While still a relatively new market, it would appear that ASUS have announced the smallest Windows 10 computer.
What was previously called the Pen Stick by ASUS has now been called the Vivo Stick, a prototype which was shown at the Computex show in Taiwan. The three stand out features of the Vivo stick is its size, it is the first compute stick to use Intel’s Cherry Trail Atom processor and it runs Windows 10.
Intel initially launched its own version of the compute stick however it was sluggish, ran Windows 8 and used a previous version of Intel’s Atom technology. ASUS’s Vivo Stick jumps up a level in that it uses the latest Atom iteration, runs Windows 10 and is even cheaper than what Intel offered: at $129 versus the $150.
Other than the aforementioned, the Vivo Stick is similar to the Compute Stick in that it has 2GB of internal memory and 32GB eMMC flash storage. ASUS however have squeezed both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connector into it and a microUSB connector for power.
It even has an audio jack! ASUS have included a 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 and of course it’s all mounted on a dongle that plugs into your HDMI port however they did not say on your TV.
What isn’t clear is whether ASUS will be able to solve the fundamental problems that were identified in Intel’s Compute Stick, which include a narrow memory channel that limits graphics performance. The 32Gb of memory will also be gobbled up by the Windows 10 installation and the low amount of memory will inhibit intensive browsing across multiple tabs and or other apps. On the up side, including two USB connections means that you can connect a mouse and keyboard at launch which means setup is that much easier.
Why this matters to you: You don’t buy a Vivo Stick to for gaming, you buy it to have a portable PC in your pocket and if the price keeps coming down and the performance improves, everyone will want to pick one up.