Tag Archives: Spotlight

Mini PC Spotlight: Himedia Q5 Quad

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
himedia-q5-quad
 himedia-q5-quad-left-side himedia-q5-quad-right-side himedia-q5-quad-back 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
HDMI: 1.4
Other: Coaxial, optical, AV outputs
– SATA port – very few mini PC’s today have an external SATA port
himedia-q5-quad-launcher 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-remote Remote:
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

 

 

Mini PC Spotlight: Kaiboer F5

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
kaiboer-F5
kaiboer-F5-left-sidekaiboer-F5-back CPU: Mstar MSO9180 (Quad Core)
GPU: Mali-450MP2
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-remote  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
kaiboer-F5-UI-2
kaiboer-F5-UI
kaiboer-F5-UI-3
 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.