The Intel Compute Stick is a remarkably small computer that turns just about any display into a Windows (or Ubuntu) PC for about $150. But it’s not a perfect device: there’s a tiny fan which makes a high-pitched (but fairly quiet) sound from time to time, and I found the Compute Stick suffered from poor WiFi range.
A new PC-on-a-stick from Chinese device maker Mele attempts to tackle both of those issues.
Like the Intel Compute Stick, this computer is small enough to fit in your pocket, but powerful enough to run a desktop operating system. It comes with Windows 8.1 with Bing software and features an Intel Atom Z3735F Bay Trail processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.
The stick supports 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 and features a microSD card slot, a full-sized USB port, two micro USB ports (one of which is used as a power jack), and a power button.
Unlike the Intel Compute Stick, this model has an external, adjustable antenna which could help improve WiFi performance, but I haven’t personally tested this device, so I can’t say for certain that it helps.
And unlike the Compute Stick, the Mele PCG-01 has no fan: instead it relies on a copper heat sink, heat-conductive silicone rubber, and other insulation techniques to prevent the computer from getting too hot.
This isn’t the first fanless PC stick… in fact, up until recently, most of the models I’d seen lacked fans, which some users had complained lead to performance issues. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Mele PCG-01 fares any better. But this is one of the first models I’ve seen that has an adjustable antenna.
Some other Chinese companies have also shipped PC sticks with unlicensed trial versions of Windows, but Mele says the PCG-01 comes with a fully functional Windows 8.1 license that has been paid for.