Intel has just unveiled a PC-on-a-stick that’s basically a desktop Windows computer small enough to slide into your pocket. The Intel Compute Stick looks a bit like a Google Chromecast, but it features an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and Windows 8.1 with Bing software.

Plug it into the HDMI port on your TV or monitor, connect a power source with a micro USB cable, and you can transform just about any display into a PC.

Update: Check out the Liliputing review of the Intel Compute Stick for more details!

compute stick

Intel’s not the first company to have this idea. Android (and Linux) TV sticks have been around for a few years, but up until recently most models have been powered by ARM-based processors.

Chinese company MeegoPad launched one for the first Intel/Windows-powered models in late 2014. But if you’d prefer to buy a product from Intel than a company called MeegoPad, I wouldn’t blame you.

Intel’s Compute Stick features 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, a microSD card slot, and an HDMI connector.

Not a Windows fan? Intel also has an $89 Linux model in the works. That version is expected to have just 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage though.

Intel plans to begin shipping the Compute Stick during the first quarter of 2015. The company is positioning the tiny computer as a device that you can use to stream internet video from YouTube, Hulu, or Netflix to a TV, or as a business-ready device that supports remote desktop and other applications that would let you turn any display into a sort of thin client.

The Atom Bay Trail processor family offers enough power to handle basic computing tasks including Microsoft Office, so I could also envision a situation where companies would provide workers with Compute Sticks that they could use at home, at the office, or when working at remote locations while carrying all of their settings and programs with them. Worried you’ll lose the little PC? That’s what OneDrive (or Google Drive) cloud backup is for.

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69 replies on “Intel Compute Stick is a $149 PC-on-a-stick”

  1. can a user RDP into the Win 8.1 Compute Stick? i.e. does the Win 8.1 edition Intel is using support inbound RDP session?

  2. Can i connect to the internet with it, and use things like google and youtube? Does it support a touchscreen screen?

  3. Do Intel plan to produce Intel® Compute Stick with PoE Ethernet port since it will be good solution for turning displays into digital signage displays?

  4. Too bad it does not have a gigabit LAN port or at least an extra USB 3.0 port to plug in a GLAN adapter.
    That would complete the package for me. 802.11ac would be nice as well. But they have to save something for version 2.0. 🙂

  5. These sticks are built to be hidden in an HDMI port behind a TV or monitor and are USB powered meaning the energy consumption is next to nothing. so WHY are these sticks built with a power button that needs to be pressed to turn the device on? a stupid design flaw that means that if it is hidden behind a TV for example, one would need to find the minuscule power button every time the tv is powered on! why not just make it so it boots when it detects USB power, or have a switch that can be permanently switched to the “on” position, but equally allows it to be turned off!

    So gutted because of this because these sticks are an amazing HTPC solution, but that one issue stops me buying!

  6. It’s too bad they’re using Bay Trail Atoms and not the new Cherry Trail Atoms.

    1. Still too early, besides it takes time before they scale down a new platform to squeeze them into these dongle size devices… but an update to this should come out before the end of the year…

  7. Is there a USB port for things other than power? If not, that seems rather limiting.

    1. Look at the image, the side shown shows both a microUSB and a full size USB port… So the microUSB is for power and the full size port is for peripherals…

      1. Thanks–I didn’t notice the symbols when looking at the picture. With the angle I thought one of the two might be HDMI. It makes a lot more sense that it would have a USB port.

  8. I wonder how well it decodes 5.1 DTS and 10-bit video at 1080p? If it can flawlessly I’m sold.

  9. Right now the cheapest thing with a Z3735, 2Gigs of RAM and HDMI, is the Onda V820w with the 16Gb eMMC, $105.99 with free worldwide shipping, over at banggood. Or you could spring for the 32Gig one for an extra $16, but you could just as easily delete the recovery partition from the 16Gb version, and buy yourself an nice 32Gb microSD with that 16 bucks.

    If anyone knows of anything cheaper out there, please contribute.

  10. Rather have Android and 2Gb of Ram for $99. Also for 149 I would like 80211ac but I got to admit it’s really tempting. Anyone get a meego yet? Going with Intel you can rely on the drivers for sure

  11. Have a Pi + OpenELEC already which handles my “offline” media on my NAS.

    But really want to decomission my HTPC and replacing it with a fanless Win8.1+Bing thing would be really good. Unfortunately Silverlight still exists (Sky Go), so need a Windows thing plugged in somewhere. And may as well use it for Skype as well.

    Was looking at a Zbox Pico, until I saw the MeegoPad stick. But this Intel one could be a bit more reliable.

