Did not forgotten the days of bulky PCs - gathering dust under the table, as already enrolled in mass selling with a fully functional computers running Windows in the form factor "stick" - a
miniature gadget, a little more than ordinary flash drive. Is this almost weightless piece of plastic that fits in the palm of your hand, now capable of replacing a desktop? What are the
strengths and weaknesses of the microcomputer? To find answers to these questions, we tested the gadget Lenovo IdeaCentre Stick. User guide for Lenovo phones.
The gadget comes in a small box, inside of which in addition to the device embedded HDMI extension cable and AC adapter with detachable USB-cable. No artistic masterpieces in the design of the packaging is not - it looks the most concise and utilitarian.
The device is supposed to connect to a HDMI-connector on the back side of a computer monitor, television or projector, so that in most cases it will be completely hidden from view. This, apparently, was taken into account by designers - "stick" has turned out very simple to look at, no longer look like a computer, and USB-hub and card reader.
The housing of Pocket PC is made of scratch-resistant matte plastic, only on the faces can be seen shine small glossy inserts.
At the top end it is located the most important thing that can be seen from the outside - HDMI-connector.
The left side - the microSD slot, on the right - an input for the power cable and one USB 2.0 connector.
On the front side of the machine is the logo of the manufacturer and matte LED power indicator lights up when you turn on a soft blue.
Large enough bars on the left side and the face of the need for the release of hot air to the outside, and not for the passive cooling, as one might expect at first. The "Stick" is set active cooling system with a small fan.
The device is so light and tiny that it is hard to realize that it is a full computer - it easily fits in the side pocket of jeans, so that transportation problems simply do not have. Take with a "pocket" PC is much easier than the lightest ultrabook, but, of course, provided that in the destination will be waiting the display with the HDMI-input.
Screen for of Pocket PC Ideacentre Stick 300 can be any TV, monitor or projector with HDMI-input. The maximum output resolution - FullHD, so get 4K-image even on the corresponding screen will not work.
Depending on the design of monitor housing or TV connection "stick" directly to the HDMI-connector may not be possible due to the close port location: just for such situations with your computer comes a small extension cable HDMI, allowing to "hang" gadget at some distance from the connectors , freeing up the necessary space.
After connecting a miniature computer to any screen in HD-Intel graphics driver settings, you can see the current characteristics of the image manually adjust contrast, saturation, gamma, and other basic options.
On the test specimen the computer has already been pre-installed with Windows 8.1. Interface OSes has not undergone changes in the operating system does not "cut", that is, we are dealing with a totally complete the Windows, the same as on the desktop.
Preset programs for at least the system, and the computer they do not interfere: McAfee LiveSafe, Microsoft Office 2013, Steam Game Portal, Lenovo Rescue System, Lenovo SHAREit, Lenovo Solution Centre. All the necessary drivers for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and sound transmission is already pre-installed, so after connecting the PC to the display is immediately ready for use.
During the tests, the system has not offered to upgrade to Windows 10, although it is technically possible to do this upgrade - many owners Ideacentre Stick 300 in other regions successfully upgraded to Windows 10.
To achieve such an impressive miniaturization managed through the use of one-piece dress, which, in fact, bears the all the "brains" of the device: the processor Intel Atom Z3735F, 2 GB of RAM and integrated graphics Intel HD Graphics core, clocked at 620 MHz. At peak load, the clock frequency of the central processor can reach 1.83GHz. To store files and install programs in the gadget has 32 GB of its own internal memory (user available 21.7 GB), which can be expanded by installing a microSD card or by connecting an external hard drive via USB.
To check the "stick" in the work - it connected HDMI-cable to the monitor. For the only available USB 2.0 connector connect active USB-hub with seven ports, which, in turn, stuck a wired keyboard, mouse, and several external hard drives. Bluetooth-column is used for audio playback. Of course, the "garland" on the basis of USB-hub - only one of the possible options. It is possible simplify all - use a Bluetooth-keyboard and mouse, and audio output via HDMI.
The first thing that pleasantly surprised when you turn on your PC - very fast loading OS (faster than many high-end laptops).
Ideacentre Stick 300 flawlessly handles playback of any standard-FullHD video at 30 frames per second, whether it's streaming online broadcast or playback of the video file from the internal memory. With FullHD playback of YouTube videos in enhanced mode with 50 or 60 frames per second, there are problems - a slight twitching pictures. Although the gadget and can display 4K, with clips playing in the resolution of local memory, he surprisingly managed. And here is similar in quality to 4K video via YouTube device can not reproduce normally - explicit begin braking.
In a typical web-surfing through Google Chrome is no problem, it works very fast. The computer can easily "digest" of about 15-20 tabs open at the same time with such heavy pages, such as YouTube videos to put on pause, Facebook, Google-Documents, Gmail. If you open more than 20 tabs, you begin to feel some sluggishness in the work, delays and sometimes frank "brake". A similar situation could happen in multitasking mode, for example, when running "in the background of" the installation program to work with some "heavy" software becomes uncomfortable because of declining performance.
However, if you understand the pros and cons of the computer that it can be quite normal to perform office tasks, watch, dig through the Internet, download torrents, listen to music, and perform other common tasks. If you do not open many applications simultaneously, as part of the Windows interface c running "in the background" and torrents with multiple tabs in Google Chrome, it works as fast as in any powerful laptop or PC.
As the load increases on the "hardware" Pocket PC it starts an active cooling system: at the peak load device emits a soft, but not too pleasant noise, comparable to roar coolers at low speed in the laptop. When you perform simple operations, for example, while reading an article in your browser, or work in Microsoft Office, the cooling system does not makes itself felt, the gadget is totally silent.
Pull the built-in USB connector enough so that when connected directly to a microcomputer powered even the most "capricious" external hard drive. In the indirect connection via USB-splitter without its own power supply situation is different: some external drives work and others do not. In such cases, you will have to use an active hub with its own power supply.
Synthetic test results did not come out spectacular, but totally adequate for such a ultra-compact solutions on board "all in one".
Of course, consider a PDA as a gamer device can not be a device - video system is very weak. However, working on Ideacentre Stick 300, absolutely will not be bored. It can be nostalgic and run older versions of Counter-Strike and other undemanding toys. Moreover, the test Ideacentre Stick 300 if not completely smooth, but coped with the launch of more complex games.
Half-Life 2: at-FullHD resolution with a minimum of detail exhibited graphics can play with 30 fps. However, quite often during group shootings and bombings occur when drawing a strong subsidence fps.
Limbo: the game runs and works with only 18 fps to, but considering the leisurely gameplay and a specific schedule, you can play.
The computer supports Bluetooth 4.0, and Wi-Fi 802.11b / g / n - standards are not the newest, but the Wi-Fi after the "clings" to the router computer almost instantly, and the Internet is fast.
With Bluetooth problems, too, have been identified: the various gadgets are detected and interfaced with a PC easily, also in tandem with the computer for a long time wireless speakers worked without any communication gap.
On the Pocket PC - plainly in the game does not play, and you want to do video editing is not, but to work with documents, web-surfing, and perform any other - less demanding - problems such gadget will work better than a stationary PC. Given the incredible compactness and lightness, this "flash drive" can be very useful in the business environment: You can not drag to the presentation of the laptop, and put in a shirt pocket a mini-computer that is already in place to easily connect to any projector, monitor or TV. In addition, such a device can be used as an alternative SmartTV, and indeed come up with a host of other applications. Despite the apparent limitations of its functionality, using Ideacentre Stick 300, you can quickly deploy a full-fledged workstation, connecting both the mouse and the keyboard, monitor, USB-hub, external hard drives and other peripherals.