Intel Compute Stick -Windows PC in your pocket
Meet the all-new Intel Compute Stick. The Compute Stick is essentially a complete PC, but in the compact form factor of a slightly large pen drive. It connects to a TV via HDMI, but also has to be powered with a microUSB cord. Here’s a quick look at the important specs:
- 1.33GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3735F processor
- 2GB DDR3 RAM
- 32GB internal storage
- MicroSD slot (up to 128GB)
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Full-size USB port
- HDMI 1.4
- Windows 8.1 Bing
It will also be available with Linux, but that version will come with 8GB of storage and 1GB RAM. That model will retail for $89, Intel said. Check out the full specs.
The Z3735F processor does not support 4K hardware decoding. Windows 8.1 Bing looks and behaves just like Windows 8.1—it’s a low-resource version preset to have Bing in all the search engines, but you can manually change that.
Why The Intel Compute Stick
While smart TVs are on the rise, you probably won’t use all of their features. That’s because it’s not a full-fledged desktop operating system running there. You can’t run Microsoft Office on your smart TV, after all.
Google’s Chromecast streams content from other connected devices. You can’t use the Chromecast without a second phone, tablet or computer. But the Compute Stick will just need a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse or some fantastic wireless all-in-one keyboards to be up and running.
The current lot of Android Stick PCs are good for gaming and multimedia, but Android itself can’t compare to Windows when it comes to getting work done in a desktop environment. Similarly, the Roku Streaming Stick is great for watching movies and TV shows, but little else.
You Can Buy One Right Now! (But It’s Not Officially From Intel)
Intel has said it will be selling the Compute Stick directly, and that it will launch later this year. If you’re in the market for an HTPC, you might want to wait it out if you can.
However, if you aren’t too worried about the Intel branding, you can grab one of these right now. Chinese company MeegoPad is already selling the exact same model.
The MeegoPad T01/TB05 has the same hardware as the Compute Stick, complete with an Intel logo to prove its legitimacy. You can buy it for $115 on Amazon.
GizChina got its hands on the MeegoPad T01 and says it runs Windows 8.1 out of the box, and it looks like a pretty neat device, as you can see in the unboxing video. However, on Amazon, we weren’t able to ascertain if these devices shipped with Windows 8.1 preloaded on them or not—they all strategically say it “supports Windows and Android”, so we’d exercise caution.
If you’re willing to risk the $140, the MeegoPad T01 seems like a good way to get your hands on the Intel Compute Stick early, but be warned that you might have to load Windows yourself.