    But thanks to Kevin below and a trawl through my RSS the Pipo X7 looks perfect… https://liliputing.com/2014/12/pipo-x7-windows-powered-tv-box.html

  12. Love this product from Intel, but why 802.11n? Should go 802.11ac to blow the Meego out of the water.

  13. At $150 this is overpriced considering the recent crop of low cost windows 8.1 notebooks and tablets.

    1. Thats the stupidest thing I’ve read all day. These are totally different products. If you need a dongle sized PC, this is a fantastic value.

      1. A dongle PC running windows 8.1 is pretty much useless without keyboard, mouse or track pad, and HD display. Put all those components together (plus a battery and webcam), and you got a notebook or tablet.

        I recently bought a new windows 8.1 notebook for $154 with these specs:
        N2840 CPU
        2GB DDR3 RAM
        250GB HD
        SD card slot
        HD LCD display
        keyboard
        trackpad
        USB3 and USB2 ports
        gigabit ethernet port
        HDMI port
        Wifi N
        Bluetooth
        HD webcam
        battery
        power supply

        As I said before, that dongle is overpriced for what it offers, but you are free to disagree, of course.

        1. You seem to be ignoring or completely missing the point, this isn’t meant for anything resembling tablet like usage!

          For people who want something, like converting their TV into a semi-PC terminal they can run from the couch, etc… Media Center… remote server, and take up minimum space then a tablet simply isn’t going to do the trick…

          Tablets are larger and aren’t as durable… for things this dongle would be used for they would stick out like sore thumbs and will more likely get damaged in some use scenarios…

          And like it or not we pay a premium for the size of the device… So, GR’s right, you shouldn’t be making direct comparisons for something with a very different use range just because there might be some overlap because it ignore all the use cases where there are no overlaps!

          1. Look, I am a reasonable man and I am willing to compromise. So, if Intel bundles their stick PC with a USB3 250GB hard drive, a USB3 to gigabit ethernet adapter, a USB3 hub so I can use the hard drive and the ethernet adapter while still having a free USB3 port, a usb keyboard + trackpad combo, an 11″ high definition LCD battery operated monitor with HDMI input, and a battery capable of operating all of the above for at least 5 hours non-stop, I am willing to pay $154 for the whole package! Otherwise I will have to stay with my $154 notebook. 🙂

          2. I think you need to look up the word ‘reasonable’. This product is worth $150, based on the form factor alone. This product does not compare, cost-wise, to a laptop.

            In the x86-powered dongle market, you can choose between the $99 Chinese model, made by a fly-by-night company, that cant even afford a marketing team to make a proper name for their company.

            Or you can choose the Intel for $50 more.

            If you are comparing this product to a laptop, you are not the target demographic for this product.

          3. Sounds like your laptop was purchased on a sale. And have you forgotten that this product is relatively new. When the first single core android sticks came out, I bought one for $80 now you can get a quad core android stick for $40. You also forget the features you don’t read on the box specs. Can your laptop be powered by a USB cable? Your laptop processor consumes almost twice as much power as this Intel stick. And for that consumption it still has a lower benchmark than (assuming it is the same as meegopad) atom z3735F. Not to mention the display and mechanical hard drive contributing to power consumption. Would you rather do a business presentation carrying your laptop around or just a mini stick with a wireless mouse? Also, this stick is meant for media center, are you willing to buy a bulky laptop that consumes more power and space sitting beside your TV or just have this tiny thing hidden behind your TV?

            You’re basically saying if a truck and a sedan costs the same why should I buy the sedan when it can’t carry or do as much as the truck? Do you realize the absurdity of that comment?

          4. Yes it was purchased on sale. I always try to purchase things when they are on sale. I might even buy one of these Intel sticks when they go on sale. The MSRP of a product is a fantasy dreamed by a foolish marketing manager while possibly high on pot. The true value of a product is revealed when it goes on sale during Black Friday. 🙂

            I don’t need a usb cable to power the laptop because it has a battery.

            On a business setting I want the laptop instead of a stick because it is more versatile and generally useful than a stick PC. Also remember that many modern smartphones can stream video to modern smart TVs, so no need to bring a stick PC along if you have the smartphone. Would you rather stream the presentation over WIFI and control it via the smartphone’s touch screen, or would you rather struggle to hook up cables between the stick PC and that HDTV mounted high on the ceiling of the meeting room?

            My laptop has an 11″ dispay, so it isn’t all that bulky or heavy. I bought it to do a variety of things, so it is important for it to have all the IO devices and ports I am likely to need in one package.

            I am not against the stick PC form factor. I just believe Intel is
            making a pricing mistake, but I am also confident they will correct that
            mistake in due time.

            I disagree with your car analogy. A stick PC is not comparable to a sedan, unless you remove a whole bunch of standard equipment from the sedan first.

          5. “can stream video to modern smart TVs”… That’s a huge assumption that many offices or meeting rooms have smart TV’s. In fact, I haven’t seen a smart TV actually being in use other than the store shelves let alone meeting rooms.

