Best mini PC sticks 2015 - reviewed

Full Windows computers the size of USB sticks: a gimmick or a route to pocket computing bliss?

If you think tiny media streamers such as the Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV Stick are impressive, how about a full-on Windows PC in roughly the same size shell?

Plug one into your TV’s HDMI port and you’ve got yourself a practically invisible computer. That’s a whole lot of utility for something you can fit in your pocket and costs a little over £100.

The Intel Compute Stick, Hannspree Micro PC and Modecom FreePC all use the same Intel Atom CPU and have eerily similar specs. What differentiates them is their grace under everyday computing pressure.

And remember, everyday computing is what these are really about. We obviously threw some games at them to see what happened, but these computers are vastly smaller than even the smallest Windows tablet, and infinitely more flexible.

That's the theory at least...

Winner: Hannspree Micro PC

There is no perfect stick PC just yet. But these early contenders prove there’s worth to these little pocket rockets. Especially when compared to a super-budget tablet or laptop.

The Modecom has the best portability, the Intel that bit more power, able to push harder thanks to its fan system. But for us the Hannspree is the best balance of the three. It’s silent, gets you a good amount of memory to play with and doesn’t look bad too boot.

Don’t buy one of these sticks unless you’re going to get… stuck into using them right now, though. With every advance in CPU tech, these sticks will get faster and potentially even smaller. Whether we’ll actually see them depends on these first brave little twigs catching on, though.