It Looks Like Intel Made a PC-on-a-Stick That Doesn’t Suck

Illustration for article titled It Looks Like Intel Made a PC-on-a-Stick That Doesn’t Suck

One year ago, Intel’s $150 Windows PC dongle launched amid much happiness and optimism about easy living-room computing. Then, we tried it, and it sucked. But with new years come new processors, and possibly a gadget you might want to buy.


A quick recap: Intel’s Compute Stick is a HDMI dongle that packs all the guts of a Windows PC into something the size of a Chromecast. Last year’s version suffered badly from an underpowered processor, and spotty Wi-Fi, which is why it failed to disrupt living rooms forever.


With the new version, the basic concept hasn’t changed, but the innards have: you now get a more powerful Core M processor rather than Atom, 4GB of RAM on the top-end model, an improved 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip, and two extra USB ports on the USB power adapter.

What you’re getting is most of the same guts that come inside an ultra portable laptop like the 12-inch MacBook, but they come in a much smaller form-factor, one that should fit nicely behind your TV. It’s not quite that simple, of course. Good specs do not a good PC make. But if a crucial component doesn’t shit the bed this time around, you might be seeing a lot more Windows on your TV.

Image via Intel


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A computing device is judged by its utility, which is very much dependent on its apps. Call me when Intel has a viable operating system and an app store filled with great products that run flawlessly without a lot of setup headaches. AFAIK, Windows 10 is not a great TV OS, and its app store may be lacking in TV apps. I doubt Intel will bundle a remote control I might use for commanding Cortana.