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Posts Tagged ‘Android’

Intrinsyc Introduces Snapdragon 810 Powered Mobile and Tablet MDPs, DragonBoard Development Kit

November 28th, 2014 2 comments

Intrinsyc has recently announced availability for three development platforms based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 ARM Cortex A53/A57 processor, namely a smartphone Mobile Development Platform (MDP), a tablet MDP, and a DragonBoard development kit integration Open-Q 8094 system-on-module, making these one of the first ARM64 development platforms available to individual developers, or at least small software development companies (approved by Qualcomm). All three platforms will run Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Intrinsyc Snapdragon 810 MDP Smartphone

Snapdragon_810_MDPIntrinsyc MDP/S specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 (8994)  64-bit octa-core processor with 4x Cortex A57 cores, 4x Cortex A53 cores, Adreno 430 GPU, and Hexagon V56 DSP
  • System Memory – 3 GB LP-DDR4
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC 5.0  micro SD slot (under battery door)
  • Display – 6.17” QHD (2560×1600) 490ppi, 10-finger multi-touch capacitive touchscreen
  • Video Output – micro HDMI type D
  • Audio
    • Headset jack with ANC support
    • 8 microphones (2 analog/ 6 digital) with support for Qualcomm Fluence Pro technology and Snapdragon digital pen technology
    • Ultrasound emitter for gesture applications
    • Mono speaker
  • Connectivity – 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 2.5 GHz/5 GHz,  Bluetooth 4.1, Qualcomm IZat Gen8C GPS
  • Cameras
    • 13 MP rear camera with OIS, Dual LED flash (4K at 30 fps, 1080p @ 60fps)
    • 4 MP front camera with AF (1080p at 120 fps)
  • Sensors – 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyro, 3-axis magnetometer (compass), ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, pressure sensor, temperature and humidity sensor, UV sensor, and Mobeam sensor (for barcodes)
  • USB – micro USB 3.0 OTG port
  • Misc – Volume, power, and home buttons, finger print reader, tri-color status/notification LED
  • Battery – 3020 mAh Lithium-ion battery. Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 support when used with optional HVDCP charger

This developer smartphone has some serious specs, and should ship late December 2014 for $799. Please note that there does not seem to be any 3G/LTE support. More details are available on the product page.

Intrinsyc Snapdragon 810 MDP Tablet

Snapdragon_810_MDP-TIntrinsyc MDP/T specifications are somewhat similar to the 810 MDP/S, but with more RAM and storage, a larger screen (possibly even the first 4K UHD screen on a tablet), a larger battery, stereo speakers, and a dual 3D gesture camera, but less sensors:

  • SoC – Qualcom Snapdragon 810 (8994)  64-bit octa-core processor with 4x Cortex A57 cores, 4x Cortex A53 cores, Adreno 430 GPU, and Hexagon V56 DSP
  • System Memory – 4 GB LP-DDR4
  • Storage – 64 GB eMMC 5.0  micro SD slot (under battery door)
  • Display – 10.1” UHD 4K (3840×2160), 10-finger multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, dual display capable (tablet + HDMI)
  • Video Output – micro HDMI type D
  • Audio
    • Headset jack with ANC support
    • 8 microphones (2 analog/ 6 digital) with support for Qualcomm Fluence Pro technology and Snapdragon digital pen technology
    • Two ultrasound emitters for gesture applications
    • Front-facing stereo speakers
    • 8-channel audio over HDMI
  • Connectivity – 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 2.5 GHz/5 GHz,  Bluetooth 4.1, Qualcomm IZat Gen8C GPS
  • Cameras
    • 13 MP rear camera with OIS, Dual LED flash (4K at 30 fps, 1080p @ 60fps)
    • 4 MP front camera with AF (1080p at 120 fps)
    • Dual 3D IR gesture camera
  • Sensors – 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyro, 3-axis magnetometer (compass), ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, temperature and pressure sensor, and ambient humidity sensor.
  • USB – micro USB 3.0 OTG port
  • Misc – Volume, power, reset, and home buttons.
  • Battery – 7,560 mAh Lithium-ion battery. Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 support when used with optional HVDCP charger, and Qualcomm WiPower charging capable.

The tablet will ship by mid December 2014, and can be purchased for $999. Check out the product page for more information.

