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Android Mini PC Quad Core Review


Cheesegeezer
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Cheesegeezer

So my new little box turned up today and I lost my android virginity.  

So this is the unit i bought

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00GY1B3PU/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This is the mini keyboard/mouse i bought

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00BX0YKX4/ref=oh_details_o00_s01_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Initial Setup

 

Ok so I opened up the box and got all the bits out (you can see the bits in the link above).  I set it up on my bedroom TV (LG 47LN575V)

So first things first was to attach the WIFI antenna to the mini pc.  I then used the HDMI extension cable that came with it to attach the mini pc to the TV's HDMI port,  as the mini pc itself is too wide for a single HMDI slot and if you have other HDMI connections then you'll run into problems.  I then connected the USB power to my TV's USB (HDD) socket and hey presto the little thing powered up and saw the boot screen straight away. Within about 10 secs I could see the dash with all the little preloaded icons on there.

 

BE45BABD-782C-42F0-901A-8E15AB4F6682.jpg

 

Now you have to remember that i'm an Android Virgin so all of the little system icons were alien to me at this point.  Anyways next step was to connect the mini keyboard to the mini pc.

 

Haha!! Well this was kinda odd.  I had a Bluetooth mini pc in the tv, I had a bluetooth mini pc but there was no automatic discovery for the keyboard.  I plugged the USB into the keyboard and then into the mini pc in order to try to control the UI via a wired connected, however all it did was charge the keyboard.  So i went and got a spare full size USB keyboard I had and connected it, and thankfully I could navigate to the settings.

I clicked on the bluetooth setting and paired the mini keyboard. I was now controlling the UI with the little keyboard now.

 

I then connected up the WIFI in the settings. My bedroom is the opposite end of the house and one floor up (on the diagonal), which is pretty much as far as I can get them apart from my router.  It's a BT HomeHub3 with 150N wifi capabilities.  Anyways this is what the interface had to say about my WIFI strength 

 

6EAEBAF5-45D3-4535-9587-879C4B0C90E3.jpg

 

I went thru each setting header and just checked thru them (as you do when you get something new) and I was quietly surprised that everything else was automatically detected based on the mini pc and what my TV was capable of.  

 

The last thing to do in the settings was to add an account and credit card details.

 

Performance

 

I can honestly say that i didn't experience any lagginess in the UI when navigating around. Launching the browser was quick, loading pages seems like my desktop, even sorting out the clock/time zone and Weather was all very snappy.  By this point I had multiple apps open and have no idea how to close them, so the performance is absolutely fine.

 

MediaBrowser

 

The google play icon was already on the Home screen so I just clicked that and went straight to the app store where there was one mission in this and that was to acquire @@Redshirt MediaBrowser App.

 

Suprisingly it's easy to find what you want but it wasn't immediately obvious what to click to install the app.  but literally 4 clicks and I was there

 

E63BD44A-721D-4EA8-B87B-387E6F500D49.jpg

 

D9931B27-3561-4DCF-926C-BBFE7CA09AAC.jpg

 

PS YOU HAVE TO CLICK ON THE PRICE TO GET THE APP 

 

6817511C-BFC9-4A1C-86B3-F3CE7D78019E.jpg

 

IN THE SCREEN SHOT BELOW I DID ENABLE THE AUTOMATIC UPDATING OPTION

 

6835A272-02F3-4C10-9B27-4CAF795AA27A.jpg

 

Thats it.  MB was installed and I saw the all famous Icon on the Home Screen

 

So Clicking on the MB icon, the app immediately picked up my server :D and I was away.

 

I experienced no lag when browsing the UI, the artwork updated very quickly and playback buffering only took a max of 5 secs. I really like the fact that the app tells you with audio and video what the app is doing with regards to directstream or transcoding... that's a really nice touch.

 

I played "Prisoners" @ 1080p and 6mb/s stream and to be fair I think my BT HomeHub router is a bit crap so I experienced ever such a slight judder on playback, this was a direct stream.

 

I then played an NCIS episode which was transcoded and this played fine but was only 480p stream.

 

The Mini Keyboard

 

Well it works, but i can't get used to it, the mouse seems to be the focus on this keyboard and even navigating with the directional buttons when pressing the enter key, it actually mouse clicks where ever the cursor is and not on the highlighted item.

 

When using the mediabrowser app (I understand it's designed for touchscreen) but you need to swipe left and right to get to the different collections so you basically hold down the left mouse button and swipe the touchpad, this feels so un-natural it's unreal.

