Faster, sleeker, more energy-efficient and powered by Windows 10, the PC-on-a-stick will sadly only roll out in Q4.
Well, what do you know, thumb-sized dongle computers are all of a sudden in style and mainstream, threatening the growth of larger mini PCs like the Asus Eee Boxes, HP Pavilion Mini or Zotac Zboxes. Next to the Intel Compute Stick and now Asus Pen Stick, those look outright beastly, and not in a good way.
Of course, there’s only so much technology one can load up a flash drive-like contraption with, at least at the moment. They say Intel has plans for Core M/4 GB RAM/64 GB storage-packing Compute Stick configurations, which sound just as muscular as many contemporary albeit low-cost laptops.
Sorry, we’ve digressed, so back to the Computex-showcased Asus Pen Stick, let us stress this is still decidedly a work in progress. The external appearance isn’t carved in stone, as the manufacturer will try to make do without a (tiny) fan, but nothing’s certain yet.
In prototype form, the Pen Stick sure looks handsome, fashioned after elegant fountain pens and all, and measuring 4.8 x 1.3 x 0.6 inches. That’s slightly longer, thicker and narrower than first-gen Compute Sticks, so overall, the two are more or less equally compact.
Where the new guy excels is in the processing speed department, thanks to a Bay Trail-eclipsing Cherry Trail SoC. Unfortunately, by winter, when the Pen Stick is set to debut, Core M-based Compute Sticks should hit store shelves.
Nonetheless, at $150, you’ll get a pretty good deal here, with 2 GB RAM in tow, 32 GB internal storage, pre-installed Windows 10 software, microSD support, a pair of USB 2.0 ports, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.
Also, HDMI, obviously, which will allow you to seamlessly turn any compatible rudimentary monitor or TV set into a full-blown all-in-one desktop PC. How cool is that?