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Posts Tagged ‘Android’

Jiayu S3 and S3 Plus Smartphones Get Android 6.0 Firmware Releases with Source Code

July 27th, 2016 No comments

Jiayu S3 and S3 Plus are your typical Android smartphones powered by Mediatek MT6752/MT6753 octa core Cortex A53 processor with 3GB RAM, 16GB flash, and a 5.5″ touch screen display. The news here is that Jiayu Germany (a reseller, not the manufacturer), and Team M.A.D (Mediatek Android Developers) comprised of XDA members, have releasing three custom ROMs based on Android 6.0.1 for the smartphone: Cyanogenmod13, Paranoid Android (AOSPA) and AICP (Android Ice Cold Project), which contrast with my Iocean MT6752 smartphone still stuck on Android 4.4.4.

Jiayu_S3I’ll reproduce the technical specifications of Jiayu S3+ phone for reference:

  • SoC- Mediatek MT6753 Octa-core 64-bit ARM Cortex A53 processor @ 1.3 GHz, with ARM Mali-T720 GPU
  • System Memory – 3GB RAM
  • Storage – 16 GB eMMC + micro SD slot up to 64GB
  • Display – 5.5” IPS capacitive touchscreen display; 1920×1080 resolution
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi , Bluetooth 4.0, GPS / A-GPS, FM Radio
  • Cellular Network
    • 2G – 850/900/1800/1900MHz
    • 3G – UMTS/WCDMA 900/1900/2100 MHz; TD-SCDMA 1900/2000 MHz
    • 4G – FDD LTE B3/B7/B20;  TDD LTE B39/B40/B41
    • Dual micro SIM cards
  • Audio – Speaker and microphone, 3.5 mm audio jack for headphones
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Camera
    • 13.0MP rear-facing with flash light and auto-focus
    • 5.0MP front-facing camera
  • Sensors – Gravity sensor
  • Battery – 3,000 mAh Lithium battery.
  • Dimensions – 152 x 75.5 x 8.9 mm
  • Weight – 158 grams

The phone normally runs Android 5.1, and ships with the battery, a USB cable, a charger, and a user’s manual.

Beside the firmware release, you’ll also find the source code for Linux 3.10.65 and “Device” source tree for both phones, as well as proprietary vendor files on MediatekAndroidDeveloper’s Github account. Sadly there’s no Wiki or documentation at all, but it should be possible to build it from source if you are familiar with CyanogenMod.

Jiayu S3 does not appear to be for sale anymore, but Jiayu S3+ is still sold for $155.99 on Banggood, and Aliexpress.

Bagel is a Smart Bluetooth Tape Measure Compatible with Android and iOS Phones (Crowdfunding)

July 26th, 2016 1 comment

The tape measure is a pretty simple tool allowing you to measure length, and I assume most people will write results on a piece of paper. Battery powered Bagel tape measure changes that as it allows measurements with a string, through a wheel, or an ultrasonic sensors, store the data in its internal memory with voice to text memo, and also sends back data over Bluetooth to your smartphone.

Smart_Tape_Measure

Bagel Labs tape measure specifications:

  • Three measure modes – string (up to 3 meters), wheel (up to 10 meters), or ultrasonic sensor (0.3 to 5 meters)
  • Storage – 32 MB flash for up to 100 measurements and voice memo (Both metric and imperial units supported)
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Audio – Microphone for voice to text recording
  • Display – 0.96″ OLED display; 128×96 resolution
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for charging
  • Misc – laser pointer for ultrasonic measurement; save record, mode, reset, and power buttons; status LED
  • Battery – 500 mAh LiPo battery that lasts up to 24 hours and averages 8 hours with constant use
  • Dimensions – 80 x 80 x 30 mm
  • Weight – 118 grams

Bagel_tape_measure

You can take measurement in four steps: 1. measurement from one of the three method, 2. record voice memo (e.g. length of bed), 3. synchronize with your phone, 4. organize data on soon-to-be-released free Android or iOS app. The app will allow you to export data as CSV to use on your computer.

Bagel tape measure has so far been very popular on Kickstarter, as the project has raised over 1 millions dollars from close to 9,000 backers with 8 days to go. The “early bird” pledge is still available for $69 for the device with a micro USB port. Shipping adds $14 to the US, and $29 to the rest of the world, while delivery is scheduled for November 2016.

96Boards Gets a TV Platform Edition Targeting $50 Mid-range Boards, $99 High-end Boards

July 26th, 2016 1 comment

96Boards was born as a hardware and software standard with Consumer (CE) & Enterprise Editions (EE), with different form factors with the latter focusing on server boards, but with similar software requirements requiring recent and mostly open source software. The consumer edition was also split into “Standard” and “Extended” editions, which the latter allowing for larger boards with more features, while the Enterprise Edition has its own larger format, as well as an option for micro-ATX form factor. I’ve just learned that a “fifth” 96Boards standard has been worked on with 96Board TV Platform for Home Gateways, OTT Streaming boxes, and TV boards with prices target of $50 or lower for mid-range boards, and $99 or lower for high-end boards.