 

I'm going to buy an Air/fly mouse with keyboard and see how I get on with that. I can't say I'm a fan of this handset for keyboard and mouse.  however it may grow on me after a bit of getting used to.

Edited by Cheesegeezer
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Cheesegeezer

Still waiting for it?

read the first line! You'll be waiting until tomorrow

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Koleckai Silvestri

Looking forward to your review. Most of the mobile devices are iOS in my house but looking forward to see how things work for you.

Edited by Wayne Luke
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yardameus

Sorry, didn't check the date of the first post.  I thought you were putting after 1 week and after 1 month updating us as to how long you've been waiting, not as placeholders.  my bad.

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Interesting as you can pick these up for less than a copy of windows!!

 

Sent by my HTC8X using Tapatalk

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Nice write up Cheese! I can wait to lose my own 'Droid "virginity" haha. Sounds like I'll definitely wanna lean towards one with external antenna, especially since the room mine will be in is downstairs, with our router upstairs. Hopefully I don't run into issues because of that. The RikoMagic 902 is looking pretty nice though! And I'm really looking forward to @@Redshirt's new app ;)

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@@Cheesegeezer, what do you think of THIS unit? I haven't seen it before, but it's cheaper than the RikoMagic MK902, and still has an external antenna.

 

I really wanna order one, but I'm pretty torn between the two lol. The site I linked has the Tronsmart CX-919 for $60 Canadian, and the RikoMagic MK902 for $114 Canadian. They both have identical specs, except the Tronsmart has the RK3188T vs the RikoMagic having the RK3188 Chipset, not sure what the "T" means, I can't find any info on it.

 

Also, the RikoMagic has a larger, more sturdy looking antenna, but I'm not sure if it would make enough difference for the price being almost double that of the Tronsmart unit.

 

For Comparison:  RikoMagic MK902

                            Tronsmart CX-919

 

EDIT: After reading some reviews I ended up ordering the RikoMagic MK902, and the MK705 AirMouse/Keyboard/Remote for $140USD and free shipping. Granted, the shipping is going to take quite some time (I don't expect to receive my order for about a month from China), but I'm saving around $40 on shipping by waiting longer, and apparently I can also avoid paying customs fees since I chose China Air Mail (?).

 

Sooo... the long wait for my new toy begins! Once it arrives I'll post a small review in here if @@Cheesegeezer doesn't mind, otherwise I could start a new thread.

 

Maybe by the time I receive my new toy @@Redshirt's new app will be available to play with! ;)

Edited by pmac
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  • 1 month later...
pmac

46 Days later and I finally received my RikoMagic MK902 Android Mini-PC and MK705 AirMouse/Keyboard/Remote.

 

...And the MK902 is DOA.

 

Obviously I'm very upset about this, I've read nothing but great reviews on this product so I was excited when I checked my tracking number and it said my parcel was ready for pickup at the post office. Rushed it home, plugged it in, and nothing. I've tried using different cables, pushing the reset button on the device, nothing.

 

So I've contacted the seller, and expressed my enthusiasm that they send me a replacement hastily, so I don't have to wait another 2 months to find out I've received another dead unit. And I'm awaiting their response.

 

I purchased from AliExpress (My first time using it), so I was a little leery about using it in the first place, but after doing some research and looking at a lot of different customer feedback, I decided the seller I went through should be legit. Hopefully they're respectful about sending out a replacement...

 

On the other hand, the AirMouse works awesome! I had never heard of them before looking at these little Android boxes. Pretty cool little remote. The build looks to be of pretty good quality, it feels sturdy, and it's very responsive. It's similar, but smoother to use than a Wii remote, plus it has some programmable remote buttons on it, and a full keyboard. All of the features work very well, and it's comfortable to operate, not to mention cheap! $29CAD.  The instructions say it also has a built in mic and speaker for vocal commands, but I'm not really sure how to set that part up yet.

 

I'll report back if and when I receive a working MK902.

 

Fingers crossed...

 

Patrick

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Cheesegeezer

@@pmac

 

Sorry for not responding I've been stuck in the Tunisian Desert working.  I haven't even had chance to use my mini PC properly yet.  

 

That's really bad news about your unit turning up DOA, I can only imagine how you feel.  Remote sounds good tho!!

