little extra oomph.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategoryXulu XR1 MaxHeader Cell - Column 2
Operating SystemWindows 11 or popular Linux distributionsRow 0 - Cell 2
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7 5800uRow 1 - Cell 2
GraphicsIntegrated AMD Radeon 8Row 2 - Cell 2
MemoryUp to 64GB LPDDR4Row 3 - Cell 2
StorageUp to 2TB M.2 SSDRow 4 - Cell 2
Ports1x USB-C (Display Port), 3x USB-A 3.0, 3X USB-A 2.0, 2x HMDI, Audio port, Gigabit EthernetRow 5 - Cell 2
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth 5.1Row 6 - Cell 2

The Ryzen 7 5800u APU is cooled by a dual-heatpipe and a large (but quiet) fan. On the front of the unit is a small OLED display that lets you know the fan speed and CPU temperature, and try as I might I was unable to reach the critical point where things would shut down.

This makes a difference when streaming 4K video for hours on end, or when playing games from my Steam library. It's where my current setup is lacking and I appreciated the difference.

Running Windows 11 it plays most PC games at high quality on a 4K television. Most.

I had no issues playing older games like Skyrim or camping in Rainbow Six Seige but games with intense visuals will have framerate stutter unless you turn the quality down a bit. Elden Ring comes to mind here but other games with fast and plentiful particles on screen will need a bit of tweaking in the settings.

Outside of gaming the XR1 Max ran all the software I could throw at it. Photoshop is a utility that always comes up as a reason people can't use Chrome OS and it works well with the XR1 Max's fast RAM and zippy CPU.

I love the fact that the memory and storage are upgradable. The XR1 comes with a 1TB M.2 SSD and 32GB of LPDDR4. A visit to Amazon and a turn of four screws means you can have 64GB of memory and 2TB of storage without paying the premium device makers always seem to charge.

I also love that the XR1 Max is Linux-ready. The first thing I plan to do once I'm finished reviewing it is install Debian Linux and a quick peek at a few compatibility documents tells me everything is going to work. Xulu says that Ubuntu or Linux Mint will install right from a USB stick with zero issues if you're like me and aren't a big Windows 11 buff.

The icing on the cake is having seven USB ports, two HDMI ports, and an RJ45 wired Ethernet port. Yes, that's a lot of cables to try and hide if it's out in the open but in an entertainment center that's not an issue.

What I don't like

Xulu XR1 Max

(Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand)

I think the XR1 Max is a great product but nothing is perfect. There are a few things I wish were different and as with all things some issues are bigger than others.

I'll start with an obvious flaw for most people who would be interested in buying a product like the XR1 Max: it doesn't include a Windows 11 license. That means when it's delivered and you turn it on for the first time you will need to provide a product key you purchased separately. 

I'm sure this cuts down on the costs and for a few people it's not a problem because they plan to use a media-center Linux build, but for the average consumer, this won't be a very good first impression.

I also wish the XR1 had a second USB-C port in the rear. Having one around the front is great for something like plugging in your phone but as accessories like keyboards move to (finally) using USB-C it means you might need an adapter or two. There are seven USB ports in total and that's awesome, but only one of them uses the USB-C interface.

I'm also concerned about dust. It comes with a metal dust screen that covers the air intake ports but that fan moves a lot of air and the holes in a screen filter are big enough to let dust through. I live in a dusty environment — on a gravel road that leads to a quarry. Everything in my house requires weekly dust inspection and my desktop PC has the same issue of big fans and screen covers. 

Finally, a couple of minor annoyances. The XR1 uses a power adapter with a barrel plug on the end so don't lose or break it. There's also no HDD indicator light or crummy built-in speaker. Most people will never need either and won't notice their absence but I'm being honest and listing everything I can think of.

Should you buy it?

Acer Chromebox with keyboard and mouse

(Image credit: Future)

Let's talk about Chromeboxes for a minute. I think that for most people they are the best desktop or media center PC out there because they do all the basics really well, are easy to use, and Chrome OS is very secure. If you want to watch Hulu or check your bank balance while scrolling through social media, a Chromebox is perfect. That's what most of us do when we're in front of a computer.

If this sounds like you then the Xulu XR1 probably isn't what you should buy. Get yourself a good Chromebox, set it up, and never worry about it again.

But maybe you fall into the other camp. You want a small computer that fits anywhere, even behind your television, but it needs to run Photoshop. Or play games. Or do anything that requires Microsoft Windows to do it.

That's where the XR1 shines. My small list of gripes aside, this is one of the nicest micro-PCs I've seen and it can offer great performance to do anything you could ask of it.

I don't really need this much computer behind my television, but I'm really glad it's there.


Xulu XR1 Max

Its small form factor disguises the power inside this little box. it you need more than a Chromebox can offer but still want something with a tiny footprint it's hard to do any better.

See at Xulu

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Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.