96Boards TV Platform Board Layout - Click to Enlarge

96Boards TV Platform Board Layout – Click to Enlarge

96Boards TV Platform hardware requirements:

  • Dimensions – 160 x 120 mm (EE Standard form factor)
  • RAM – 1GB minimum; 2GB recommended
  • Flash – 8GB eMMC minimum
  • WiFi – 802.11 g/n minimum; 802.11ac recommended
  • Bluetooth LE – Optional; at least Bluetooth 4.0

    96Boards TV Platform Board by Hisilicon

    96Boards TV Platform Board by Hisilicon

  • Video Output
    • HDMI 1.4 minimum; HDMI 2.0 recommended
    • HDCP 2.0 minimum; HDCP 2.2 recommended
    • Optional Video Outputs – Composite, Component, S-Video
  • Video Input – Optional same requirements as Video output; used for TV boards
  • Audio – HDMI audio mandatory; options stereo I/O and S/PDIF
  • Ethernet – RJ45; >= 100 Mbps recommended
  • Expansion – 40-pin Low Speed Connector as per 96Boards EE specs
  • Additional functionality options:
    • User input – Optional IR detector
    • Security interfaces – Optional smartcard I/F
    • Transport stream I/F – Optional parallel connector for tuner card (ATSC, DVB-T2, DVB-S2, etc…)

On of the software side, the kernel must be buildable from source code with eventual closed-source binary blobs from either kernel.org, latest Google-supported Android kernel version, or one of the latest two LTS kernels from kernel.org. Supported operating systems must at least one of the latest version of Android, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Red Hat, or Linaro / Vendor supported Linux OS built with OpenEmbedded/Yocto Project. The latter being supported by Linaro Home Group (LHG). Other requirements include support for vendor or open source bootloader, optional but recommended OP-TEE support, ARM Trust Firmware, and royalty-free vendor or open source accelerated graphics support. Note that the specifications are aimed at development boards, and not at commercial products. You can find more details in the slides for 96Boards – TV Platform presentation at Linaro Connect Bangkok 2016, as corresponding YouTube video.


I learned about the new 96Boards specifications through the blog post about a “sprint” at the Huawei/Hisilicon facilities in Shenzhen, China on July 11-14. Hisilicon showcased “Poplar” – manufactured by Tocoding Technologies startup – one of the first 96Boards TV platform boards (pictured above), and worked on/demonstrated support for OP-TEE builds on Linux and Android for PlayReady and Widevine DRMs, AOSP TV with TV input framework, LHG OpenEmbedded builds with Yocto 2.1, automatic testing, and so on…

It’s unclear when 96Boards TV platform specifications will be officially released, and when the boards will come to market.

EBox T8-4 Review – A 4K Android TV Box Bundle Geared Towards the UK Market

July 24th, 2016 2 comments

I’ve already taken some pictures of the device and board in part 1 of EBox T8-4 review, so today, I’m going to report my experience with the Android 5.1 firmware for this Amlogic S905 TV box, air mouse, and wireless gamepad, specifically targetted to users leaving in the United Kingdom, but since the hardware is based on Zoomtak T8V, it may also be informative to international users, although the firmware, mostly launcher and IPTV services, will be different.

EBox T8-4 Setup Wizard & Configuration

Since I’ve already inserted an internal SSD into the SATA bay of the device, I did not connect an external USB harddrive, and only connected HDMI and Ethernet cables,  plus the RF dongle for the included air mouse, a USB keyboard to easily take screenshots, and of course the power cord. The power button will be red at this stage. If you want to start the TV box, you either need to press the button on the box, or the power button on the remote control, the power button LED will change to blue, and the display will show “boot”.

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A typical boot takes around one minute, but for the very first boot, you’ll be asked to go through setup wizard similar to what we find in few others boxes like WeTek Core or ARNU Box.EBox_T8-4_Setup_Wizard

Click Next to “select” your language.. English only for now.

EBox_T8-4_Language_Selection

Next window is to adjust the screen in order to remove any black orders on the edges of the screen. If you are using HDMI output, most TV should have a setting to underscan. For example it is called “Just Scan” on LG televisions. That way you don’t need to adjust the screen at all, and you can keep it at 100%.

EBox_T8-4_Adjust_ScreenThe next step is for network configuration for either Ethernet or WiFi.

