PC Stick Showdown: Intel Compute Stick vs Google Chromebit

February 21, 2016 - garden totes

PC Stick Showdown: Intel Compute Stick vs Google Chromebit

Imagine your PC in your pocket, giveaway to lift it anywhere there’s a shade we can use to get your work done. Sure, a laptop works, yet a PC-on-a-stick gives we vicious leisure and flexibility, and a Google Chromebit and Intel Compute Stick both sell that dream flattering hard. We took both for a exam drive.

The Contenders

Google finished waves when it denounced a Chromebit final year, and finally started offered it a few months ago. By comparison, a Intel Compute Stick has been around for a while, yet picked adult some steam around a same time. They’re opposite products (with some large differences), yet they’re clearly personification in a same space. Here’s a rundown:

  • The Chromebit ($85 during Amazon): Made by ASUS, a Chromebit runs Google’s Chrome OS, connects to your arrangement (or a TV) around HDMI, connects to a keyboard and rodent over Bluetooth (4.0), and connects to a Internet over Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac supported.) Once we have it adult and running, we can implement apps from a Chrome Web Store to get things done, and any Chromebit comes with 100GB of Google Drive space for documents, photos, and other files, given there’s substantially no on-board storage (only 16GB, in fact.) There’s a USB pier for outmost storage or submit devices, usually in case. It’s powered by a Rockchip RK3288 processor, and packs 2GB of RAM. Since there’s no on-board storage and all is web-based, we don’t have to worry you’ll remove information if we remove a device, or leave it during work when we wish it during home. You can check out a full specs here.
  • The Intel Compute Stick ($146 during Amazon): Intel’s Compute Stick is finished by Intel proper. If you’re deliberation one, make certain we get a 2016 model, since a 2015 model, while approachable, wouldn’t mount adult too good to this showdown. The newer chronicle is a distant drive better. The new indication includes 32GB of onboard storage, has an microSD container for expandable storage, is powered by an Intel Cherry Trail Atom x5-Z8300 processor and 2GB of RAM, and supports Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (compared to final year’s /b/g/n-only chipset) and Bluetooth 4.2. There are dual USB ports (one of that is USB 3.0) compared to final year’s singular USB 2.0 port, that is another good improvement. The Compute Stick also comes with Windows 10 preloaded. Hardware-wise, it’s flattering considerable for a size.



Those are a basics. Of course, a Compute Stick and a Chromebit aren’t a usually PCs-on-a-stick available, yet they’re dual of a many popular, and dual of a many mature. There are tons of Android sticks with ancient chronicle of Android and an HDMI port, many of that use a same chip that a Chromebit uses, yet we’re not meddlesome in those. Let’s dive in to a comparison.


The Compute Stick Runs Windows, yet a Chromebit is Just Easier to Use

PC Stick Showdown: Intel Compute Stick vs Google Chromebit

Setup and use are dual of a initial places that a Chromebit and a Compute Stick start to mangle divided from any other. Of course, a Compute Stick runs Windows, that creates it many some-more usable, and a setup and designation routine is substantially some-more informed for many people, yet a Chromebit is flattering plug-and-play.

The Chromebit can also be powered around HDMI if your TV or arrangement supports MHL (aka energy over HDMI), that means we usually block in a Chromebit, switch to that HDMI input, and span your peripherals. Once you’re paired, record in with your Google account, and you’re off and away. it’s value observant a Chromebit doesn’t have a energy button, that means it’s always on and connected, until we unplug it. Either way, a Chromebit is flattering many block in, record in, and get busy. There are apps in a Chrome web store for usually about all we substantially need to do—especially if your work, web browsing, or amicable life keep we on a web—and even a few light games here or there (more on that later.)

On a other hand, a Intel Compute Stick is clearly a hardware leader here, with some-more absolute components and a full chronicle of Windows on house that we can use for all of your favorite apps. That’s positively a benefit, yet it’s also a drawback. After your initial spin of Windows updates that take painfully prolonged to install—not download, usually install—you’ll know why. Plus, while it has 32GB of onboard storage, many of that will be consumed by Windows and a updates. Combined with a updates—even if we use each pretence we can to reclaim some space, you’ll get some room to implement a few apps, yet not adequate to store data. You’ll need that microSD slot. Once we mess-up by all of a setup, updates, app installations, and some-more though, you’ll have a entirely organic Windows PC, though.

Both Travel Well, yet a Chromebit Takes a Portability Prize

Both hang PCs are tiny, and easy to slip into a container or a lift all. They’re some-more or reduction all we need to get things done, yet if we had to broach a portability prize, a Chromebit would get it. Chrome OS is designed to run though a ton of on-board and connected storage, and a Chromebit, even yet it has a USB port, doesn’t need it. It also doesn’t need an additional energy adapter to keep a Chromebit powered up, interjection to that MHL support we mentioned, that means that during best, all you’re carrying around is a Chromebit itself. At worst, you’ll need to receptacle a Bluetooth keyboard and rodent with you.


