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What is a PC Stick and How does it Work?

Do you know what a PC Stick is? Over the last year or so I have been playing around with PC Sticks. I definitely think that these are going to be the future. They are very portable and have a number of advantages which I will discuss later in this article. I will explain what a PC Stick is and what it does as well so please keep reading.

Technology is changing all of the time and it can be hard to keep up with all of the new innovations. To me the PC Stick was an inevitable thing to happen. When PC Sticks first became available people liked them a lot. Now the major manufacturers have caught on to this and there are now a number of different PC Sticks available.

What is a PC Stick?

A PC Stick has a number of different names such as a “computer on a stick”, “a screenless PC”, “a PC on a stick” and a “compute stick”. It all amounts to the same thing. A PC Stick is actually a computer that has a single board inside. It’s about the size of your palm and looks like some of the popular streaming media sticks such as the Amazon Fire Stick.

Every PC Stick has a mobile processor inside it. This is usually an Intel Atom, ARM processor or similar. You will find flash memory storage in PC Sticks and this will range from 512 MB to 64 GB. There is likely to be built in RAM as well from 1 GB to 4 GB. A PC Stick also contains graphics processors.

PC Sticks use operating systems such as a version of Windows, Chrome OS or Linux. They are usually WiFi-enabled and have Bluetooth capability too. You will find an HDMI connector on a PC Stick and some will support additional storage through the use of microSD or micro USB slots. Some even have conventional USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports.

How does it work?

A PC Stick is a tiny computer. You can use it to connect to the Internet for social media and you can check your emails using it. It is best to use a PC Stick for applications that do not require a lot of processing power.

This means that when you want to stay in touch with your family and friends on social media there is no need for you to use a laptop or desktop computer to do this. All you need is a free HDMI port on your TV (or other screens) and an HDMI cable and you can see what your PC Stick can do for you.

Your PC stick requires power through its USB port so you can use a special adapter to get power from the mains or you can derive power from any other device that has a USB port. It is also a good idea to use a wireless keyboard and mouse with your PC Stick. You can get these with Bluetooth enabled so that they can easily communicate with your PC Stick.

As soon as you power up your PC Stick it will start a boot sequence similar to any other computer device. Now just connect your HDMI cable from your PC Stick to your TV and you will be able to see everything that your PC Stick is doing. A wireless keyboard and mouse really helps with using the PC Stick. Some PC Sticks have virtual keyboard apps that you can use.

It is just like having a computer in the palm of your hand. You can do all of the normal things that you would do with a laptop or desktop computer. However, you need to understand that the processing power is limited with PC Sticks so don’t try to play 3D games on it or expect to do intense video editing or Photoshop work.

How much will a good PC Stick cost? Well, you can pick them up from $50 up to $200. There are more expensive PC Sticks that will run you $400 and even more. When it gets to this price point it can seem pretty expensive compared to laptops and desktops. The thing is that a PC Stick is extremely portable though so it is up to you how much you spend.

Do you really need the wireless mouse and keyboard? I would say “yes” for sure. I tried using a PC Stick with just the supplied virtual keyboard and it drove me crazy! The extra expense of the keyboard and mouse is really worth it.

Advantages and Disadvantages of PC Sticks

So do you really need a PC Stick? Most of us have access to a laptop or desktop computer and also a smartphone or tablet when we are on the go. So why do you need a PC Stick as well? Here are some of the advantages of a PC Stick:

It can be a PC for other family members

If you have children then it is likely that they will want their own laptop or desktop computer. So why not give them a PC Stick instead? You do not need a lot of space to use a PC Stick and if your child has a TV in their room with an HDMI port then they can use this.

Your kids can use their PC Stick to connect to the home WiFi which will allow them to use the Internet for social media, emails and even researching for their school projects! Provide them with a wireless keyboard and mouse and they can easily do all of their school work too.

PC Sticks offer more than Smart TV

If you are considering getting Smart TV then you need to know that a PC Stick actually offers you more. Firstly there is the portability where you can take your PC Stick anywhere. Most Smart TV arrangements have limited app support and it can be a challenge connecting a wireless mouse and keyboard to them.

With a PC Stick, you can transform any TV into a Smart TV. As it is a fully functioning computer it can do so much more than Smart TV offers.

PC Sticks are so easy to carry around

If you travel a lot then a PC Stick can be a great idea for you. Instead of lugging around that bulky laptop just pack your small PC Stick, foldable wireless keyboard and your wireless mouse and you are good to go. When you get to your hotel you can plug your PC Stick into the TV in your room.

Disadvantages of PC Sticks

As far as disadvantages go you will not find too many. One thing that you have to accept is that storage capacity is always going to be significantly less than a laptop. You can get an external hard drive and plug this into your Stick PC.

Be careful when choosing a PC Stick as some have the limitation of not being able to use WiFi and Bluetooth at the same time. If this is the case with your PC stick then using the Internet is going to be a challenge without your wireless keyboard and mouse.

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