intel compute stick review

Summary

Intel Compute Stick bundles everything you’d need for the basic computer into a very compact, inexpensive package. And the best thing about it is that it is unlike its predecessor, it really works.

Pros

Can tweak Bios

Tiny form factor

Value for money

Very portable

Cons

Fan isn’t ideal

2GB of RAM limits multi-tasking

Performance wasn’t impressive

Form factor is controversial

Intel’s Compute Stick is certainly going down in history as the first ever complete personal computer shipped to end users by the Santa Clara Company known for manufacturing processors.

The firm has manufactured DIY products and barebones kits for years, but this is its first it is shipping something that users can use out of the box (without needing to add memory, storage and OS). It will send waves across the entire tech industry as suggested by experts.

intel compute stick

Intel isn’t the first tech giant to come up with this type of device. Dell’s Wyse Cloud Connect used Android and ARM processor instead of the Intel one and Windows. Over last months, we have seen a flurry of the HDMI-connected Android/ARM-based dongles gain more popularity in South East Asia with the prices rising to about $32.

For such price, you get a small device with hardware equivalent to Google Nexus 7 first generation device, minus the screen, camera, and the battery.

These devices are computers and not just extensions of your smartphone or tablet. Intel is targeting these Android-based dongles, and the Intel Compute Stick might provide the closest partners with the blueprint to start from.

Intel Compute Stick Design and Specification

Intel’s new Compute Stick feels and looks like a solid piece of consumer kit. This device came with smooth curves plus perforated openings for its tiny fans instead of a boring rectangular design. The device is portable, even though it is supposed to stay behind a computer. The dimension of this device is 103 x 37 12mm and can be easily slipped into your jeans pocket.

intel compute stick design

There is a power button, a full-size USB 2.0 port, a micro-USB slot (for power), a full-size HDMI port and a microSD card slot. The size of the Intel Compute Card may pose a problem if the ports on your monitor are located next to each other and already occupied – it explains the decision of Intel to throw in an HDMI extender cable.

Another specification is the Atom Z3735F processor that is usually found in many Windows tablets. It is the quad-core Bay Trail model that runs at 1.33GHz, peaking at 1.83GHz, and on the same die, there is an Intel HD Graphics subsystem running at 311MHz.

intel compute stick review

There is also 32GB of flash memory from Samsung, 2GB of DDR3L 1333MHz memory, Bluetooth 4.0, Windows 10 with Bing and Wi-Fi. Note that the cheaper Ubuntu model has just 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage.

intel compute stick design

You will also find a 10W adapter (the same used by most tablets), an assortment of detachable power plug and a USB Type A to micro-USB cable in the package. You can access the BIOS of the device by pressing the appropriate keyboard key.

Intel Compute Stick performance

intel compute stick performance

Intel said home entertainment, thin client, productivity and PC-like embedded are the four major usage models for this device. The Compute Stick is a very important step for Intel in term of symbolism.

Verdict

Intel did a nice job. The Compute Stick bundles offer virtually everything you’d need for the basic computer into a compact and inexpensive package. If you have a spare monitor, you could turn it into a machine for your kids with ease. And no matter how you use it, it will make you rethink what you believe a PC can be.

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