We’ll start by asking, what is a mini PC stick? Well, it looks just like a USB dongle that you save homework or work presentations on to. Only instead of having a USB connector in place, there is an HDMI connector.
Plug one of these sticks into any screen or monitor with HDMI, and hey presto! You’ve just created a PC. But there’s no keyboard or mouse. No problem, just connect them via USB, Bluetooth, or a combination of both.
You’re not going to play any GTA V on one of these things, but you can check your emails and browse the web. All very impressive for the size. So, we’ve decided to review the best mini PC sticks out there at the moment to find the perfect one for your needs…
- 1 Top 4 Best Mini PC Sticks In 2020 Reviews
- 2 Best Mini PC Sticks Buying Guide
- 3 Love Portable Tech?
- 4 So, What Is The Best Of The Best Mini PC Sticks?
Top 4 Best Mini PC Sticks In 2020 Reviews
1 Terryza W5 Pro – Best Mini PC Stick with in-built Fan
Whip this device out of your pocket, and people will think you have a slightly enlarged USB stick. The stick is smooth in texture and all black. There are some small vents where a tiny fan can be seen.
Just in front of the vents at one end is an HDMI connector. On one side, there is a TF card reader. On the other is one USB 3.0 and one 2.0 port along with a power port and switch.
Windows 10 Pro OS…
It packs in an Intel Atom Z8350 quad-core processor similar to those found in tablets. The OS is Windows 10 Pro, which may be a bit overzealous. Given the limited processing available, maybe a lighter version would be better.
There is 4GB of RAM to assist along with 64GB of storage space. Windows takes up about 25GB of that, so it’s really closer to 40GB. You can, however, use up to a 128GB Micro SD card to expand that.
What can this thing do?
Connecting to the internet is made easy via dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 ac. Bluetooth 4.2 is onboard, useful for connecting a wireless keyboard and/or mouse. Wired varieties can be connected via USB. Video is taken care of using in-built Intel HD graphics. Watching YouTube or Netflix is possible if you don’t have anything else running in the background.
There is a tiny in-built fan, but this thing does get hot after about 15 mins of use. However, it is not a bad little device for its small form factor.
- Expandable storage.
- Great for watching movies.
- Intel processor.
- Can get hot.
- Overzealous OS.
2 Awow PCG02 – Best Wireless Mini PC Stick
This PC stick from Awow looks a bit more like one of those old Wi-Fi adapters you used to plug into your laptop. The dark gray finish looks sophisticated, as well as the groves running along the top.
Similar in size to the regular iPhone, it can fit in your pocket. There are plenty of useful connection options, including two USB 3.0, LAN port supporting up to 1gb/s, 3.5mm audio jack, and an SD card slot.
Small size, big specifications…
Awow uses an Intel Celeron J4105 processor capable of running up to 2.5GHz. The OS is also Windows 10 Pro, once again a little too heavy for the capabilities. If you are a little savvy, the OS can be replaced by Linux.
4GB DDR4 RAM is decent, but you won’t be doing any major multitasking. Storage uses the same 64GB, and just like the Terryza W5, it can be expanded via Micro SD up to 128GB.
Use any device…
A small antenna flips up on the side to assist in receiving a strong Wi-Fi signal and supporting both 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals. Bluetooth 4.2 means multi-device support, meaning you can connect a wireless keyboard and mouse.
There is a difference with the video on this device. In-built Intel UHD Graphics 600 allows playback of 4K content. This does, however, put quite a strain on the processor. We recommend selecting FHD for smoother playback.
- More powerful processor.
- 1GB/s LAN port.
- Linux OS supported.
- 4K supported, but FHD runs smoother.
- Needs to be in a well-ventilated area.
3 ASUS Chromebit CS10 – Best Mini PC Stick for Apps
Manufactured by ASUS for Google is the Chromebit. Running on Chrome OS, which is much more bare-bones than Windows. This makes it more suitable as it can run even faster, even with a smaller processor than the others.
Chrome OS is almost a hybrid of Windows and your Android device’s OS. It might take some getting used to, but it does perform well. Responsive and snappy as long as you don’t overdo the multitasking.
