There won’t be any major news in the next couple of weeks, at least not from China-based manufacturers.
Chinese New Year is next week (Happy New Year to our Chinese readers – according to Analytics we have quite a few).
So, the news:
– Minix Z64 launched just a few days ago and there’s a tutorial on how to dual boot Windows and Ubuntu already (here).
– Egreat A9 is now for sale on GeekBuying, and so are Egreat I6 and the Ainol Mini PC.
– Qualcomm launched a tiny Mini PC (or, how they called it “4K Streaming Adapter”).
We’ve recently started a series of posts dedicated to Mini PC’s that are already on market and could use some more attention.
We are revisiting today the Himedia Q5 Quad, a Mini PC that we covered back in June 2014, before it was launched.
Since then the Q5 quad went through a major hardware overhaul (back in October) and several firmware updates, earning it’s place in MiniPCDB’s Spotlight.
What makes Himedia Q5 Quad special?
This is the third generation of the “Q5” line, and Himedia certainly took the feedback from the first two versions when building this.
The first generation was also the first Android Mini PC built by Himedia, and the switch from the “classic” Realtek-based media players to Android was not easy. The first generation had several issues with supported file formats, including DVD ISO, which didn’t make clients happy.
But that’s no longer the case, Android evolved a lot since then, Hisilicon’s chipset evolved also.
Speaking about the chipset, Hi3798C is a close relative of the Kirin CPU used by Huawei on it’s flagship phones, and at this time it’s still one of the few chipsets designed specifically for TV boxes (unlike most other chipsets we talk about on MiniPCDB, which are designed for mostly for tablets).
This is why Himedia Q5 quad has good image quality and a good variety of supported file types (Himedia are basically the first to add support for DVD-ISO and BluRay ISO – including 3D- to an Android device).
The case is a good-looking full-metal one, they also include an LCD front-panel and pretty much include everything you might need: USB 3.0, Gigabit ethernet, and not-so-common SATA port.
|Himedia Q5 quad – the specs
||– CPU: HiSilicon Hi3798C, Quad core
– GPU: Mali450 (8 cores)
– RAM: 2GB DDR3
– Storage: 8GB eMMC
– Network: Gigabit LAN, Wi-fi (one external antenna)
Case: full metal
USB: 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
SD card: yes
Other: Coaxial, optical, AV outputs
– SATA port – very few mini PC’s today have an external SATA port
||Software : Himedia has a simple launcher optimized to work on TV’s.
They have a dedicated video player that makes DVD-ISO, BluRay ISO and 3D BDISO rendering possible.
|What’s even more impressive is the downmix and passthrough support, which goes up to 7.1 channel.
Yes, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA lossless HD-Audio formats.
There’s also support for 4K (@30fps) and H.265.
As for XBMC, Himedia released a custom version that makes use of their native player. You can also just install the latest Kodi for Android
Himedia Q5 Quad comes with a simple IR remote…with a twist: it can also learn some commands from your other remote (maybe TV?). This way you can watch a movie using a single remote.
|But there’s also two features you rarely hear about: Himedia provides two apps for your android device:
– HiControl: once you’ve started your Q5 Quad, you can use the HiShare App to control your mini PC, including seeing in real-time on your tablet what’s currently running on your TV. This could be very useful if you want to see what your kids are watching.
But it does even more than that, you can use your phone to play games on the big-scree TV, for instance.
– HiShare – basically use your phone/tablet to push content (images, video) to the TV
Just a few days ago we were among the first to publish the news about the new Beelink Intel lineup.
These new items were very well received, and although they won’t be released until after the Chinese New Year, people tend to like this new approach.
We will try to get more details about them as they become available.
So we start with Beelink Pocket P2, a Mini PC that manages to include a full-blown Windows 8.1 machine in a tiny HDMI dongle.
Beelink Pocket P2 specs:
– CPU : Intel BayTrail CR Z3735F
– GPU: lntel® HD Graphics
– RAM : 2GB DDR3
– Storage: 32GB eMMC
– Wi-fi: 802.11b/g/n
– Bluetooth: yes, 4.0
– Dimensions: 152 x 83 x 11.4mm
– a standard USB 3.0 2.0 port
– SD Card slot
– OTG Port
The Pocket P2 from Beelink also has an infrared port, which means you will be able to use an IR remote (but whether a remote will be included is unknown at this time).
