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Once upon a time, the idea of a personal computer in someone’s home was laughable. But the miniaturization of technology and Moore’ Law What Is Moore's Law, And What Does It Have To Do With You? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is Moore's Law, And What Does It Have To Do With You? [MakeUseOf Explains] Bad luck has nothing to do with Moore's Law. If that is the association you had, you are confusing it with Murphy's Law. However, you were not far off because Moore's Law and Murphy's Law... Read More have shrunk the PC down. Today, it’s the size of a pen drive. The Intel Compute Stick wants to be a truly portable PC in your pocket.

Intel 1st Generation Compute Stick with Intel Atom Processor and Windows 8.1 (BOXSTCK1A32WFC) Intel 1st Generation Compute Stick with Intel Atom Processor and Windows 8.1 (BOXSTCK1A32WFC) New Generation compute one device that transforms any HDMI display into a fully functional computer Buy Now At Amazon $104.00

The exciting part lies in why the Intel Compute Stick matters Intel Compute Stick Turns Any TV Into A Windows PC For Just $149 Intel Compute Stick Turns Any TV Into A Windows PC For Just $149 Read More . Unlike the Google Chromecast Google Chromecast Review and Giveaway Google Chromecast Review and Giveaway We're giving away a Google Chromecast, so read through our review, then join the competition to win! Read More or the Roku Streaming Stick Roku Streaming Stick Review and Giveaway Roku Streaming Stick Review and Giveaway All the features of a full Roku experience, in a small form factor that plugs straight into HDMI - does the Roku Streaming Stick deliver? Read on to find out and win one for yourself. Read More , this is an entire PC that is not dependent on any other device or smartphone, and has a full-fledged operating system on it. Intel is currently supporting both Windows and Linux operating systems.

But wait, don’t rush out and buy one! I’ve been using a Compute Stick for over a month and there are a few things you should know.

Pro: Full-Size USB Port, Easy Installation

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It’s the most “It just works” gadget I’ve seen in a long time. Connect the power supply, plug it into the TV, press the power button, and the Compute Stick will load up Windows 8. Go through the setup process and you’re in the familiar Windows environment Hey Windows User, Should You Switch To Linux or Mac? Hey Windows User, Should You Switch To Linux or Mac? Did you ever consider switching from Windows to Linux or Mac? The quick answer: if you're on Windows, stay on Windows—and don't worry about upgrading just yet. Here's why. Read More . The video above is a perfect illustration of how easy the whole thing is. It’s great!

Con: You Can’t Use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Simultaneously

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Of course, you’ll need a keyboard and a mouse to use the Intel Compute Stick. Go with a good wireless RF all-in-one keyboard 6 Of The Best Wireless All-In-One Keyboards For Mac and PC 6 Of The Best Wireless All-In-One Keyboards For Mac and PC Wireless all-in-one keyboards turn a boring living room computer into an exciting home theater PC. We've rounded up five of the best models around. But which one is best for you? Read More . That single USB port might be a pain, but I still won’t recommend using Bluetooth. Why? You can’t use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth at the same time.

Weird, I know. The Compute Stick will be connected to your Wi-Fi and to a Bluetooth device, but the moment you start using the Bluetooth keyboard, you’ll find that the Wi-Fi connection drops; or the latency rises dramatically such that when you type on your Bluetooth keyboard, the letters show up on the screen after a severe lag. You’re better off with a wireless RF keyboard.

Pro: Proper Windows/Linux Makes a Great Smart TV

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The current generation of smart TVs are frustrating What Is a Smart TV & 6 of the Best On The Market Today What Is a Smart TV & 6 of the Best On The Market Today Most televisions you look at now will be smart TVs, but what is a smart TV and which ones are the best on the market right now? Read More . They have a smart OS, but the “apps” are limited and the web browsers are terrible. With the Intel Compute Stick, you get proper, full-fledged Windows or Linux environment. And the moment you use that, you can’t imagine going back to one of these Smart TV operating systems. Both Windows and Linux are so much more superior. When you add the convenience of great Windows software The Best Windows Software The Best Windows Software Windows is swimming in a sea of free applications. Which ones can you trust and which ones are the best? If you're unsure or need to solve a specific task, consult this list. Read More like Microsoft Office, Chrome/Firefox, Plex, and so on, you’ll wonder how you ever lived with a restrictive Smart TV operating system.