            So you compare a laptop that’s on sale to a product that’s just announced the MSRP… that’s pretty biased.

            Look man, it’s not a pricing mistake. I’m telling you. Atom Z3735F, look at equivalent tablets here in North America by manufacturers that actually have a presence in N.A like Acer, Asus, etc. $360 for 10 inch tablet with keyboard. Even when on sale during Black Friday, it is still $299. Also, if you don’t believe the performance difference look up gaming performances and you can see how much weaker the N2840 is… despite a higher power consumption.

            The PC Stick is meant to be plugged in for media consumption but has easier set up if you have to move it to a different location than a traditional desktop computer. The laptop is meant so that you can use the computer as a desktop on the go anywhere. That’s the point of the analogy. A truck is used to carry a lot of haul. A sedan is used to transport people with speed. Two different purposes. I’m not saying the PC Stick is a sedan, I’m saying you’re taking one use case for yourself and you’re applying it to the PC stick.

          6. And you think smart tv is everywhere and more common than finding regular tv with HDMI input??

          7. You still don’t get it, this is for people who have the need to stick this into monitor who already own wireless keyboard/mouse and maybe external hard drive or just using it to browser the web or just use cloud drive.

          8. There are tons of inexpensive ARM based stick PCs that do a fine job as servers and media centers and turning dumb TVs into smart ones. Almost all of them are Android/Linux based.

            From a user point of view the main innovation of the Intel stick is that it runs windows 8.1. I believe people who go for windows 8.1 want to be able to use apps they already have on their desktop PCs. So they will end up hooking up keyboard and mouse/touchpad and webcam and will try to use the stick as a laptop.

          9. Most of those inexpensive ARM based sticks are also much less powerful than this Intel offering, while most ARM devices give you virtually no support to run GNU/Linux and often deal with closed drivers…

            It’s one of the reasons why support usually cuts off after 1-2 years… as it’s just too hard for long term support… Never mind helping to explain why the GNU/Linux consumer range user base still primarily stick to traditional x86 PCs…

            Sure, some can run GNU/Linux but not just any distro you may want to run… Leaving most to have only Android as a choice or just the distro version the OEM customized for the device and nothing else…

            So, I disagree… Intel products have the advantage of having good GNU/Linux driver support and that means you can run a much wider range of distros on such a device than you could a ARM based one… At least without needing to be highly skilled in customizing a distro for a specific hardware… and not just because this can run Windows, though, that is a factor too…

            Btw, even with Windows… if they install the Server version of W8 then they can uninstall the GUI and run the whole thing from command prompt only and this will also support Android Lollipop… So lots of options, at least software wise…

          10. I have chrome cast, wireless display adapter from microsoft and still in the market for this stick because it can do all arm based stick PC and also run office and window 10

          11. I wonder if I have Touch monitor will this allow me to use touch support monitor?

          12. So long as you install the drivers for the touch screen, calibration, etc… Then yes, though, how useful it’ll be will depend on the OS and apps you run…

        2. I’m free to disagree, the same as you’re free to buy a Laptop or Tablet, if that is the product that suits your needs.

          Your comment is like saying “There is no way I would buy a Prius at $25k, when the Ford F150 starts at $20k.” Two completely different products, aimed at very different needs.

          1. Holy shit I just read your comment after I typed mine. We almost used the same analogy.

        3. Your average notebook/tablet will have a production run that is probably 10-100 times that of this computer stick and that’s one reason why niche devices like this cost so much.

    2. I’m going to be optimistic and say the price is due to them squeezing it into a small form factor…then again everything Intel is overpriced.

  14. Finally! I’d much rather buy directly from Intel and get {I’m assuming) better support than some random Chinese mfg.

  15. This is one of those things that seems neat but then you think about it and wonder why it exists. If I have a fixed monitor or TV to plug this into I’d get something bigger with more ports and hopefully upgradeable memory.
    I’m still personally extremely doubtful that these Windows devices are going to have long happy lives in that cramped a memory space. It might be great on day 1 or week 1 or month 1. I’d be curious to see a review after a year.
    For commercial digital signage I’d think they’d want something a lot more stable and reliable than the consumer version of Windows.
    In the end I’d pay the little bit extra for a zotac box or even that new HP stream box or something along those lines.

    1. Well that’s a rather ignorant thing to say. Technology has to move somewhere. Wouldn’t you one day like to have a computer on a stick that has 1tb of disk space with 8gb of ram and a graphics chip set capable of running next gen games? They exist because if they don’t, manufacturers will just churn out same crap computers for the next 10 years.

    2. Stability is mainly because of users… left alone even Windows can work fine for years at a time… which is probably why most ATMs still use XP, even though it’s outdated, much more unstable than modern Windows, etc… So I don’t see it a issue for signage… a lot of digital signage and kiosks already use Windows… most people just don’t realize it because there’s usually a custom UI they deal with instead of the actual OS when using those devices… It’s only when they do crash that it’s revealed but that’s pretty rare…

    3. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Clearly you havn’t thought about usecases outside your own little bubble.

