I am what is considered a “cord cutter”. I’ve decided to not to pay to watch traditional TV via a cable or satellite TV provider. Instead, I read and/or watch my news on my computer, phone or tablet via subscriptions to YouTube channels, Netflix, and various online services. I recently got to review a popular type of Android device, an Android Mini PC by GearZap. I previously owned an older version of a similar Android TV stick, and was excited to get a chance to review a newer model with more features. Let’s take a look!
Note: Images can be clicked on for a larger size.
This Android mini PC came with the mini PC device, 5V/2A USB plug with microUSB cable, an instruction booklet, and a converter for a UK plug (since this device is sold via an online UK store). The tech specs are as follows:
- Operating System: Android 4.2
- Processor: Dual Core A9 RK3066 1.6GHz
- GPU: Mali-400
- Memory: DDR3 1GB
- Storage: 8GB
- Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n
- Bluetooth: v3.1
- Memory Card Type: microSD(HC), up to 32GB
- External HDD: Up to 500GB
- Audio Formats: DTS, AC3, LPCM, FLAC, HE-AAC
- Video Formats: MKV, TS, TP, M2TS, RM/RMVB, BD-ISO, AVI, MPG, VOB, DAT, ASF, TRP, FLV
- Video Codecs: MPEG-1
- Picture Formats: JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF
- Subtitle Formats: MicroDVD [.sub]
- Output Resolution: 1080P
- HDMI: 1.4
- USB: USB2.0
Here are photos of the front and back of the Android mini PC, which is plastic and has a smooth feel. The dimensions are roughly 3.8 x 1.5 x 0.5 inches.
On the bottom side, there is a slot for a microSD card, as well as a microSD port.
On the back of it is another microSD port and a USB port.
Conveniently, the HDMI port used to connect to your TV or monitor is built right into the stick!
To test the unit, I connected my Logitech K400 keyboard (which has a built in trackpad), and the microSD cable that it came with. I was then able to use the built-in 5V USB port on my TV to power the mini PC – just enough to power it up. I could have also used the included USB adapter with an outlet.
Once it was connected to my TV, it booted up within 10-15 seconds, and I was able to connect to my home WiFi network. I then connected to my Google account and downloaded a bunch of my favorite video apps, such as Netflix, DramaFever, HBO Go, YouTube etc.
As you can see in the screenshots, the Android mini PC comes with a few stock apps, which include some settings apps, video, and audio apps.
This Android mini PC came with Android Jelly Bean 4.2, but I was able to easily update it to 4.2.2.
The two different “settings” apps give you a larger view of the same Android settings, most likely for it to be a little bit easier to see on the screen.
I love the fact that I am able to use a microSD card, as well as browse my home network for any SMB servers that contain files that I want to watch. This make for a great media center or home theatre PC. I also really loved that I was able to connect my Bluetooth over-ear headphones and watch TV in bed without disturbing anyone. There was no audio lag (that I could tell), and the video play was really smooth no matter which app I tried.
I think the best thing about this Android Mini PC is the fact that you can download any of your favorite Android apps and watch it on a big screen – there is quite alot of capability packed into a little TV stick. The only thing I would wish for is an ethernet port so I can transfer files a bit more quickly on my home network (instead of using WiFi). This particular Android Mini PC is sold by GearZap, and is available for £79.95 including VAT, which equals roughly $125 USD at the time of this review.