Who’s got the best PC Dongle: Intel, MeeGoPad or Lenovo?
PC dongles are pretty hot since the first generation was launched towards end of 2014. The main highlight of such devices is that it could be simply plugged into any HDMI-equipped display to turn it into a full PC.
This year, Lenovo joins the likes of MeeGoPad and Intel in the PC stick market with their new Ideacentre Stick 300, but whose is best?
Like both the Intel Compute Stick and the MeeGoPad T02 this new offering from Lenovo uses an Intel Atom Bay Trail Z3735 processor and has 2GB of RAM as well as 32GB of internal memory. With all three of these mini pocket computers using the same chipset, RAM and memory options there is little to distinguish between them when it comes to performance.
Looks always play a role in our product choice but even here there are some very similar designs. The MeeGoPad T02 and Intel Compute stick look like twins, and both PC dongles have a body that’s larger and wider than the Lenovo Ideacentre, each with lots of air vents to help disperse the heat from that zippy quad core processor.
I was a little surprised when seeing photos of the Lenovo Ideacentre Stick 300 for the first time. It is more compact than the other two PC sticks and has less in the way of air vents. This reminded me more of the MeeGoPad T01 that reportedly had some overheating issues.
The more compact frame of the Ideacentre could possibly restrict the air flow around this newer device and lead to heating problems of the same nature that the first generation MeeGoPad had, it’s important to remember that as none of these PC on a stick computers have heat dispersing fans a good air flow is crucial.
While the MeeGoPad T02 and Intel Computer Stick have been sold as a Linux OS version both are more commonly available with the Windows 8.1 OS running on them. The Lenovo Ideacentre 300 will also have the Windows 8.1 operating system installed when it’s first released however, this will be upgradable to Windows 10 at the end of July.
One difference that puts the MeeGoPad slightly ahead is the number of USB ports, while the Compute Stick and Ideacenter contain an SD card reader, Micro USB and single USB port the MeeGoPad T02 can boast two USB ports. This offers a clear advantage as connecting multiple peripherals is much easier and while each device has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities neither is suitable for copy or accessing large amounts of data quickly. This makes the MeeGoPad more favorable and gives it a slight edge over the others.
As with many gadgets perhaps the biggest selling point is price. The most expensive of the three is the Intel Compute stick at about US $150 for the Windows 8.1 with Bing version where as the Ideacentre 300 will be priced at about US $130 which is a clear advantage but still not as cheap as the lesser known MeeGoPad T02 that retails at a very affordable US $110.
In conclusion the MeeGoPad T02 is probably the best bet if you want to save some cash and has the benefit of that extra USB slot. It’s worth keeping in mind that the level on online documentation and support isn’t going to be of the same standard as you will find from the larger brand names, but this shouldn’t be an issue unless you want to run you own custom system on the device. Lenovo is clearly the second option as you benefit from a better brand security, but also a slightly cheaper price. With windows 10 just a month away from being available on this, you get the latest OS as well.
Bringing up the rear is the Intel Compute stick. It is a very nice bit of kit but it’s hard to justify an extra $40 (over 30% more) for what are essentially the same components.
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