Minisforum V3 3-in-1 Tablet Review: A Flexible Ryzen-Powered Portable

The Minisforum V3 3-in-1 Tablet Is Powerful, Highly Portable And Offers Some Handy Features

Minisforum V3 3-in-1 Tablet PC: Starts @ $969, $1,199 As Tested (Sale Price)
The Minisforum V3 3-in-1 Tablet is powered by AMD’s latest mobile platform and packs some unique features, but its included accessories left something to be desired.

hot flat

  • Current AMD mobile processor
  • All-round good performance
  • Tablet build quality seems solid
  • Excellent screen with touch
  • Handy Monitor Mode

not flat

  • Kickstand and Type cover quality
  • Side mounted controls lack tactility
  • Non-promotional price premium
  • Supplied charger gets hot
  • Some software glitches

Hong Kong based Minisforum has made some bold moves with its first foray into the tablet market. Actually, the new AMD Hawk Point powered Minisforum V3 isn’t ‘just’ a tablet, and the company describes the device as a 3-in-1. Where Microsoft’s Surface and its imitators are 2-in-1s, blending tablet and laptop modes, Minisforum includes another mode by adding portable monitor functionality to the V3, which seems like a great addition. If you like to get the most out of your devices, it is hard to complain about a handy, additional function, but the question remains whether Minisforum’s V3 has successfully hit all its targets at a justifiable price point.
v3 unboxed

The advertised flexibility of the Minisforum V3, and its specs, tick a lot of boxes for a tech enthusiast and gadget lovers. However, before we go on to experience and assess the Minisform V3, you might like to digest the full tech specs table, to better undersatnd the hardware on offer here. Take a look…

Minisforum V3 Specifications

Minisforum V3 Hardware Under The Hood

Powering the V3 is one of AMD’s newest Hawk Point processors. Specifically, AMD’s Ryzen 7 8840U is used here. This processor packs 8 cores and 16 threads running at up to 5.1GHz alongside a potent Radeon 780M iGPU. It also has an NPU or ‘AI Engine’ delivering up to 16 TOPS alone, or 38 TOPS in combination with the other onboard processors (but still not enough to make it a Copilot+ PC).

Various power-modes can be employed, with the included software and auto-switching based on power source. The processor runs at 15W (power save), 22W (power balanced), and 28W (power premium) when plugged in. The premium mode also cranks up the screen refresh rate from 60 to 165Hz by default. On battery, it will switch to 18W (balanced) mode. In our tests, we always kept the device plugged in and operating in power premium 28W mode, to allow the machine to perform at its best, but also commented on how balanced mode performed in a couple of tests.

Other important internal components include the provision of 32GB LPDDR5-6400 RAM, and a 1TB Kingston OM8PGP4 PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD which uses QLC NAND and a host-memory buffer cache. We wouldn’t like to try and service this device, replacing the battery or changing the SSD configuration (for example), as the glued-on screen would need to be pried off the device first.
v3 rear angle

Minisforum V3 Design And Accessories

Moving our appraisal to the exterior of the Minisforum V3, the 14-inch screen is sharp (1600p), vibrant, bright (up to 500 nits), offers fast refresh rates (up to 165Hz), and is 10-point touch and stylus friendly. Check the spec table above for the full details. Tablets don’t usually have many ports, and that is true of the V3. To the right are a pair of full-function USB4 ports, meaning they can be used for power, data, and video (DP-Alt) connectivity. Above these ports is a power button with built-in fingerprint reader. The button is flush with the side, and it isn’t easy to find to power on/off the device or scan your fingerprint, until you get familiar with the design. Just above this button is an LED which indicates power on, charging etc.

Moving to the left side edge of the tablet (landscape mode), there is a USB-C V-Link port, which is only useful for when you want to use the V3 as a portable monitor. Above that is a full-size SD card (UHS-II) reader with a rubber bung that will probably go missing the first time you travel with this device. Next up is a volume rocker which, similar to the power button, is lacking in tactility for reach around adjustments. Atop of the left edge is a 3.5mm headphone jack, which provides a handy wired alternative to Bluetooth audio.

Both left and right edges feature twin perforated speaker sections for the quad-speaker setup. Surprisingly, the audio output gets pretty loud and quality is quite good, but overall lacks bass, which you’d expect from a device with this form factor.

v3 with stylus

Atop of the tablet are two fan exhausts. The twin-fan cooling system sucks air from perforated sections on the upper-rear of the tablet. Minisforum’s thermal design works very well to keep temperatures control under load, and this device is also pleasingly quiet. We measured a library-quiet 25dBA fan noise from a position of just 12-inches in front of the screen during benchmarking sessions.

The bottom edge of the tablet features the dedicated magnetic keyboard cover connector. It looks and functions a lot like the one you find on the bottom of Microsoft’s Surface devices.

