Amazing! Intel Compute Stick Turn Your TV into a Computer

Intel Compute Stick
Intel Compute Stick
Intel Compute Stick

Intel Compute Stick is 4-inch long plug-and-play device which transforms any HDMI display or monitor into a computer. It was officially launched in Malaysia on May 21, 2015 at the Intelligent Generations showcase in Intel Penang.

“What we’re unveiling today is a culmination of the work we’ve built on a foundation laid down by 50 years of Moore’s Law. In fact, the Intel Compute Stick was a brainchild of local engineers here in Intel Malaysia and we are extremely proud of having brought this game changing idea to fruition,” said Sumner Lemon, Country Manager, Intel Malaysia and Singapore.

Simply plug the Intel Compute Stick into any HDMI port of your TV or monitor, connect wireless keyboard & mouse, and you have a fully functional computer.

Intel Compute Stick specs and price

Intel Compute Stick features
Intel Compute Stick features

Intel Compute Stick is powered by Intel Atom Z37735F Quad-core 64-bit 1.33GHz (up to 1.83GHz) processor with Intel HD Graphics.

Despite the small body (103mm x 37mm x 12mm), Intel Compute Stick has a full size USB2.0 port to connect your peripherals, a micro SD card slot for memory expansion. For connectivity, the stick supports WiFi 802.11bgn and Bluetooth 4.0.

Intel Compute Stick output audio via HDMI. The attached display needs to have speaker/audio output, else you will not getting any sound from the stick computer.

Intel Compute Stick is available in two operating system: Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu (Linux). The Windows version has higher spec of 2GB RAM and 32GB eMMC storage space. 1GB RAM and 8GB storage for Ubuntu version.

HDMI port does not provide enough power, Intel Compute Stick needs to draw from external power adapter. HDMI extension cable and power adapter with USB cable are included.

Intel Compute Stick price in Malaysia is RM599 (Windows 8.1) and RM499 (Ubuntu).

Thought

I like the idea of having a full functional computer in a 4-inch stick. It is portable and convenient. I like Intel Compute Stick includes a USB port and memory card slot.

I have a Chromecast stick but it is limited to media streaming. I have smartphone and laptops, wireless mirror is not reliable, and wired HDMI connection exposes ugly cable. Intel Compute Stick will easily upgrade my home’s dumb “Smart” TV into a powerful computer. Sounds great, right?

But, do you know that, for RM600, you can buy a mini Windows 8 tablet with HDMI output? The competition from low-cost Windows tablets make Intel Compute Stick seems like an expensive gimmick gadget.

If Intel willing to slash Compute Stick’s price, it would be great to use as thin client in a large scale.

Do you like the Compute Stick idea? Will you buy an Intel Compute Stick?

Surface Pro 3 Price in Malaysia

Surface Pro 3 in Malaysia
Surface Pro 3 in Malaysia
Surface Pro 3 in Malaysia

Surface Pro 3 tablet computer with Windows 8.1 Pro is officially available in Malaysia from 28 August 2014. Price start from RM2729, exclude RM409 type cover.

Surface Pro 3 price & availability in Malaysia

Surface Pro 3 price in Malaysia starts from RM 2,729 (Intel Core i3, 64GB, 4GB RAM version) up to RM6,779 for highest specs (Intel Core i7, 512GB, 8GB RAM).

  • RM 2,729 – Intel Core i3, 64GB, 4GB RAM
  • RM 3,299 – Intel Core i5, 128GB, 4GB RAM
  • RM 4,199 – Intel Core i5, 256GB, 8GB RAM
  • RM 4,999 – Intel Core i7, 256GB, 8GB RAM
  • RM 6,779 – Intel Core i7, 512GB, 8GB RAM

All Surface Pro 3 prices exclude the essential Surface Pro Type Cover, which will cost you extra RM409.

You can buy Surface Pro 3 in Malaysia from the following Microsoft retailers and resellers:

  • Aone Plus Supplies & Services
  • Harvey Norman
  • Machanics Sdn Bhd
  • PC Image Sdn Bhd
  • Senheng Electric & senQ Digital Station
  • SNS Network
  • Thunder Match Technology
  • Viewnet Computer System

Surface Pro 3 accessories price list:

  • Surface Pro Type Cover – RM409
  • Surface Pen – RM139
  • 36W power supply – RM249
  • Surface Ethernet adapter – RM159
  • Surface Pro 3 docking station – (available for pre-order)

About Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3 is Microsoft’s latest hybrid tablet (laplet) computer running Windows 8.1 Pro.

