Android Mini PC review

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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.

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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

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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.

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On the bottom side, there is a slot for a microSD card, as well as a microSD port.

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On the back of it is another microSD port and a USB port.

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Conveniently, the HDMI port used to connect to your TV or monitor is built right into the stick!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This Android mini PC came with Android Jelly Bean 4.2, but I was able to easily update it to 4.2.2.

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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.

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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.

 

Product Information

Price:£79.95 including VAT, roughly $125 USD
Manufacturer:GearZap
Requirements:
  • Monitor or TV with HDMI input
  • Input device such as USB or Bluetooth keyboard & mouse
Pros:
  • Connects to existing Android account
  • Small/portable
  • Low power consumption
Cons:
  • No ethernet port
  • Input device not supplied

17 thoughts on “Android Mini PC review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Very cool, but
    it could use one more thing for us cord cutters,
    an over the air tuner.
    I wouldnt mind if it grew a bit to accommodate it.
    Right now, I m using an old pc for this.

    Hmmm . . . it does do usb, so
    i wonder if it could be used with a hauppauge?
    Android apps for the same?

  3. Cord cutter here as well.
    The one thing I have struggled with when it comes to these android sticks (in all of their flavors) is Hulu.
    There are some shows on Hulu that will only play on a computer….not a tablet, smart phone, roku, etc….only a computer.
    I have not found an android stick that gets around this so far.

    Any ideas?

  4. only thing that prevents me from cutting the cord is sport. While there are options, like MLB TV, NHL CenterIce, etc., the BlackOut policies prevent them from being useful

  5. Just a note. There seems to be only ONE microSD slot and actually TWO micro USB ports (not microSD ports), as well as a full size USB port.

  6. Have you also tried a Custom firmware like finless? I noticed huge improvements in especially the Netflix app.

    Maybe it’s because you have a dual core stick it runs without problems. The Quad Core sticks need custom firmware to work properly

  7. XBMC is a great program as a home theater program. I use the SkystreamX to run XBMC on my TV. It comes preloaded with all of the good add ons. I didn’t have to spend hours programming it. I just plugged it in, hooked it up to my internet and starting watching all of my favorite TV shows, Movies and live sports. It also turns your TV into a smart TV with over 800,000 Android Apps. I highly recommend this Android TV Box

    Android TV Box

  8. does this use phone version of the app or tablet version? I ask because if this is able to run nba league pass mobile then I’m sold

  9. Elizabeth, do you mind trying to see if it works? Obviously you don’t have to buy it, but just see the price. the reason I ask is because the NBA differentiates between tablet and mobile and charge accordingly.

  10. I wonder if USB to Ethernet adapter would work. I would also prefer to have wired internet connection and this USB Female to RJ45 Ethernet Male Wireless Network Converter Adapter for 2-3 dollars on E bay should do that. Anyone tried it on these mini PCs?

  11. Eric – You can pair a wireless keyboard and mouse with them. Some have built in bluetooth, but most work with other remotes right out of the box.

    Brother Marvin -Essentially these devices turn your tv into an android based tablet. I own 3 of these devices and have a site where I have probably tested 10 different Android Mini PC’s or Android TV Boxes. I also own a Samsung smart tv, essentially these boxes made me feel dumb for buying the smart tv. They are small, cheap and have way more functionality.

    Without a doubt these devices are awesome. Check out the G-Box Midnight MX2, I have a review on my page. I received it to review it and absolutely fell in love with it.

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