DragonBoard Development Kit based on Snapdragon 810 (APQ8094)

ARM64_development_boardIntrinsyc DragonBoard 64-bit ARM development board technical specs:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with 4x Cortex A57, 4x Cortex A53, Adreno 430 GPU and Hexagon v56 DSP
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC 5.0 flash + 2x SATA + 1 MicroSD card slot
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11n/ac, Bluetooth 3.0/4.1, GNSS (GPS and GLONASS)
  • Video Output / Display I/F  – HDMI, 1x MIPI dual 4-lane DSI + touch panel
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 + 2x USB 2.0 + 1x USB 2.0 micro-AB
  • Camera I/F – 3x MIPI CSI with support for 3D camera configuration
  • Expansions
    • PCI Express Slot with support for Gigabit Ethernet card
    • 4x Expansion headers for additional features, test, and debug

The kit is comprised of a baseboard, and an OpenQ-8094 SoM, which can be procured separately for commercial applications.

This “Early Adopter” board is currently only available to “select customers approved by Qualcomm” for $499, but as time passes by, individuals will hopefully be able to purchase as board, as is the case with other DragonBoards.

Via Liliputing and LinuxGizmos

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Linaro 14.11 Release with Kernel 3.18, Android 5.0, & Ubuntu Utopic. Debian 8.0 Gets ARM64 Port

November 28th, 2014 1 comment

Linaro 14.11 has been released with Linux kernel 3.18-rc5 (baseline), Linux 3.10.61 & 3.14.25 (LSK, same versions as last month), and Android 4.4.2, 4.4.4, and for the first time Android 5.0 Lollipop. There’s also been some news with regards to Linux desktop distributions, as Ubuntu baseline has been upgraded to Utopic (14.10), and Debian 8.0 (Jessie) will officially support ARM64 with 93% of packages built as of November 5th. Android Lollipop images are said to be built for TC2, Juno, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and FVP models, but I could not find the images. Finally, it’s the first time I’ve noticed Hisilicon X5HD2 development board with a dual core Cortex A9 processor, but apparently it’s the same as Hi3716cv200.

Here are the highlights of this release:

  • Linux Linaro 3.18-rc5-2014.11
    • updated GATOR to version 5.20
    • updated topic from Qualcomm LT (include IFC6410 board support)
    • updated integration-linaro-vexpress64 topic by ARM LT (FVP Base and Foundation models, and Juno support)
    • updated integration-hilt-linux-linaro topic by HiSilicon LT (Hi36xx, HiP04, and X5HD2 families support)
    • updated LLVM topic (uses the community llvmlinux-latest branch) includes ILP32 patch set v3 rebased on 3.18-rc5. Build tested only.
  • Linaro builds of AOSP 14.11
    • built with Linaro GCC 4.9-2014.11
    • migrated to Android 5.0 (Lollipop) for all the targets on all CI loops. Here are the combinations: TC2-LSK-3.10, TC2-LSK-3.14, Juno-LSK, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, FVP-LSK-3.10 and FVP-LSK-3.14.
    • updated LSK pre-merge CI for 3.10 and 3.14
    • revamped to use overlay manifest with local_manifests
    • added AOSP master builds setup for Versatile Express TC2, Juno, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10
  • Linaro OpenEmbedded 2014.11
    • integrated Linaro GCC 4.9-2014.11
    • included perf tools in the rootfs
    • fixed gator FTBS
    • updated strace aarch64_be patch
    • fixed external toolchain support
    • upstreaming:
      • updated LTP to 20140828 release
      • updated PM QA to 0.4.14 release
      • updated ACPICA to 20140828 release
  • Linaro Ubuntu 14.11
    • Ubuntu baseline migrated from Trusty to Utopic
    • updated packages: Juno firmware 0.9.2, LSK 3.10.60/3.14.24 and linux-linaro 3.18-rc5 kernels
  • Debian release team announced ARM64 architecture has made enough progress to be a released architecture for Debian 8.0 (Jessie)
  • SELinux support is enabled in linux-linaro kernel
  • Test usage of Linaro toolchain binary to build OE rootfs has been added
  • CI bring up: coresight enabled build for TC2

You can visit https://wiki.linaro.org/Cycles/1411/Release for a list of known issues, and further release details about the LEB, LMB (Linaro Member Builds), and community builds, as well as Android, Kernel, Graphics, Multimedia, Landing Team, Platform, Power management and Toolchain components.

