Intel Compute Stick PC Review: Tiny, Sleek, And Versatile

Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: We didn’t run a ton of benchmarks on the Intel Compute Stick, but the few numbers we’ve presented here tell much of the story. The device is packing a low-power Atom processor, Intel HD graphics and only a single-channel of DDR3L-1333 memory, so it’s not going to burn through any benchmarks. For multi-media playback, basic computing tasks like browsing the web, or remotely accessing a higher-end systems, however, the Compute Stick has the muscle it needs for the vast majority of applications. As an affordable, stand-alone device that can add basic PC functionality to any screen, the Intel Compute Stick succeeds.

The Windows-based version of the Compute Stick with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage we looked at here (model STCK1A32WFC), will have a street price hovering around the $149 mark. The Ubuntu version (model STCK1A8LFC) with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage will land somewhere around the $100 mark. Considering the ultra-small, convenient form factor and that the “system” includes Windows 8.1 with Bing ready-to-go, we think the Compute Stick is pretty cool. Install a copy of Kodi (formerly XBMC) and you’ve got yourself a capable little HTPC. But even on its own, the fact that the Compute Stick has a fully-functional version of desktop Windows makes it almost as versatile as any basic SFF PC. We do wish the Compute Stick had 802.11ac WiFi built in and a second usable USB port, but it is a first gen product and there’s only so much real-estate to work with. If you’re in need of a tiny, affordable device to add PC functionality to a display, and the Compute Stick’s low-power processor meets your needs, it’s absolutely worthy of consideration for only 150 bucks.

  • Tiny Form Factor
  • Affordable
  • Quiet
  • Low-Power
  • Ready To Use With OS Out Of The Box (after selecting region, etc.)
  • No 802.11ac WiFi
  • Only 1 USB Port
  • Low Performance

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