2015 was the year that HDMI “stick” PCs moved from the periphery of the market to the mainstream. Intel’s Compute Stick, released for $159.99, had the most buzz of these new Windows PCs, combining a tiny form factor with the power of the Intel brand name.
Unfortunately, it suffered from WiFi and Bluetooth issues, and had just a single USB port. Without reliable access to WiFi and Bluetooth, it couldn’t function effectively as a streaming device, and using a USB hub as a workaround to the single, lonely USB port somewhat defeats the purpose of a tiny form-factor PC that can hide behind a TV or monitor.
For 2016, Intel has a new lineup of Compute Stick PCs hitting the market, kicking off with the February release of a lower-end model, packing an Intel x5-Z8300 processor. Does this version address the issues from last year’s model?