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Rikomagic MK80, MK12, MK05, V5 Android TV Boxes and Sticks Are Now Available for Purchase

November 27th, 2014 No comments

Rikomagic unveiled their MK80, MK12 and MK05 Android media players a few week ago, and somehow I missed (or ignored) their Rikomagic V5 TV stick, which looks very similar to Jesurun T034 / MK802 V powered with Rockchip RK3288 processor, and features an Ethernet port, but differs as full-sized USB ports are used instead of mix of micro and full-sized USB ports. All four devices, even five with MK80 Plus, are now available on Rikomagic’s Aliexpress store.

Top to Bottom, Left to Right: MK80, MK12, MK05 and V5

Top to Bottom, Left to Right: MK80, MK12, MK05 and V5

MK80 and MK80 Plus are Android mini PCs powered by Allwinner A80 SoC, and are probably using the same Sunchip board as Tronsmart Draco AW80 Meta and Telos, The standard version comes with 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, and the “Plus” version with 4GB RAM, and 32GB eMMC, and can be purchased respectively for $155.90 and $199.99 including shipping.

MK12 is based on the new Amlogic S812 processor which adds HEVC/H.265 hardware video decoding up to 4K UHD resolution, and Gigabit Ethernet support compared to Amlogic S802, and comes with 2GB RAM, and 16GB eMMC. It sells for $101.90 on Aliexpress, again including shipping.

MK05 features Amlogic S805 processor, providing a low cost solution for people wanting to play 1080p videos, and support H.265 hardware video decoding, as well as 1GB RAM, and 8GB internal storage. The company offers it for $68.90.

As aforementioned, Rikomagic V5 is a Rockchip RK3288 TV Stick, with 2 GB RAM, 16 GB flash, that sells for $107.90.

Via AndroidPC.es and China Gadgets Reviews

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Firefly-RK3288 Development Board in Mass Production, Selling for $140

November 27th, 2014 16 comments

Firefly-RK3288 development board has been an interesting, yet confusing story, at least to me. We’ve first heard about the Firefly board on July, but I was privately told in September that the board would only be sold in China by a T-Chip sales person, only to see it become available for $189 on Ebay, as well as on Taobao a few days later. But those first boards may have only been engineering sample, or more likely from a limited trial runs, as the company has now announced mass production had started.

Firefly-RK3288_Mass_ProductionLet’s refresh our memory with the specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip 3288 quad core ARM Cortex A12 / A17 up to 1.8 GHz with Mali-T764 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 /3.0, and OpenCL 1.1
  • System Memory – 2G DDR3
  • Storage – 16 GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
  • Video Output
    • HDMI 2.0 up to 3840×2160@60p
    • VGA out (D-SUB connector)
    • Dual MIPI, Dual LVDS and and EDP signal available via expansion headers
  • Audio Output / Input – HDMI, optical S/PDIF, microphone header, and built-in MIC
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi with external antenna, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Debugging – Serial console
  • Expansion Headers – 2x 42-pin headers with access to MIPI, LVDS, EDP, SPI, UART, ADC, GPIO, I2C, I2S…
  • Misc – IR receiver, 2x user LED, power, recovery and reset buttons.
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 118 x 83 mm

The board is sold with two acrylic plates (bottom and top) with corresponding stands, a Wi-Fi antenna, and a power cable.

MP Version of Firefly-RK3288

MP Version of Firefly-RK3288

The company has published an extensive WiKi for the board inspired from Radxa website, which explains how to setup Android or Ubuntu, build the images from source. make use of drivers (ADC, I2C, GPIO. PWM, etc..) , and they’ve also released the schematics (PDF), and some other documentation.

It’s now quite cheaper to get the board, as GeekBuying sells it for $139.99 including shipping, and T-Chip also sells it by themselves on Aliexpress for $129.99 + shipping by DHL, which ends up costing $164.37 to Thailand, but at least you should get it in a couple of days, instead of a couple of weeks if you choose the cheaper option.

When it comes to Rockchip RK3288 development board, you basically have two options: Firefly-RK3288, or Radxa Rock 2. Radxa community has been setup in 2013 with the first Rockchip RK3188, and has many followers, but the company has opted for a more professional design for their RK3288 board comprised of a baseboard and a SoM. It has lots of features (including a 3G modem, a Gigabit switch, etc..), making it more expensive. So for hobbyists Firefly-RK3288 is probably the best choice for an RK3288 board, but for more professional usage, especially if you want to design your own product with an RK3288 SoM, the solution by Radxa should be more suited to your needs.

