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What do you think of these pocket-size PCs?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 23, 2015 6:08 PM PDT
Imagine a day when you'll be able to travel with a PC right in your pocket. No, I'm not talking about a smartphone or mini tablet, but a Windows PC as big as a thumb drive. If think I'm crazy, then you should check out the news, because as of today, it's a reality. Intel just recently released the Intel Compute Stick, and Lenovo will soon release its own Ideacentre Stick 300. These tiny portable PCs are small enough to fit into your jeans pocket, can connect to any HDMI-compatible TV or monitor, and will give you a PC powerful enough to run Windows 8.1 (and will upgrade to Windows 10 when it's available). It will allow you to surf the Internet, play games (lightweight games, of course), watch videos, run apps and even store files -- all for around $150 USD or less. Once you have one of these PCs, all you'll need is a monitor or HDTV with HDMI inputs, a wireless keyboard and a mouse, and presto! You've got an operating Windows PC -- in a stick!

To me, it's impressive that they are able to cram a PC into such a small physical device that's capable of running Windows. Granted, this isn't a full-on PC like your laptop or desktop that will handle complex tasks, graphics, or powerful software, but it's got enough oomph to give you a Windows PC when portability is a must. When I first saw the CNET review for the Intel Compute Stick, I thought, I'm all in for one. But I think I'm going to hold off until a few more manufactures introduce their own versions, so I can weigh all my options.

Now, my question to you: are you impressed with these tiny PCs? Is this something you would buy? Why, or why not? How would you use it if you had one? And the biggest question of all: with most people owning a tablet or smartphone (or both), do you think there is a market for these pocket-size Windows PCs? Will it meet consumers' demands? Let me know what you think and if you already own one of these PCs, tell us how it is working for you. We all look forward reading your opinions.


Post was last edited on June 24, 2015 11:01 AM PDT

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What's the advantage over a smart phone or tablet?
by wpgwpg / June 23, 2015 6:38 PM PDT

Heck I can't figure out why I'd want a smart phone, let alone one of these PC sticks. When you add a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, it sounds rather clunky. The iWatch is goofy enough, but this? I'm sure some folks will rush out and buy them, but when I need a portable computer, I'll just take along my 7" Android tablet, thank you very much.
Still I have to say you can't help but be impressed by the technology. I recently saw someone in the chip business on TV who said they could now put a million circuits on a pencil point. It makes you wonder what will happen when they learn enough about AI, what's going to happen. The hardware capability seems close, but AI has a way to go. When you look at what we have with voice recognition and machines like the IBM one that won on Jeopardy, you have to believe we can't help but be on the way. It might take a decade or two (or three?), but I have to believe it will happen.

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by Ted de Castro / June 23, 2015 7:28 PM PDT

You'd only need the peripherals to get it started - once up install FREE!!! TEAM VIEWER and you run it via network ---- from ANYWHERE!!

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It's all about innovators pushing the technology button
by Chigal48 / June 23, 2015 9:40 PM PDT

I think these type of products are cute little gadgets and they're made for little hands, like "child" hands.
I have a smartphone Android LG34C and I hate it. I hate the touch screen because I'm always typing in the wrong letters not to mention I cannot type "fast" and speedy; and have to delete and start over. I hate the screen size and the little tiny letters on the screen. I swear I'm going blind trying to read from these small phones.
Give me a big old desktop anytime anywhere anyhow. With power, with a big monitor and a keyboard I can type on.

BTW, has anyone at CNET figured out how to get your "unsubscribe" from the thread button working?

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A Kindred Soul
by EBathory / June 25, 2015 6:50 AM PDT

How small do we want to get? This looks like just something else for me to misplace or lose. I think the word "gadget" truly applies here.

Also do not like smartphones and "touch" anything. When I am on a regular PC and keyboard, it may sound silly but it's like the PC and I become one. The fact that I made my living for quite some time typing away on a regular keyboard, and before that a typewriter (remember those?) might be influencing how I feel.

The death of the PC has been prophesied for quite a while now. And yet the old standby keeps bouncing back. I would rather upgrade my PC than buy this little contraption. Cute idea, but in the end just another toy.

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I don't see any advantage...
by William Sommerwerck / June 24, 2015 5:31 AM PDT

If I need to carry a keyboard and mouse, and need a monitor for display... Why not just lug a notebook computer?

I'm reminded of a Skippy * TV commercial from 60 years back... "Skippy ran a survey, asking people why they ate food. And they told us it was because food was a meal in itself."

Need I explain further?

* Skippy used to be the leading brand of peanut butter. It's still around.

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by 46fcbs / June 24, 2015 8:47 AM PDT

a million circuits that's a 486 probably be able to do something with that

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Maybe, but not likely
by jdonalds / June 23, 2015 7:13 PM PDT

I already have a smartphone with a small screen and small keyboard. What I would want is a large screen and full sized keyboard. Once those two are provided the size of the computer isn't the biggest third of the overall desired package.

