With the advent of the miniature PC sticks, evidently desktop will soon become passe. Although, there are not many stick PCs that have been launched, so far there are three, which is good enough to kick start a new era of computing and TV-using.
Those who are not aware of what the device actually is, think of it as a small but comparatively larger than an internet dongle-sized device that comes pre-loaded with OS and has a decent hardware configuration. You can hook it up to your TV and convert it into a working PC.
After Intel and iBall, who are the two brands that have already launched similar devices earlier this year, Panache, a relatively new consumer tech brand promoted by Vardhaman Technology Pvt Ltd, has joined the bandwagon by launching Air PC, it's PC on stick device. The functionality and purpose of the device is similar to Intel's Compute Stick and iBall Splendo. Obviously, there are few differences.
Anyway, as we used the Air PC for a while, we have come up with the feedback in a form of review. Let's see if you find it worth your money or not.
Panache Air PC
Micro USB charger
HDMI extension cable
USB OTG cable
Air PC: Specifications
As for hardware, the Air PC comes with the popular Intel Atom Bay Trail (Intel Z3735F 1.33GHz) processor coupled with 2GB DDR3 RAM. There is an HDMI Display Port, which helps to connect it to your TV. Apart from that, you will get a Micro SD Card slot for memory expansion, a USB 2.0 port, two micro USB ports, Bluetooth 4.0, and Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n for wireless connectivity. You can choose this device from two variants - one with 16GB built-in memory which will cost you Rs. 9,999 and another with 32GB, which is priced at Rs. 10,999.
Since the name itself suggests Air PC, you can literally think of it as a device which is supremely light. With a dimension of 110.9x38x9.8mm and weighing in at just 46 grams, this can definitely be the easiest and most mobile PC compared to Smartphone, Tablet, laptop and PC (provided that you get the access to the TV with HDMI port). Needless to say it is a pocketable device as it is just a tab larger than a regular internet dongle that most of you might have already seen or used.
The design of the Air PC is straight forward and rectangular. No fancy design aspects that adds to the functionality of the device has been explored, which is a good thing. It is in fact, similar to the Intel's compute stick. As far as the branding logos are concerned, you will see Panache along with Intel Inside branding on one side of the device.
Apart from that, there are several hardware parts that can be seen on and around the device. Firstly, there is a LED light below the Intel branding. On one end it has an HDMI plug that connects directly to your TV or a monitor. You can also use the bundled HDMI extender cable to connect it to your TV, if you need it. On the right side there is a power button, a heat sink grill, micro USB slot for power and a USB 2.0 slot. You can connect keyboard or mouse using the USB slot and if you want to connect you can use a USB hub to connect multiple accessories to it. With the bundled OTG cable, you can connect another accessories to the Air PC. This is definitely a good addition. The microSD slot accepts cards up to 128GB.
Power and Performance
The latest Air PC is powered by a 1.33GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3735F 22nm processor with 2MB L2 Cache and Intel HD graphics. This combination of hardware is common among the Windows Tablet that we have seen in the market.
Owing to the decent 2GB RAM, multitasking was smooth. You can install quite a lot of browser and since I use Chrome quite often, I did use the same and I didn't find it different in anyway compared to my browsing in PC experience. The web browsing is pretty efficient. However, sometimes, the Air PC does tent to lag. Although, there is a graphic unit involved in this miniature PC, you can't play heavy games on it. However, casual gaming is not a big deal for it.
The Air PC as said earlier comes pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home 32-bit OS and since it also features an internal storage, so you can install all software that you normally install on your desktop. Obviously, video and image editing software not appropriate for this Stick PC. As far as the storage unit is concerned, from 32GB, users will get to use about 17.6GB of space once the setup is complete.
There are certain benefits that you get in this pocket sized device. First you will get a free one year free subscription of F-Secure Internet Security. Also a built-in music player or Windows Media Player to play music can be found, however, there is not Office Suite pre-installed, which is unfortunate. As we used it, we were surprised to see how it smooth it played 1080p videos
The Air PC is all about connectivity (not that it comes with elite options) as it has to provide room to connect with as many accessories as possible. You will get WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connectivity and standard USB 2.0 and micro USB slot are also present. Moreover, as I have said earlier, it can also be hooked up to a USB hub if you want to use multiple accessories.
There are several things that you can like and dislike about this amazing device. Firstly, talking about likes, the configuration of the device is pretty decent and people who needs computer for just writing, online research and browsing, can actually rely on it. These likable factors about the Air PC is also its advantage over real Desktops and laptops.
Unfortunately, certain things that you might not like about the device are the lack of AUX out, which is quite disappointing. But you do get to connect Bluetooth speakers as it comes with Bluetooth connectivity.
Secondly, compared to all the pocket PCs that we have seen so far, this one is pretty expensive.
The Air PC is altogether a great piece of technology that can help quite a lot of people who doesn't have enough budget for PC or who wants portability and mobility.