It has a 12-inch touch display with 2160×1440 pixels (216 ppi) and powered by 4th generation Intel Core processor family (i3, i5, i7). Available storage option available from 64GB to 512GB, with microSD slot supporting up to 128GB. The build-in kickstand has multiple positions capable of opening up to 150 degrees.

The laplet has dual 5.0 megapixel cameras on rear and front, as well as, a full size USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort, and a headset jack. It has front-facing stereo speakers and dual microphones. A Surface Pen with pressure sensitivity included.

The battery life last up to 9 hours of web browsing on single charge. It is only 800g weight.

Thoughts

I wonder why don’t Microsoft just include the Surface Pro Type Cover with Surface Pro 3 as a bundle? So far I don’t see other third-party keyboard cover for Surface Pro 3 yet. Yes, you can use any bluetooth keyboard with Surface Pro 3.

The included Surface Pen is a gift if you want to take hand-written notes or drawing with pen on tablet. I have a Windows 8 tablet computer with pen, too. How often do I use the pen? None. Yet, my wife, who is a lecturer, would love to have a digital pen to make remarks on notes.

Surface Pro 3 processor, RAM, and storage are not user upgradable. I will avoid Intel i3 64GB version because Windows 8.1 Pro and Microsoft Office would taken up most of the space already.

Surface Pro 3 (Intel Core i7) seems to have over-heating problem and Microsoft promises a software fix.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is not your budget computer. It is for those who wants a lightweight Windows tablet computer with digital pen and don’t mind to pay more.

Toshiba Satellite Laptops: L40 and L50 with Skullcandy-tuned Speakers, P50 with 4K Ultra HD Display

Toshiba Satellite P50t 4K UltraHD

Toshiba Satellite P50t 4K UltraHD

Toshiba Singapore Pte Ltd. announced its latest L and P Series laptops – 14-inch Satellite L40, 15.6-inch Satellite L50 with Skullcandy-tuned speakers and Satellite P50 with 4K Ultra HD display. Read on to learn more about their features.

 

Toshiba Satellite L40-B and L50-B with Skullcandy-tuned speakers

Toshiba Satellite L40-B
Toshiba Satellite L40-B

Both Toshiba Satellite L40-B and L50-B featured a pair of speakers tuned to Skullcandy audio specs and enhanced with DTS Sound to provide richer sound experience, and integrate a custom sound profile with optimized settings for Skullcandy headphones and ear buds.

Toshiba Satellite L40-B is powered by Intel Core i5–4200U 1.6GHz processor, support memory up to 16GB. It offer option of integrated Intel HD Graphics or dedicated AMD Radeon R7 M260 graphics with 2GB dedicated VRAM for high graphic performance.

The 14-inch LED display’s resolution is 1366×768 pixels with Clear SuperView Technology. The hard disk space is available up to 1TB (5400rpm), plus Super-Multi DVD drive.

The laptop has 2x USB3.0 and 1x USB2.0 ports, HDMI port, card reader, RGB (VGA) port, headphone out and mic in. It uses 4-cell 45Wh battery offer up to 6 hours of battery life. Total laptop weight is starting from 1.9KG.

Toshiba Satellite L50-B is the bigger version of L40-B, sharing most hardware specs but the display size (15.6-inch, same 1366×768 pixels resolution) and option to upgrade to Intel Core i7–4500U 1.8GHz processor. Laptop weight starting from 2.2KG.

Toshiba Satellite L series price in Malaysia starting from RM 2099.

Toshiba Satellite P50 with 4K Ultra HD display

Toshiba Satellite P50
Toshiba Satellite P50

Toshiba Satellite P50t is one of the world’s first laptop with 4K Ultra HD display panel, it is the world’s first with Technicolor Color Certification. Satellite P50 with FullHD (1920 x 1080) screen is available, too.

