Lenovo is getting into the tiny PC business, with a lower price as its defining feature.
At $129, the Lenovo ideacentre Stick 300 is $21 cheaper than Intel's Compute Stick , which started shipping in April. Lenovo's version starts shipping in July.
Aside from the price and some minor aesthetic differences, these two PC sticks are nearly identical. Both devices plug into any monitor or television via HDMI, and both are powered by an Intel Atom Z3735 processor. They both have 32GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, a MicroSD card slot, a full-sized USB 2.0 port, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. Both have Windows 8.1 on board, with a free upgrade to Windows 10 starting July 29. Users will need to supply their own mouse and keyboard, though Intel now offers a free app for controlling any PC from an Android phone.
How'd Lenovo bring the price down? Hopefully it's not because of bloatware. You may recall that Lenovo swore to cut down on pre-loaded software --a common margin-boosting tactic among PC makers--after the Superfish fiasco earlier this year.
In any case, PCWorld's Intel Compute Stick review should provide a sense of how Lenovo's variant will perform.
Why this matters: While a stick-sized PC probably won't fly for everyday computing, it could be useful for streaming web video on a television or adding computing capabilities to a spare monitor on the cheap. The $130 price tag helps push Lenovo's version into impulse-buy territory, though users who crave more power may want to wait for the Core M Compute Stick that's supposedly coming this winter, with double the storage and RAM.