Remember when the TV was the centre of the living room? When the whole family would gather around this window on the world to find out the latest news? Well, those days could soon be making an unexpected comeback. And it’s all thanks to a very small idea from Intel.

Just as the Chromecast turns a TV into a smart TV, Intel’s Compute Stick transforms it into a fully-fledged computer. It comes with an inbuilt WiFi adapter and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a Micro SD slot for extra storage and a USB port, which means you can connect a mouse or keyboard to your new TV/PC hybrid.

Originally unveiled at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2015, the stick is now available for pre-order to be shipped early next month. At £100, it’s not the cheapest computer on a stick out there, with competitors such as the Asus Chromebit offering their mini computers for well under that price.

However, the Compute Stick gives you the ability to run the full range of Windows applications – something which cheaper competitors are unable to do. This instantly makes it an attractive prospect for people looking to get the familiar look and feel of their Windows-based operating system quickly and simply on their TVs. (It ships with Windows 8.1 or Linux, depending on your preference.)

Here at Riverbank HQ, we’ve recently got our hands on a brand new HANNspree Micro PC, with similar specs to the Compute Stick, and it’s already proving a useful tool around the office. One of our Support Consultants, Tom Shefford, is taking it for a test drive right now… expect a full review next month!

Intel Compute Stick (Windows version)

  • 1.33GHz Intel Atom quad-core processor
  • 2GB ram
  • 32GB solid state storage
  • Bluetooth 4.0