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What Is The Best PC On A Stick - 2021 Comparison

Updated: May 2021

Name

TOP PICK

Xtra-PC

Intel Stick CS125

W5 Pro Mini PC

Awow Mini PC Stick

Image

CPU

Recommended 64-bit Intel or AMD chips running 700 MHz processor or higher.

Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor

Intel Atom X5-Z7350 processor

Intel Celeron J4105 processor

System

Linux

Windows 10 Pro

Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

Windows 10 Pro version

RAM

512 MB to 2 GB

2 GB

 4 GB

 4 GB

USB ports

compatible with 2.0 or 3.0 USB Port

2

Two Ports 2.0 and 3.0

3.0

Storage

16 GB
32 GB
64 GB

32 GB

64 GB

64 GB

Dimensions

5.71 x 3.03 x 0.51 inches

4.4 inches long, 1.5 inches wide

3.9 inches long and 1.5 inches wide

5.9 inches long, 2.1 inches wide

Connectivity


(Wi-Fi or Wired)

Bluetooth & wireless

Bluetooth & wireless

Bluetooth & wireless ( 5.8 and 2.4 GHz dual channels )

Shipping

3-5 days for US

Other Countries 7-12 days

Check on Amazon


Check on Amazon

Check on Amazon

Where To Buy

More and more electronics are becoming more popular because of their portability. Most people prefer using laptops, tablets, and other small electronics, making a considerable part of the market. However, that's not to say that desktops are being phased out. Desktop computers indeed are the best for gaming. Therefore, they will still be there for a long time. But other applications such as streaming and remote learning require much smaller and effective devices.

Large PCs might not be so effective when you want to stream. So why not use a mini PC on a stick? Often slightly larger than a thumb drive, this tiny computer is designed explicitly for plugging directly into a monitor's port. These PCs are ideal for streaming and allow you to install your favorite apps. Besides, they're an excellent choice for business owners and students. You won't have to carry your laptop but instead take a mini PC on a stick to help you make outstanding presentations.

This article covers some of the best mini PCs on a stick in the market right now. Keep reading to learn more about them:

"Intel® Compute Stick is a device the size of a pack of gum that turns any HDMI* display into a fully functional computer: same operating system, same high quality graphics, and same wireless connectivity. All this in a PC on a stick that measures 4.5 inches from end to end, and is ready to compute right out of the box." Taken from official Intel Compute Stick site.

1. Xtra PC

Xtra-PC is a great solution for someone suffering with old and slow computer that don't want to deal with re-installing the OS themselves or buying another computer all together.

Essentially, Xtra-PC is a little thumb drive that plugs right into any USB port on your computer, just like a regular memory stick. It can then override your slow computer and the outdated operating systems with an up-to date OS.

Xtra-PC runs on a Linux OS which is free to download. The downside of this free download is that it's complicated to install and set it up on your computer. You can think of Extra-PC as a Bacon Cheeseburger.

Anyone can make it, and they are welcome to do so. But not everyone has the time to buy the ingredients, prep and cook it themselves, then clean up all of it afterward. The majority of people would like to stop by a fast-food place and grab one on the go. Not all of us have the knowledge and time to do this ourselves.

Many people struggling with slow computers (both Mac and Windows) are tempted to just buy a new one, but XTRA PC can potentially make the problem disappear for a much smaller cost and in a matter of minutes and without much hassle.

It works with Macs and PCs, fully compatible on computers, laptops, and netbooks made from 2004 onward.

XtraPC-plugged-1-1

Universal Compatibility

However, the manufacturers of Xtra-PC put extra care that it is fully compatible with almost every modern computer. If your device is from 2008 and after, you can be sure that Xtra-PC will work flawlessly with it.

Protection against malware

It is simply more secure and protected than a Windows PC because a lot of malware cannot run on the operating system. In other words, many viruses and malware are not compatible with the operating system on Xtra-PC and are incapable of harming your experience.

Works with Windows or Mac PCs

Is your computer is 12 years old? If yes, you are good to go. If it’s newer, that’s all the better, but you don’t even have to worry about a decade-old computer not working with Xtra-PC. The best part is, even if you are using a Mac or a Windows computer, both will work the same with the device.

