Put your computer in your pocket: the best Windows and Linux computer sticks

PC sticks, originally created to turn a TV into a smart TV, now offer many more options and features. We have selected eight of them for you

Slightly larger than a USB stick, PC sticks are mini Android machines equipped with a Wi-Fi connection, but hardly ever lack Bluetooth and an Ethernet port to physically connect them to the home network. Still not very popular in Italy, they are an excellent solution if you travel often.

These devices are configured in a moment and you can connect them very easily to a monitor, or to other wireless accessories such as, for example, a keyboard, a mouse or a joystick. Newer models, compatible with Windows and Linux, can become excellent ready-to-use workstations when connected to a display. This way you can browse the web, check your mail, or distribute your multimedia content on your TV, all without sacrificing the wide range of Android applications. It's a cost-effective and energy-efficient solution all things considered.

Intel Compute Stick

This PC - unveiled last year by Intel at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, is a rather bulky USB stick that houses, inside, a 1.33GHz Atom Z3735F processor. It works with Windows 10 or Linux  systems, connects to any display via the HDMI port and is powered by a micro USB. Intel Compute Stick - equipped with 2 GB of RAM - is able to run the Office suite or play streaming video in full HD. It is also equipped with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The Windows version costs about 150 euros, while the Linux version you need to spend an amount of about 110 euros.

MeeGOPad T07 Windows 10

Here is a Pocket PC coming from China designed to run on Windows 10 systems, but it can also run on other platforms such as Android or Ubuntu (Linux). MeeGOPad T07 is equipped with an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor at 1.84 GHz, has 2 GB and 32 GB of storage space and is able to turn your monitor into an all-in-one computer. It offers, among other things, a number of other uses for your TV such as web browsing, email services and office applications. It is also equipped with Bluetooth and WiFi. The price is about 160 euros.

Beelink BT3 II Mini PC

Beelink BT3 is a compact mini PC with Intel Atom x5 Z8300 Quad Core processor at 1.84 GHz and Windows 10. Its trump card, which gives it an edge over the competition, is the storage space. This box comes with two partitions, one 40 GB for Windows 10, and another 20 GB empty: for a total of 38 GB for programs and data. The rest of the specifications include 2 GB DDR3 RAM, WiFi/Bluetooth 4.0/Gigabit Ethernet connections, plus a USB 3.0 port (2 USB 2.0) and HDMI 1.4. Another aspect that denotes the quality of the product is the presence of a copper heatsink to protect the most sensitive chips, and that of compartments of ventilation also on the sides. Beelink BT3 costs about 120 euros online if purchased directly in China, or little more in Europe.

Ugoos UM2

Connect the UM2 to your TV via HDMI to turn it into a smart TV. You'll be able to use all your Android apps to play games, watch movies or post tweets via your living room screen from the comfort of your couch. Yes, because Ugoos UM2 comes with a useful remote control for navigation and control, but you can also connect a keyboard and a mouse to the two USB ports.

Tronsmart Draco H3

It's an Android mini PC in the format of a flash drive with a removable Wi-Fi antenna, as well as Bluetooth 4.0 connection, and is equipped, among the few low-cost models, with an HDMI port for 4K video at 30 fps and is also capable of playing movies in the H.265 format. The technical specifications of the Tronsmart Draco H3 also include an Allwinner H3 Quad-Core Cortex-A7 1.2GHz processor, a Mali-400 GPU and 1GB of DDR3 RAM, 8GB of expandable storage (eMMC Flash) via MicroSDHC memory cards and two USB ports. The device is compatible with the Droidmote app, allowing you to use another Android device as a remote control and use touch-screen functions on a TV.

Rikomagic V5

A model running Android 4 on board.4, equipped with a Quad-Core Cortex A17 processor @ 1.8 GHz and a 16-Core Mali T764 3D graphics card @ 600 MHz, which offers the advantage of a high-speed broadband connection either a wired Gigabit Ethernet connection or via WiFi using the external antenna. It allows you to play 3D titles on your TV and easily access all your media whether it is stored on your home network or on the cloud. The rest of the features include HDMI, Bluetooth 4.0, USB ports, MicroSDHC card reader and an infrared input. Rounding out the specs are 2GB DDR3 of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.

GK525 RK3188

This mini Android machine offers the same performance as a tablet. GK525 RK3188 features a 2 Megapixel camera, microphone and external WiFi antenna. A portable video conferencing system, in short, which also becomes a great tool for streaming content to a TV using Miracast, AirPlay and DLNA compatibility.

PQ Labs iStick A350

The iStick A350, in addition to the standard features, also has the ability (optional) to connect an SSD which is very useful for storing a large volume of data such as movies and HD images or your music library. It is also equipped with WiFi connection and an Ethernet port make it also a great solution for streaming. A true pocket PC on Android, also compatible with Linux.