122 of 133 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2013
I looked into this item right after I saw the hands-on preview of it on Engadget during CES. I've seen all the Android Mini PCs on the market and have read all the same issues with Wifi, so I was hesitant to get one until I saw this one.
I got the product in a brown box with nothing but the RK3066, a HDMI cable, and a micro usb cord. The micro USB didn't have a usb power adapter but I just used a usb power adapter from one of my other mobile devices. No manual was included either. I assume it was the first batch of this product since it came directly from the designer of the product Dick Chan over at Timing Power.
I had a Logitech Mini Controller for Logitech Revue and Google TV lying around so I plugged in the usb adapter into the RK3066 and it worked like it should. You could probably pair it with a bluetooth mouse and keyboard if you had those too. The RK3066 powered right up with android boot screen like any other android powered device.
The Android UI reacted faster than I expected. It was zippy to say the least. You may have to go to settings and modify the display settings to 1080p if you have a 1080p TV or display. It basically looked like a 55" tablet.
I then went to settings and set up my wifi. I put in my google account information and started downloading items from the Google Play store. I installed the SixAxis Pair app and was able to pair my PS3 controller to the device over bluetooth. I put in my 64gb MicroSD card that I had from my Galaxy S3 and it loaded it right up without a hitch. I installed an SNES emulator and loaded a few games. It worked great. I also played a few 1080p movies off the MicroSD card. The movies played clear and lag free. I was able to play some movies I shared on my network and those played just fine.
Overall I'm satisfied with the product. Looks good, works good, and affordable. It's the size of most USB sticks. A tiny computer on the go.
79 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2013
Use this item as the HTPC with my television. Runs XBMC, Netflix, and a browser perfectly. Runs all common Android games - Angry Birds Star Wars looks great on a flat-screen TV. I have emulators for all sorts of classic game systems installed on it, and they work just fine. The unit is very small and light - I was able to attach it to the back of my TV with velcro to keep it discreetly out of the way. You'd never even know it was there by looking at the TV, but it adds a bunch of functionality.
The only caution is that when this device says it wants a 5V 1A - 2A power supply, it REALLY means it. And the more the better - you'll still have minor problems with a 5V 1A power supply. It really wants a 2A unit - I recommend the Pwr+ 5V 2A unit available here on Amazon for it. I suspect that many of the problems that some people have reported with this device come from not having given it as much juice as it wants - it gets VERY wonky when you don't. But once you give it the power it needs, it works like a charm.
But as long as you respect its exacting power demands, you'll have a great little unit for very little money.
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2014
I got this toy last week and was having the same super-slow WiFi issue as others reported.
The original download/upload speed was 0.5/0.8 Mbps and I was just about to trash it.
But as an MIT engineer, I opened the case and was trying to figure out what is going on regarding the WiFi issue by looking at the circuit board under the microscope.
Within a second, I noticed that the way an antenna (an inch-long zigzag metal piece on the back of the PCB; CPU side) was soldered absolutely in a wrong manner. The metal antenna has two tabs and one was soldered to an antenna input pad (a footprint that connects to a capacitor) and the other tab was soldered to one of the two GND pads. Yes, the antenna input was shorted to GND!
I removed the original metal antenna and soldered an inch long single-stranded wire instead to the antenna input...
Bingo! Now I get close to 20 Mbps for both DL/UL and the connection remains stable!
Other than that the Rockchip 3188 processor w/ Mali 400 GPU is fast enough to decode 1080p video and now the unit works like a charm with the resolved WiFi issue.
I hope this info helps for those having the slow/unstable WiFi issues.
PS, I also attached a small heat sink to the RK3188 CPU. The unit has been working stable for a long period.
43 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2013
I love this little box. I'm using it right now to write this review, while listening to music in the background with the Tunein app. I'm using it with my PC monitor (My PC died) with a hdmi to dvi converter, 4 port usb hub, logitech mk320 wireless keyboard mouse set, 500gb usb hdd, 16gb stick and 16gb mircosd. All work great. Get the 8gb version, as the 4gb has only 1.5gb usable (so you can't install apps larger than 1.5gb without fiddling with the root setting features.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2014
I've had this product for a few months. During the first month I barely touched it, the software was buggy. After working with the manufacturer a few times I worked out the kinks. They also provide timely updates to the firmware, but the process takes some getting used to. If you follow the directions it's quite easy, but getting to a usable software took some time.
Once I got the latest update (with root and native 1080p included - awesome!) the software stopped bugging out. I use this as a mini HTPC. Currently only using internal flash for Android but have a 2TB external hard drive attached. Unfortunately there is only one USB port - you will need a USB dongle. Wish I had noticed that in the reviews...