EBox_T8-4_Setup_Wizard_Ethernet_Configuration EBox_T8-4_Setup_Wizard_WiFi_ConfigurationThe system correctly detected my three access points @ 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz, but I carry on with Gigabit Ethernet, and click on Finish button to access the main user interface.

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The launcher include EBOX MC fork of Kodi 16.1, EBOX APPS Hub folder with custom apps from the company including EBox  App to access support channels, EBox Apps app store, EBox OTA for firmware update, etc…, as well as icons to access all apps, the browser, settings, and to clean the memory.

Sadly, that’s another wizard that does not ask you to set your timezone, but maybe in that case it is understable since it’s designed for the British public and already set to the right timezone. Any I went through the settings, which looks quite similar as other Amlogic TV boxes.
EBox_T8-4_Settings_Network

You can change network configuration as needed, as well as display settings.EBox_T8-4_Settings_Display

HDMI auto-detection is ON by default, and it set the resolution to 1080p50 by default, so I disabled it and manually selected 4k2k-60Hz mode. Sadly it looks like it does not always remember that setting after a reboot.EBox_T8-4_Settings_Advanced

Advanced options are for Miracast, CEC Control is not working for me (same results as with all other Amlogic TV boxes I’ve tested), and you can also configure audio output to PCM, SPDIF or HDMI.EBox_T8-4_Settings_Others

Other settings show some system information: Android 5.1.1 on top of Linux 3.14.29 running on p200_2G platform. More Settings lead to another familiar setup menu.
EBox_T8-4_Settings

This is where I enabled HDMI adaptation (automatic refresh rate) via Play back settings, and set the correct timezone (Date & Time). You can access Android Lollipop settings by selecting “More setting”, so you’ve got three different settings user interfaces, which should really be unnecessary….

EBox T8-4 OTA Firmware

The company informed me by email of a new firmware update, so I updated it right before going further, by entering the System Update menu, but you can click on EBox OTA to enter the update app too. After clicking to check updates, I got a popup window “ROM update available”.

EBox_OTA_Firmware_Update

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So I start the download…

EBox_OTA_Firmware_Download

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Which was reasonably fast, and been asked whether I want to Wipe Data and/or Wipe Cache when installing the firmware. I always wipe the cache, but I avoid wiping the data since I like to keep my data (screenshots) and apps installed via Google Play.

EBox_T8-4_Wipe_Data_Wipe_Cache
Once I click on Install, I get another window explaining the box will reboot into recovery mode, flash the ZIP file, and automatically reboot.

EBox_T8-4_Install_Firmware

So I click in Install against and this time the box reboots, shows me an animation with a green Android logo amd a progress board, and after 3 to 5 minutes, reboot the the main launcher and the update is complete. That part was flawless.

Entertainmentbox.com Customer Support

However, I had a big hiccup with the firmware, after spending much time taking screenshoot, and testing apps, I tested on and off, and power consumption, and all of a sudden the device would not boot to the launcher, and all I could see if a blueish background photo (the vertical line is just an issue with my TV).

EBox-T8-4_DeadI sent an email to my contact in the company about the issue, but since it was a Saturday, I was not sure when I’d get an answer, so I went to their website, and saw a “Chat Now – Online”  section on the bottom right of the page, so I decided to give it a try and asked my question about the box being stuck at boot time.

Within a few seconds, a support person called Vikram told me to try to factory rest the box, and provide a link with detailed instructions, and the chat was over in about one minute. I followed the instructions, which involved wiping the data, but I tried to only wipe the cache as I wanted to keep my data, and I did not work.

I wanted to try to re-install the firmware without wiping out the data instead. So I went back to start a new chat to ask about the firmware since I could not find T8-4 on their firmware page. Again Vikram answered within a few seconds, and said he was aware of the issue, and forwarded to the persons in charge. Again efficient, polite and to the point, so my experience with support was very positive, although my problem was not resolved.

Eventually, I got answer from my contact, as they had uploaded T8-4 firmware with clear instructions. So I copied the file to a USB flash drive, went into recovery, and flashed the firmware apparently successfully, but it did not resolve my issue. So I ended up wiping out the data, and lost all my files and installed app, wasting a few hours of work.

The reasons was that EBox Play app (now removed from the firmware) that allows you to play retro games was not compatible with Android 5.1, and messed up with the firmware.

Anyway, while I was clearly not happy about that annoying firmware bug and wasted time, Entertainmentbox.com customer support appears to be very good. They also have support forums.

Installed Apps and IPTV Streaming

The TV box comes with some interesting apps including popular video streaming and on-demand app in the UK such as BBC iPlayer, FilmOn, and TVCatchUp.