Above the screen area, there is a Windows Hello compatible webcam and twin noise-cancelling mics. Logging in using facial recognition was pleasingly swift, which was appreciated since it wasn’t easy to feel precisely where the fingerprint sensor on the side of the unit was located.

lisa su tests a minisforum v3

Minisforum V3 Keyboard And An Alternative

Minisforum’s removable backlit keyboard was functional enough, and offered useful shortcuts like flight mode, volume and brightness adjustments, keyboard backlighting adjustment, and more. It even features Microsoft’s Copilot key. The keyboard could lay flat on the desk, or slightly angled with the aid of a small bar magnet, just like the Surface Type Cover. However, the attachment seemed to easily flex left and right, which made it feel less premium. Moreover, our touchpad surface seemed a little loose in its housing, so would ‘clunk’ when lightly tapped or touched, which detracted from the experience. 

The kickstand accessory that is provided is one of the most obvious weak points of this product. The built-in kickstands of the Surface devices are superior: they are always there as part of the device and offer many more usable angles. Perhaps Minisforum will build-in a stand of some kind with a refreshed V3 (V4?) design.

If you are using the V3 in ‘laptop mode’ like a Surface, you need to use the above-described flexible magnetic board as a stand. We saw comments that some people have attached the V3 stand incorrectly and blocked the fan intakes, which is something to keep in mind.

In our use of the Minisforum V3 on a desk, we much preferred using a
modestly priced adjustable tablet stand like this one Amazon alongside a
compact mechanical keyboard and mouse. Having that height adjustment, and
hand-picked input peripherals really improved our experience using this
powerful, compact computer with very nice screen. Also, the ergonomics
were vastly improved while the total weight wasn’t significantly different.
v3 setup
The Minisforum V3 tablet weighs 928g (2.07lbs) on its own. With the official stand and keyboard cover, this goes up to 1,600g (3.84lbs). However, the vastly more ergonomic setup shown with mechanical TKL keyboard, adjustable tablet stand, and wireless mouse is 1,985g (4.60lbs). With the stand, keyboard, and stylus included with the Minisforum V3 at the time of this writing there is little to complain about, but if they were paid extras we would consider skipping them.

Minisforum’s stylus seems well-made and can magnetically attach to the top of the tablet, without blocking the hot air exhausts. In use, we found it comfortable and responsive and the specs suggest it recognizes 4,096 pressure levels. The stylus charges via USB-C (tiny cable provided), has a spare nib, rocker button and eraser button. Like the tablet, it is difficult to know where your finger is in relation to the buttons without looking. The stylus also follows a Microsoft Windows standard and is claimed to be compatible with the Surface, as well as some Asus, HP, Vaio and other touch-screen devices.

Minisforum V3 Portable Screen Experience

We had a bit of a problem with using the portable screen functionality of the V3. It came with ‘DP Monitor’ software which was supposed to pop up a dialog asking you to shutdown the device and switch to portable monitor mode whenever it sensed a computer plugging in to the V-Link port on the right. The dialog box featured jumbled text, and whatever unreadable option we picked, it didn’t work. Minisforum advised we reinstall the app, and when that didn’t work, to reinstall Windows.

However, the DP Monitor software isn’t critically important, as simply plugging another computer into the V-Link port with a suitable cable when the V3 is powered down does the job. Yes, if the V3 isn’t turned on, any device plugged in will wake up the screen, and it works flawlessly as a portable monitor. In monitor mode, the V3’s volume rocker becomes a screen brightness adjustment control. Sound levels are easily tweaked using Windows or any other controls you might have on the device that is plugged in.    

Minisforum V3 Performance: ATTO Disk Benchmark

To begin our performance testing, we fired up the ATTO Disk Benchmark, a tool which provides a handy visual representation of disk performance at various block sizes. Remember, the SSD in the machine is a 1TB Kingston OM8PGP4 PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD. It is a budget drive which uses QLC NAND and a host memory buffer (HMB) for caching.

minisforum v3 atto
Users should expect typical read and write performance of 4.4 and 3.6 GB/s for all but the smallest of file sizes. Performance is pretty similar to the Western Digital SN740 NVMe SSD in our Dell XPS 14 (2024) review.

Speedometer 2.0 Browser Benchmark’s Speedometer is designed to assess system / browser performance when running web applications, as well as loading, scrolling, and interacting with web pages. The benchmark runs automatically and outputs a final score.

minisforum v3 speedometer

The Minisforum V3 takes the top spot here. Also note as you continue on in this review that this is the first of several results which show the V3;s performance running very closely to the Asus ROG Ally, which is to be expected, considering the similarities between thier SoCs.

Maxon Cinebench 3D Rendering Benchmarks

Maxon created Cinebench R23 by distilling its powerful Cinema 4D R23 rendering engine into a click and go benchmark. The application provides both single-core and multi-core benchmark results, as well as core scaling data…

Minisforum V3 in Cinebench R23

The AMD Ryzen 7 8840U performed very well in this benchmark, when running in its full power mode. If the V3 was switched to balanced mode (22W), the multi-core CB23 score would drop by about 1,000 points. Note the ROG Ally in 25W turbo mode delivered a very similar test result to the V3 (28W), again.