I use it for XBMC and with 12.3 (Frodo) I had nothing but problems. I followed the recommendations to update to a nightly Gotham build to fix some issues, and boy were they right! MKV videos play no problem, 1080P has no issues. All that being said... the product itself is still buggy. I lose WiFi connectivity (like other reports) randomly. It will simply disconnect and be unable to authenticate. The only way to fix it is to reset the device, and the only true way to do that is to remove the plug from the back and plug it back in. Fine, I can deal with this... but then...
The Bluetooth disconnects as well. So in addition to unplugging the product, I have to unplug the hard drive from the USB and plug in my IR receive for the other "air" mouse/remote combo I have. This works flawlessly every time. I use that to start up Bluetooth and connect my track pad mouse, then unplug the IR mouse and plug back in the hard drive. And while that would be okay once in a while, it happens every day. I mean every single day. To the point where my significant other sleeps in the room that has my true computer to watch TV while I sleep. :(
I haven't given up, software updates have been coming and have shown significant improvements. But until this thing works out of the box with no bugs I cannot reccommend this product to anyone but the more experienced electronics users. If you like to tinker around and mess with settings, this is for you. You can get it working perfectly. For the more casual user, seek something else.
Tons of RAM
Expandable SD card storage
Comes with the power cord!
Works out of the box for all Web browsing, Google apps, etc...
Software is always being updated. You need to watch [...] for updates which have so far come every 3 months or so.
HTPC functions do not work flawlessly. Expect to have trouble setting up XBMC just right to play all of your files.
No built in microphone - feels like this is a missed opportunity, especially since the software has the ability.
WiFi connectivity issues. Getting better but still troublesome.
Bluetooth does not re-connect after device reset. :(
It's still a really great value! If you are looking for a cheap method to watch Netflix/Hulu/XBMC (with some troubles, but what doesn't have trouble sometimes?) then this is it. Just be aware that it will take some time and effort to get it to work just right.
Update 3/21/13 - Since someone found my review useful I decided to update. Timingpower released a new firmware dated 3/6/14 that seems to alleviate most video issues I have been having. That coupled with XBMC 13 (Gotham Beta 2) I've found very few issues while playing videos. I also plugged in a 4 USB 2.0 Dongle (from Amazon Basics) and now I can have two mice (and maybe even three if I decide to get a full wireless keyboard/mouse combo). All in all, very happy, and with the updates I would happily buy another one of these for another HTPC setup.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2014
For a Quad core it's slow. Screen refresh is slow. Not sure if it's a WIFI problem or it can't handle Video, but it hesitates constantly! Line speed is 35/5, so it should be slow.
I like that it doesn't look like a little dongle.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2013
The RK3188 is a standard reference platform used by several small overseas companies. This chipset supersedes the RK3066 which is only a dual core processor with half as much DRAM. However, don't be fooled, the RK3188 is not twice the performance of the RK3066. Furthermore, the WiFi on the RK3188 references is ridden with bugs making it almost useless. What it does have going for it is a Bluetooth radio that was not available on the RK3088. However, the verdict is not out on the Bluetooth stability yet. ****UPDATE***** Bluetooth Sucks!!!!!!
This chipset is a reference design used by several manufacturers and therefore the core features are identical. The only variations from brand to brand are some external features like Female or Male HDMI port, WiFi antenna, AC power adapter and package size. I discovered that software installed varies also, this model being the most Spartan of the ones I have purchased. However, if you are an Android Apps Wiz, I am certain that you can make this device into a slick product.
As mentioned, I am having major issues with WiFi stability and this is a deal breaker for me. This is a common problem with this reference design, as many customers have complained about it. I am surprised that these vendors still sell this product knowing well that they have an engineering defect. As for documentation, the vender selling this product left little more than 3 sentences of instructions, but did leave me with an email address and website. I contacted him and he promptly gave me totally useless advice for the WiFi. It appears that I will have to return it and wait a few months when a more stable design comes out. After all, I have a high level of expectation for this product and it fails to meet it.
For the technically challenged or faint hearted, DO NOT PURCHASE THIS PRODUCT.
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2013
Are you looking for an all-in-one solution for our TV that your grandma can use at the touch of a button? This ain't it. Are you a semi-tech-savvy individual not intimidated by a little tinkering for a fun little experience? Read on.