 

Anyways let us know how you get on when it arrives and hope it's not 3 months you have to wait lol

 

Cheers

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  • 2 weeks later...
pmac

So I received my replacement MK902 yesterday, and this one works! :) I've gotta say I'm impressed with this little unit. Everything seems to be nice and fast on it, and the MB3 app works great aside from the odd connection problems which I assume is just a bug.

 

I found the transcoding quality to be too low for use on a 50" LED TV, so instead of just pressing play, I use the remote feature and play to my device with DLNA and it works great! The only issue with DLNA is that rew/ff doesn't work on my TV, but I can live with that for now, at least the quality is great this way.

 

Other than the issue I had with my first unit being DOA, I'd definitely recommend it to someone else wanting a roku alternative with more features. I can't wait to try @@Redshirt's Android TV app once it's released ;)

 

Absolutely no problems with WiFi on this unit, even though it's being used on the bottom floor of the house in the opposite corner from my router, which is nice :) I'm not at my computer right now but when I am, I'll update with some photos.

Edited by pmac
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Cheesegeezer

So I received my replacement MK902 yesterday, and this one works! :) I've gotta say I'm impressed with this little unit. Everything seems to be nice and fast on it, and the MB3 app works great aside from the odd connection problems which I assume is just a bug.

 

I found the transcoding quality to be too low for use on a 50" LED TV, so instead of just pressing play, I use the remote feature and play to my device with DLNA and it works great! The only issue with DLNA is that rew/ff doesn't work on my TV, but I can live with that for now, at least the quality is great this way.

 

Other than the issue I had with my first unit being DOA, I'd definitely recommend it to someone else wanting a roku alternative with more features. I can't wait to try @@Redshirt's Android TV app once it's released ;)

 

Absolutely no problems with WiFi on this unit, even though it's being used on the bottom floor of the house in the opposite corner from my router, which is nice :) I'm not at my computer right now but when I am, I'll update with some photos.

Wahoooo, great news Pmac!!

 

I still haven't got round to using it the way I want to fully, but when I have I've loved this little unit.  Transcoding seems to be a problem for me, but I think it's more down to my low powered HTPC, which I will be getting round to updating sometime soon.

 

I did however buy a FLIRC universal IR receiver for this and I now use my old AppleTV2 silver remote control with it to navigate around any interface and it works a treat.  Much better than the keyboard/mouse combo I got.

 

Look forward to the pics mate!!

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rabbit1543

For anyone looking into devices, i ran across a device that will run android as well a xbmc. Specs look pretty good and the price point is attractive.

 

http://cubox-i.com/

 

Might pick one up eventually when live tv/10ft UI comes to android. 

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gcw07

For those in the market you might wait until there are more details on the newly announced Amazon Fire TV streaming box. 

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christoph86

I've looked at that one, looks to have a lot of potential for a decent price, but I was impatient and just got my Madcatz MOJO yesterday. So far like it a lot, but have to play with it more. I will do a review after I've played with it more.

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Rasputin

There are so many good looking Android boxes coming out, it's tough to sort them out.  I ripped out two Lenovo Q140s that I was using on two client TVs in my home and went to Matricom G-Boxes and I LOVE them.  I am curious to see how the Fire TV goes and also the new Asus box looks tempting, as well..

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pmac

@@pmac - the MB3 Android app is available in the Google Play Store.

 

Sorry @@CBers,I wasn't very clear on that. I'm currently running the Android MB3 App, but I was referring to the 10' UI App that @@Redshirt was teasing about a little while back. The current app still functions just fine, but since it's geared towards touch screen devices, navigation can be a little clunky with a remote for TV.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Redshirt

Look at all those broken images Cheese :P 

 

You may be interested in something like this for controlling the Android PC. I got it a week ago when it was on sale. I'm liking it a lot better than that keyboard/touchpad combo. Although it does have it's issues too.

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Cheesegeezer

Look at all those broken images Cheese :P 

 

You may be interested in something like this for controlling the Android PC. I got it a week ago when it was on sale. I'm liking it a lot better than that keyboard/touchpad combo. Although it does have it's issues too.

I know its embarrassing but i'm not paying them any dosh!!! Hahaha.

 

Controller looks nice Red, i settled for a FLIRC dongle and am using my ATV2 controller to fly thru your app, works a treat and i rarely have to get the keyboard out now :D

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Redshirt

The subdued store tile is decimating your monthly photobucket bandwidth. Add the store tile to the MediaBrowser.Resources project, submit a pull request to Luke and then just link the store to the github image. That way MB users don't see that ugly placeholder.

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