      As a Digital Nomad, I’d much rather use “Windows on a Stick” that brings its own Hardware with a reliable Level of Performance than the USB-bootable Windows on a Thumbdrive you get from Win8.1 Enterprise. Not every PC reliably works with those, and not everywhere you go has a PC to plug into, but almost everywhere you go has Flatcscreen TVs.

      Comming into an Office, pulling out your whole PC, literally from your Pants Pocket, and then just start working with all your Applications, Settings and Files present without the need to use painfully slow Remote Sessions could be a Gamechanger.

      Another Scenario is doing a presentation for a Client on one of their TVs without having to rely on Mobile / stripped Down Versions of Presentation Software with the same advantages as Scenario 1.

      Lastly as a Business Traveller, this looks like a perfect litle device. If you’re staying in a Hotelroom with a modern TV. After a hard day, you can just plug one of these into it, get out your folding portable Keyboard+Trackpad/-point Combo, use your phone as a mobile Hotspot and can either relax to media of your choice or still get some more work done without the need to bring your Laptop and with the added bonus of a much lager screen than a laptop can provide and still be called portable.

      These are just 3 things off the top of my head that i’d use this for, and for which there didn’t really exist a viable alternative before this.

  16. I’ll buy one of these the second they’re available. Have a few of the Android variety, but having a real OS in something of this form factor would be amazing.

    1. I think ill wait a bit, for a version with a usb 3.0 on board since the ones available are all usb2.0

  17. Anyone have the meegopad? How is it?
    (liliputing, y’all should do a comparison between the 2)

    1. Don’t think they actually got either. Also note the port locations are completely identical between this and the Meegopad, so I’m willing to bet it’s the exact same with a different casing.

      (Search for Meegopad T01 in Aliexpress and you’ll find pictures)

      1. I actually got the Meegopad. But it does not come with a Windows license. They have preinstalled Windows 8.1 without activation. Cheap trick. The licnse cost more than the stick. The hardware works really good. It feels quick despite the modest hardware. The wifi seams to work good as well. Also got the Pipo x7 which is another formfactor but comes with Windows 8.1 with Bing and a LAN adapter. Same price. The Meegopad feels a bit snappier though. Don’t have any numbers to verify that.

        /Anders

        1. @Anders F: Is the windows 8.1 with bing on the Pipo X7 already activated or do they pull the same trick as the meegopad? And how is the performance on the X7? I want to order one of those but still doubt about performance of it. I would like to use it as a Kodi box / occasional web browser / livestream sports box.

          1. Yes, the windows 8.1 with bing in pipo x7 is activated, and also have one year subscribe of office 365. you can get from geekbuying.com

        2. did you ask the meegopeople why they cant just install win8 with bing? what difference does it make to them. that is pretty sucky as i just ordered one as a replacement for a cheap baytrail tablet (linx 7) which is fully licensed 🙁

  18. Honestly, I’d pay the extra $50 to get the Intel model, than from Meegopad.

    1. All my China sourced products have failed in a few months. And that’s the only reason I haven’t bought the Meego stick. The components are top notch but the assembly is horrid and corners are cut where you never saw it coming. I’ll buy this day 1 of availability. And I’ll happily pay a premium for Intel too.

        1. Are you suggesting that Meego’s quality control standards are on par with Apple’s, HP’s or Intel’s?

          1. I am suggesting that China can produce the best quality products in the world, as well as the worst quality ones.

          2. I’m sure you knew what I meant in my original comment and are just jerking my chain. Explicitly stated, in any event, I have bought dongles and tablets from the Shenzen mafia over the past few years, and all have suffered from quality control issues. Namebrand devices from reputable large volume international technology companies have mostly not. I place INTEL in the latter and Meego in the former.

          3. You said you haven’t bought a Meego stick yet. So you are just assuming they must be as bad as other suppliers you do have experience with, just because they happen to be located in the same part of the world. I think that is an unfair generalization.

            I also see you perhaps assuming the Intel stick is not manufactured in China. We don’t know at this point where it is made. It could be comming out of a Shenzen factory for all we know. In a free market higher price does not guarantee higher quality. Intel is free to charge as much money as they think they can get away with regardless of production costs and actual quality.

          4. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the concept of “risk premium”. Purchasing the Meego at a cheaper price involves a higher ‘risk premium’ in that it is almost certain that support, reliability, refunds, and build quality will not be equivalent to an Intel product, regardless of where said Intel product is manufactured. Therefore, you either take on the ‘risk premium’ of a total loss on your purchase or go with an established entity with a visible global presence, and pay a modestly higher price.

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