The Mini PC Stick is powered by an Intel Atom Z3735F (quad-core, 1.33GHz), with 2GB of DDR3L RAM, and 32GB of onboard storage. It supports 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
This particular Atom processor shipped in early 2014, and is found in recently-released devices like the Acer Aspire Switch 10, as well as other Windows and Android tablets from Lenovo, Dell, and Acer.
It’s a perfectly competent and capable processor, and performed well on the Mini PC Stick. The PC Intel Stick runs hot compared to other Atom devices. The temperature isn’t enough to burn a hole in your HDTV, and it’s no real surprise given everything that is jammed inside this stick. However, users could see performance dips with prolonged usage due to heat.
It features the full, 32-bit version of Windows 8.1 with Bing (the free Windows Microsoft launched for budget devices), which ran as expected given the processor. We were able to browse the web and use Office 365 apps comfortably. Media streaming functioned properly, and users could certainly rely on the Mini PC Stick to watch Netflix on a dumb TV (that said, most media streamers like the Roku models are cheaper and better at this dedicated task).
Wi-Fi was reliable during testing, if somewhat slow (the stick doesn’t support 5GHz connections) while Bluetooth was a bit jittery. At first, getting the Mini Intel PC Stick to recognize various Bluetooth keyboards and mice proved frustratingly difficult, but after a few minutes of toggling Bluetooth off and on, we were able to pair devices and stay connected. There was subtle but noticeable lag in both the Bluetooth mice and keyboards compared to the wired USB connection. All devices were usable, and the slightly jittery mouse didn’t prevent us from performing any tasks or playing any simple games.
Just as with any budget Windows tablet, keep your expectations in check, and the Mini PC Stick won’t disappoint. It’s ability to run basic productivity software makes it a viable travel PC for business users in terms of what it can actually do, though be aware of the hardware limitations. For instance, there is obviously no onboard camera or microphone, in case you were looking for something to Skype with when away.
The PC Stick also meets the minimum Windows 10 requirements. As soon as we can install the latest Windows OS, we’ll update this review.
PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):