EBox_T8-4_App_List_1BionicTCP should be interesting too on other devices, especially if you have troubles with streaming videos, as it allows you to tweak TCP buffers to allow for larger buffers possibly improve the streaming experience.

EBox_T8-4_App_List_2
So I had a quick try of the IPTV apps, although I’m not based in the UK.

Let’s start with Filmon.TV app which sorts live TV streams by country or categories.

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You can then select one category, and a stream from the list to watch live TV, in full screen or within the interface.

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There’s also an online TV guide (EPG) available from the app.

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After a while, the app will ask you to register. I think it’s free to watch SD channels, but you may have to pay to watch HD TV. (TBC)

TVCatchup is a service that allows to watch live TV even if you missed the right time when it was broadcasted. When the app start I’ve been asked to confirm I’m indeed based on the UK… to which I agreed…

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I could get the list of channels, and programs, but was unable to play any videos, most probably because I’m not actually in the UK…

TVcatchUp_ChannelsYou can also access the EPG from the app. You’d think free channels like Aljazeera would work from anywhere, but it did not play either.

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Finally, BBC iPlayer.. It asked me to install BBC Media Player, which I did, but then I could not stream any video due to geo-blocking.

BBC_iPLayer

BBC_iPLayer_Content_Not_WorkingSo the pre-installed app are interesting if you are based in the UK, and wants something easy to setup. If you live overseas, you’d have to use a VPN, or some DNS services like StrongDNS.

Video and Audio Support in EBOX MC (Kodi 16.1)

EBOX MC (EBMC) used Confluence skin with a different background image.

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It is based on Kodi 16.1 with possible some customizations under the hood.

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Since I’ve reviewed so many Amlogic S905 TV boxes, I’ll just try 4K videos, and audio capabilities (e.g. HDMI pass-through). All files will be played from a SAMBA share.

4K video samples:

  • HD.Club-4K-Chimei-inn-60mbps.mp4 – OK
  • sintel-2010-4k.mkv – OK
  • Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265 @ 30 fps) –  OK
  • Bosphorus_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265 @ 30 fps) – OK
  • Jockey_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_TS.ts (H.265 @ 30 fps) – OK
  • MHD_2013_2160p_ShowReel_R_9000f_24fps_RMN_QP23_10b.mkv (10-bit HEVC) – OK
  • BT.2020.20140602.ts (Rec.2020 compliant video; 36 Mbps) – OK
  • big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_30fps.mp4 – OK
  • Fifa_WorldCup2014_Uruguay-Colombia_4K-x265.mp4 (4K, H.265, 60 fps) – OK
  • Samsung_UHD_Dubai_10-bit_HEVC_51.4Mbps.ts (10-bit HEVC / MPEG-4 AAC) – OK
  • Astra-11479_V_22000-Canal+ UHD Demo 42.6 Mbps bitrate.ts (10-bit H.265 from DVB-S2 stream) – OK
  • Ducks Take Off [2160p a 243 Mbps].mkv (4K H.264 @ 30 fps; 243 Mbps; no audio) – Won’t start to play, and stays in UI.

So no problem playing most 4K video samples with the codecs supported by Amlogic S905 SoC (i.e. excluding H.264 4K @ 60 fps, and 10-bit H.264) expect a very high bitrate H.264 video. However, please note that automatic refresh rate switching is not working, even after it is configured in both the system and EBMC.

Time to test audio.

Video PCM 2.0 Output
(Kodi/EBMC)
PCM 2.0 Output
(Video player)
HDMI Pass-through
(Kodi/EBMC)
AC3 / Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio OK but video not smooth No audio Audio OK but video not smooth
E-AC-3 / Dolby Digital+ 5.1 OK No audio Dolby D 5.1 (OK), but frequent short noise
Dolby Digital+ 7.1 OK No audio PCM 2.0
TrueHD 5.1 OK No audio PCM 2.0
TrueHD 7.1 OK No audio PCM 2.0
Dolby Atmos 7.1 OK No audio PCM 2.0
DTS HD Master OK No audio DTS 5.1 with frequent short (0.5s) noise
DTS HD High Resolution OK No audio DTS 5.1 with frequent short (0.5s) noise
DTS:X OK No audio DTS 5.1 with frequent short (0.5s) noise

As expected Ebox T8-4 does not have the DTS and Dolby licenses for audio down-mixing since it’s using Amlogic S905, and not S905-H, but that’s a disappointment to find out that HDMI pass-through is basically unusable even for 5.1 channel audio due to a short noise that happens every 5 to 10 seconds, at least with Onkyo TX-NR636 receiver.

