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
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.
After CES 2015 things tend to slow down a bit, and although it has been quiet lately, here are some Mini PC News.
– Minix is launching this week their Z64 Mini PC.
Minix Z64 is based on an Intel Atom Z3735F quad-core processor has 2GB of RAM and 32GB storage.
It comes in two flavors: a cheaper one using Android 4.4 and a more expensive one with Windows 8.1.
Minix Z64 Windows 8.1 seems to be preactivated, unlike some similar Chinese boxes that have only a 30-day trial license.
Zappiti’s first and second batches are already sold out!
You might have to wait for March to get the Realtek RTD1195-based Mini PC that promises to be all you will need for living room entertainment .
Meanwhile the Zappiti team is working on their firmware, already some big progress has been made.
Himedia finally launched their own customized version of Kodi/XBMC.
This version will work on both the dual-core and the quad-core versions of their Hisilicon-based Mini PC’s (Himedia Q5-II, Himedia Q5 Quad) and it will allow you to use the excellent Himedia Player as an external player for XBMC.
Mygica promises to be the first manufacturer to release Android 5.0 update for their Mini PCs .
They featured at CES 2015 their ATV 1900 model with Android 5.0, and in 1-2 months they will have an update for the ATV 1800e and ATV 582 models. Congrats to them!
There’s a fierce competition among chip makers/manufacturers for the greatest hardware.
It’s getting harder and harder to impress potential buyers so some manufacturers are adopting all sorts of marketing gimmicks.
AnTuTu is being used to benchmark pretty much an Android tablet or mini PC out there, and there have been rumors about manufacturers faking those results to get better results.
Today 4pda.ru users discovered something very interesting: on Tronsmart’s Allwinner A80 devices if you edit build.prop and change the ro.sys.hiritsu value you get different results in AnTuTu.
– without ro.sys.hiritsu the result is 36185
– with ro.sys.hiritsu =90 the result goes to 128068 (yes, 128K!)
– with ro.sys.hiritsu =95 the result is 143430
“hiritsu” in Japanese means literally “percentage”, “proportion” or “ratio”.
At this time is unclear if the results are being intentionally faked or if there’s some bug in AnTuTu’s benchmark itself, although the users that discovered this believe to be intentional.
What do you think?
[Update – AC Ryan Veolo 4K is now available on Amazon – read here about it – also, AC Ryan USA is now offering a free Veo Navigator and 10% off+free shipping for our US&Canada readers]
A few weeks ago we mentioned that the third generation of ACRyan’s Veolo line is soon to be made available.
Now it’s time to test it!
– the unit is much smaller than I thought, the promotional pictures led me to believe that the size will be roughly the same as the first generation of Veolo, which I briefly tested years ago. Well, it is not!
AC Ryan Veolo 4K will fit in your palm.
– the unit does not have a regular HDMI 2.0 port, but a mini-HDMI port. This might be a problem for some , as the HDMI cable provided with the unit is rather short, if you need to place it somewhere further away from your TV or monitor (as I did) you might need to have a male-to-female HDMI extension cable around.
– there are no external wi-fi antennas, we’ll check the wi-fi signal strength in a later review
– the review unit arrived with two remotes, and apparently the VEO Navigator remote is to be sold separately .
Both remotes work with regular AAA batteries, which AC Ryan included in the package.
||The Veolo 4K arrives in a stylish black box
||Once you open it, you are greeted by the small Veolo Mini PC
||All accessories are individually wrapped in their own black boxes
||What’s in the box:
– Power adapter
– HDMI cable (miniHDMI to regular HDMI)
– quick start guide
– 2 AAA batteries
– IR remote
– AV cable
||AC Ryan Veo navigator remote next to the standard IR remote. Note that the Veolo 4K Mini PC does have a power button.
-AC Ryan Veolo 4K is a small, nice-looking device.It comes to everything you need to set it up, although a male-to-female HDMI extension cable might have been more useful than the included AV cable.
-it comes with a standard IR remote, and you can purchase additionally an airmouse (AC Ryan VEO Navigator).
Probably AC Ryan should have included the VEO Navigator in the package (as other manufacturers do).
Just like on any other Android TV boxes on market, the IR remote can become frustrating to use after a while, and you will feel much more comfortable wih a keyboard+mouse combo (even a qwerty remote with airmouse).
There have been quite a few posts here on MiniPCDB about the plethora of Wintel devices based on Baytrail Z3735>
Only yesterday we featured a mini PC with a VGA port, the Mele PCG32.
Today we will feature a small square of a mini PC (3.8”/9.8 cm) that has even “Wintel” written all over.