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Dual Boot Ubuntu 14.10 / Android 4.4 Image Released for Ugoos UT3

November 27th, 2014 5 comments

There has been several Ubuntu images released for Rockchip RK3288 based devices, even dual boot Android / Ubuntu images, first thanks to Ian Morrison who published instructions to install Linux on RK3288 devices based on the work done by T-Firefly team, then Nagrace released a preliminary dual boot Android / Ubuntu for HPH NT-V6, Open Hour Chameleon can boot either Android or Lubuntu from an SD card, and more recently Ugoos released a dual boot Ubuntu 14.10 / Android 4.4 image for their Ugoos UT3 mini PC, as well as a demo video.

720p Video Playback in Ubuntu 14.10 (Click to Enlarge)

720p Video Playback in Ubuntu 14.10 (Click to Enlarge)

Three images are now available for Ugoos UT3:

As a side note, I love mega.co.nz links as the download speed usually maxes out my Internet connection bandwidth.

There are two files and one folder in the dual boot rar file:

  • AndroidTool_Release_v2.3 folder with the usual Rockchip Windows tool for flashing.
  • ut3_dualboot_Android2.0.4_Ubuntu14.10_v1.img – The actual firmware
  • manual_at.docx – Word file explaining how to flash the firmware.

That means you’ll need a computer or virtual machine running Windows to install the firmware.

I understand the dual boot image boots to Android by default, and if you want to switch to Ubuntu, you need to press the power button, and the menu options “Switch System” will switch the device to Ubuntu. Once in Ubuntu, you can switch back to Android by clicking on the Android icon shown in the screenshot above.
Android_Power_Menu_to_UbuntuThe Ubuntu distributions does not support 2D/3d graphics acceleration, not hardware video acceleration because the GPU / VPU drivers are not available for Linux, and nobody has done the work with libhybris to support Mali-T764 GPU, and whatever VPU is used in RK3288.

Nevertheless the system appears to run quite smoothly thanks to the quad core Cortex A17 (or A12?) processor, and the fast eMMC used in the board. 1080p video playback is possible using software decoding. In the video demo below, Ugoos demos their dual boot image, starting in Ubuntu by playing music, running LibreOffice, browsing the web with Mozilla Firefox, installing and running Gimp, playing two 720p videos fom a SAMBA share over Wi-Fi, laoding a board games, and it looks like a perfectly usable system. However, they did not try more challenging tasks like 1080p video playback, YouTube video playback, flash games, etc.. but it’s something I’ll probably try with Open Hour Chameleon. Finally, they show how to switch between Ubuntu and Android, and vice versa. It only takes 15 seconds to switch between Ubuntu and Android in the video, but I think that part must have been edited.

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Zero Devices Z5C Thinko 4K H.265 TV Stick Review

November 26th, 2014 No comments

Zero Devices Z5C Think is one of the rare HDMI TV sitck powered by Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex A12/A17 processor available on the market. I’ve already take a few pictures of the device and internals, so today I’ll focus on testing the firmware, and performance of this thin and nice looking TV stick.

First Boot, Settings and First Impressions

There was a time when HDMI stick were powered by much slower, but power efficient processor based on Cortex A5 cores. One of these was CX-01 mini PC, and they could be powered by the USB port of the TV without problems. Now the processor are much more powerful, so normally you can’t power the device directly from the TV, but since I’ve seen people claim it was possible to drive RK3288 stick directly from the USB port of some TVs, I gave it a try, connected the stick to my Panasonic TV via the HDMI cable extension, as the two HDMI ports on my TV are too close, connected the micro USB to USB cable to my TV, and the power LED turned on, but the screen would stay black, and the TV display the message “Overcurrent error on USB device occured. Please remove the USB device and switch off the TV by mains power switch”.

Overcurrent_error_panasonic_TVSo that did not work out, but it was expected, and it’s not a problem with the stick, just that the TV can’t handle device with high power requirements.

So instead I used the power supply, and added a RF dongle for the Mele F10 Deluxe air mouse. Boot time is one of the best on the market so far, as it takes just 25 seconds between the time connecting the power supply, and getting to the Android Home Screen.

Android Home Screen (Click to Enlarge)

Android Home Screen (Click to Enlarge)

But the very first time, you’ll get through a wizard that let you select simplified Chinese, English or Others languages, scale your display for overscan compensation, and configure Wi-Fi. Unfortunately the first time, it did not find any Wi-Fi access point, so I went to Android Settings to check, and there was no MAC address either, probably meaning the Wi-Fi module was not detected. But everything got back to normal after a reboot, and Wi-Fi worked just fine.