The Intel Compute Stick on a other palm is usually as portable, even a tiny smaller. It has a energy symbol (which a Chromebit does not) and dual USB ports, that are good to have for connected devices. However, a Compute Stick still needs an AC adapter for power, no matter what we do. However, deliberation a fact that additional storage is some-more vicious for a Compute Stick, that means that during best, you’ll breeze adult carrying a hang itself, an AC adapter, and your microSD label everywhere we go. At worst, we supplement possibly a combo keyboard/mouse to that, or Bluetooth peripherals. There’s a top for a HDMI finish of a Compute Stick, yet your microSD label is kind of slipped into a slot, and while it’s secure for many uses, we wouldn’t wish to lift it in my container or anything.

Either way, as distant as portability goes, if you’re roving with either, your bag is many lighter than if we carried even a lightest ultrabook, so it might be nitpicky to review a dual this way. Where a Chromebit stands detached a bit some-more is in how a OS handles being portable. Google built Chrome OS to be totally portable, even between devices. Since all of your information is stored in Google Drive and a usually things your Chromebit remembers are a apps we have installed—and even those are usually Chrome Web Apps—you can block this thing in anywhere we have a display, submit devices, and an internet connection, and you’re prepared to go. If we remove it, it’s not a large loss, and we don’t remove a ton of data, that is outrageous in a unstable device. The Compute Stick on a other palm is still Windows, and while Windows is in many ways usually as portable, it’s reduction of a connected, web-centric experience, and if we remove your microSD card, we remove your apps and information too. Hardware is great, yet cruise a portability of your information as well.

The Compute Stick Has a Edge on Paper, yet Both Are On Par in Practice

PC Stick Showdown: Intel Compute Stick vs Google Chromebit

If you’re usually reading a specs, a Compute Stick—especially a some-more new 2016 model—has a edge, clearly. It packs a some-more absolute processor, some-more storage, improved RAM (both a Compute Stick and a Chromebit have 2GB, yet a Compute Stick has 1600Mhz DDR3 RAM, while a Chromebit gets by with 1066Mhz DDR3 RAM. The Compute Stick’s additional USB pier is great, generally deliberation it’s USB 3.0, and expandable storage is good too (even if it’s necessary), yet once we put all of those facilities into use, a finish outcome is one that doesn’t feel as many like a powerhouse it sounds like. In fact, a Chromebit feels a bit some-more well-spoken and poignant to use.

If it sounds crazy, it is—using both felt odd. we kept meditative that a Chromebit shouldn’t be as well-spoken as it was, even if it was tying by a really nature. You play in Google’s Chrome OS garden when we use a Chromebit, and a synergy between hardware, software, and a apps accessible is something that Google tries to manage. You breeze adult with a reduction useful experience, yet one that works better, generally if your needs don’t outstrip a walls of a garden. Over on a Compute Stick however, we have Intel’s hardware and Windows as a software, and that synergy usually isn’t there. Windows does as Windows does, and a cracks in a hardware uncover flattering quickly. 1600Mhz DDR3 RAM doesn’t save a Compute Stick from a fact that there’s still usually 2GB for Windows 10 to use. 32GB of storage doesn’t save a Compute Stick from a fact that Windows can simply eat adult 20+ GB on a own, and once we implement a few applications, you’re struggling with low space warnings.

Don’t usually take my word for it, either. PC World has some good benchmarks on a Compute Stick here, and Engadget felt a stipulations of a hardware, considerable as it is in a tiny stick, flattering fast as they buckled underneath a aria of Windows—and underneath regulating Windows like many users would. When it comes to performance, a disproportion in specs creates a Compute Stick demeanour like it’s value a money. The opening delta in use hurdles that notion, and creates we consternation if we should usually collect adult a Chromebit and save a fifty bucks.

The Verdict: Chromebit Today, See What Intel Does Tomorrow

The video above, from YouTuber Austin Evans, compares a final era Intel Compute Stick with a Chromebit, and comes to flattering many a same conclusions we have. In short, they both have their pros and cons, yet a Chromebit does flattering many a same thing in a slicker and cheaper package than a Compute Stick, and unless we need Windows—like you’re a advocate of Microsoft Office or we need to run something complicated like PhotoShop (which crawled on a Compute Stick, by a way,) we can substantially get divided with a Chromebit for all we need to do.

If we have to have Windows though—and we know who we are—the choice was finished for we 1000 difference ago. If we need Windows since you’re a gamer, well, we substantially aren’t deliberation one of these anyway, yet if we are, drive clear. They’re approach too underpowered for anything intensive, generally games or anything graphically heavy. 1080p video is excellent (4K video not so much), so Netflix, Hulu, and all a rest are fine—but anything heavier? Avoid it.

If we like a Google-centric life, regulating Hangouts for chat, use Facebook and Twitter to keep adult with friends, and even webapps like Feedly to review a news, you’ll be usually excellent on a Chromebit. You’ll have reduction to keep lane of when we pierce around, and reduction to remove if something goes missing. Even if you’re looking for a inexpensive approach to spin an aged arrangement into a PC, or get something some-more strong for your TV than a Chromecast, a Chromebit is a good concede between a morality of a set-top and a energy of an HTPC.

That said, it’s considerable what Intel’s managed to squeeze into that tiny stick-sized PC, and with a few tiny tweaks that they inexplicably motionless opposite with this year’s freshly-introduced chronicle (upping a built-in RAM to 4GB and adding MHL support), they could have a near-perfect PC-on-a-stick. Sadly, a fact that they didn’t do those things means we can save yourself some income and get a same (or better) knowledge with a Chromebit.

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