Satellite P50t’s 15.6-inch Ultra HD Clear SuperView touchscreen display delivers 3840 x 2160 pixels resolution with 282 PPI (pixels per inch). Each Ultra HD display is individually calibrated by ChromaTune and Technicolor Color Certified during production for accurate colour gamut to ensure true to life imagery. ChromaTune for Toshiba software is pre-installed for color space management.

Toshiba Satellite P50 series is powered by 4th generation Intel Quad-core i7 processor with memory up to 16GB. It uses dedicated AMD Radeon R9 M265X graphics with 2GB RAM.

Satellite P50 series is equipped with Harman Kardon high-quality stereo speakers, enhanced by DTS sound. It has a Sleep & Music feature allowing you to use the speakers even when the laptop is off.

Satellite P50t use Hybrid storage with 1TB HDD (5400rpm) + 8GB SSD, where P50 (FullHD display) uses 1TB HDD (5400rpm). Both models integrated Super-Multi DVD drive.

For connectivity, P50 series has 4x USB3.0 ports, a HDMI port support Ultra HD and 3D video output, SD/SDHC memory card slot, mic-in, headphone out, microphone in.

The Satellite P50 chassis is build with aluminium. The laptop uses 4-cell battery 43Wh providing up to 5 hours battery life. Weight starting from 2.20KG (P50) and 2.35KG (P50t).

Toshiba Satellite P series price in Malaysia starting from RM 3,999.

➤ Toshiba Asia

ASUS Transformer Book T300

ASUS Transformer Book T300
ASUS Transformer Book T300
ASUS Transformer Book T300

ASUS Transformer Book T300LA is a 2-in–1 laptop with 13.3-inch FullHD display and a keyboard dock, powered by 4th generation Intel Core processor. Generally, T300 is the powerful version of ASUS Transformer Book T100 (Intel Atom processor) with up to 8 hours battery life.

ASUS Transformer Book T300 features metallic design for durable and stylish. The 13.3-inch display has Full HD resolution (1920×1080) and wide 178-degree viewing angle. The touch screen can detect 6mm contact point to offer high-precision input for fine fingertip control.

You find USB 3.0 port, micro HDMI port and micro SD card slot on the T300 tablet, and a micro USB 3.0 port on the keyboard dock.

The keyboard dock uses a magnetic dock connector that make releases and snaps the tablet in a blink. It does not have build-in battery, but provides full-size keyboard with backlit keys and large multi-touch touchpad supports Windows 8 gestures.

Specs

  • Processor: 4th gen Intel Core i5 4200U
  • Operating system: Windows 8
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Display: 13.3″ Full HD IPS (1980×1080) with 10 finger touch
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • Cameras: 1080 FullHD rear camera, 720p HD front camera
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0 (optional), USB 3.0 port, micro HDMI 1.4 port, microSD card slot, 3.5mm headphone/mic; micro-USB 3.0 port(dock)
  • Battery: 4 Cell, 6710mAh lithium polymer
  • Dimensions: Tablet: 342 x 216 x 11.5 mm, Dock: 340 x 216 x 11 mm
  • Weight: tablet 1.1KG, dock 0.8KG

Price: RM 3,399 (2-year global warranty)

(Other configurations for Transformer Book T300 also available.)

 

➤ ASUS Malaysia

Transformer Book T300 or MacBook Air?

ASUS Transformer T300 has better look, build, and specs than T100, thus the price tag. It is RM100 more expensive and 500 gram heavier (when docked) than the popular Apple MacBook Air 13″ (RM 3299).

Unless you really like to use Windows 8 in tablet mode, I will spend my money on MBA 13″ with better processor.

Toshiba Satellite L40 Laptop Review and Benchmarks in Malaysia

Toshiba Satellite L40 laptop

Toshiba Satellite L40 laptop

After my Toshiba Satellite S40t review, I received another Toshiba laptop for review – Toshiba Satellite L40, which looks identical to S40t until you lift up the lid and see a NVDIA GeForce sticker at the left palm rest and no touch screen display.

Read my Toshiba Satellite L40 laptop review below to find out more about the mid-range laptop’s features, performance, good vs. bad.

You are invited to read my Toshiba Satellite S40t review before continue.

Specs and Price

Toshiba Satellite L40 has many different configurations you can buy according to your requirements.

