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Does Intel’s Compute Stick Compute?

Does Intel’s Compute Stick Compute?

Do you know what the Intel Compute Sticks is? For those not familiar with this technology, the Intel Compute Stick is a very small computer in the form of a large thumb drive. The Compute Stick has a processor, RAM and storage that are typical to what you would find on a tablet or smartphone except for one difference — it comes installed with Windows 8.1!

Intel Compute Stick Package


  • Intel Atom Z3735F Quad Core 1.33 GHz (1.83GHz turbo)
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB Storage
  • 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
  • 1 x USB 2.0, Micro SD Slot
  • Intel HD Graphics
  • Windows 8.1
  • Dimensions: 1.5” x 4.1” x 0.5”

Testing the Intel Compute Stick

I installed Microsoft Office 2010, Firefox and had about 12GB of storage left on it. That doesn’t include about 6GB that is used for the recovery partition. If 12GB of storage isn’t enough, no big deal – there is a USB slot and a micro- SD slot that will allow you to expand the storage. If I needed more space, I’d most likely install a micro- SD card to keep things nice and tidy while keeping the USB free for other potential uses.

Intel Compute Stick PackageThe power is a micro USB connection on the stick to a full size USB. It has a power brick but you can get power from any powered USB port.   For my test, I took a 22” Lenovo LED that has built- in powered USB ports, connected a small cable to it and it works great. This meant that I only had one cable to deal with, the power cord for the LCD. Now that’s nice and clean.

Want more? If you have a touch screen LCD, you’ll get full functionality of touch using the Stick with 8.1.

I heard the initial shipments might have had some wireless speed issues where people weren’t getting full bars. This must have been fixed as my WI-FI speed was comparable to my Surface Pro 3 even with a Bluetooth wireless keyboard running at the same time.

I used a Jelly Comb Bluetooth keyboard/mouse combo and it connected right away. I also connected a wireless presenter with mouse control for testing its use for presentations. Again, it worked like a charm.

Compute Stick Uses
Let’s face it most people that use typical Office programs don’t need a high-end processor. I used the Intel Compute Stick for daily office productivity (Excel, Word, Outlook, Firefox etc.) all while streaming music. The stick performed these tasks just fine. I played a few videos at 1080p and didn’t notice any stutter or lag.

Will it replace your laptop? The answer is most likely not. But at around $149 to purchase, it does make a strong value proposition for tasks where a laptop does not. You may hear people complain that it doesn’t have enough ports or it gets bulky when you add a USB hub to it but I think those people are missing the point on what the Intel Compute Stick is.

The Stick basically allows you to have a computer wherever you have a monitor with an HDMI input. Based on my experience in the rental industry in servicing many types of customers, here’s where I see the Intel Compute Stick Rental would be a good fit.

  • Presentations: The Stick would be great for a company that might have several breakout rooms with projectors.  The stick would allow you to plug them in directly to the projector, connect a digital presenter mouse and either upload the presentation via thumb drive, SD card or through the Cloud such as Microsoft’s OneDrive service.
  • Training Programs: Certainly a good fit for any online training programs and most likely for a lot of general training where the need for computing power isn’t too great.
  • Digital Signage: A simple and portable way to make any HDMI equipped display transform into a digital sign showcasing your products or services.
  • POS: a great fit for point-of-sale situations
  • Thin Client Alternative: The Compute Stick is a solid reliable unit that compares favorably to larger more expensive thin client devices and has enough power to do just as well as the others.

Review Summary by Hartford Technology Rental

I know of quite a few reasons why the Compute Stick would be a great substitute if you need to rent a laptop or use tablet rentals (where the current largest screen size on a tablet is 12.1”). The Compute Stick offers you the flexibility of choosing the display size that meets your specific needs or connects to what’s available at a very affordable price. I think it also offers a glimpse as to what is on the horizon for the capabilities that can be packaged in such a small form factor. Want to learn more about Intel Compute Stick rentals, contact us today at 888-520-5667 or online.