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Battle of the pint-size PCs: Cotton Candy, MK802 II, and Raspberry Pi face off

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At a Glance

Budding programmers and video lovers with low budgets will find the Raspberry Pi delectable, but performance issues will scare away average users.

Price when rated: $35.00

Pros

  • Dirt cheap
  • A great tool for learning how to program
  • Supports 1080p video

Cons

  • Sluggish performance overall
  • Default OS prone to crashing on this platform
  • A steep learning curve for neophytes
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At a Glance

If you're looking for a small and functional mini PC without the usual headaches, the MK802 II is the Android stick to buy. Just try it with your peripherals before you leave the house.

Price when rated: $55

Pros

  • Solid overall performance
  • Easy to use; includes everything needed to run
  • Complete Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) tablet experience

Cons

  • Flimsy plastic enclosure
  • Problematic 1080p video output
  • Finicky peripheral and power supply support
 Compare

At a Glance

We won't award the Cotton Candy a score until it emerges from beta. As it stands, this computer-on-a-stick exhibits all the quirks and stability issues you'd expect to encounter in a product that's still in development. But it also shows strong promise, and we predict it will be of tremendous interest to both consumers and business users when it arrives in its final form.

Price when rated: $199.00

Pros

  • Awesome "Any Screen" functionality
  • Powerful CPU and GPU (for a computer on a stick)
  • Best-in-class aesthetics

Cons

  • Not yet a general public release
  • Currently much more expensive than the competition
 Compare

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