ONENUTS T1 look reminds me of GOLE1 mini PC / tablet combo, and the device also features the same Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor. However, the 8″ display is quite bigger, and more importantly it includes a mini DLP projector.
Click to Enlarge
ONENUTS T1 specifications:
SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.84 GHz with Intel Gen8 HD graphics (2W SDP)
System Memory – 2 GB DDR3L
Storage – 32 GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 64GB
Projector – 0.3″ TI DMD (DLP) + LED technology, 1280×720 resolution, 5.5″ to 81″ screen size, 300 lumens, 500:1 contrast ratio; lifetime: > 20,000 hours
LibreELEC, a fork of OpenELEC, was announced several months ago, and images for various hardware platform were released in that time period. However, support for Intel Bay Trail and Cherry Trail platforms using a 32-it UEFI binary might not have always work, or was more difficult to install. piotrasd has now created a LibreELEC 8 + Kodi 17 beta 3 build especially for this type of devices, and tested it on Tronsmart Ara IZ37 Bay Trail mini PC.
However, it should work on other Intel Atom Z3735F or Intel Atom x5/z7 mini PC or sticks with a 32-bit UEFI bootloader. If you have such device, you can try it the following instructions using a USB flash drive:
Launch your USB creator program, select the firmware file, and make a bootable USB flash drive
Connect the USB flash drive to your mini PC
Power it on, and press the ESC key on your keyboard to enter the boot menu
Select your USB drive, and follow the Installer procedure on the TV
Installation is complete
I understand that the procedure will wipe out your current operating system since it will install on the internal storage. Make sure that the bootable USB drive is the only USB device connected to the mini PC or TV stick during installation. If the display is too bright, you can go to System settings->Display, and disable “Use Limited colour range (16-235)” option.
Infocus has been making Kangaroo mini PCs with separate docks, and now the company is introducing its Kangaroo Notebook which can be upgraded with a new CPU card, but sadly it’s completely incompatible with the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop models, and instead they designed Kangaroo Mini PC card that can be inserted in the left side of the laptop.
Kangaroo Mini (Left) and Kangaroo Notebook (Right)
Kangaroo Notebook + Mini module specifications:
SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 quad core Cherry Trail processor with Intel HD graphics
System memory – 2GB RAM
Storage – 32GB eMMC flash + mini SD card reader
Connectivity – 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2
Dimensions – 9.7 x 4.1 x 0.9 cm
Weight – 51 grams
Display – 11.6″ touchscreen display with 1366×768 resolution
QWERTY Keyboard & Synaptic Clickpad
Storage – SD card reader
Camera – 1MP webcam
Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, microphone, and speakers
USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 port
Battery – 37 Wh battery good for around 5 hours
Dimensions – 29 x 19.6 x 2 cm
Weight – ~1.2 kg
Kangaroo Mini is pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home. Unfortunately it can’t be used as a mini PC since it lacks the necessary USB and HDMI port. The module design is also proprietary so you can’t rely on another company to come up with a card, and currently InFocus only has one laptop shell, and Mini card, so there’s no update possible. In theory, you’d think the company would provide various options in the future, but based on what they’ve done with their mini PCs and docks, I’m not too confident since AFAIK docks can not be purchased separately…
Kangaroo Notebook with actually come with 2 Kangaroo mini, so you can have several people sharing one laptop shell without having to share the same operating system. Maybe there’s a use case here, especially storage is limited to 32GB. Liliputing had a closer look at the laptop which should sell for $300.
It’s not the first modular laptop we’ve seen this year, and while it’s quite more powerful than the first EOMA68 CPU card for laptops, mini PCs, and whatever you may think of, which offers an open standard and an ecosystem of options, Kangaroo solution is fully proprietary, and currently it’s only modular by name since there’s only one laptop shell, and one PC module. We’ll have to see how it evolves.
Infocus Kangaroo Notebook also has a product page, but with only a few pictures, no information for now.
I’ve listed specifications and posted photos of MINIX NEO Z83-4 mini PC in the first part of review, and while NEO Z83-4 is yet another Intel Atom x5-Z8300 device, it’s clear the company has made specific efforts for the thermal design with a large heatsink and aluminum bottom cover, and provided a solid 12V/3A power supply. So in the second part of the review, I’ll check how Windows 10 performs in the device, and run some benchmarks to compare it to other low power Intel mini PCs.
MINIX NEO Z83-4 Setup & System Information
If you’ve connected USB mouse and keyboard, HDMI and Ethernet, a USB 3.0 hard drive to the USB 3.0 port, and the power cord. Pressing the power button on the right side will boot the device.
