Is this the most pointless addition to a PC ever? Dedicated Copilot button on Minisforum’s compact rig is a mystifying move

Minisforum UH125 Pro
(Image credit: Minisforum)

Microsoft Copilot is coming to the mini PC form factor, it would seem, although in a way that we didn't predict, that's for sure.

This is happening with the freshly revealed Minisforum UH125 Pro, a compact PC featuring Intel's Core Ultra 5 125H (Meteor Lake) CPU and a physical Copilot button.

At this point, you might have spotted the immediate oddity here, which is that the Copilot button is an invention for Copilot+ PCs, added to allow for quick access to the assistant given all the AI tasks you'll no doubt be tackling. And yet this Minisforum machine has a Meteor Lake CPU as noted, which doesn't currently meet the minimum hardware requirements for a Copilot+ PC and all its AI goodies - the NPU isn't strong enough in these Intel chips.

Indeed, only the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite (and Plus) CPUs are qualified to power a Copilot+ PC at the current time.

Mind you, that will change down the line, with upcoming Lunar Lake or Arrow Lake processors on the Intel front, which will have the NPU goods to qualify - and we can only assume that this particular Minisforum chassis has been designed with further iterations in mind. So, in the future, it'll have one of those next-gen Intel chips and be a Copilot+ PC (with more need of that physical Copilot button - possibly, though we'll come back to discuss that in a moment).

It's important to note that Minisforum doesn't make any mention of this mini PC using Copilot or even having said Copilot button. There's nothing at all in the product blurb, which further reinforces the idea that the manufacturer is test driving a new chassis here (which may use AMD's Ryzen AI 300 chips in the future, too, as well as the next-gen Intel silicon we already mentioned).

For those wondering about pricing, the Minisforum UH125 Pro is available to pre-order now starting from $439 (around £340, AU$650) for a barebones system (with no RAM or storage) - although that's early bird pricing. Units are shipping on August 10, we're told.

Minisforum UH125 Pro Close Up

(Image credit: Minisforum)

How useful would a dedicated Copilot button even be? 

There's been no shortage of new AI PCs touting Copilot, with laptops featuring a dedicated key to summon the assistant at a moment's notice. However, while this makes sense as a shortcut on a notebook keyboard, right in front of you, that's not really the case for a button on the chassis of a mini PC (or full-size rig for that matter). After all, you'll have to reach over to the PC to press it (and your computer may even be in a difficult to get at location) - hardly convenient.

So, all in all, the inclusion on a desktop computer is somewhat mystifying, particularly one that doesn't qualify as a Copilot+ PC anyway. We shall see if the idea of a dedicated button on a desktop PC catches on, but meantime, you can use the 'Windows key + C' shortcut anyway - though not for long, as Microsoft is killing if off in what seems a cynical move.

Via VideoCardz

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Aleksha McLoughlin

Aleksha McLoughlin is an experienced hardware writer. She was previously the Hardware Editor for TechRadar Gaming until September 2023. During this time, she looked after buying guides and wrote hardware reviews, news, and features. She has also contributed hardware content to the likes of PC Gamer, Trusted Reviews, Dexerto, Expert Reviews, and Android Central. When she isn't working, you'll often find her in mosh pits at metal gigs and festivals or listening to whatever new black and death metal has debuted that week.