PCMark 10 Whole System Benchmarks

PCMark uses a broad mix of applications to mimic common real-world tasks. If you watch this benchmark in action you will see web pages loading, scrolling, rendering web apps, as well as video conferencing, photo editing, spreadsheet manipulation, video rendering, and application loading. The benchmark weighs and aggregates the results into an overall score and also outputs scores for ‘Essentials,’ ‘Productivity,’ and ‘Digital Content Creation’ workloads.

v3 pcmark10 retest

This little tablet did exceedingly well in this office and content creation focused test suite. The fast modern processor, 32GB of memory and PCIe Gen 4 storage worked well in concert, making the V3 a relatively strong performer, especially given its thin, highly-portable form factor.

3DMark Graphics and CPU Tests

Next up, we have some graphics and gaming related tests. DX11-based Fire Strike was run at its Extreme preset. In the results we mixed in some of the newest iGPUs as well as a handful of mobile GPUs for some additional context.

v3 fire strike retest perf

The V3 landed in the middle of the pack here. In this GPU-bound test the compact tablet at 28W surprisingly falls behind the ROG Ally at 25W. We suspect the ROG Ally’s cooling and more aggressive power profile allows the iGPU to boost to its highest frequencies for longer periods than the V3. Side note, running the Fire Strike Extreme using the V3 balanced (22W) mode reduced its score by about 200 points.

Gears Tactics Performance

We also tested the Minisforum V3 in Gears Tactics, a mainstream, less taxing game that was released a few years back. It is a fast-paced, squad-centric, turn-based strategy game based in the Gears of War universe, with a decent set of DX12 benchmark presets that don’t overwhelm modern iGPUs.

minisforum v3 gears tactics

The results delivered by the V3 were very similar to the ROG Ally. In short the game was very playable here at 1080p, and it was also fluid enough at the native 1600p of the Minisforum tablet.

We also ran the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark at 1080p with medium settings to achieve a decent average 40fps. If you’re happy with a 30fps experience you could dial up some details / quality, or go the other way and/or use resolution scaling for better fps. Obviously, this device isn’t meant for gaming, but with that Ryzen APU with Radeon iGPU at its heart, the Minisforum V3 is perfectly capable for some casual gaming.

Battery, Acoustic And Thermal Performance

The Minisforum V3’s battery was inconsistent during our tests. 8 hours of heavy use was possible, but most of the time five to six hours was typical. We also experienced inconsistent battery drain while the device slept. Battery life usually dropped by about 1%  per hour, but we also had the device compeltely discharge overnight on one occasion.

The acoustic properties of the V3 were very good, however. We recorded 25dB from the fans at about a foot away when the system was being stressed by benchmarks. If you manage to catch earshot of the fans they are moderately high pitched, but not irritating. Also, running Balanced mode at 22W cuts a lot of fan noise with a minimal impact on performance.

v3 heat

While the tablet itself was nice and quiet, and remained relatively cool, as you can see in the image above (right), we can’t say the same for the compact 65W GaN charger. The charger’s surface temperature of nearly 65 degrees Celsius was a bit concerning, and hot to touch. It hit these high temperatures when the device was both actively charging and in use. Such temperatures are much hotter tan we are used to with other (usually less compact) laptop chargers.

Minisforum V3 Review Conclusions And Take-Aways

Minisforum did a commendable job with the  V3 3-in-1 Tablet. It is hard to fault the choice of internal components, the tablet build quality, its quality feel, and great touch screen. Also the 3-in-1’s portable monitor mode could be quite handy for some users that want a companion display for a DP-Alt compatible phone, or something like the Nintendo Switch.
While the device itself is nice, its accessories could be improved. Our biggest gripe has to do with the magnetic kickstand. It feels like an afterthought bolt-on, and doesn’t work great. The keyboard cover isn’t great either. The custom detachable keyboard isn’t as refined as Microsoft’s equivalent accessories, but it does the job, has useful shortcut keys (and Copilot key) and its bundled for free, at least for now. A lack of tactility provided by the tablet’s and stylus’ controls seems something of an oversight as well. We also experienced a couple of bug with the included software, as mentioned previously.

minisforum v3 style

All of that said, the Minisforum V3 is still an interesting proposition. The Minisforum V3 performed very well considering its thin and light form factor, thanks to the powerful AMD Ryzen 7 processor with Radeon graphics powering the device. Though it’s not designed for gaming, the Minisforum V3 performed roughly on-par with the ASUS ROG Ally, but with a larger 14″ screen. The machine is essentially as fast as some of today’s best thin-and-light laptops, and competitive with the recent wave of portable PC-based gaming devices, with the added benefit of portable monitor functionality built in. Is the Minisforum V3 for everyone? No. But it is an interesting device that could fill the needs of a wide array of consumers.

In addition to the original 32GB RAM + 1TB SSD model we tested, which is currently priced at $1,199 (direct from Minisform), the company has added a 16GB RAM + 1TB SSD model at $969 to its line-up. Both are currently being offered with the stand, type cover, stylus, and a tempered glass screen protector included, though we’re not quite sure how long that promo will run. Those prices are competitive, considering the bundle and performance of the Minisforum V3. If you’re considering a convertible tablet like the Minisforum V3, this device is worth looking into.