A typical boot will take around 30 seconds to the desktop. My system was already configured with Z83-4 user, possibly because MINIX tested the device before sending it to me, but for the first boot, users should normally go through Windows 10 setup to select the language, configure networking and so on.
Click for Original Size
System and Security->System in the control panel shows Z84-3 runs Windows 10 Home 64-bit (activated), and features an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor @ 1.44 GHz with 4GB RAM.If we check My Computer we can see the C: drive (eMMC flash partition) has a total capacity of 28.6GB with about 13.1 GB free, and the system also detected partition on my USB hard drive formatted with exFAT and NTFS file systems.
Click to Enlarge
I’ve take the Device Manager screenshot for people wanting more details about the drivers, and runs HWiNFO64 to show a system summary.
Click to Enlarge
There’s no surprise here, and the info is basically the same as other x5-Z8300 mini PCs such as Tronsmart Ara X5.
MINIX NEO Z83-4 Benchmarks
I’ve only run PCMARK 8 HOME 3.0 Accelerated benchmark, and skipped the “baseline” benchmark, as systems based on Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor have been benchmarked so many times.
The device got 656.3 points in PassMark 8 benchmark, a result quite lower than other faster mini PC with Atom x7 or Braswell processors, but the benchmark is quite shorter in duration, so CPU throttling is not a factor in most cases.
The eMMC flash performance is average however, since 32GB storage device are often a bit slower than their larger counterparts (64 / 128 GB), but still acceptable.
I also tested USB 3.0 throughput, and close to 100 MB/s is about where it should be.
MINIX NEO Z83-4 mini PC has good networking options as it supports both Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11ac WiFi, and I had no issue connecting to my TP Link AC router the first time.
However, subsequent attempts all failed, with the Device Manager reporting an error with Broadcom 802.11ac WDI SDIO Adapter.
I’m unable to connect to any wireless networks when that happens. But I can either restart the PC, or faster, disable and re-enable the adapter, and I can connect to my two 2.4 GHz networks including one of the same TPLink AC router, but connecting to the 5 GHz access point will always cause the driver to fail…
[Update: I’ve re-tried this morning, and could connect to 5 GHz WiFi… iperf results with full duplex test:
The table below compares the results to some competitors including Tronsmart Ara X5, Kangaroo Mobile Desktop, MINIX NGC-1, Intel NUC5CPYB, Voyo V3, Beelink BT7, and Vorke V1. Results for Ice Storm 1.2 are divided by 20 to make the graphics more readable.
One oddity is that NEO Z83-4 has the weakest GPU score, even slightly lower than Tronsmart Ara X5, and storage and passmark results are about equivalent. PCMark 8 is the only benchmark that seems to show the strength of the platforms.
MINIX NEO Z83-4 Usability and Stress Testing
I’ve run most of the same test as on other mini PCs with 4GB RAM to see how well they can be used as desktop PC replacement, or at least as an Entry level computer, by running multiple programs, playing games, etc… I replaced my Kodi test, with always the same decent results in those Atom mini PCs, by checking out MINIX options in the BIOS.
Multi-tasking – Using Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, and Gimp at the same time
Loading multiple tab with CNX Software blog in Firefox
Playing 1080p YouTube Videos in Firefox 48
Playing a flash game (Candy Crush Saga) in Firefox
Gaming with Asphalt 8
MINIX UEFI Settings
MINIX NEO Z83-4 mini PC did well for all of those tests considering it’s a long end PC, and the performance is solid and constant. Adobe flash CPU usage was quite high in Firefox, and may perform better in Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
I also ran OCCT 4.4.2 system stress tool for three hours, and the computer stayed cool all the time only reaching 63 C max, with an average CPU frequency of 1.6 GHz between the base frequency (1.44 GHz), and the maximum burst frequency (1.84 GHz).
Click to Enlarge
MINIX Feature Configuration in BIOS / UEFI
MINIX has also fone some work in the BIOS. So I’ve check their options in Aptio Setup Utility. Press Esc to enter the BIOS when the system boots.
Click to Enlarge
Then go to Advanced->MINIX Feature Configuration.
Click to Enlarge
You’ll find option to select between Apple or Nokia/Samsung earphone types for the 3.5mm audio jack, AC Power On if you want the computer to automatically start (without pressing the button) when power is applied, Wake-on-LAN, or RTC wake-up to set a specific date, or specific hour of the day to automatically turn on the computer.