Keeping things simple…
Chromebit is the smallest of all the devices we have here. It uses a USB connection instead of HDMI. This may limit use on a TV or monitor unless it supports USB. There is a USB 2.0 input on the other side for adding wired peripherals or additional storage.
Included internal storage is 16GB, and we feel it could have been more. The stick does support dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, providing a stable internet connection. Bluetooth 4.0 is enabled, useful for a wireless keyboard and mouse.
How does it perform?
Setting up is easy. There’s no power button, just plug it in, and it will automatically start. Greeted with an initial setup screen, you create or enter your Google account details. The device is then ready to go.
Video playback is limited to FHD 1080p. This isn’t a major issue as it keeps everything running smoothly without overloading it. Of course, all your apps are available from PlayStore.
We were very impressed with the Chromebit’s snappy performance and ease of use.
- Snappy performance.
- Doesn’t overreach on its capabilities.
- Small and simple.
- Only 16GB storage.
- Minimal connection options.
4 Terryza T6 – Best Ram Mini PC Stick
Another more powerful Mini PC Stick from Terryza. It’s an attractive dark gray color with a honeycomb grill. Measuring 4.2″ (106mm) long and 0.6″ (15mm) wide, it can easily fit in your pocket.
There is a good range of connection options, including a USB 3.0, a USB 2.0, Micro USB, and a slot for Micro SD cards. The T6 also supports Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless peripherals and dual-band 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi for internet connections.
Power in a stick…
Terryza uses a quad-core Intel Atom Z8350 processor capable of up to 1.92GHz. Paired with 8GB of DDR3 RAM, this can assist with multitasking but is still limited and should not be pushed too far.
Running the Windows 10 Pro 64 bit Operating System again is too much of a stretch for these devices. It is great to have the extra features afforded; however, it just takes up too much space and cannot be run efficiently.
Stick around. There’s more…
Video is handled by in-built Intel HD graphics and can comfortably run FHD 1080p content. Handy for watching YouTube, Netflix, or your favorite streaming service. This is, in fact, a tidy solution for those with a projector.
Another great use we found was for the office. A stick PC is quite capable of running a slideshow or PowerPoint presentation. Much easier than having to carry an entire laptop around.
- Many connection options.
- Steams movies well.
- Limited multitasking.
- OS can be sluggish.
Best Mini PC Sticks Buying Guide
It’s incredible to think that this much technology can fit inside something so small. Even though these are called PC sticks, we need to think performance-wise more like a tablet or smartphone.
The technology is still relatively new and will no doubt be improved on in the future. We do, however, feel that some of these devices are overreaching just a little. If the operating system was scaled back, they would run more efficiently.
Feels right at home…
With that being said, we can still think of many uses for the PC sticks currently available. So, let’s have a look at some.
For home use, this would be great for someone who just wants to do the PC basics. Like check their emails, browse the internet, and watch some online streaming. A great solution without having to spend too much on a laptop or desktop.
Let’s get down to business…
Apart from using a PC stick for office presentations, there are many other useful applications, such as for advertising purposes. Instead of just having files on a flash device to plug into a screen, you have a device that can be constantly updated and kept up to date efficiently.
Being so small in size makes a PC stick incredibly portable. Instead of needing to carry a laptop around, you can just put this in your pocket. Excellent for those who are always on the road for work.
Next, we will let you know which PC stick we think is the best and why.
Love Portable Tech?
If portability is paramount for you, we have other portable tech reviews well worth checking out.
So, take a look at our Best Portable Scanners Reviews, our Best Drawing Tablets Reviews, our Best Portable Photo Printers Reviews, our Best Rechargeable Hand Warmers reviews, our Best Under Desk Treadmills Reviews, our Best Laptop Trays and Tables for Beds Revew, or our Best Short Throw Projectors Reviews in 2020.
Back to mini PC sticks…
So, What Is The Best Of The Best Mini PC Sticks?
For us to decide which PC Stick we think deserves the title, we had to assign categories to judge each PC stick by. The categories we agreed on were performance, value, and ease of use. The product we thought delivered in all those areas is the…ASUS Chromebit CS10
This mini PC stick simply did what it was supposed to. It has fewer bells and whistles, but its smooth performance and ease of use won us over. The Chromebit just happens to be the cheapest option too.
It’s a super stick!