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Lenovo Ideacentre 300 TV Stick – Hey It’s Windows. On A Stick. On Your TV [Review]

lenovoideacentrestick300d

There was a time when a PC looked like one, know what we mean? It was bulky, dull grey and heavy enough to crush an iron skillet. But look what’s happened now. A full blown, quad core Windows PC in your hand, looking more like a Star Trek prop than a real computer. And instead of dull grey we’ve got … oh, right. Let’s take a look in more detail shall we?

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The Lenovo Ideacentre 300 TV Stick is a pretty amazing piece of engineering, no question. It features an Atom quad core processor, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB of on-board storage and support for a micro SD card with support for another 128 GB maximum storage. That’s a lot of space for word-processing and spreadsheets. It also supports Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi b/g/n, and comes with a full sized USB port for additional accessories. Pretty cool. Take a look at our video below for a more detailed run through.

First impressions
The device comes in a typically badged Lenovo box, along with the basic accessories to get you going. Actually, almost true. The two things which are essential and missing are a keyboard and mouse. You need to supply those yourself otherwise you are never going to get your Windows setup done, which would be a shame, right? Other than that, you get the charge block, microUSB charge cable, HDMI extension adapter for awkward TV shapes and a basic User Setup Guide.

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In use
We chose to use the unit with a small Rii Wireless Keyboard and Trackpad, which is a perfect tool for this kind of situation. It cost us around £8 and is small and functional where it counts. You just need to make sure to keep it charged up. With the Lenovo it worked perfectly. The Windows set up was typically simple – our review unit came out of the box running Windows 8.1, the newer models should be running Windows 10 by now. We found no problem with the install at all.

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The device runs like a normal Windows PC. What more can we say? You get the usual collection of Windows utilities, plus access to the increasingly redundant Windows Store, so there’s really nothing missing. Now let’s be clear about this, it’s a tiny processor with a tiny graphics card in a tiny box. So don’t go expecting to play Battlefield 4 on top quality graphics settings. You get what you pay for, and this is a clever little portable work-horse which will cope with general tasks and games which aren’t too taxing.

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That said, it works fine, as long as you don’t push it. The fact it has all those ventilation slots should tell you a lot about how hard it is to run Windows in anything small. Electronics get hot pushing around all the Microsoft graphical cruft. We tried it with a 3D driving game, a tiny bit of WordPad word-processing and general navigation, and it held up fine. The biggest pain was trying to do it all with a micro keyboard, so if you’re going to do serious work, then a full sized keyboard/trackpad combo will probably be better.

Conclusion
The whole idea that you can carry a full blown PC in your pocket and turn any TV into a PC is beyond cool. The fact that it actually works pretty well – i.e. without having to wait around for 10 minutes for a screen refresh on navigation -speaks volumes about the improvement in processing power at these sizes. We’re used to it on lean, mean Android, but Windows? Anyhoo, it’s here and it works. Don’t expect too much grunt under your mouse finger and you definitely won’t be disappointed. Nice.

Price: $99.99 / £99.39

Specifications:
Brand Lenovo
Item Weight 272 g
Product Dimensions 10 x 3.8 x 1.5 cm
Item model number 90ER0003UK
Series Stick 300
Color Black
Processor Brand Intel
Processor Type Atom Z3735
Processor Speed 1.33 GHz
Processor Socket BGA592
Processor Count 4
RAM Size 2 GB
Computer Memory Type DDR3 SDRAM
Maximum Memory Supported 2 GB
Hard Drive Size 32 GB
Graphics Card Description Intel Integrated Graphics
Graphics RAM Type DDR3 SDRAM
Connectivity Type Yes
Wireless Type 802.11B, 802.11G, 802.11n
Number of HDMI Ports 1
Optical Drive Type No
Operating System Windows 8.1

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


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