One of the best things about Taobao is being able to buy export-oriented products at a fraction of their overseas retail prices. I just got hold of the Intel Compute Stick at only 299 Yuan (S$62), which is quite a steal. It is a fully functional PC designed by Intel, and it comes pre-installed with a legitimate copy of Windows. It’s next to impossible for any other sub-S$100 stick computer to include a Windows license, so, in that sense, nothing beats this.
This was the very first Compute Stick from 2015. Doesn’t matter to me really. All i wanted was something that could handle web browsing and other simple tasks. It would work especially well with my portable monitor (as pictured above).
The Compute Stick is powered by an Atom CPU, so it is not unlike the Atom powered mini laptops so popularly available these days. The difference of my setup as compared to these mini laptops is having a huge and eye-pleasing 15″ display. In fact, i’m writing this blog posting right now on this setup, and it feels good. Although not as portable as a laptop, my Compute Stick plus portable monitor combo is still relatively easy to keep and store.
Here’s how the unwrapping and setting up went:
The Taobao product page says that the Compute Stick will either come with Windows 8.1 or Windows 10. Mine was Windows 8.1. You’ll go through the windows initial use configuration as you normally do for a brand new Windows installation.
Windows 8.1 is, well, not quite usable. Thankfully, there is an option to upgrade to Windows 10, for free. The link to this utility program is actually posted on the Taobao product page.
The Compute Stick performs better than expected. Overall, it is just a tad less responsive than my 7+ years old first generation core i5 laptop. The only thing that is really unacceptable is the slow WiFi speed, and many reviewers on Taobao mention this. This is easily overcome by using a USB WiFi adapter.
The Compute Stick needs a 3A USB power supply. Thankfully, my LDNIO power extension has the ability to supply a maximum of 3.1A on a single USB port. In order to use the mouse and keyboard at the same time (plus the WiFi USB adapter), you need a USB hub.
Many people use the Compute Stick as a media player, but for me, it is the cheapest full fledged PC money can buy. See featured photo way above – my sub-S$250 PC.