Let’s have a look at the e Android settings. The Wireless & Networks sections comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet (for external USB dongle), and Data Usage menus, as well as a “More” section with VPN and Portable Hotspot. The Display settings mainly include font size adjustment, overscan compensation menu, and HDMI resolution selection between 9 modes: 1080p 24/25/30/50/60Hz, 720p 50/60, 720x576p-50 or 720x480p-60. Options for 4K output will be display if you own a 4K UHD TV. You can select the “Sound Output Device” in the “Sound Devices Manager” either “Default Output”, “Spdif Passthough” (which is not available on the stick), and “HDMI Bitstream” (HDMI pass-through).

About_Z5C_ThinkoThe 8GB eMMC is partitioned into two partitions:  a 0.95 GB “Internal Storage” partition for apps with 658 MB free, and a 8 GB (black magic yet again) “NAND FLASH” partition for data, with about 5.20 GB available space.

The “About Z5C Thinko” section reports the model number is Z5C, and it’s running Android 4.4.2 on top of Linux 3.10.0, and the vendor software version is 1.0.3. There’s also a System updates menu, that appears to properly connect to a server, but no new firmware was available at the time of the review.

Google Play works pretty well, and I could install apps such as ES File Explorer, Antutu, Beach Buggy Blitz, CPU-Z, etc…, with the only incompatible apps I’ve noticed being Vidonn Smartband app (as usual), and Real Racing 3. I’ve also installed Riptide GP2 through Amazon AppStore. However, I quickly ran out of space because of the sub 1GB app partition.

There’s no power button, and not proper power handling with this stick. Pressing the power button on the status bar will come up with a power off menu, but all it will do it reboot the device. Pressing the power button on Mele F10 Deluxe will simply blink the screen for one second, but it’s probably a remote key handling issue, which I’ve seen on another device, so after a fix, standby should be supported. But there’s probably nothing to be done to support power off, since it’s probably the way the hardware has been designed.

One of the biggest problems with Z5C Thinko is that it gets really hot, and sometimes hot enough to have the chip reboot itself. After Antutu, I could measure between 55 to 90°C, with the temperature especially hot on top of the Rockchip SoC, and close to the HDMI connector, since that’s where the heatsink spans.  The maximum temperature I got was 118°C. During idle time (i.e. in the home screen), the temperature is between 45 to 55°C, and in Kodi user interface it goes up to about 70°C. I’d like to point out the temperature varies a lot (-/+ 20°C on one given spot), probably because of the ventilation holes. So sometimes my IR thermometer may point to the plastic case, but sometimes I might measure the temperature directly from the heatsink, at least that’s my theory.

As long as you don’t perform demanding tasks, the firmware is mostly stable and smooth, but there are also various bugs, as I had to reboot to get Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work, USB storage connection may not be reliable, and because of the high temperature, it’s basically impossible to play 3D games, and even playing videos for over one hour may cause reboots. The tiny app partition is also annoying, but it’s something that’s easily fixable with a firmware update.

Video Playback

Kodi alpha 14 was pre-installed in the stick,. and it even let me know I should update, but since I don’t know whether the XBMC/Kodi version installed as been customized or not, I’ve tried using that version. Normally I play video from a SAMBA share, but for some reasons Kodi did not manage to find my computer, as it happened frequently in my previous review. So I switched to using my USB hard drive. I tried to connect it via the micro USB OTG port with the OTG adapter, but it was not recognized, and I tried a USB flash drive, but same problem. So instead I attached a USB hub to the single USB host port of the Android dongle, and my hard drive LED went on, but at first I could not see any partition in Kodi or ES File Explorer. I rebooted, and it worked, but since relatively unstable. So instead I installed SPMC from Google Play, and … it did not anything in the Video menu. So I ended playing videos from a SAMBA share using ES File Explorer and MX Player:

I played 1080p videos samples from samplemedia.linaro.org, and one extra 1080p H.265/HEVC videos:

  • H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny) – OK
  • MPEG2 codec / MPG container – It’s playing, but not very smooth.
  • MPEG4 codec, AVI container – OK
  • VC1 codec (WMV) – OK
  • WebM / VP8 – OK
  • H.265 codec / MPEG TS container – OK

Some higher bitrate videos had troubles to play because I was over Wi-Fi:

  • ED_HD.avi – OK, no problem even in fast moving scenes
  • big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi (1080p H.264 – 12 Mbps) – Playing OK, but buffering often
  • h264_1080p_hp_4.1_40mbps_birds.mkv (40 Mbps) – Playing OK, but buffering often
  • hddvd_demo_17.5Mbps_1080p_VC1.mkv (17.5Mbps) – Playing OK, but buffering often

Please note that most Android media player won’t be able to play these files smoothly over Wi-Fi + SAMBA, so the results are not really surprising.