This is the Wintel FV-W8 mini PC from Artway Technologies and it includes :
– 2GB DDR3L RAM
– 32 GB storage (optional up to 128GB)
– Gigabit ethernet
– Wi-fi: RTL8723BS / AP6330,IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n
– Bluetooth 4.0
– HDMI 1.4b
– 2 USB 2.0 ports
– 1 microUSB OTG port
– SD card
– 1 earphone jack+ Mic-in combo
The MiniPC does come with an IR remote, but you can only use it if you with in Android.
[Update: Egreat A9 unboxing]
A couple of days ago we revealed the imminent launch at CES 2015 of the Egreat A9 unit, powered by Mstar MSO9180D1R.
This particular chipset is not new, several units were launched in China last year, but never quite took off overseas.
But this is about to change, as several devices were announced, and some are quite interesting:
Powerful Mini PC. Egreat announced a partnership with Vidon, making the device even more interesting.
Good looking case, (so far) regular firmware updates, custom UI interface.
Very promising device.
Xtreamer Prodigy 4K
Another good looking case. Internal HDD slot.
One of the first Mini PC’s to use this chipset. Little to no availability outside China.
Less attractive case, unknown availability.
So, which one you should choose?
Here’s a side by side comparison between the most popular Mstar MSO9180D1R Mini PC’s:
||Xtreamer Prodigy 4K
||yes, with PVR
||yes, with PVR
– custom UI /EG-UI
– Vidon.me partner
– custom Zidoo UI
|– Xtreamer gui v.7
Chinese manufacturer Mele will announce several new devices at CES2015, including their very own Realtek RTD1195 MiniPC and several Wintel devices (Mele PCG47, Mele PCG32).
But what really caught my eye is their Mini PC / Smart Projector called SP-100.
Most Mini PC’s claim to turn any TV into a smart one. Mele SP100 claims to do that with your bedroom wall.
Mele SP-100 specs:
– CPU: Realtek RK3188, 4-core, 1.5Ghz
– Memory: 1GB DDR3
– Storage: 4GB, extendable with an SD card (up to 32GB)
– Network : 802.1b/g/n (no Ethernet!)
– HDMI – IN (1.4, up to 1080P)
– 2x USB 2.0 and 1 mini-USB
– Lamp: 150 Lumen, RGB LED, over 20000 hours, DLP WVGA 0,3″ Image processor, 12 to 120 inches, 1000:1 contrast
– built-in 1800mAh rechargeable Lithium-polymer battery
– Android 4.2
– comes in one of the two flavors, black and white
This Android-powered portable projector comes with a small remote control, but it can also be controlled by means of Android app from your tablet or smartphone.
It can connect to your iPhone with an “iPhone to mini-HDMI cable” which could be included upon request, or with one of your ancient devices using the VGA to Mini HDMI cable, also not included.
[Update: Egreat A9 unboxing]
Looks like Mstar MSO9180 finally gets some real-world use with the launch, at CES 2015, of the new Egreat A9 Mini PC.
This is one of the new Mini PC’s that Egreat will announce, check out the Egreat 2015 roadmap post to see the others.
As you can see in the below images, this mini PC will use a strong aluminum case with VFD which allows a 3.5” HDD to be mounted inside (same case used by the Egreat R300 media player a few years back).
As usual with the newly announced models, they claim to support 4K/Ultra-HD videos (although just at 30fps, due to HDMI 1.4 limits).
The mini PC will support H.265, BluRay ISO’s, 3D movies (and not just SBS and top/Bottom, Frame Packing 3D also).
They also mention Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA 7.1ch RAW audio passthrough.
But what caught my eye was the Vidon.me logo – does this mean that Egreat has some sort of partnership with Vidon?
[Update] – Both Egreat and Vidon.me confirmed for MiniPCDB that they are indeed working together. This makes the Egreat A9 unit even more interesting.
This unit can also record an 1080P stream using the HDMI-In interface, feature that could be useful for those that have a HD TV receiver, for instance.
Egreat A9 specs:
– CPU: Mstar MSO9180-DB2 – quad core, Cortex A9
– GPU: Mali-450MP4
– RAM: 2GB DDR3
– 16GB eMMC
– 1 x USB 3.0 host and 3 x USB 2.0 host
– Bluetooth 4.0 BLE
– Gigabit Ethernet
– dual band wi-fi (802.11 a/b/g/n, 2.4GHz/5.0GHz 300M) with 2 antennas, 3dB each
– HDMI 1.4 ouput (max: 3840×2160 at 30 fps)
– HDMI 1.4 input (max: 3840×2160 at 30 fps)
– 3.5” HDD tray (HDD not included)