Stick PCs make our lives easier by reducing everything we need to a convenient, stick-shaped bundle. The best stick PCs can do everything your best PC or laptop can, but without the bulk and weight. Stick PCs make all the difference for ultimate convenience.
The stick pc market has exploded in recent years, making it difficult to wade your way through and find the best one. Thankfully, we've rounded up the top options with stick PCs from all different operating system brands and at different prices.
The best stick PCs at a glance
The best stick PC: Intel Compute Stick
Bill Roberson / Digital Trends
Why You Should Buy This: Intel's Compute Sticks helped bring the stick pc market to market and continue to go strong today as they offer serious performance.
For who it is: Everyone – just choose the right one for you.
Why we chose the Intel Compute Stick:
Intel started the first iteration of the Compute Stick back in March 2015. Since then, a number of other stick PCs have adopted and carried the standard specifications from Intel. There are several versions available today with a choice of 2GB and 4GB RAM, 32 or 64GB eMMC storage, and a MicroSD slot if you need a little more storage. The connectivity is connected to a television or monitor via HDMI, supplied with power via USB-C with a USB-A 3.0 port on the device itself and two more on the power supply unit.
The big difference, however, is in processing power, and that's what makes the price fluctuate a lot north and south. You can find the entry-level CS125 with an Atom CPU for not much more than $ 100, but there are much more powerful Core m3 and even Core m5 versions out there if you're looking to spend a few hundred dollars more.
For a basic PC experience, the entry-level Atom-equipped model is more than enough to cope with, but Intel's chip options offer great versatility in this area.
The best stick PC under $ 100: Asus Chromebit
Why You Should Buy It: For under $ 100, you can get a perfectly functioning stick PC with high-speed wireless access.
For who it is: Students, families who don't mind Chrome OS.
Why we chose the Asus Chromebit:
Chrome OS is no longer just for the best Chromebooks. It can also form the foundation of an affordable entry point for stick PCs, and Asus' Chromebit is one of the best. All of the operating system's functions are packed into a small dongle that plugs directly into your HDMI port for less than $ 100. The Chromebit is powered by a RockChip RK3228C, a popular quad-core chip that is combined with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC flash storage. As with any Chrome OS device, there is 100 GB of Google Drive storage available for two years.
Connectivity is supported by WLAN, integrated Bluetooth and a USB port. Chrome OS is an excellent portable computing solution whose cloud-based nature cannot be beaten.
Read our full Asus Chromebit review
The best portable PC: Awow Mini PC Stick
Why You Should Buy It: This stick is designed to be moved between workstations.
For who it is: Professionals or students who move frequently between rooms and venues.
Why we chose the Awow Mini PC Stick:
One of the best things about flash drives is how easy it is to move them from place to place. However, if you are often on the move and move between different workstations and rooms, it is also important that your stick is durable, reliably picks up a signal and has enough power to function as a laptop alternative when needed.
Awows Stick does this and more with an Intel Celeron N3350 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC storage. It comes with Windows 10 Pro, includes dual-band WiFi, and has a collapsible antenna for when you're in a place where connectivity is compromised or compromised. It's also built with a fanless design to keep the components cool no matter where you work or how often you move. If you stick to one place, there is gigabit ethernet connectivity too for better connection quality.
We also appreciate the instant-on function, which always boots up when you plug it in and turn on the display, which saves time even when traveling. While our best laptops don't have a candle, you can still do some serious work.
The best stick PC for streaming: Terryza Mini Computer Stick
Why You Should Buy This: This fast streaming stick is perfect for setting up a mobile entertainment center.
For who it is: Those who want PC power for streaming beyond the usual stick devices.
Why we chose the Terryza Mini Computer Stick:
For serious streaming, you need a stick that can keep up, and this Terryza pick is one of the best with a four-core Intel Atom Z8350 processor and 8GB of RAM. With 4K support and dual band WiFi, it's a great solution for those who want more than the usual TV streaming devices.
This stick also has USB-A 3.0 and 2.0 ports, as well as support for HDMI, so you can use a variety of connection options if you need to. You can even expand the onboard storage with a microSD card when you fill the stick with files and apps. The Terryza also comes with a full version of Windows 10 Pro, so you get all of the great management features you need, like Bitlock encryption and remote access.
Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity gives you plenty of options for connecting accessories that are also based on your setup. Note, however, that there is no Ethernet port for a wired connection so you should focus specifically on wireless streaming.