2. Intel Compute Stick CS125

The Intel Compute Stick CS125 mid-sized mini PC measures 4.4 inches long, 1.5 inches wide, and half an inch thick. While it weighs 13.4 ounces, which is a bit heavy considering the size, it just does this shortcoming with powerful audio performance. It's particularly perfect for international travelers.

The mini PC on a stick takes on a reasonably simple design. It features excellent ventilation, thanks to the understated pinholes near the base that necessitate plenty of airflows. The PC includes a soft-touch power button, USB ports, and the USB Type-C power port along its right end. At the top of the unit, there is a LED light that's displayed whenever you power it on. Besides the HDMI plug, you expect no other problems with this powerful mini PC on a stick.

Name

Intel Compute Stick CS125

CPU

Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor

System

Windows 10 Pro

RAM

2 GB

USB ports

2

Storage

32 GB

Dimensions

4.4 inches long, 1.5 inches wide

Connectivity

Bluetooth & wireless

Operating system, storage, and speed

The Intel Compute Stick comes with pre-installed Windows 10 Pro, making it pretty future-proof. It features a 1.44 GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor, which is pretty poor based on the mini PC standards. However, being a quad-core means it's multi-functional.

The mini PC has 2 GB RAM, built-in memory, and 32 GB flash storage. While it seems minimal, it's adequate for most of your essential needs. It also uses Intel HD graphics, allowing you to stream videos in high definition. Note that it can struggle to stream 4k videos.

Connectivity and More

This mini PC uses the 802.11ac WiFi protocol, ensuring a stable connection with many modern devices. Apart from this, it supports Bluetooth 4.2, easily pairing with various smartphones, mouse or keyboards. It also comes with an HDMI dongle to enable users to plug into not-easy-to-reach ports with ease.

You can connect to your thumb drive and other memory sources with the USB ports. Transfer of video and presentations is pretty easy when using this device. The Micro SD memory card slot on the mini PC allows you more onboard storage. While it's pretty poor for video functions, it's a perfect choice for music streaming because of its multi-channel audio support.

Concerns

The most significant concern among users is CS125's frequent driver problems. This means you have to install drivers to use your aftermarket peripherals. Also, it tends to struggle when it comes to Window updates because of the more than 32 GB disk space required. To overcome this, you have to insert a thumb drive to enhance its memory during Windows updates. Ensure to use the USB 3.0 port if you want your Windows update to take a short time.

3. W5 Pro Mini PC

The W5 Pro Mini PC takes on a high-quality ABS plastic construction, making it more durable. This mini PC on a stick measures 3.9 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. Its half an-inch thickness makes it compact and easy to carry in the pocket. It weighs only 7.2 ounces, making it stress-free to carry it wherever you go.

At the bottom end of the case, there is a cooling fan inside for ventilation. It has a simple power switch on the side, near the bottom, while the USB ports are placed just above the power switch. The other side of the device features a single jack for DC power input. The device also comes with a power adapter to enable you to plug into your wall outlet easily.

Name

W5 Pro Mini PC

CPU

Intel Atom X5-Z7350 processor

System

Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

RAM

 4 GB

USB ports

Two Ports 2.0 and 3.0

Storage

64 GB

Dimensions

3.9 inches long and 1.5 inches wide

Connectivity

Bluetooth & wireless

Operating system, storage, and speed

The W5 comes with pre-installed windows 10 Pro 64-bit. It's nice to see a mini PC running this most powerful Windows version. The powerful 1.44 GHz Intel Atom X5-Z7350 processor allows it to run this type of Windows. The processor can run at 1.92 GHz for short bursts. With this processing speed, applications will load much faster. Also, being a quad-core processor allows multiple applications to run simultaneously and smoothly. While the 2 MB cache on this device isn't large compared to PCs, it's excellent for mini PCs.

It allows you to stream both HD and 4k videos with ease. The W5 has a 4 GB RAM built-in memory and 64 GB onboard storage, allowing you to share home videos and make presentations easily.

Connectivity and more

The W5 connects right into your monitor's HDMI port. Since it comes with an HDMI cable, you won't have to search for aftermarket peripherals. Besides, it features a built-in dual-band WiFi card and uses the 802.11ac protocol. This isn't the most powerful WiFi protocol available, but most modern devices support it. Also, Bluetooth 4.2 protocol is available on this device.

While there's a newer version, Bluetooth 5.0, the blue tooth 4.2 allows connecting to devices as far as 60 feet. This kind of range comes in handy when syncing with your devices from across the house.