It's been proven that a Windows phone can do much of what can be done on a PC, albeit slower, on a Windows smartphone.

I already have a small Bluetooth keyboard, and a full sized folding Bluetooth keyboard. Both are annoying to use. Give me a decent folding keyboard and a 12" screen that folds up, then I'll be glad to have a thumb drive sized computer.

I have zero need or want for a tiny computer for the home so it is only a travel computer that would gain my interest.

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Not more expensive that a lunch for four.
by arielrod35 / June 23, 2015 7:13 PM PDT

Yes, I would buy one. They are not more expensive that the up-to-date mobile and cost less. A $150. pocket PC is not more expensive than a meal for 4 in an average restaurant. Sure it will evolve and come down in price. I still remember when I bought my first plasma at 50 in. for $3,500, and remember my friend's plasma for $7k. I anticipate that this new version of a PC will be further downsized to be able to integrate it to a mobile phone and be able to connect to a monitor via bluetooth.

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Thank you for telling Windows10ophiles spend $150 on lunch
by dorasm / June 23, 2015 8:53 PM PDT

Thank you for confirming what kind of person goes for this sort of junk.

$150 would buy lunch for THIRTY people, on the planet I live on, NOT four.

No, don't even bother with a smart alecky comeback. You've made it too clear what you are made out of.

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Obviously np pallet
by nrkmann--2008 / June 23, 2015 10:21 PM PDT

My wife and I regularly spend $50 to $100 for lunch. With time and a good woman you might even learn to be a bit more sofisticated and non judgmental.

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by 19Gandalf47 / June 24, 2015 7:26 AM PDT
In reply to: Obviously np pallet

If you were living on food stamps, you would never be able to eat lunch out, and if you fixed it at home, you would be only able to spend less than $2.00 per person, on average.

I am not on food stamps, but live on a fixed income, and have to live on "food stamp money" So, with time and a little empathy you might learn to be less clueless.

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Meal for $150?
by EBathory / June 25, 2015 6:54 AM PDT

That price of a meal also does not happen in my world. Maybe if I had more money to throw around this would be fun in its own way, but going to the supermarket and trying to get my bill under $100 is enough of a challenge for me right now. Unless this device can also be eaten if one is starving.....sorry, I'm being facetious. Another toy for the well-heeled, methinks.

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Many hotel televisions cannot be used as a monitor
by Jim Johnson / June 23, 2015 7:17 PM PDT

I recently purchased an 8 inch Win8.1 tablet. I typically cart along a small Bluetooth keyboard & mouse when I travel - so why wouldn't I buy something smaller yet? I need some form of self-contained screen.

It isn't as easy as you might think to just hook up to hotel television sets. I know because I also carry along a Miracast receiver to connect the tablet to televisions. A lot of hotels have gone to the trouble of making sure their televisions cannot be used for external input because they want to sell you their extra-cost entertainment options. Or at a minimum make sure it is very inconvenient by forcing you to figure out how to switch to an HDMI input without using a remote.

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JUST got mine today!!
by Ted de Castro / June 23, 2015 7:22 PM PDT

Strange - Mine arrived from Dino Direct today just a few hours before I got this email! The one I got is dual OS - win 8 and Android. MOREFINE M1 Finger PC - ie. NOT either of the ones mentioned in the email.


For a small, low foot print, low power consumption, low heat impact computer that runs familiar software that I use on my desktop to monitor/record things like security devices or instruments readings - or whatever I want to monitor/record 24/7 long term.

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For light travel small computers might replace Smart Phones
by wwgorman / June 23, 2015 7:43 PM PDT

It is possible that these small computers might have more power than smart phones and, from the description, might be smaller and hence easier to travel with.

On the other hand, small powerful computers the size of Netbooks are a more desirable as they can handle graphics and easily fit into a valise. I have an Asus Netbook that I have literally carried half way around the world------from St. Petersburg to Sydney, and have Office 2003 and Photoshop CS2 loaded on it to process investment data and photographs. My only complaint about the Netbook is its wimpy Atom processor. A computer the same size with more RAM and a higher powered processor would be the ideal for me.

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Only with Linux
by randiroo76073 / June 23, 2015 7:54 PM PDT

I would use one if it had Linux on it. Windows it way too resource hungry and clunky to run on a pocket PC !!!

