Client Hardware - how thin can you go?

Brass Contributor

I would like to get the smallest, low-cost, device I can get to provide our corporate (task-based) users.   Is there a thin-client box that can support users running Windows365 that anyone has found?  The preferred device only runs the Remote Desktop Client and can support audio for Teams but does not run Windows.  Essentially, a device that is so low cost it does not have to be tracked as a corporate asset.  And that it provides little to no value if stolen or lost.   Is there some new generation workstation or terminal that could do it?


As a hypothetical example, here's what would be great.  Similar to a Wyse thin client, a device that would run only enough of a local OS to have the remote desktop app, pass-thru USB for printer support, and support Teams.  All under $200.  Anything out there right now?  

3 Replies

Kinda depends on scale. A casual search shows many SoC solutions that are incredibly lean yet surprisingly fully functional including some for under 200 US that offer anywhere from 8 to 16 GB memory (at various speeds) and some even offer 4K onboard video, - These can compete on the scale that Wyse thin clients used to for almost the same price when corrected for the decades in difference. Ask yourself what is the minimum unit requirement and then ask yourself do you need 10's or 100's or 1000's? Then consider if your scale requirement is on the higher end, what kind of support tools are required for ubiquitous hardware platform support at the scale you wish to deploy.  Are there providers that make all this packaged and easy at the scale you want?    These days you can go pretty darn thin especially with solutions like AVD.   Take a look at some of the "TV in a box" type PCs out there.   

@Infosec  Actually, I don't see a single solution at the moment which is why I made the post. My volume is the 100's and it is within the Healthcare domain where kickbacks are a compliance risk.  We have to avoid 'do business with us and get a free computer' and the way that is handled today is loads of lockdowns (e.g. intune/endpoint manager).  That works but it is costly.  You have to pay for the software and the people to manage it.  Our goal is not to eliminate staff members, we want them to work on better things instead of lockdowns and machines.  We would like a low-cost device that can't be used for anything useful other than connecting to Windows 365.  The devices we've found seem to fall into three categories:


1 - too expensive and nearly the cost of a small stand-alone computer (e.g. Dell Wyse). For example - $400 and up, may as well get a low-cost PC.


2 - Low-cost PCs can make the cost low enough, however, now you are stuck doing local device management.  We would like a truly 'throw away' device that can stick the back of a monitor or under the desk and provide just the connectivity needed.  Run only RDP, require no administration, be disposable. 


3 - What comes close, is a Raspberry PI device, however, our testing with Teams has been mixed.  Teams work best when able to use the acceleration for VDI capabilities.  This so far is our closest match.


Anyone else thinking this way? 



Same conundrum here
Need low cost, low management, secure ish, RDC client for full w365 capabilities. Multi LCD support. USB devices.
Raspberry PI ones look the best but all fall short in one facet or another