The following is the hardware specs of the L40 review unit I received (one of the best configuration):

  • Intel Core i5–3337U @ 1.8GHz
  • 14.1-inch LED backlight screen, resolution 1366×768 pixels
  • 4GB DDR3 1600Mhz RAM (expandable to 16GB)
  • 750GB Hard Disk
  • Intel HD 4000 graphics
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M with 2GB video RAM
  • Onkyo® Stereo speakers enhanced with DTS Sound
  • DVD-RW drive
  • 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
  • HDMI out, Bluetooth, LAN port
  • HD web camera
  • Windows 8 (64-bit)
  • Weight 1.95KG

The recommended retail price for Toshiba Satellite L40 (Intel Core i5) is RM2199.

Design and Features

Toshiba Satellite L40 laptop

The review unit I received is glossy white colour, pure white, white from outside to inside, so white that you can’t find other colour on it! If you love white colour, you will fall in love to white L40 and hug it to sleep.

By the way, white colour can hide fingerprints and smudges quite well.

While I am examining L40’s body, I realised that L40 and S40t (read my review here) has the same input/output layout: DVD-RW drive, LAN port and a USB 2.0 port is at the left side; VGA out, HDMI out, 2x USB 3.0 ports, headphone and mic jacks at the right side; SD memory card reader is at the front.

Both models have the same tiled keyboard with glossy frame and matt key. The keys are not enough tactile feedback for my personal preference. I like the top row of playback control keys allow me to control music player with single key press.

Toshiba Satellite L40 laptop - keyboard layout
Toshiba Satellite L40 laptop – keyboard layout

I am glad to see L40 is too has Onkyo stereo speakers above keyboard. The DTS sound enhanced speakers gives you good and loud surround sound for music playback and gaming. I would like to have more bass though.

L40 has a large touchpad but it has some touchpad issues. It supports Windows 8 scrolling and swiping gesture but page scrolling is not smooth and mis-detects gestures a lot. Please help yourself and buy a mouse for L40.

Unlike S40t with touch screen display, you can not touch L40’s screen to navigate around in Windows 8. I was guilty for poking L40 display few times and wish it response to my fingers.

Without a touch screen panel, L40 can save the cost to give you better graphic performance – dedicated graphic card. Read on to find out the L40’s performance.

Performance

With Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, and  a dedicated graphic card, how is the Toshiba Satellite L40’s performance?

In my personal experience, I noticed L40 sometimes briefly stop responding for 0.5 second then continue its work. I also see Windows spinning cursor (indicate that it is working) quite frequently, probably busy disk activities.

Here’s PCMark 8 scores for L40:

  • Home: 2520
  • Creative: 2595
  • Work: 4205

Compare with other devices:

[table id=1 /]

PCMark8 benchmark - L40

I wonder why L40’s PCMark 8 performance (Home) is so much behind S40t? The latter is Intel Core i3 @1.9GHz and the L40 review unit is Intel Core i5 @1.8GHz.

Thanks to dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M graphic card, L40 has no problem to play most 3D video games at medium video quality.

Here’s 3DMark 11 resutls for L40:

  • Fire Strike: 953
  • Cloud Gate: 5033
  • Ice Storm: 47403

Compare with other devices:

[table id=2 /]

3Dmark11 benchmark - L40

Toshiba Satellite L40 battery life is about 3 hours with my usage: web surfing on WiFi, streaming music at 80% screen brightness.

I noticed that L40 gets warm quiet fast. You can feel the right palm rest is warm just few minutes after boot up the laptop. I definitely not recommend you to use L40 on your bare laps.

Photo Gallery

Conclusion

The Good

  • great sound output
  • full array of built-in ports
  • dedicated graphic card
  • affordable price

The Bad

  • touchpad issues, movements are not smooth
  • right palm rest gets warm fast

I can not help but compare Toshiba Satellite L40 to Toshiba Satellite S40t (read my review here).

They look alike, have same speaker, keyboard and not-so-smooth big track pad. L40 does not have a touch screen display but it has better processor and dedicated graphic card.

Both L40 and S40t are in same price range, I would recommend L40 to casual gamers who do not care about Windows 8 touch features.

➤ Toshiba Malaysia

I would like to thank TOSHIBA for the opportunity to review Toshiba Satellite L40. This is a free product review with honest write-up. Interesting to submit your products for review? Get in touch with me.