Package will contain a 5V 2A adapter.
Beelink Pocket P2 images
With so many new MiniPCs being announced weekly, it’s hard to keep track of what device might be the perfect solution for our needs.
MiniPCDB’s “Spotlight” series is trying to bring back into the news Mini PC’s that were launched months ago and that might use a little more attention now. There could be a number of reasons for this: maybe because the recent firmware updates made them closer to perfection, or perhaps the current price is much more attractive .
So we start our series with the Kaiboer F5.
Fun fact for you, in Chinese “Kaiboer” is a homophone for “cable” – they’ve been in business for a decade and they actually do manufacture cables … but they also had an impressive line of Realtek-based and SigmaDesigns based media players.
Like most manufacturers, they adapted their offer in the past few years to accommodate the need for Android-based TV boxes… and they do it with style.
If most manufacturers try to cut corners by using cheap(er) plastic cases, Kaiboer still provide good-looking metal cases.
They also choose their chipsets wisely, so their use of the Mstar MSO9180D1R chipset should be an indicator that the chipset does provide good value for the money.
|Kaiboer F5 – the specs
||CPU: Mstar MSO9180 (Quad Core)
RAM: 2GB DDR3
Storage: 8GB eMMC
Network: 10/100 Ethernet,150M b/g/n wi-fi (dual antenna)
Case: full metal
USB: 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
SD card: yes
HDMI: 1.4b out, also has HDMI-in
Others: Optical Audio, AV, Bluetooth 4.0
|| Kaiboer F5 comes with a pretty-standard IR remote.
As usual, you might be better off with an airmouse or with a full-keyboard and mouse, depending on your needs
| As for UI, Kaiboer chose to customize it a bit, you can see the results for yourself.
What makes this unit deserve it’s place on the MiniPCDB Spotlight?
First of all, this Mini PC has on paper most of the most sought after features in a Mini PC currently:
– Ultra HD 4K output
– H.265 hardware decoding
– Real 3D output
– XBMC hardware decoding
– solid case, good airflow without the use of any cooler.
– nice-looking front-panel LED display.
It also has HDMI-in, useful in a couple of scenarios.
[Update] – we now have a detailed post about the Beelink Pocket P2
[Update Feb.11] – Beelink confirmed that none of them will have USB 3.0, only USB 2.0
News surfaced today about Beelink and their impressive Intel-based Mini PC line.
Beelink are not new to the MiniPC market, they released quite a few models last year and now they are entering the Wintel Mini PC market as well with a full product line:
| The first announced Beelink Wintel Mini PC is based on the Z3735F chipset, with 2GB RAM and 32 GB eMMC, has Blueetoth 4.0 and dual band wi-fi, and an USB 3.0 port.
|They also have a different version with the same Z3735F chipset, but only 16GB eMMC, but with gigabit LAN
|And a tiny PC-on-a-stick device, with 2GB RAM and 32 GB eMMC, they even mention an USB 3.0 port!
Ainol is a well-known tablets manufacturer from China, also know as “Ainovo” on the western markets, they released quite a few models of all sizes over the years.
But now they are dipping their toes into the Mini PC market with the launch of an Windows 8.1 mini PC… that could also serve as an external battery for your devices.
This 15 cm high and 11.5 cm wide and 1.4 cm thick Mini PC weights only 335 grams, so you could take it with you anywhere.
It uses the very popular Intel Baytrail chipset with 2GB RAM and 32 GB eMMC storage (expandable with another 128GB with an SD card).
It has 3 USB ports (one of them actually being 3.0, which is uncommon).
You can connect it to your TV or monitor via the micro HDMI port.
The Ainol Mini PC has a built-in 7000 mAh battery, which you could use to power your other devices
Ainol Mini PC has an USB 3.0 port, Bluetooth 4.0
The Mini PC will arrive with a tiny qwerty airmouse/remote.
I had a chance to test this model and it was quite impressive.
Several colors are available.
Ainol is known for better-than average quality, so we expect this to be interesting