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I agree
by janitorman / June 23, 2015 8:31 PM PDT
In reply to: Only with Linux

I agree. The world needs to see that ONE proprietary company doesn't need to control the future of computing. Microsoft's "goal" of one unified OS for 1 billion devices would be fine, if they'd use open source software and not be controlled by a corporation. If they can get rid of all their corporate nonsense and make their "ONLY" OS free, non-proprietary software controlled by the users and contributors to it, and not directed by some corporation which is "FOR PROFIT" (same with Google) we'd have something. And how about separating the kernal from all the UI elements, so you could put whatever UI on it you want, and not be stuck with "ONE" UI or even a couple for different form factors, but have it however YOU want.
As to the tiny computers, yes there are now small devices for Windows, it's their push as part of their 1 billion devices, but it doesn't make sense to have a huge clunky OS or even a huge clunky kernal for a device that only does 1/10th of what a desktop will do. Microsoft will lose at this game as well, just like they did with mobile and phones, which are dominated by Linux in the form of Android, and by the other proprietary OS from Apple/Mac.

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Never with Windows
by 19Gandalf47 / June 24, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Only with Linux

Agreed - Windows as the OS is a deal-killer for me.  A "properly" configured and installed Windows PC is problematic enough without shrinking it down to a stick and having to locate peripherals in which to make it useful, which would be a tall order for a Windows-based computer of any kind.

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The Intel Compute stick has the option of Windows or Linux..
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 24, 2015 9:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Only with Linux
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Already availible
by Incognito60 / June 24, 2015 7:40 PM PDT
In reply to: Only with Linux

Rasberry Pi, been around for ages credit card size PC.

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Sure- Why Not
by drbruce2 / June 23, 2015 8:05 PM PDT

I am waiting to buy one, as there are multiple manufacturers that are going to produce them, and there will probably be faster CPUs in the future. If you are traveling light, and want to check your e-mail in a hotel room, go for it. I guess you'd have to bring a Bluetooth mouse, and perhaps a keyboard, although there are small Bluetooth keyboards with a built-in pad.
Just think, you can pull one of of your pocket, lug it in. and amaze the Luddites amongst you. Better have a usb cable for power because HDMI has no power.
Pretty inexpensive toy. As we all know the only difference between men and boys are the price of their toys.

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Too much hardware to travel with
by Chigal48 / June 23, 2015 9:50 PM PDT
In reply to: Sure- Why Not seems you travelers are traveling with more hardware devices than you are with clothes.
If you have to pack all those gizmos and aux. seems like a lot of trouble to do.

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Absolutely - Esp. with a heads up display and microphone.
by Ishkatan / June 23, 2015 8:13 PM PDT

I plan to buy one of these... One for just accessing my bank. No other surfing on it.
Another for surfing porn sites. Hehe. Devil
And one to do general surfing, email, etc.
This avoids cross infection and most of what I do is on line.

I would also really like a heads up display rather than a TV so the whole thing would be a portable. It should also have a really good built in microphone for voice dictation instead of typing with a mouse and keyboard.

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Small Puter???
by 1garyallen / June 23, 2015 8:16 PM PDT
Not me, not in this lifetime anyhow.
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Able to update websites anywhere
by cybergrace / June 23, 2015 8:16 PM PDT

I still don't know of any software where I can update fairly complex websites (ones without web-based CMS). For example, I use Sublime Text like many other professional web designers and programmers. I think this stick could save my aching back from having to carry around my netbook. What do other web designers & programmers think?

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I'd be ready by a 3rd or 4th generation
by snidely9447 / June 23, 2015 8:26 PM PDT

By then they'd be equal in power to a mid-level PC. My primary computer now is an HP laptop. Would use this new device when I travel.
Question - How would you load your programs onto it? It comes w. Windows preloaded. Would you need to plug in an external drive or could you make use of disc drive in your desk or lap computer?

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Why? And why this one? And why Windows?
by griswolf-the-obscure / June 23, 2015 8:33 PM PDT

Raspberry Pi has been around since 2012. Admit: It's bigger than this. But it too can run Windows if you insist, Linux if you prefer, and it costs $25. Has more ports, too...

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Science fiction?
by janitorman / June 23, 2015 8:36 PM PDT

Wait a few years and a device this size will have a built in screen that projects into the air in 3D, and a virtual keyboard and other input devices also able to hover in mid-air, a microphone and 3D camera. Science fiction? I don't think so. Today's Science Fiction is tomorrows invention.

By the way, all the RED on the page is quite annoying here, and so is the submission format where you have to unblock 10 or more cross-site scripts to even get the reply to open. Then it won't submit because some OTHER little red box which I ignored was right UNDER the red band at the top of the page, saying a title was required. I give up on Cnet forums.

Post was last edited on June 24, 2015 9:46 AM PDT

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by janitorman / June 23, 2015 8:37 PM PDT
In reply to: Science fiction?

AND no edit button to correct a typo I just noticed. * required.

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wait till the real fun starts
by James Denison / June 23, 2015 8:42 PM PDT
In reply to: edit

and you clk on the Cancel button to post it, and discover it's on the right side instead of the left where it belongs in almost all other forums.

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