Taiwanese company Asus unveiled the VivoStick in early September at IFA – the Berlin-based electronics trade show.
At 14cm long and 3.5cm wide, it’s the smallest PC running Windows 10 to be announced by any manufacturer. Intel’s Compute Stick (www.snipca.com/17841) is smaller, but it comes with Windows 8.1 – although this does mean it can be upgraded to Windows 10.
The VivoStick has 2GB of RAM, weighs just 68g and comes in blue, white or black. It has 802.11n Wi-Fi built in, plus ports for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, and Bluetooth 4.0 for connecting a keyboard and mouse.
It’s the latest example of the current drive towards PC miniaturisation, most strikingly demonstrated in ‘PC-on-a-stick’ devices. Other manufacturers to have launched ‘stick’ PCs include Lenovo (the Ideacentre Stick 300: www.snipca.com/17842) and Archos (unimaginatively called the PC Stick: www. snipca.com/17843).
Manufacturers like to hail them as revolutionary devices because they make it easier than ever to launch your operating system on any PC monitor and TV.
But experts have criticised their poor processing power. In our two-star review of the Intel Compute Stick (Issue 456), we said it “struggles to load web pages and cope with demanding tasks”.
The VivoStick promises to be better because it contains the latest version of the Atom processor, called Cherry Trial, which is more powerful than the older Bay Trail processor in the Compute Stick.
Asus hasn’t said when it will be available, but we do know it will cost $129 (around £84). We will review it when it launches.