Gaming with Ipega PG-9028 Bluetooth game controller

I’m normally using Tronsmart Mars G01 RF gamepad in my review, but since the bundle I received includes a Bluetooth gamepad, that’s what I used with Riptide GP2 installed from Amazon Underground. At first, I had troubles pairing the gamepad as I only pressed the Home key, but then I was asked to press Home and X blue buttons together, and the gamepad would show a new device Bluetooth MAC address, and once paired show it as PG-9028.

PG-9028_Bluetooth_PairingSubsequently, you’ll just need to press the Home button to connect the gamepad to the TV box. I had then no issue navigating the user interface with B button for “Back”, A button for “Accept”, and the top left joystick to move around the launcher, and start Riptide GP2.

The game was a fluid as on other good Amlogic S905 TV boxes, so I set the graphics setting to the maximum, and played for over 15 minutes without any degradation of performance over time. The device stayed cool at all time, and the top and bottom temperatures of the case were respectively 36° C, and 39° C.

Other interesting features of the gamepad include the touchpad area to control the mouse pointer, and the five buttons at the bottom for volume, play/pause, back and next, which makes it suitable to control Kodi/EBMC. It is also possible to place your smartphone on top of the gamepad, if you want to play games on the phone instead of the TV box. You’ll find detailed pictures of the controller in the first part of the review.

EBox T8-4 Benchmarks – Antutu, Storage and Networking

Amlogic S905 is a now extremely well known platform, so I just ran Antutu 6.1.4 to double check there wasn’t any issue.

EBox_T8-4_Antutu

35,473 point is typical for this kind of device. All good.

I also tested internal storage performance A1SD bench, and the eMMC flash is reasonable fast @ 26.21 MB/s for sequential read, and 14.80 MB/s for sequential write.

Read/Write Speed in MB/s

Read/Write Speed in MB/s

One of the key selling point of the device is the presence of an internal 2.5″ SATA bay. I started by inserting an SSD with both NTFS and EXT-4 partitions, but it was mounted as a USB device with 0 MB size, so I switched another 1TB hard drive formatted with NTFS inside a Linux machine, which was a little loose in the SATA bay but still inserted to the SATA connector, and this time it was not detected at all. When I removed it, it was warm so I assume it got power. It’s quite possible the hard drive needs to be prepared inside a Windows computer to work with the box, based on a video for their older T8-3 box. That part was very disappointing.

Let’s switch to network performance with Gigabit Ethernet and iperf -t 60 -c server_ip -d command for full duplex transfer.

So the system cannot handle full duplex transfer very well, with the speed in one direction very fast (as it should), but very slow in the other direction. That test is worse case scenario though, and unless you plan to use the box as a server too, it should not be an issue, and I had no problem streaming 60 Mbps+ videos.

I’ve tested 802.11ac by transferring a 278MB file from SAMBA to the flash and vice versa 3 times using ES File explorer. For some reasons download was much faster than upload @ 5.67 MB/s vs 2.89 MB/s, and on average the transfer rate was a decent 4.27 MB/s.

Throughput in MB/s

Throughput in MB/s

Other remarks

The included air mouse is very convenient with mouse mode, remote side, and QWERTY keyboard side, and while usually I have to switch to the IR remote control to power on other devices, T8-4 can be powered on with that air mouse too. The air mouse function works well, the keyboard includes the media player keys (play/pause, etc..), and the only two downsides I found is the lack of tabulation key, and Alt key Blue on black markings are hard to read, at least with my eyesight (I need to remove my glasses to read them).

Power handling have been properly implemented too, but with only power on and power off modes. Power consumption is 0.2 watts in power off mode, 5.0 watts at idle with SSD, and 5.2 watts at with (non-detected) HDD.

I had no problem at all with Google Play with free and paid app, and Amazon Underground.

Conclusion

EBox T8-4 Android TV box performs well over time (no overheating), delivers good video playback performance in Kodi (EBMC), include pre-installed IPTV streaming app for the UK, and provide a good overall user experience, but there are still some issues that need to be fixed such as very poor HDMI pass-through implementation, and problems with internal SATA bay.

PROS

  • Complete easy to setup and use bundle with TV box, air mouse, and wireless Bluetooth gamepad
  • Stable and responsive firmware
  • Good 4K video playback performance in Kodi with both H.264 and H.265 videos
  • (Legal) pre-installed IPTV app for the UK market like BBC iPlayer, Filmon, and TVCatchup
  • Gigabit Ethernet and good 802.11ac WiFi performance
  • 2.5″ internal SATA bay (see CONS too!)
  • OTA firmware update
  • Good customer support with Live chat, forums, and online documentation

CONS

  • HDMI audio pass-through is not working well, with only 5.1 channel audio support, and I got short white noise for almost all videos.
  • No Dolby / DTS licenses
  • My 2.5″ SSD (NTFS + EXT-4) and HDD (NTFS) were not recognized by the system
  • DRM support limited to Widewine Level 3
  • (Minor) Settings are spread over  3 menus
  • (Minor) Somewhat slow boot (One minute)
  • I loss all my data and installed apps after a while due to a bug in the firmware (But it should be now be fixed, and I could not reproduce the issue).

