You’d be forgiven if you thought it’s just a somewhat larger USB pen drive, however the Intel Compute Stick is a tiny device which packs quite a punch. Simply plug it into an HDMI monitor or an HD TV and you get a fully powered Windows computer with everything you need.
Though it hasn’t gone entirely mainstream just yet, the Intel Compute Stick has been on the market for some time and is becoming increasing popular, especially with those for whom a laptop is too cumbersome to carry around and a tablet isn’t quite versatile enough.
Its operating system is Windows 8.1, but users will get the free Windows 10 update alongside other devices running Windows 8 starting with the end of July.
When you first set up the device, it will install the operating system; after that, it basically works like a plug-and-play gadget. It’s remarkable how many features and capabilities Intel has managed to put together in such a small device – you actually have the brain of a Windows PC that can fit in your pocket! In addition to the monitor, all you need is a Bluetooth keyboard, plus a mouse, and you’re good to go.
In terms of technical specs, the Intel Compute Stick boasts an Intel Atom Quad-Core processor, with 2GB soldered single-channel DDR3L RAM. It offers 32GB of storage space, however users can extend that using Micro SD cards. All in all, quite a respectable set of features.
It can connect through HDMI to a TV or monitor and offers Intel HD Graphics, which make for an impressive viewing experience. The device only offers a single USB 2.0 slot, which might a bit inconvenient if you wish to attach more USB accessories, but you can get around this easily by simply getting a USB port hub.
It’s also important to note that the Intel Compute Stick draws power from the MicroUSB slot, and not the HDMI, which means you’ll have to keep it connected to a power supply. Finally, the device features Bluetooth 4 and Wi-Fi support.
You can get the Intel Compute Stick from Amazon and other online retailers for around $150.
In the tech industry, smaller is often times better, so it’s not surprising that these tiny devices are becoming increasingly popular. And Intel isn’t the only big company working on this.
Microsoft has already created a stick PC which, at just under $100, is the cheapest device of its kind. Lenovo is working on a gadget similar to the one launched by Intel called Ideacenter Stick 300, which is expected to cost around $130.
Even Google has announced the Chromebit, its answer to what seems like a significant trend among computer manufacturers. When giants like Intel, Microsoft, and Google are competing in the field of consumer electronics, it’s the customers who benefit, so we’ve looking forward to seeing lots of better, more powerful stick PCs in the future from these companies and others.