MK808B Dual Core Android TV stick review

MK808B Google TV Android stick review


I have always had a soft spot for Chinese widgets; especially if they run on Android.
Unfortunately the quality has been an issue for a long time; substandard parts, poor design, poor performance, etc
Thanks to a colleague of mine, Kim, for restoring my faith on Goolge/Android TV after utterly underpowered A-Link Smart TV experience.
He (Kim) directed my interest to this rather unknown little gadget; it is not sold here in Finland and needs to be ordered directly from Chinese manufacturer; the gadget in question is MK808B (notice the B at the end, this is the upgraded version)



There was some posts about first generation MK808 having wireless network issues but the B revision comes with few enhancements:
  • Better cooling (double-sized radiator/heatsink)
  • More powerful dual core CPU
  • Built-in bluetooth 3.0
  • Better wlan antenna

Purchase

You can find this one for example from Amazon, Deal Extreme and Geekbying.
Geekbuying was a new acquaintance so I wanted to try it - direct link here
.
The delivery was excellent: The shipment was sent within 5 days and reached Finland within 3 days via airmail (free shipment!).

Unboxing

Padded package

Internals. Nice package. Survived the airmail without a dent.

The gadget, cables (3), power and very short manual.

Backside

Frontside

Very efficient USB power (2.0A)

First impressions

OMG! This gadget really rocks.
It's small, fast, excellent connections and works with everything I have at home.
Next lets go to the details.

Connections

This small gadget is packed with a lot of connections.

USB host for USB stick or even USB hard drive
DC power adapter
Please notice that external USB hard drive may need it's own power.

Mini USB OTG for air mouse or keyboard (the package includes mini USB to full size USB adapter cable). For one Air mouse please see my next blog post.

Mini HDMI (the package includes a cable to full size HDMI)

Memory card slot

Performance

I should measure the performance with some app but if one looks into the hardware details:
  • Rockchip dual-core 1,6 GHz Cortex A9 RK3066 CPU
  • Mali-400 quad-core GPU
  • Built-in 1GB of DDR3 memory, along with 8GB of NAND-Fast flash storage.
  • Android 4.1.1
It actually looks like... Samsung Galaxy SII (plus on memory part) - not the same CPU but same Ghz.
What ever I have thrown at this gadget it works without a hick-up which is extremely nice as I set the screen resolution to maximum (1920x1080p-60).

Software

Stick came with Android 4.1.1 but there is a upgrade for 4.2.2 beta available at the time of the writing.
These pictures are from the stock 4.1.1
Few apps installed

With more apps and HD widget - all installed apps work like charm.
By the way: there are few ready installed apps that rock: eHomeMediaCenter, Adobe Flash 11 (this is great!) and few others.
eHomeMediaCenter can receive anything you throw at it with another Android device with for example iMediaShare(!). So you can stream any content from your mobile phone or tablet to this device which is really great.


There is the default System updates and extra Rockchip system updates. I am impressed that they have tweaked this. 

On the bottom there is an excellent idea: a screenshot button (plus volume up and down buttons)
The Screenshot function can be adjusted from the settings menu.

ES File Explorer finds all the Windows and NFS shares with plain network scan.


About the peripherals

So far I have tried Logitech K400 RF keyboard and it work very well - some notes:
  • Touchpad works extremely well
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del will reboot the system
  • Volume rocker & mute buttons work
  • Esc & Home buttons work
  • No way to power off from keyboard... but there are cheap keyboards sold especially for this gadget with power button. Workaround for this with K400 is to install some Shutdown app
  • Scandic letters not working at the moment... will solve this issue later
On 47" LG Full HD TV 1280x720p-60 and 1920x1080p-60 resolutions work without any problems.
The gadget supports screen resolutions:
  • 720x480p-60
  • 720x575p-50
  • 1280x720p-50
  • 1280x720p-60
  • 1920x1080p-50
  • 1920x1080p-60

The conclusion

Solid BUY!
This has to be one of the best purchase of the year and for so low price.
This little gadget plays Netflix, Spotify, local internet TV (Ruutu, Yle Areena) and movies from local samba and NFS shares without any problems in Full HD (1920x1080p-60). With for example Air Droid+PC/Linux/Mac (Android management via browser), iMediaShare+eHomeMediaCenter (media sharing from tablet/smartphone) etc you can share and do even more - sky is the limit here
Efficient CPU and GPU along with 1Gb of DDR3 memory make this gadget fly and you basically have all the functionalities of one gigantic modern smartphone/tablet.
Here in Finland all the local TV channels have very nice Android tablet apps so this gadget is really excellent media master.
The WLAN works like charm and all-Chinese Rockchip CPU performance is excellent - this gadget really restored my belief in Android/Google TV.

Comments

  1. Great write up. I ordered one from Amazon yesterday. I'm awaiting 2 days for delievery. Now i'm looking for an app that i can remote control it from an Android tablet. Thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete

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