My main purpose for this has been mostly gaming emulation on my TV. Seeing as how I have a PS3 and an Xbox, most of the video application aren't really needed. While Netflix and YouTube look pretty good on this, it's still not a good as my PS3. It is, however, nice being able to stream music apps like Pandora that neither console have.
I'm not done playing with this thing yet, but as far as first impressions, here are the pros and cons:
-Pretty fast for a $60 computer
-Headphone jack, allowing you to hook this up to your current computer monitor that may not have audio capabilities.
-Female HDMI port, so you don't have to plug it directly into the back or side of your TV.
-A USB hub works flawlessly.
-Plays most apps.
-Does almost everything an Android tablet or phone does.
-Video streaming quality still not up to par with a gaming console.
-No on/off switch. Some people will have no problem leaving it on 24/7, I still unplug it.
-This ships directly from Hong Kong, taking a couple of extra days.
-Not all apps are compatible from the Play Store. A bit disappointing, but to be expected.
-You'll need a number of accessories for this. Keyboard, mouse, monitor (obviously), and likely a USB hub.
-Says 4Gb of memory, I noticed only 1.5 gb free after first turning it on and going to the Apps settings.
The Android software itself still had a few shortcomings, to no fault of the hardware. These include no second mouse button, limited multitasking, ect. Basically, these little gizmos are just that, and aren't a replacement for a PC (net yet, at least).
It'll also help to know Android a bit before navigating this. For the uninitiated, Android apps can be a little sketchy at times, but wonderful for those who don't mind a little tinkering.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2014
I've been using Windows since Win 95, and ever since XP, Microsoft hasn't really hit it off, in my opinion. And because I don't really use my PC for gaming or anything that requires a high amount of processing power or memory, I've found myself performing my day to day email checking, web surfing, and Netflix viewing on my Android based phone. But, I wanted the ease, customization and fantastic user interface, that I've grown to love, from Android.
That's why I purchased the Android RK3188. It's a sweet little device! I hooked it up to my TV, plugged it into the wall, and in a few seconds, and was ready to go! It's powered up and ready to use within 30 seconds, and produces respectable performance. You can play Netflix on it, without issue, and install any, and every App available on the Play Store. The Bluetooth and Wi-Fi perform flawlessly, which was an initial worry of mine. It can handle multiple apps running simultaneously, without lag, but just be mindful of the device's stats! This is just a Mini PC, not a PC, so I know it's limitations.
I gave it 4 out of 5 stars for three reasons, but these reasons are listed in the item description, so it's not as if I was caught by surprise! lol First, it only has one USB 2.0 port, so you'll have to buy one of those USB hubs to go along with it. Secondly, it doesn't come with its own remote, mouse, air mouse, and/or keyboard, so you'll have to buy that extra. And lastly, the device doesn't have a POWER button. Powering it on and off, means plugging it, in and out. When you power it down, from the prompt on the main screen, the system stops running, but the device is still technically on, and wasting power. So you really have no choice, but to disconnect it. You can do what I did, and get a "Stanley 31164 Indoor Wireless Remote Control" and connect the AC Power cord to it, and use the remote to turn it on and off.
Overall, this little thing is good enough to replace my day to day surfing, email checking, online shopping, etc. No, you won't be able to do EVERYTHING that a PC can do, obviously. But, if you feel you can shake your dependency on an old school PC, then look no further!
30 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2013
One of the best mini Android's on the market, the processor and RAM let you do anything you want, and faster than on my Motorola DROID Bionic. My complaint is the lack of any sort of manual or even description of the product. Also, it came with an HDMI cable but it wasn't very long (about 2 feet) so if you want to use it any farther than right below your TV you would have to get another cable. And the power cord had no adapter to plug in to a regular 110V outlet. I didn't think it would be a problem since I have multiple adapters from my phone and other things. However, none of them worked, as the RK3066 would continually reset when plugged in, only making it to the homescreen rarely and for a few seconds before restarting. After contacting the seller, they recommended a specific power cord with a rating of USB power of 5V 1A to 2A. The alternative to buying this $10 cord was plugging it into a PC USB port, which defeats the purpose of the device in my opinion. So if you have the correct adapter or are willing to spend another $10, this product is great. I think it could be better with more included, but a manual at the very least.
UPDATE: While this device is fast like I said before, I have been very disappointed with the WiFi capabilities. It constantly drops the connection, and I have tried it on 4 or more different network. It forgets the password to networks occasionally, and even when it is connected the connection is very slow, usually not even able to stream YouTube or Hulu, or any music. This is on networks that are very fast as well, and many other devices are able to have a fast connection. Overall I have been very disappointed just because of the inability to reliably use internet.