I’ve quite pleased with MINIX NEO Z83-4 mini PC as the performance is stable, and for desktop tasks just as good, if not better, as some other mini PCs based on more powerful Intel Atom x7-Z8700 and Celeron Braswell processors. I also like the extra options in the BIOS, which are not always found in cheaper models, and the only major downside I found is some issue with Broadcom WiFi driver which reports an issue after attempting to connect to my 5.0 GHz / 802.11ac access point, despite initially working [Update: I tried again the day after, and I had no problem connecting to 802.11ac WiFi with very good performance]. 3D Graphics performance appears to be a little lower than expected too, and storage performance is average, if not below average.
Price is also higher than somewhat similar models, but considering the extra features (802.11ac, 4GB, GbE, UEFI options…), it may still be worth paying a little extra. MINIX NEO Z83-4 is much more aggressively priced compared to MINIX NGC-1, as it will sell for $169.90, 169.90 Euros, or 144.90 GBP once it launches on September 16.
[Update: MINIX NEO Z83-4 can be bought on Geekbuying for $169.99 shipped]
MINIX has just launched a new Windows 10 mini PC with MINIX NEO Z83-4 powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 quad core processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi, etc.. The company sent me an early review sample, and today I’ll go through the specs, take pictures of the device and accessories, and tear it down to check out the PCBA, and the thermal design.
MINIX NEO Z83-4 Specifications
MINIX latest mini PC has slightly higher-0end specifications that most X5-Z8300 computers or sticks:
SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.84 GHz (Turbo) with Intel Gen8 HD graphics (2W SDP)
System Memory – 4GB DDR3L
Storage – 32 GB eMMC 5.0 flash + micro SD slot
Video Output – HDMI 1.4 and mini DP up to 4K @ 30 Hz
Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm earphone jack
Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.2
USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 port supporting phone charging while the PC is turned off
Misc – Power button and LED, RTC battery, Kensington lock ready
Power Supply – 12V/3A
Dimensions – 12.8 x 12.8 x 2.75 cm
Weight – 350 grams
The mini PC runs Windows 10 Home with a proper license from Microsoft. The BIOS / UEFI also supports Wake on LAN, auto power recovery after power loss, and scheduled power on. Support for Apple/Nokia/Samsung standard headphones for audio input and output can also be enabled or disabled in the BIOS.
The hardware specifications are somewhat similar to Tronsmart Ara X5 Plus, except NEO Z83-4 has more memory (4GB vs 2GB), a mini DisplayPort output, one more USB 2.0 port, support for Gigabit Ethernet, and a more powerful power supply.
The computer ships with a 12V/3A power supply made by Delta Electronics and corresponding power cord, a WiFi antenna, and HDMI cable, a user’s manual in English and Chinese, and MINIX products brochure.
Click to Enlarge
The device looks basically the same as all other MINIX Android TV boxes and mini PCs. One side comes with the power button, the micro SD slot, three USB 2.0 ports, and one USB 3.0 port with the latter also working in power off mode if you want to charge your phone or tablet. The side features the WiFi antenna connector and a Kensington lock opening.
Click to Enlarge
Media and networking ports can be found in the rear panels with a 3.5mm audio jack (microphone + headphone), a mini DisplayPort connector, HDMI 1.4 output, a Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, and the power jack.
MINIX NEO Z83-4 Teardown
In order to open the case, I had to remove four sticky pads on the pad, and loosen four screws. The bottom cover will then come off relatively easily with some gentle taps on the top.
Click to Enlarge
MINIX has got serious with cooling, as they’ve selected a massive heatsink that also in contact with the large thermal pad on the top of the aluminum case. The company also showed me the system running OCCT for four hours last month, so the performance should be very stable, and CPU throttling not an issue. That’s something I’ll have to test in the second part of the review anyway.
I’ve removed the heatsink, which was firmly hold in place with four screws and springs. There’s also a thermal pad with some thermal paste under the heatsink to cover the processor.
Click to Enlarge
A 32GB Samsung KLMBG4GEND-B031 eMMC 5.0 flash with 250 MB/s read speed, 100 MB/s write speed, and 6000/12000 R/W IOPS is used together with four SKhynix H5TC8G63CMR-PBA DDR3L @ 1600 MHz SDRAM (4GB in total) for storage and memory. Ampak AP6255 module delivers WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.2? LE wireless connectivity, while a Realtek RTL8711GS PCIe to GbE transceiver allows for Gigabit Ethernet, with the transformer likely inside the Ethernet RJ45 connector. Other ICs includes AXP288C PMIC, and two smaller chip marked “MINI5BZDE 539GB 2532B076 ZZ ARM” and “B203 A3 UBCUC D8P8J 1522”, but I could not figured out what they could be used for. One of them is likely the MCU taking care of the power circuitry. You’ll also notice the RTC battery, and two headers marked ICE1 and JDEBUG1 which could be useful in the unlikely case the mini PC is bricked.