The main thing I like about EBox T8-4 bundle is that it’s easy to setup and comes with everything you may need to watch local and live TV (in the UK), the included air mouse and Bluetooth gamepad just work out of the box, without headache due to potential interoperability issues.

EBox T8-4 + S77 Pro air mouse + Ipega Bluetooth gamepad bundle I reviewed can be purchased for 108.33 GBP exc. VAT ($142 US), but you can also purchase the box alone for 79.16 GBP exc. VAT (~$104 US), or select other bundles with different input devices and/or an included 1TB hard drive (which could mitigate the issues I had).

Review of No.1 D6 Android Smartwatch Powered by Mediatek MT6580 Processor

July 23rd, 2016 11 comments

Karl here with a new review. This one is a little different. A smart watch, but not your average smart watch, as most smartwatches supplement a phone. This is a standalone smartwatch. It runs full Android 5.1. It is the D6 by No. 1. It has a 3G radio and SIM card slot. I was really excited when I found out I could do this review.

Below are some pics from their website.

No.1_D6_Smartwatch

Another professionally shipped and packaged product and some box pics

Chinavasion_No1_D6_Smartwatch_Package

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No1_D6_Smartwatch_Specs

Here are the specs from No. 1’s website.

Product Overview
Model NO.1 D6
Product modeling Android Smartwatch
System Android 5.1
CPU MT6580 quad core Cortex A7 @ up to 1.3 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU
Screen Resolution 1.63″ 320 x 320 resolution
RAM 1GB
ROM 8GB
Wifi Support
Google Play Support
Features
Make calls Support
See text messages Support
Contacts Support
Heart Rate Support
Pedometer Support
Bluetooth BT2.1 + BLE4.0
Browser Support
Barometer Support
Voice Search Support
Alarm Support
Weather Support
Health Data Synchronization Support
Change Clock Face Support
Install App Support
Operation frequency GSM/ 850/900/1800/1900 ; WCDMA 850/2100
Language Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (simplified), Indonesian, Malay, Czech, Danish, German (German), German, English (UK), Spanish (United States), Filipino, French, Croatian, Italian language, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Netherlands, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romania, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Vietnamese, Turkish, Greek, Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian language, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Thai, Burmese, Khmer, Korean, Japanese
Hardware
Speaker Support
Battery capacity 450 mAH
Antenna Support
Side buttons Support
Chargers Support
USB Support
G-SENSOR Support
Package weight 170g

First Impressions

The watch looks good to me. I had a few people say it looked big to them but I don’t feel like it is too big….in fact I wish it were bigger. Below are some pics I took. My pictures don’t due it justice so that is why I posted the professional pics above.

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No1_D6_Android_Smartwatch

First Tests

First thing I did was try to push it to the max and do some absurd testing. What does that entail? For me it was watching movies on a watch. Kodi Netflix MX player, Plex, HdHomerun, and Emby.

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To my surprise most worked pretty well considering it is a watch. With Emby I couldn’t use the built in player and had it use MX player and I couldn’t get Plex to work at all. This is not a deal breaker…it is really a ridiculous test but sometimes you do things just to see if they could be done. I also ran Antutu and got a 23221 on version 6.1.4….not too shabby for a watch.

No.1_D6_Antutu_6_Score

OTA Firmware Update

After a couple days I received notification that the watch needed to be updated. So I performed the updated and followed the instructions. It went through and when it booted the first time after the update it hung on the boot animation and got really warm. I waited a long time I took the battery out and when I turned it on next it booted properly. Then a 2nd update appeared but this time the watch soft bricked. I went to the website, downloaded the latest firmware, and installed it. It mostly went off without a hitch except I should have waited to plug in the watch until after I installed the drivers. It took 30 tries for me to catch the device in the device manager to install the drivers manually from the download. Included in the download were the drivers and flashing tool and img. It did not come with any instructions that I saw but it was easy to reflash. (Received another update today and it installed perfectly.)

Setup

I didn’t like the built in launcher at first so I installed Nova Launcher. Added 3 widgets one is clock, circle battery widget from the play store, and power control widget. Nova is pretty customizable so I was able to mimic an android phone setup. But I ended up getting errors with Nova and it would force close frequently and I had to choose default launcher over again.

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I really wish Nova worked better, didn’t close like this, and I think it takes a toll on the battery. I installed Apex launcher which worked pretty well and not too heavy but had to sacrifice too much. After a while I ended up back with the stock launcher. It’s good enough for a watch that runs full android with a small screen.