You can also plug in your thumb drive for easy data transfer. Since it features 2.0 and 3.0 ports, you can transfer data quickly. The USB Type-C slot on this device enables easy connection with various smartphones. In addition to that, the W5 Pro includes a Micro SD slot. This allows easy transfer of data from a PC or smartphone and enables you to enhance your local storage capacity.

4. Awow Mini PC Stick

Some mini PCs can distract you during your remote learning sessions or when watching movies because of noise. Notably, the fan's humming sound might be an issue when making presentations.

The Awow mini PC on a stick is specifically designed to run on minimal noise. Awow uses a fanless design to help cut down this problem. The case features anodized aluminum construction, which, compared to plastic, allows excellent heat transfer. Thanks to the ribs on the top and bottom of the case, this device can run without overheating.

The Awow mini PC measures 5.9 inches long, 2.1 inches wide. It's over half an inch thickness, making it the most prominent PC on this list. However, it's a favorite choice because of its excellent heat transfer. Given that it's made up of a metal case weighing 11.6 ounces shouldn't surprise you.

The power button and USB ports are placed on this device's right side. The left side houses the SD slot and external antenna, allowing a powerful wireless signal in big homes and distant routers. More connection options are available at the back of this device. This includes a 3.5mm audio jack. You can use two power options on this device, including the USB power and USB Type-C AC power adapter.

Name

Awow Mini PC Stick

CPU

Intel Celeron J4105 processor

System

Windows 10 Pro version

RAM

 4 GB

USB ports

3.0

Storage

64 GB

Dimensions

5.9 inches long, 2.1 inches wide

Connectivity

Bluetooth & wireless ( 5.8 and 2.4 GHz dual channels )

Operating system, storage, and speed

It has a pre-installed Windows 10 Pro version, compatible with modern software. Also, it features an Intel Celeron J4105 processor supporting burst speeds of up to 2.5 GHz. The onboard graphics and HDMI 2.0 output support the 4k resolution. Besides, it features a 4 GB RAM built-in memory and 64 GB onboard external storage.

Connectivity and more

This mini PC on a stick has a reasonably powerful WiFi card. It supports existing WiFi protocols such as 802.11 b, g, n, ac, and more. As mentioned above, the device has an external antenna. This allows the device to run at 5.8 and 2.4 GHz dual channels. While you might run into connection issues with some devices.

Awow provides the best connectivity. It also features a gigabit Ethernet port to enable you to make wired connections to other devices. For those who prefer setting up semi-permanent configurations, Awow should be a perfect choice. The Bluetooth 4.2 protocol allows long-range connections to various devices.

Data transfer

The USB 3.0 ports make data transfer quick. You can attach thumb drives, a keyboard, or a mouse to create a user-friendly interface. It also has a Wake-on-LAN option which you can activate remotely over a WiFi connection. It's an excellent feature for your mini PC on a stick. Your family can still stream videos if you forgot to activate the WiFi.

Conclusion

All the mentioned mini PCs have their strengths and weaknesses. They all have varieties of options for users. Since it's relatively poor for video, the Intel Compute Stick is an excellent music streaming choice. The multi-channel audio support feature enables you to listen to stream your favorite music. Either way, it's not a wrong choice.

The W5 Pro has compelling features. Thanks to its powerful cooling fan, it allows excellent video streaming. Besides, it features varieties of connectivity options. Regardless of using a streaming service or just watching your videos, W5 Pro is your perfect choice.

Lastly, the Awow Mini PC on a stick is also a great choice. The fanless design allows for a quiet operation. You won't be distracted when making presentations or when watching. However, it's prone to overheating when using it for an extended period. It mainly works well during presentations due to the silent operation.

It's necessary to look at each mini PC's pros and cons to get an informed decision on the best choice for your needs.

Top recommendation

We also recommend you buy the Xtra-PC, which allows you to access your operating system via a USB flash drive.
The device can be plugged into any computer to improve its speed and provide extra storage space on an external drive. The Xtra-PC is an upgrade to your existing operating system.

If you want to know more about xtrapc visit our in-depth xtra pc review.

Written by Adam Moreno
With the continual development and increase in technology, gadgets, and gizmos, Adam never has a dull day researching new gadgets. Being an enthusiastic gamer, traveler, soccer lover, and avid car driver means that he always looks for the next cool thing to try out.
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