Intel has created a mini PC that fits into the palm of your hand. The $150 Intel Compute Stick can plug into your HDMI port, and it comes with a full version of Windows 8.
Intel is advertising this stick as a sort of fun PC option. While interesting to use and look at, the Compute Stick isn’t going to replace your PC anytime soon.
What the Compute Stick Can Do
The Compute Stick comes with an Intel Atom processor (the same one that is usually placed inside of Intel tablets). This means that you won’t be able to do any serious image editing or other heavy work with the Compute Stick, but you will get pretty decent HD streaming with the stick. It’s kind of fun to have a pocket-sized PC that can stream HD decently, but there are a couple of drawbacks to the Compute Stick.
The biggest issue with the Compute Stick is that it doesn’t come with its own battery. You have to plug it into a source at all times. The other issues that some are reporting is that the Compute Stick technically works with Bluetooth, but doesn’t really work all that well with Bluetooth. So, keep battery limitations and Bluetooth spottiness in mind before buying this stick.
Inside the Compute Stick
On the inside of the Compute Stick is a quad-core 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z3735F processor. You also get 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage space. If that’s not enough space, a micro SD card on the side of the Stick can handle up to 128GB cards. You’ll also find a USB port on the side of the Stick that can be used to plug external devices like a USB key or other option.
Being an Intel stick, the Compute Stick comes loaded with Windows 8.1, and that means that the default browser is Bing. If Bing isn’t your thing, you can always change that option once the system is running smoothly. Users will also get an upgrade to Windows 10 later this year as is the case with all other Windows users running 8.1 as well.
Who Will Like It
Even though Intel wants people to purchase and use this device as a mini PC option, it’s hard to discern who would use it in that way. While it is a fully loaded PC, technically, it’s also basically a streaming stick. If you can find multiple things to do with the stick, you may find that the cost of the Compute Stick is worth it. Otherwise, you may do better with cheaper streaming options.
As far as streaming sticks go, there are plenty of other choices out there including the Roku stick, Apple TV (not a stick but a streaming option), Amazon Fire TV Stick, and various others. While not complete PCs like the Compute Stick, the Compute Stick doesn’t seem to be quite ready to market as the mini computer device that Intel wants people to see it as. Unless you like to play around with new technology, a streaming stick might be a better option.