Con: Severely Limited Memory & Power

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While it’s a great smart TV and the perfect first HTPC Your First Home Theatre PC: YouTube Videos on Your TV And More Your First Home Theatre PC: YouTube Videos on Your TV And More This article will give you an overview of how to set up an HTPC, the amazing power it offers, ways to personalize yours, and how to control your system with ease. Read More , that’s what it is. Don’t think of it as a great PC because the Compute Stick just doesn’t have enough computing power. If you want to watch a 1080p video, you can without a problem — as long as you aren’t doing anything else. Maybe a lighter Linux distro 13 Lightweight Linux Distributions to Give Your Old PC a New Lease of Life 13 Lightweight Linux Distributions to Give Your Old PC a New Lease of Life Read More would do better.

Pro: It Works Off a Power Bank!

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This is one of the coolest features of the Intel Compute Stick. Even if you don’t have access to a plug point, you can run it fine with a good battery pack 6 Of The Best Backup Battery Packs To Extend Your Phone's Uptime 6 Of The Best Backup Battery Packs To Extend Your Phone's Uptime A battery pack is one of the best ways to charge your phone in an emergency. Here are a few portable power banks that might be just what you need. Read More . Since the Intel Compute Stick is powered by a standard micro-USB port, you will be able to use the same cable that fits into any Android or Windows phone and tablet.

Con: It Can’t Mirror Your Phone

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Unlike the Google Chromecast, it won’t mirror your phone’s screen or sync up in a way where your phone is acting as a remote.

The best connection between your phone and your Intel Compute Stick is if you turn your Android smartphone into a keyboard and mouse How to Turn Your Android Phone or Tablet Into a Mouse and Keyboard for Windows How to Turn Your Android Phone or Tablet Into a Mouse and Keyboard for Windows Imagine you could control your Windows PC with your Android? Intel Remote Keyboard turns your phone into a mouse and keyboard for your Intel PC. We show you how it works. Read More .

Do Not Buy It as a Portable PC, It Doesn’t Make Sense

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Here’s the biggest piece of advice you should know before you think of buying this as a portable PC in your pocket: Don’t. It doesn’t make sense. Why? Because you’re dependent on too many other factors:

  • A screen with an accessible/available HDMI port.
  • A power socket or a power bank.
  • A keyboard and mouse, or your phone being set up with a virtual keyboard and mouse for that particular Intel ompute Stick.

And all of that costs you $134. Instead, you can buy a Windows tablet PC for the same price and that comes with its own screen, its own virtual keyboard and mouse, and no need for a power bank. Carry a mini-HDMI connector and it’s a better portable PC solution.

Intel 1st Generation Compute Stick with Intel Atom Processor and Windows 8.1 (BOXSTCK1A32WFC) Intel 1st Generation Compute Stick with Intel Atom Processor and Windows 8.1 (BOXSTCK1A32WFC) New Generation compute one device that transforms any HDMI display into a fully functional computer Buy Now At Amazon $104.00

Yes, a Windows 8 tablet cannot replace a PC Why A Windows 8 Tablet Cannot Completely Replace A PC Why A Windows 8 Tablet Cannot Completely Replace A PC A Windows 8 tablet can theoretically replace your beefy desktop computer, cut your electricity bill, and let you work from anywhere; except that it can't. Hear the pros and cons from someone who tried it. Read More , but neither can the Intel Compute Stick. All the accessories you will need to make a Windows tablet into a functioning PC are the same as what you’ll need with the Compute Stick; in fact, the Compute Stick needs a few more.

Bottomline: The Intel Compute Stick is great to turn a TV in a Windows TV. And that makes it a backup PC too. But it’s not a good enough portable PC.

Ask Me Anything

Do you have a question about the Intel Compute Stick? Go ahead and ask it in the comments. I’m ready to test and get you the answers.

Image Credits: Intel, USC Media Comms Lab, Apek Maxpad, francok35 / Pixabay

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