Azulle Quantum Access Mini PC

I’ve written previously about Window- based Stick Computers. While not exactly brand new to the market segment, they are indeed late comers when compared to their Android kin. Stick computers have come a long way in a short time and the fact that you can now buy a sub $100 Mini PC complete with Windows 10 is an unmistakable sign of that maturity.

There are not nearly as many competitors in the Windows Stick business as there are in the Android market, but the number is growing – and the products they are creating are both impressive and affordable. Azulle is a small US-based company that only recently began producing Stick Computers. In a very short time, they’ve grown to become one of the most recognized names with highly rated products. Their Quantum Access line is intended to compete with giants Intel and ASUS Windows Sticks. I’m astonished at what’s packed into Azulle’s Quantum Access Stick for the price.

As with all Mini PC’s the Azulle Quantum Access is designed to be plugged directly into the HDMI port of your television or computer monitor. The heart of the computer is a Quad Core ATOM Z3735F processor with HD Graphics.  Wifi and Bluetooth are built-in and external devices are connected through several USB 2.0 connectors.

While this tiny wonder is intended primarily for streaming, the fact that it’s running Windows 10 means you have access to the full catalog of Windows apps and content from both the Windows Store and from other sources on the Internet.  Many of the buyers of both this Stick and other Windows Sticks report using them both at home and at work for a variety of general purpose computing.

Since there are so many good expansion options, including wireless mice and keyboard combos out there, you can easily equip the Quantum Access to become a full fledged desktop – without the clutter and noise.

What I like about the Azulle Quantum Access

It’s getting harder for me to ignore these Windows Mini PC’s.  I’ve been, and still am, primarily an Android/Linux person, but I have to admit to being tempted to put in some time with the Quantum Access.

The Z3735F is a workhorse chip, and while the Quantum won’t win any speed awards, it’s no slouch when it comes to load times and graphics responsiveness.  Both standard HD and UHD can be streamed without stuttering.  It does better on 2D than 3D, however, and I would probably set my gaming expectations to something akin to Minecraft rather than Horizon Zero Dawn.

The Quantum Access includes 2GB of DDR3 RAM, which is adequate for running Windows.  I’ve already covered the topic of Windows memory requirements in my article about the ASUS Vivo Stick, so I won’t repeat it here.

32GB Flash RAM is included for running Windows 10 and storing your data.  As with other Windows installations, you’ll probably need to free up some space by deleting the bloatware from the system.  The Flash speed is good, somewhat better than I’ve seen in other designs and probably has more to do with the L2 cache in the Bay Trail chip.

Getting a tad more technical, the Azulle Quantum Access comes with the Quad-Core Intel Atom™ Z3735F. This little gem runs at up to 1.8Ghz with the GPU and memory controller integrated onto the processor die. The GPU is based on 8th generation (Broadwell) Intel HD Graphics (400), and supports DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, OpenGL ES 3.1 and OpenCL 1.2 (on Windows).

The WiFi reception is exceptional, thanks largely to the external antenna.  This also helps to isolate the WiFi signal from the Bluetooth signal, which can sometimes cause interference.  The only negative here is that the WiFi is single band, so you’ll need to have a compatible 2.4Ghz router. (*note – most modern routers are compatible, but often configured by providers for the 5Ghz range)

Since this is a Windows device, rather than Android or Linux, it may not have been on your buying radar.  While Windows might be a deal killer for some, in my mind it doesn’t take away from the benefits of this Stick.  There’s a lot of good reasons to give it a try.  However, if you prefer Linux, I’ve put a tip in the FAQ below to help you to do that.

Overall I would give the Quantum Access 4.2 out of 5 stars due to some very minor issues listed below in the Pros and Cons section.  Azulle has created a proven winner in the Windows Stick computer business.

Company Product Information

Azulle Tech, formerly known as Quantum Suppliers, is a Florida, US-based technology company which focuses on bringing affordable technology to families and businesses.

What began as a small team creating a single product is now a full line of highly regarded mini PCs, tablets, and one of the smallest Windows computer: the Quantum Access.

In the fall of 2015 they began production of the quad core Mini PC known as the Quantum Access.

What’s in the Box

  • Azulle Quantum Access Mini PC Stick (Windows 10, Intel Atom Z3735F)
  • Micro USB Power Cable and Power Adapter
  • Quick Start Guide

Here’s an unboxing video to show you what’s in the package:

Features, Specs and Tech Details

Quad-core Intel® Atom™ Z3735F processor
Intel HD Graphics 400 GPU clocked up to 600 MHz
2GB DDR3 RAM, 32 GB Internal Flash Storage
Built in 802.11a/b/g/n/WiFi wireless network access
HDMI, USB 2.0, Micro USB and Power ports

Screen Resolution 1080p
Max Screen Resolution 1080P
RAM 2GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
Disk 32GB Flash
Graphics Intel HD 400 Graphics
Wireless 802.11a,b,g,n
Bluetooth 4.0
Number of USB Ports 1 Full Size, 1 Micro, 1 Micro Power
Dimensions 4.33 x 0.47 x 1.53 inches
Weight ~ 4 oz
Color Black
Power 12v 1.5A 18w

Pros

  • Comes with Windows License
  • USB 2.0 Port
  • WiFi Antenna
  • Powerful Intel Atom Processor
  • Extra storage space with 32 GB Flash

Cons

  • No HDMI Extender included
  • Single Full-Size USB 2.0
  • Single Band WiFi

 

Tips/FAQ

Linux

Because the Quantum uses an Intel Atom chip, you can find a variety of Linux distributions that will install. The first thing you’ll have to do is disable fast boot in the BIOS so you can load another operating system. Users have reported success with Ubuntu MATE and other flavors of Ubuntu. Check with Linuxquestions.org and other helpful Linux sites to see what distro others have run on the VivoStick.

Some customer reviews

Overall i am very satisfied with this pc stick. I can now run my server 24 x 7 without worrying about power usage or fan noise at all.

I was a little skeptical about a full install of Win10 on a USB stick. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Win10 Home was already installed and all I had to do was plug it in, turn on the TV then turn on the stick and walk through the standard Win10 Setup Wizard. Really quick and easy!

I am blown away at the capability of this devices that I am thinking of redesigning all my home automation systems to use their own dedicated mini PCs

Conclusion

This Mini PC is a full-featured and excellent choice for getting started in Stick Computing . It excels at both streaming and general purpose computing when combined with keyboard/mouse and USB hub expansion.   I’d have no problem recommending it to someone looking to replace a low-end desktop or to be the principle piece of a home entertainment system.