In the past couple of months many popular brands have launched their PC-on-a-stick devices. Intel was first brand to offer a choice between Linux and Windows operating systems by launching its Compute Stick in the month of April this year. It is really a portable device that comes with a fully fledged PC functionality. The Windows variant is available for $149.99 that roughly converts to 9500 INR while the Linux variant comes at a much lower price of $110 (7000 INR).
Wait! This might be the most exciting and eye-catching device, but you probably should not buy it. The reason is obvious that it is still the first generation device of its kind and there are many limitations to it, which will be discussed later in this review.
This PC stick is 103 mm long, 37mm wide and just 12 mm thick. It is so small that it can easily fit into the palm of your hand. Moreover, Intel has taken a good care of ergonomics while designing this stick. The housing is sturdy and the finish that it wears is really attractive. However, it is still bigger and heavier than a normal pen drive.
The Intel compute Stick is boasted with an Intel Atom Z3735F processor, which clocks at 1.83 GHz in 64bit processing technology. Also, there is a support to Intel Virtualization Technology. It also comes with a 2 GB of soldered DDR3L RAM that clocks at 1333 MHz. Certainly, it is not the best combination with which you can build a powerful PC, but when you want to go small and fan-less, you don’t have any other choice.
However, this much processing power will not let you get much disappointed and you will be able to use this device for your day to day tasks like web browsing, movie watching, writing, and music listening.
The Intel Compute Stick comes with 32 GB of on-board storage of which a large part is eaten by the OS and you are left with only 18.8 GB for the end users. The good thing is that you can attach a micro SD card to it if you need extra space.
Intel had really less space to put all the ports on this device. So, it decided to cut down some of the connectivity features, which is why this stick does not sound much attractive on this front. You can find a USB port and a micro SD card slot on the outside of this PC stick. There is also a micro USB port, but that is only meant to supply power to this device. You will mostly have to rely on the features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connecting devices to this small PC stick. This is the biggest downside of the Intel Compute Stick as most of the people do not have wireless devices at their home. However, you can also attach a USB hub to it if you want to connect more USB devices, but that will be at extra cost.
Setting up the Intel Compute Stick is really easy. All you need is a display that features a HDMI port. It can be your TV, monitor or any other thing. Plug this stick into the HDMI port, attach the power supply and you are all set to go. If the HDMI port of the display is at an unfamiliar place, then you can also use the HDMI extension cable that comes in the box.
As soon as you press the power button on this stick, the OS will start setting itself up. You can use a USB mouse or any other wireless mouse to go through all the setup. Don’t worry if you are not able to connect your keyboard as the setup will itself provide you with an onscreen keyboard.
The interface is really smooth and you will not find any lags while performing light tasks. Thanks to the flash storage that does help in keeping things fast. You can install any application or game, but keeping the hardware limitation in mind. This PC stick will also be getting the Windows 10 update (In the case of Windows variant) as Microsoft has announced it as a free upgrade to all the machines already running Windows OS.
- Surprisingly small.
- Full PC experience.
- Ultra-portable. Also comes with many kinds of wall adapters.
- Easy setup.
- Can work with any display with HDMI port.
- Low connectivity options. Only one USB port and no Audio ports.
- Slows down on intense processing.
The Intel Compute Stick is a great device, but only as a showpiece. Low connectivity options and less processing power make this device an unworthy purchase. Moreover, you will not be able to upgrade anything once you have purchased it. It will prove to be a better option to wait for a couple of months as many other players have also announced their own PC sticks with greater connectivity and processing power. The most noticeable of all is the Asus Pen Stick that will feature 2 USB ports and run on a fast processor.