Click to Enlarge
The bottom of the board features Realtek ALC5645 audio codec, and Winbond 25Q64FWSIG 64Mbit SPI flash.
This looks all good, but what about price? The previous model, MINIX NGC-1, did not become that popular despite a very good implementation due to its high price, partially because of the $85 Windows 10. MINIX NEO Z83-4 mini PC is priced rather competitively, as it will sell for $169.90 US, 169.90 Euros, or 144.90 GBP depending on the country starting on September 16th.
Even since the first low cost mini PCs and TV sticks started to come to market there was lots of confusion about Windows 8.1/10 licenses, because while small tablets could be shipped with Windows 8.1 with Bing/Windows 10 with a free license, mini PCs required a different discounted NTE license costing between $15 and $30. Price differs depending who your ask… So while the cheapest devices normally shipped unactivated, some companies like PiPo decided to install Windows with the latest version to cut costs… Microsoft eventually noticed, and PiPo had to stopped the practise, instead making mini PCs with small displays…
The exact hardware requirements were also unclear so far for either the free or discount tablet, but the following table dropped in my email Inbox recently… It explains which hardware is accepted for an Entry level license.
Click to Enlarge
OST means Online Service Terms, and the devices matching the hardware requirements above should be eligible for a discount. A Low End CPUs should be Intel Bay Trail, and Cherry Trail processor, and most likely Braswell and Apollo Lake too, plus some AMD processors. So if you buy a Intel Core iX processor, you should not get a free/cheap Windows license.
Windows 10 mini PCs like Beelink BT7 and Vorke V1 match most requirements of the “WW Entry Desktop/AiO” with a low end Atom X7-Z8700 and Celeron J3160 processor, 4GB RAM, no hard drive, and no optical drive. However, they fail the maximum storage requirements since they ship with at least 64GB internal flash. That means they should be paying the full Windows 10 license, and while they come activated, they are likely in breach of Windows OST. I’ve also been informed Microsoft has been taking legal action against at least one manufacturer of non-compliant devices.
Amlogic S905X Android TV boxes are now pretty common, but if you’re looking for a device in TV stick form factor that’s more difficult to find, and exactly what Eachlink IX809 PRO devices offers with Amlogic S905X processor combined with 1GB RAM and 8GB eMMC flash.
Eachlink IX809 PRO specifications:
SoC – Amlogic S905X quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP GPU
Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi; It’s unclear whether Bluetooth is implemented.
USB – 1x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port, 1x micro USB port for power only
Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port
Dimensions & Weight – N/A
The HDMI stick runs Android 6.0, and ships with a short HDMI cable, a USB OTG adapter, a micro USB to USB cable, and a user’s manual. The power supply is not provided, or at least not shown on pictures, so you may have to provide your own.
There are three processor for mobile (read laptop) devices (Nxxx parts), and three for desktop (Jxxx parts):
For tablets, notebooks, 2-in-1 hybrids:
Celeron N3350 dual core processor @ 1.1 GHz / 2.4 GHz (Burst frequency) and 12 EU Intel HD graphics 500 @ 200 MHz / 650 MHz (Burst freq.); 6W TDP
Celeron N3450 quad core processor @ 1.1 GHz / 2.2 GHz (Burst frequency) and 12 EU Intel HD graphics 500 @ 200 MHz / 700 MHz (Burst freq.); 6W TDP
Pentium N4200 quad core processor @ 1.1 GHz / 2.5 GHz (Burst frequency) and 18 EU Intel HD graphics 505 @ 200 MHz / 750 MHz (Burst freq.); 6W TDP
For mini PCs:
Celeron J3355 dual core processor @ 2.0 GHz / 2.5 GHz (Burst frequency) and 12 EU Intel HD graphics 500 @ 250 MHz / 700 MHz (Burst freq.); 10W TDP
Celeron J3455 quad core processor @ 1.5 GHz / 2.3 GHz (Burst frequency) and 12 EU Intel HD graphics 500 @ 250 MHz / 700 MHz (Burst freq.); 10W TDP
Penitum J4205 quad core processor @ 1.5 GHz / 2.6 GHz (Burst frequency) and 18 EU Intel HD graphics 505 @ 250 MHz / 800 MHz (Burst freq.); 10W TDP
All processors come in FCBGA1296 package, supports up to 8GB dual channels memory, eDP/DP/HDMI/MIPI-DSI graphics output, up to 6 PCIe lanes, 8 USB 2.0/3.0 ports, and 2x SATA 6.0 Gbps ports. So both mobile and desktop processors have the same features, but the desktop versions are clocked a little higher, providing better performance at the cost of higher power consumption.