Use

So as I see it, there are a couple ways use the device. You can use it as a standalone. Pop a SIM card in and use it as your phone. A Bluetooth headset is necessary for this. Speaker phone is weak and there is no privacy. I tested first with a Ting SIM card. Popped it in and I was immediately up and running. I only made a few calls this way. I also tested with a Metro PCS SIM. Not quite as easy…I had to call and give Metro my IMEI number, and about 30 minutes later I was in business. I am not a fan of Bluetooth headsets so I didn’t enjoy this way. And I got caught at the end of the day once before I started charging midday without phone service. 2nd way is you can use it paired to your phone through Bluetooth and receive notifications, pass files to the watch and uninstall applications on the watch. Use it like a traditional smart watch. I didn’t find this particularly useful and when you get out of range of the watch both the watch and the phone beep. I opted to use it standalone. When out and about I turn on my hotspot on my phone and when home I use my home WiFi. This seemed to work best for me. You could also pair the phone and watch and also use hotspot. I just didn’t find notifications particularly useful. The good thing about this watch is you get many choices.

Battery

The battery has a 450 mAh capacity…which is tiny considering this processor is installed in full size phones. I really had to watch what I installed and had to be conscious of background tasks or it would destroy the battery. After testing to see if I could make it all day I started charging on my lunch break at work after that I didn’t have to be concerned with battery life. It charges relatively fast. After receiving the last OTA update when this review was nearly complete, I got significantly better battery life. I used it quite a bit the next day and I had about 20% left at the end of my work day with no charging. Depending on how it is used will significantly impact battery. I would recommend a second charging cable. It is proprietary with magnets that aren’t particularly strong. I found sometimes it was difficult to get it to stay.

Apps

I installed lots of different apps. Everything would install and was mostly usable. On a small screen it was sometimes difficult to navigate. I covered all the video apps already but I also installed ES File Explorer and to get on the pop bandwagon I installed Pokemon Go and it played fine.

No1_D6_Smartwatch_Android_Apps

There are thousands of apps and if you would like for me to test one leave a comment below and I will give it a shot. I live in the United States so some apps might not be available.

Radios/Antennas

Cellular, WiFi, or GPS worked ok. I had more dropped calls than I typically did with my smartphone. I do live in rural America so this will vary. WiFi range was OK. With Pokemon Go I did notice that trees were enough to disrupt the GPS signal.

Final Thoughts

It’s a pretty neat watch considering what it is doing in such a small amount of space. With this last update from No.1 battery life improved a lot. I wish it had come earlier in the review. It is definitely up the tech junkies alley and would make a cool gift. I am sure there are a lot of uses that it could be used for. There is a long thread on XDA as well covering the watch and I would imagine a custom ROM will be out soon. People are already flashing an img from another smartwatch on this one. Supposedly 6.0 will be coming to the watch in the near future and hopefully bring adaptable storage to the watch. If you have any questions feel free to post in the comments below.

I would like to thank Chinavasion for sending the NO. 1 D6 to review. It comes in 3 different versions: silver like shown in review, gold, and black. You can purchase it for $76.99 on their website. Alternatively, you can also find the watch on GearBest, GeekBuying, eBay, and Aliexpress for similar or slightly higher prices up to $90.

M9S Z8 Android TV Box Looks like an Nvidia Shield Android TV Box

July 22nd, 2016 3 comments

You’d love to get an Nvidia Shield Android TV, but the price is just too high? No problem, as M9S Z8 offers you the appearance of Nvidia TV box for just $66. Sadly the comparison stops there, because instead of an Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, the box features your typical Amlogic S905 processor combined with 2GB RAM and 16 GB storage.

Nvidia_Shield_Android_TV_CloneM9S Z8 specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S905 quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 2.0GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 output up to 4K  @ 60 Hz, AV port
  • Audio – HDMI, AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, RGB LED light
  • Power Supply –  5V
  • Dimensions & Weight – 160 grams; 4.00 x 10.00 x 3.00 cm

The device runs Android 5.1 with a “fully loaded” (read piracy add-ons) Kodi 16.0, and ships with an IR remote control, an HDMI Cable, a power adapter, and a user’s manual in English.

M9S_Z8
Some more information is available on what may be the official product page.

Via AndroidPC.es

Categories: AMLogic, Android, Hardware Tags: Android, TV box

NEXBOX A95X (S905X) Android TV Box Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown

July 22nd, 2016 11 comments

NEXBOX A95X is an Android TV box that first launched with Amlogic S905 processor, the company thought it was a good idea to make multiple models with the same name with a combination of memory capacity (1 or 2GB), storage capacity (8 or 16GB), and even processor, as you may get a box with Amlogic S905, or Amlogic S905X processor adding 4K VP9 and HDR support. So you should be careful befoire your place an order, and check you got the right model when you receive it. The company now sent me their “high-end” A95X Android 6.0 model with Amlogic S905X processor, 2GB RAM, and 16GB storage, as well as Fast Ethernet and dual band WiFi 802.11 b/g/n support. In the first part of the review I’ll check out the hardware, including the board itself, before testing the firmware in more details in the second part.

