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I'm looking for an adjective/noun for a thing (e.g computer) that is small/not fully functional compared with other, similar such things, but whose performance is extremely advanced.

[Updates]

My English may not be good enough to express my idea, but I find @sameyeam's is the best fit for my unclear question.

"Pared down and streamlined, the thing's great performance has been unleashed by shedding features you don't need."

Also helpful:

Streamlined emphasizes efficiency and ease of use more than specific but powerful functionality.

I'm still looking for an noun to describe it. Peppy may be a fit, but I need more suggestions.

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9 Answers

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How about "streamlined?" As in, "Pared down and streamlined, the thing's great performance has been unleashed by shedding features you don't need."

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Streamlined emphasizes efficiency and ease of use more than specific but powerful functionality. –  Daniel Mar 7 '12 at 22:58
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Maybe "specialized" or "niche product". I also like Dror's suggestion of "peppy".

But frankly, I think you're looking for too specific a word. I'd suggest you use a phrase or sentence to explain what you mean. It's not always possible to find a single word that expresses any idea you can possibly think of.

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+1 Specialised sounds like exactly what the OP is looking for—not powerful in general, but very good for a narrower purpose. –  Jon Purdy Mar 7 '12 at 20:10
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Packed? Packed emphasizes its high performance to size ratio, regardless of the actual size though.

Similarly, packs a punch.

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I don't know a precise one. But "gizmo" or "widget" might work because they both mean small devices/inventions for a particular control. They are supposed to be useful.

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Would gadget or device suffice?

gadget: an often small mechanical or electronic device with a practical use

device : something fanciful, elaborate, or intricate in design

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I have the impression you want a word for a small item that is suitable only for a few special purposes, but very good at them, that is, highly capable equipment usable for a small range of purposes. I don't know of any such word. Figuratively, you might refer to the item as an idiot savant. Also consider holon, "something that is simultaneously a whole and a part." For neologisms, consider supersprout, micromoonrocket, microgiant, oligobonzer (oligo-, from Gk. oligos "small, little," in plural, "few"; bonzer, "remarkable; wonderful; comparative: more bonzer, superlative: most bonzer").

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The closest I can think of is peppy. Google peppy car to see how it's used and if it matches your need.

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There's no indication of localisation in the OP, but peppy is almost entirely unknown in British English, and where it is used it means "whizzy; full of pep, verve, go". –  Andrew Leach Mar 7 '12 at 12:58
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An accurate but clumsy phrase would be "something small that has a small cost and a small cost/benefit ratio". A metaphorical approach might do nicely, though: "a Swiss knife item".

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Compact does a good job of expressing smaller-in-size, without necessarily an implied loss of functionality.

But, to make things perfectly clear, I'd suggest using a couple of words, to convey both concepts - something like:

  • The compact yet powerful XR90 router...

  • The scaled-down yet speedy XR90 router...

You could also say something like, "The XR90 router does more with less."

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