High definition audio codec could play (downsampled) in MX Player, but since some of these are high bitrate I had buffering and audio cut issues:

  • AC3 – OK
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 / Dolby Digital 7.1 – OK (5.1), audio cuts and buffering (7.1)
  • TrueHD 5.1 & 7.1 – Black screen only
  • DTS-MA and DTS-HR –  Audio cuts and buffering

I tried to play Sintel-Bluray ISO, but it would load forever in MX Player.

4K video playback is about the same as with other RK328 boxes in MX Player, i.e. not that good:

  • HD.Club-4K-Chimei-inn-60mbps.mp4 – Frequent audio  cut, and video in slow motion. It’s a 60 Mbps video so it can’t be realistically be played over Wi-Fi.
  • sintel-2010-4k.mkv – Severe decoding issues with heavily distorted image
  • Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – OK (H/W decode)
  • Bosphorus_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – OK (H/W decode)
  • Jockey_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_TS.ts (H.265) –  Slow motion
  • phfx_4KHD_VP9TestFootage.webm (VP9) – Slow motion (maybe 1 to 3 fps)

This morning I tried again Kodi with SAMBA, and it worked for some reasons, so I tried the 4K videos in Kodi as well:

  • HD.Club-4K-Chimei-inn-60mbps.mp4 – First time black screen only, second try: plays but with many skipped frames, and then buffering.
  • sintel-2010-4k.mkv – Buffering a lot becasue bitrate is too high for Wi-Fi, but when video plays it’s not smooth either with many dropped and skipped frames.
  • Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – OK
  • Bosphorus_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – OK
  • Jockey_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_TS.ts (H.265) –  OK.
  • phfx_4KHD_VP9TestFootage.webm (VP9) – Kodi reports it plays at 8 to 10 fps, but it feels even slower than that. All four core at at 100% CPU usage.

I skipped the usual AVI, MKV, FLV, VOB, FLV and MP4 videos testing, but I still did play a 2-hour video (1080p / mkv / h.264) to test stability. The video did not feel very smooth, so I enabled Kodi debug overlay by pressing the ‘o’ key, and I regularly saw dropped and skipped frames, and the frame rate oscillated between 10 to 26 fps for that 24 fps video. Nevertheless, when I play the 2-hour video, I usually go to do something else, coming to check a few times, and after about one hour, I noticed I got back to the Android home screen. I did not connect the stick to my UPS, and I thought I heard a “micro” power failure (1 or 2 seconds), so I tried again, but it did play for one hour or so, and suddenly I saw the black, and shortly after the boot logo. So I rushed to scan the dongle with my infrared thermometer, and I go an amazing maximum temperature of 118 °C!

So proper video playback does not seem possible yet on Rockchip RK3288, and the small form factor even amplifies the issues, as it can’t play a full movie, at least at my room temperature (28 °C).

Links to various video samples used in this review and be found in “Where to get video, audio and images samples” post and comments.

Network Performance (Wi-Fi)

I’m transferring a 278 MB between SAMBA and the internal flash, and vice versa, for three times in ES File Explorer to get an idea of the Wi-Fi performance, and at 2.62 MB/s on average, the performance is decent, but not clearly outstanding. The good thing is that there was very little variation between the tests, so performance is not that great, but it’s reliable.

Throughput in MB/s

Throughput in MB/s

Miscellaneous Tests

Bluetooth

Sixaxis Compatibility Checker indicated the driver in Z5C can handle Sony PS3 controller, but when I used my controller clone, I got the message “Fake controller detected, attempting workaround”, but it just got stuck there.

Right after, sixaxis test, I tried to enable Bluetooth in the Android settings, but it did not work. A reboot fixed that, and I guess is the Sixaxis app may have caused troubles with Bluetooth. I could then pair my phone with Z5c, and transfer pictures.

