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Last updated: 11 December 2015

PC sticks claim to be an easily pocketable gadget that can turn any HDMI monitor or TV into a full-blown PC? Are they really a viable alternative or just another fad? Our buying guide helps you decide which PC stick you need.

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There aren't many PC sticks on the market at the moment, but our test covers the two main models – category-creating Intel Compute Stick and the Leader PC on a Stick. Our expert testers have put each stick through its paces to find out which ones:

  • are the easiest to set up
  • are the best performers
  • have the best cooling systems
  • have the best member-rated reliability scores.

Our interactive comparison tool helps you find which PC have all the specs you need including USB, micro USB, HDMI, Bluetooth, dual band Wi-Fi and a cooling fan. Our Recommended list will help you see quickly which models come out on top.

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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

Price

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Price paid in October 2015.

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Operating system supplied

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The Windows operating system (OS) that comes installed on the computer.

SSD (GB)

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SSD (Solid State Drive) - Unlike a hard disk drive (HDD), which writes information to a magnetic spinning disc, an SSD has no moving parts, but instead stores information on solid-state flash memory (chips).

Test results

Ease of use score

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The ease of use score is based on the assessment of connectors, installation procedure, and the ability to work smoothly with various online video streams.

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Performance score

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Testing includes benchmarking using a variety of software tools.

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Specifications

RAM (GB)

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RAM (Random Access Memory) is the main memory used by the CPU and is measured in gigabytes (GB).

Micro USB data port

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The number of micro USB data ports available

Features

Wi-Fi 5GHz

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The local area wireless networking (Wi-Fi) bands used by the device - 2.4GHz (most common) or 5GHz (faster). Devices that can use both bands are called dual-band. Devices that can use both bands at the same time are called simultaneous dual-band.

Included in this review

Members-only access
  • Wi-Fi 2.4Ghz
  • Wi-Fi 5GHz
  • Overall score
  • Performance score
  • Ease of use score
  • Available user space (GB)
  • Wi-fi standard (802.11x)
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Availability
  • Price
  • Processor type
  • RAM (GB)
  • SSD (GB)
  • USB 2.0 ports
  • Micro USB data port
  • Micro USB power port
  • Micro SD card slot
  • HDMI
  • Bluetooth
  • Cooling fan
  • Security loop hole
  • Size HxDxW (mm)
  • Weight (g)
  • Operating system supplied
  • Warranty (years)
  • Website
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