I write about a variety of home electronics. Sticks are just one of the things I write about, even though they are the focus of this particular blog. The challenge with writing about one category like this is finding new things to say about the same product. I combat this by doing extensive research into whatever I’m reviewing so that I can find at least the grain of something that’s different about a product so I can pass that on to you. Hopefully, in the end we’re both better educated.
When researching this latest Mini PC, I really had to dig to find something. I poured through the spec sheet, but there’s not much that hasn’t been said about Atom-based Windows Sticks. The stats are pretty similar and from a performance standpoint, nearly identical. In fact, this PC is pretty much the first generation of the Intel Compute Stick.
Where I often find differences is in the little things. Sometimes it’s just the company behind the product, as in the case of Amazon or Intel, and sometimes it’s the inclusion of a feature that’s just too good to pass up. Looking at the Lenovo Ideacentre Stick 300, I found two of those things that are just too good to pass up.
The first is their inclusion of Windows 10 Signature Edition. In case you aren’t familiar with this, it’s a version of Windows 10 that Microsoft created to combat bloatware that manufacturers sometimes sneak into their computers in order to support partnerships. With Signature Edition, you don’t have to deal with timed expiration of anti-virus programs, garish browser toolbars and other such nonsense.
The other difference in the Lenovo Ideacenter Stick is not really part of their stick at all, but something they make to go along with it, the N5902 Remote Keyboard. I’ve written about wireless keyboards before, but I somehow missed this little gem in that roundup. The N5902 is a second generation of this keyboard, and as they did with the Compute Stick, Intel listened to customers and created a much more useful and generally praiseworthy product.
What I like about the Lenovo Ideacentre Stick 300
As I’ve already pointed out, the things that make this Stick for me are really the additions of Windows Signature and the N5902 Remote Keyboard. The rest of the stats are pretty stock and can best be described as “capable”.
The 300 uses the Intel Atom Z3735F processor, a member of the Bay Trail family. It chugs along at 1.33Ghz and provides decent performance. There’s also 2 GB RAM, and 32GB of eMMC storage, pretty standard for a Windows 10 Mini PC of this generation.
It has one full-sized USB port, a micro SD slot, power port and Power reset switch. That’s about it, feature-wise. The thing to keep in mind is that you get all of that, plus a licensed copy of Windows 10 for less than a hundred bucks.
Although it’s not included in the price, the N5902 Wireless Remote Keyboard is definitely worth a look. It may give off the appearance of a high-tech kitchen appliance, but it’s really a 2.4 Ghz wireless remote that connects via a USB dongle attached to your Stick.
The remote has a built-in optical thumb mouse, a scroll bar, left and right mouse keys and a backlit, full-travel keyboard (thumb board) One word of warning is that if you don’t like typing with your thumbs, you probably won’t like this, but for those of us schooled in fast thumb typing, it has a great feel and response. It’s suitable for a variety of applications from just watching movies on Netflix, to playing games downloaded from the Microsoft store or Amazon game store. It runs on just two AA batteries, so the whole thing is light and portable, yet with a solid feel.
One other point here is that the Ideacenter Stick only comes with a single USB port, so if you plan to buy this Remote keyboard, or any other USB device, you might want to look into getting a power USB hub along with the stick and the controller.
Lenovo Group Ltd. is a Chinese multinational technology company with headquarters in Beijing, China, and Morrisville, North Carolina, United States. It designs, develops, manufactures and sells personal computers, tablet computers, smartphones and smart televisions. It was founded in Beijing in 1984 as Legend and incorporated in Hong Kong in 1988. Lenovo acquired IBM’s personal computer business in 2005, when it became best known to western consumers. It has become the world’s largest personal computer vendor by unit sales.
Lenovo markets the ThinkPad line of notebook computers, IdeaPad line of notebook laptops, IdeaCentre line of desktops, Yoga line of notebook laptops, and the ThinkCentre line of desktops.
In the Fall of 2015 they began shipping the Ideacentre Stick.
Lenovo Ideacentre Stick 300
- Quad-Core Intel Atom Z3735F Processor
- Windows 10 (Signature Edition)
- Intel HD graphics
- 2 GB DDR3 SDRAM
- 32 GB eMMC Flash RAM
- Integrated Wireless 802.11b
- One USB 2.0
- Bluetooth 4.0
The Lenovo Ideacentre Stick 300 is consistently one of the highest rated Windows-based sticks and is right in the middle of the performance spectrum.
Some customer reviews
The Lenovo Stick 300 is a VERY nice computer, and in my experience, better than the Intel version.
Overall I would definitely recommend it (so far anyways… it’s only been a few hours) especially for the price but make sure you buy a USB Wi-Fi or Ethernet adapter and a hub to go with it!!!
Impressive performance and excellent value. I have been in IT for many years and have seen many “next thing” products. The IdeaStick is one that actually works much better than expected.
Great little product at a great price. Two things to keep in mind when you order this is to purchase it with the Windows 10 Signature (I’ve linked to that version). It costs you a whole $1.57 to get this option, but it’s worth a hundred times that. The other thing to look for is the Lenovo N5902 Wireless Remote Keyboard, which is not part of this product link below. There are combination products for sale with stick and keyboard bundled, but keep in mind these may not have the Windows 10 Signature Edition installed.