I install the APK for my Vidonn X5 fitness tracker in order to test Bluetooth Smart (BLE). The smart band could be detected, and the dongle retrieve data from it successfully.

Storage

Both a micro SD card and USB flash drive formatted with FAT32 could be mounted and accessed.
Using my USB 3.0 hard drive was more problematic, as at times, it would just umount itself, or even not be recognized at all. But when it worked, it could detect all four partitions, but only mount the FAT32 and NTFS partition.

File System Read Write
NTFS OK OK
EXT-4 Not mounted Not mounted
FAT32 OK OK
BTRFS Not mounted Not mounted

Due to stability issues, and I believe people are less likely to connect a USB hard drive to their stick than a full box, I skipped USB / NTFS benchmark, but still used A1 SD Bench to check the Samsung eMMC performance.

Read & Write Speed in MB/s

Read & Write Speed in MB/s

The eMMC flash has very good read speed (34.26 MB/s), but the write speed (6..62 MB/s) is not quite as good. Strangely, it’s still faster than the 6MB/s listed in Samsung eMMC product brief.  The fast read speed explained the quick boot time (25s), but I did not notice slowdowns due to the write speed.

Gaming

Candy Crush Saga, Beach Buggy Blitz, and Riptide GP2 were the three games used for testing. No problem with Candy Crush Sag, as expected. I played the two racing games with Tronsmart Mars G01 wireless gamepad, which works just fine as usual. Beach Buggy Blitz was ultra-smooth with maxed out graphics settings, but I decided to try to play a few races, and check the temperature with that games. At the second race, the stick rebooted automatically, and I measured up to 105 °C, and I was quite surprised, as it was the first time (I played games, before I played videos) I got a temperature over 100 °C with an Android gadget. I decided to let the stick cool down for about 2 minutes, which I reckon is way too short,  before “playing” Riptide GP2.  As you may gues,s I did not end-up playing very long, as the device rebooted very soon, and I measured a maximum temperature of 110 °C.

Z5C Thinko Benchmarks

I expected the CPU frequency to be lower in a tiny HDMI adapter, compared to the easier to cool down full size TV box, so I ran CPU-Z to check the information, and the maximum CPU frequency is still 1.8 GHz, which at least partially explained the very high temperature I got.Z5C_Thinko_CPU-Z

The CPU is still detected as a Rockchip RK3066 with eight Cortex A12 core clocked between 312 MHz and 1.8 GHz, so it seems CPU-Z developers are not that interested in keeping up to date with Chinese SoCs by Allwinner or Rockchip.The total memory is correctly reported as 2019 MB, and internal storage has 0.95 GB because the app only included the first partition.

Z5C_Thinko_Antutu

Antutu 5.3 score is quite lower than other Rockchip RK3288 devices. Z5C Thinko gets 29,001 points, whereas TV boxes such as Tronsmart Orion R28 Meta get around 37,000 points. If we look into the details of the scores, Z5C takes a hit with UX, RAM, and CPU tests, but the GPU performance is exactly the same. Storage I/O is also weaker probably because of the slower eMMC write speed. So a more aggressive governor must have been implemented, or the 1.8GHz frequency reported by CPU-Z and Antutu is incorrect.

Conclusion

Zero Devices Z5C Thinko is small, looks great, and comes with a powerful Rockchip RK3288 processor. But unfortunately, there are just oo many problem with the firmware right now, include potential unreliable USB hard drive support, poor video playback (mostly common to other RK3288 devices), and most importantly high temperature issues, which makes 3D gaming, continuous video playback, and other tasks that may require a sustained load currently impossible, as the stick will just reboot to “save” itself.

PRO:

  • Fast new processor
  • Gook looking, thin, and small. One of the rare TV sticks based on Rockchip RK3288 processor
  • Fast boot (25 seconds)
  • 4K and H.265/HEVC support (although it needs improvement)
  • Video Output – 1080p support 24, 25 ,30 , 50 and 60 Hz output. 4K @ 60Hz should be supported (not tested).
  • Support for OTA update (server detected, but not tested since no new firmware was available at the time)
  • Bluetooth features seems to all work (File transfer, BLE, and maybe Sixaxis)

CONS:

  • Gets extremely hot (I measured up to 118 °C), leading to reboot, and it might affect the useful life of the device.
  • No power button, or proper power off handling, which can lead to data loss.
  • Many issues with video playback including dropped/skipped frames,  and it failed the 2-hour movie playback, because of issue #1 (temperature).
  • 3D games are unplayable due to temperature issues
  • Potential USB hard drive issue (unreliable)
  • USB OTG adapter does not seem to work, at least with USB mass storage devices.
  • At first boot, Wi-Fi module was not detected. Fixed after reboot, and the problem did not occur again.
  • The internal storage partition is only 0.95 GB, and it can be full after installing a few apps.

