At first glance, the Compute Stick 2 looks almost the same as its predecessor. However, it’s lighter and thinner than the previous model, though it’s height seems to have been increased. Similar to the original Compute Stick, the dongle connects to a TV or monitor via HDMI. Though we’d have liked to see the second iteration of the Compute Stick adding MHL support to draw power from the HDMI cable itself, unfortunately it still needs to be plugged into a separate power source. There’s also a protective cap for the HDMI connector, which was missing in the previous model.
We really liked the idea of the Compute Stick, however as mentioned in our overview of the original model, it didn’t result in a smooth experience due to the low-power hardware. This time, Intel has made sure that’s not the case, since the Compute Stick 2 comes in two variants – one powered by an Atom processor and other equipped with the m3 / m5 series of chipsets. While the base model is paired with 2GB of RAM which should be enough for basic tasks and multimedia usage, for power users, there’s also a variant with 4-gigs of RAM. The high-end model also supports 4K videos.
Just like its predecessor, the base model of the Intel Compute Stick 2 comes with 32GB of memory on board. The new high-end version offers double the storage at 64GB. You can also extend it further with the use of a microSD card. The stick supports memory cards up to 128GB.
This was one of our biggest grouses with the original model. It only featured one USB port, which meant that you needed to use a USB hub to connect to more than one accessory. That’s not the case with the Intel Compute Stick 2 as it sports two USB ports, with one of them being a USB 3.0 port. The Core m5-powered model offers a generous three USB ports. This means you can connect a storage device to the high-speed 3.0 port, and the wireless keyboard and mouse to the other for the ideal setup.
OS and connectivity
The Intel Compute Stick 2 comes with the latest version of Windows 10, and offers a complete experience. This time, the dongle is also offering support for faster Wi-Fi ac standards, along with Bluetooth 4.2, in the connectivity department.
Pricing and availability
While Intel hasn’t confirmed any launch dates for the Compute Stick 2, it did indicate that the dongle will be released soon. Unlike the original Compute Stick, which was available in just one edition, the Compute Stick 2 is available in multiple options to suit everyone’s needs. It’s pricing starts from 9 (~Rs 9,200) and goes all the way up to 5 (~Rs 32,100), though we are not sure if all the models will be launched in India.