NEXBOX A95X Unboxing

The box ships in the black package with no apparent trademarked logos or names.NEXBOX_A95X_PackageYou can double-checked the main specifications on the bottom of the package, and you’ll also notice the CE / FCC / RoHS markings which could matter when you import the device.

NEXBOX_A95X_Specifications_CE_FCC

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The TV box ships with an IR remote control taking two AAA batteries and supporting IR learning function for 5 keys, a 5V/2A power supply, an HDMI cable, and  “Android TV User Manual”.

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The device itself is really small, although not quite as tiny as WeTek Hub. We have a micro SD slot and two USB 2.0 ports on one side, and the power jack, HDMI 2.0 and AV outputs, Ethernet, and coaxial S/PDIF on the rear panel.

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NEXBOX A95X Teardown

The bottom of the case list the main specs, and shows a MAC address starting with C4:4E:21, which looks up to… nothing. So either the MAC address space has been recently registered, or it’s just been (semi-)randomly selected….

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Let’s open the thing. There aren’t any screws, but you’ll notice a tiny opening on the top center, and that’s where you’ll want to start working your way to open the case.

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Thermal design looks decent with an heatsink on top of the Amlogic processor, itself in contact with a thermal pad connected to a thick metal plate.

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The board is named A7_S905X_v2.0, and includes two SKhynix H5TQ4G63CFR DDR3 SDRAM (1GB), a 16GB Samsung KLMAG2WEPD-B031 eMMC 5.0 flash, Ampak AP6330 module for dual band WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, as well as H1102NL Fast Ethernet magnetics (The Ethernet transceiver is built-in S905X processor). There’s also a smaller “DID2133 16-12 F1” IC close the AV jack that should be an amplifier. The serial console should be accessible via the four pins close to the two USB ports.

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Loosening four screws will allow you to completely remove the board, and check out the back where we’ll find two more RAM chips bringing the total to 2GB, as well as sticker with board name, storage/memory/wifi module, a serial number, and the manufacturing date. The board is basically fresh from the oven, as it was made on July 16th, 2016.

I’d like to thank NEXBOX for sending the device for review, and if you are interested in purchasing in quantity, you can contact them via their website. NEXBOX A95X featured in this post (S905X, 2GB RAM, 16GB flash) is sold for $43.99 on Banggood (group buy), and $51.32 on GearBest. You’ll also find a cheaper (~$43) version with just 8GB flash on both sites, and on GeekBuying. Finally, if you don’t care about VP9, and HDR, the first NEXBOX A95 model with Amlogic S905 processor sells for as low as $23 with 1GB RAM.

Superbook turns your Android smartphone in to a laptop for $99 (Crowdfunding)

July 22nd, 2016 16 comments

Using a laptop shell with a smartphone is not a new concept, but products like Motorola Lapdock were eventually phased out. But some people think there’s a market here, that Lapdock may just have been ahead of it time, and with smartphone faster than ever, it now makes more sense to use them as laptop too. That’s probably why the Superbook, allowing you to connect your smartphone to a larger screen and keyboard via a USB OTG cable, has just launched on Kickstarter.

SuperbookSuperbook specifications:

  • Display – 11.6″ LCD display; 1366×768 resolution
  • Keyboard – QWERTY keyboard with multi-touch trackpad
  • USB – USB type-C port (smartphone with micro B USB  are also supported via an adapter)
  • Misc – Android-specific navigation keys (Home, Back, Menu, Recent)
  • Custom Charging Port w/ Standard US charger
  • Battery – Good for 8 hours or more
  • Dimensions – 19.3 x 28.7 x 1.8cm

Superbook also charges your smartphone. You’ll need a phone with Android 5.0 or greater, a dual core processor, at least 1.5GB RAM, a type-C or micro B connector, and 25MB free storage (100MB recommended). Why does it have minimum requirements? Because you’ll need to install Andromium OS app which provides a desktop-like interface to Android when connected to Superbook.

If you are an Android app developer, Andromium will also release an SDK to optimize your app for the platform.

The project has already raised closed to $300,000 after about half-day since the launch. You can pledge $99 to get the Superbook with a custom USB OTG cable, and a charging adapter. Shipping is not included though, and add $20 to the US, $40 to the rest of the world. Delivery is scheduled for February 2017.