Best PC sticks 2023: Great picks for gaming, media server

PC sticks are instant computers; you only need to add a screen. The compromise is ultimately on performance, but they are extremely portable and useful when you need a little bit of computing power on the go. 

We've put together a list of the best PC sticks available — whether you want a truly budget option or something with a few extra features — so you can take your computer with you wherever you go.

Why buy a PC Stick? 

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The reasons you might want to buy a PC stick vary from person to person. PC sticks are extremely easy to carry around with you while traveling, and they make for easy hubs while staying in hotels. At their base, they're a great way to run full Windows anywhere as long as you have a screen available.

Better still, a PC stick is a great idea to use as a media PC or server plugged into the back of your TV. They're extremely low-powered and can be left on all the time.


  • Small and extremely portable.
  • Affordable. 
  • Very power efficient. 
  • Perfect to use with a TV as a media machine or a small server. 


  • Limited performance for more intensive tasks. 
  • Limited connectivity options. 

The best PC Sticks

A pint-sized PC

Any of the options listed above will land you a portable Windows 10 PC for even less money than the best budget laptops. Having a small, pocket-sized PC that runs Windows 10 is a fantastic tool for anyone who finds themselves traveling a lot for work or pleasure. They can also be a great addition to a TV in a living room or garage, turning it into a media center on the cheap.

If you're wondering exactly where to start, the AIOEXPC is a well-rounded option that balances performance and price. It boasts a quad-core Intel Atom CPU, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of eMMC storage with the ability to expand by 128GB through a microSD card reader. Connect with two USB-A ports, Wi-Fi 5, and Bluetooth 4.2. If you're looking for a general-purpose option, this is it.

If you're looking for a PC stick that has potential as a media hub, the AWOW NY41S PC with quad-core Intel Celeron J4105 is probably your best bet. With expandable storage via microSD, up to 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM, Bluetooth 4.2 compatibility, and both USB-C and USB-A ports, it's easy to make this stick into a portable media hub.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it. 

With contributions from