PC Sticks are a great way to add more functionality to your TV in the living room. But once you've selected one to purchase and install, what else do you need to take full advantage of the portability of the stick itself? There are a number of accessories we feel are a must-have for any PC Stick owner and will help make your life much easier. Here's a list of options you may wish to invest in.
Keyboard: Rii i8+
There's no need to drag your wired (or wireless) keyboard and mouse setup from the office to the couch. Simply pick up the Rii 8+ and you have everything you need in a single unit. It's essentially an all-in-one keyboard and mouse, and our favorite of the many that are out there. You'll need an open USB port on the Stick for the receiver — just plug it in and you're good to go.
The i8+ sports 92 keys with a QWERTY layout, but the highlight is a touchpad with support for multi-finger functionality. Much like you would on a laptop, a single finger acts as a left-click, two fingers for a right-click, so it's familiar enough that no extra training is required. With the built-in lithium-iron battery, the i8+ can be plugged into the supplied extension cable for charging.
The Rii i8+ has been refreshed for 2017 and is now backlit, which is even better for those evening sessions. If you're looking at other similar controllers, make sure they have a Windows key and backslash, or else they may have been designed for Android.
Storage: SanDisk Ultra 64GB microSD card
PC Sticks come with some onboard storage, but this can be as low as 32GB. While that may sound like an awful lot, especially if you're only going to be using the device for light streaming and web browsing, this capacity can be filled up in no time at all with locally saved media. Luckily, manufacturers usually add a microSD slot that can expand capacity by an additional 128GB.
We opt for SanDisk with the company's proven track record for quality portable storage and great affordability. The SanDisk 64GB UHS-I/Class 10 Micro SDXC memory card is available for only $25, which is a bargain to more than double the storage already available inside the PC Stick.
USB Hub: Anker 4-Port Ultra Slim
Another important consideration for any PC Stick is a USB hub. These slabs of plastic or metal house a number of extra ports, ranging from two to anywhere up to 16 and beyond. Depending on your needs and requirements, you'll want to count how many peripherals and storage drives you wish to have connected to the mini PC.
We've picked Anker's Ultra Slim 4-Port hub, it should offer more than enough for the average installation, especially if the plan is to use the PC Stick for media consumption and light couch use. Not only is the unit super-portable, but it's also stylish and can easily be tucked away from sight.
All four ports are USB 3.0 for satisfying data transfer rates of up to 5 Gbps.
Ethernet: Cable Matters Network Adapter
Many PC Sticks come packing onboard wireless connectivity, but sometimes this can prove unreliable, especially if the main access point isn't located in the same room. This handy little accessory solves this issue by allowing you to plug in an ethernet cable and enjoy direct access to the outside world.
As an added bonus, Windows 10 will be able to automatically detect the device and install required drivers to get you up and running with little effort.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.