Intel Compute Stick 2016 Review

Today I’m presenting another review from Mason Baxter, who kindly reviewed and shared with me his writeup of the updated Intel Compute Stick, the older model I had personally reviewed in 2015. Mason’s started his own blog too, where he’s also posted this review. Intel have updated the stick for 2016, and here’s what Mason found out about it:

Intel Compute Stick Review

What is an Intel Compute Stick?

An Intel Compute Stick is a small portable computer that can fit into your pocket. It can change any regular television into a smart TV, giving it the abilities of any regular computer but in your lounge room.

ics1Overhead comparison of the Intel Compute Stick and a banana

With Intel’s small and sleek design, they still managed to give you options for storage and more USB ports compared to their previous design. The left hand side contains a micro SD card slot used mainly to add extra storage (up to 128GB) whilst the right side holds a micro USB port which is predominantly for charging, and two USB ports. One is USB 2.0 and the other is USB 3.0, unlike their previous version with only one USB 2.0 port.

ics2Right hand side – USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Micro USB and power button

ics3 Left Hand side – Micro SD slot and Lanyon hole

In terms of design, the main portion is matte black. With two fan grills and a nice vibrant glossy finish around the logo and LED light. The design is very appealing to look at with the rounded off edges and clean plain finish. On the right hand side there is a small fan grill which has been placed next to a small glossy power button. Whilst the right side carries another small fan grill and a Lanyon hole so that this computer is easy to carry. I found this design very appealing due to the mainly matte finish with a small amount gloss. This gave it a bold look, compared to the previous design being covered in fingerprints within seconds.

CPU – 1.44GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8300

Graphics – 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics

Storage – 32GB eMMC SSD

Memory – 2048MB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz

Networking – 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0

Operating System – Windows 10 Home (32-bit)



Setup & Performance
Installing the compute stick was easy. I just plugged power adapter into the wall port and then joined the other end (Micro USB) to the Compute stick, connected the PC to my TV by the small HDMI cord and plugged in my own wireless keyboard and mouse dongles. It then booted up immediately and ran me through the initial Windows 10 setup process. Five minutes later I was finished setting it up and all I needed was a quick reboot and it was ready to use.

Below is a table showing the performance of the Intel Compute stick using PC benchmarking software.

Intel Compute Stick
PCMark7 2,379
3DMark06 2,667

As soon as I signed in I wanted to see the quality when streaming videos. I opened Microsoft Edge and started streaming YouTube videos at 1080p. The results were impressive, there was no lag when watching YouTube. I did notice a bit of a slow rendering as I switched between windowed and full screen. I decided to put the Compute Stick to the test by streaming some 4K content from YouTube. It looked crisp but was the tiniest bit sluggish. What can you expect from a tiny computer using an Atom processor.

Use Cases

  • Home theatre
  • Media Centre PC
  • Portable productivity
  • Thin Client

Intel has brought together a stunning pc that is portable because of its small size yet still able to play 4K videos with ease for a home theatre. This PC Performs smoothly, has Windows 10 pre-installed and 32GB on-board storage whilst up to128GB storage using a Micro SD card. However, I wish that the pc did not lag when opening up a number of programs. Overall this PC has been put to the test and has come out with some great results, so if you are looking for an ultra-small, affordable device that can turn a monitor or TV into a basic PC then this product is worth considering.

Everything in the box – Small HDMI to HDMI cord, Power adaptor, Intel Compute Stick and 2 manuals

Thanks Mason for your review! The Intel Compute Stick was provided by Intel.

I took a few photos myself of the unit, so here they are:


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