So at this stage, Z5C Thinko can probably only be used reliably as a portable mini PC to browse the web, check emails, and interact in social networks. But they’ve got some serious work to do when it comes to video playback, USB support, 3D gaming, and overall bug fixing. The temperature issue may only be fixable by lowering the CPU frequency to 1.2 or 1.4 GHz, and for 3D gaming the GPU may also have to be clocked down, but then you’ll end up with a much less powerful platform than existing RK3288 solutions.

Zero Devices Z5C Thinko can be purchased for $94.99 on Asiapads including shipping. The company also offers a USB + Ethernet Hub for an extra $5.

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Unboxing of Jesurun T034 RK3288 TV Dongle with a Gigabit Ethernet Port

November 25th, 2014 9 comments

Jesurun T034 is an Android HDMI Stick that looks just like MK802 V, and with the same specifications. GearBest sent me a sample of this Rockchip RK3288 based HDMI TV dongle that have the particularity to include an Ethernet RJ45 port that most sticks lack. I’ll take a few pictures of the device, and the internal of this product today, before writing a full review.

Jesurun T034 Unboxing

I’ve received the parcel via DHL together with a dreaded piece of paper reading “Inbound Charges Invoice”. The package is a white brand box reading “Smart TV BOX” with RK3288 logo.

Smart_TV_Box

The stick comes with a 5V/2.5 power adapter, a short HDMI cable, a micro USB to USB cable, a IR remote control. and the IR receiver cable. There’s also a user’s manual in English that seems to be for other RK3288 TV boxes (CR12, CR13, and CR16), but I’m sure nobody read these anyway….

Jesurun T034 with Remote, Cables, and Power Supply (Click to Enlarge)

Jesurun T034 with Remote, Cables, and Power Supply (Click to Enlarge)

Let’s have a closer look at the device itself.

Jesurun T034 / MK802 V (Click to Enlarge)

Jesurun T034 / MK802 V (Click to Enlarge)

On one end, we’ve got the Gigabit Ethernet port, a USB 2.0 port, and a 3.5mm jack for the IR extension cable, and on the other end an HDMI male connector. A micro SD slot, and two micro USB ports can be found on the side, with one being an OTG port, and the other being reserved for power. The ports are well marked on the bottom of the device. There are plenty of ventilation holes, as well as an external Wi-Fi antenna, and a recovery pinhole.

Unboxing video:

Jesurun T034 Board Photos

It’s extremely easy to open the dongle. Simply use a flat-headed precision screwdriver to lift and pop-out the bottom plastic cover.

T034 Board (Click to Enlarge)

T034 Board (Click to Enlarge)

There’s a thin heatsink covering the Rockchip SoC and the RAM chips, which I have not tried to removed. Realtek RTL8211E is the Gigabit Ethernet transceiver used to add Ethernet to RK3288. The board is called T034_V1_20140726.

Bottom of T034 Board (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom of T034 Board (Click to Enlarge)

Let’s turn the board around to check a few more components. T034 is using the same Samsung KLM8G1WEMB-B031 eMMC flash as in Zero Devices Z5C Thinko (CX-928 board), which, according to Samsung eMMC specs, supports a decent 100 MB/s read speed, but rather slow 6MB/s write speed. AP6330 is the wireless module for 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. The PMIC is again Active Semi 8846QM. So the board is different from CX-928, but interestingly the chosen components are almost all the same.

Jesurun T034 is available on GearBest for $79.98 with JT034CN coupon code. I could also find it on DealExtreme, but few others sell the stick under the brand and model name “Jesurun T034″. However, if you look for MK802 V instead, or just T034, both of which should be the same hardware, you’ll also find it on on Aliexpress, and Tinydeals, but for a price quite higher than on GearBest, at least for now.

I’ll probably write a shorter review than usual for this item, since with Zero Devices Z5C Thinko, I’ll already have had tested an Android TV stick based on Rockchip RK3288, so I’ll focus on Ethernet, and Wi-Fi performance, running a quick Antutu benchmark, and try out the IR extension cable and remote.

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