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Posts Tagged ‘stb’

Mele F10 Deluxe Air Mouse Review

August 3rd, 2014 15 comments

Mele F10 is an air mouse using 2.4GHz RF technology, that can be used as a remote, a QWERTY keyboard. and  a wireless mouse. That’s my favourite input device for Android TV Box, and I use it regularly for my product reviews.The company has now introduced an improved model called Mele F10 Deluxe with trick mode buttons, a gaming mode thanks to a gyroscope, and an IR learning function to use it as a universal remote. Mele sent me a sample for evaluation, so I’ll start with some unboxing pictures, and comparing it to the original Mele F10, before testing the remote.

Mele F10 Deluxe Unboxing

I’ve received the air mouse in the package below that highlights the four main features: Air mouse, Game Controller, Wireless Keyboard, and IR Learning.

Mele F10 Deluxe Package (Click to Enlarge)

Mele F10 Deluxe Package (Click to Enlarge)

WE’ll find the air mouse, a tiny RF dongle, a USB cable for charging and user’s manual describing the button, and explaining how to use it, especially the IR learning function.

Mele F10 Deluxe and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Mele F10 Deluxe and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Let’s compare it with the original F10 model.

Mele F10 vs Mele F10 Deluxe - Remot Side and Dongles (Click to Enlarge)

Mele F10 Deluxe vs Mele F10 – Remote Side and Dongles (Click to Enlarge)

The number of buttons are the same, but they’ve reorganize the key mapping. It’s clearly an improvement as I never used the 8 buttons key on the Mele F10, except Mute, and there are now Mute, prev and next, play/pause button on the first bottom row, and Game, My Box, STB and TV on the bottom row for gaming mode, and IR functions. The only downside is that the mouse button to enable mouse mode is also left click, so you may click when you just want to enable the mouse. The previous mouse button, as been replace with the A.I Power button for IR remote controls. They have miniaturized the RF dongle even further, and although it’s nice in the way, it’s easier to lose, and harder to differentiate with other tiny USB dongles I have.

Mele F10 vs Mele F10 Deluxe - Keyboard Side (Click to Enlarge)

Mele F10 Deluxe (Top) vs Mele F10 (Bottom) – Keyboard Side (Click to Enlarge)

The keyboard side has also changed, as they added a mouse left and right buttons, and the game button, slightly shuffling the keys around. I’m not a big fan of having the Esc and Backspace at the bottom, but I understand choices had to be made, and it’s a plus not to have to turn the remote each time you want to use the mouse mode. There’s still no Tab key to switch between fields, but the down key works most of the time. Other change, not shown on the pictures, has been the replacement of the mini USB port for charging the built-in 500 mAh battery by a micro USB port.

Mele F10 Deluxe Review

The remote is supposed to work in Linux, Android, Windows and MaC OS X, and does not require drivers. I started by plugging it to my Ubuntu 14.04 computer, and it was immediately recognized and usable. But I did most of the testing on an Android TV box, namely Tronsmart Vega S89 Elite. Again, the system had no problem recognizing the RF dongle, and I could use the air mouse straight-away. One complain I had with the original Mele F10 is that the mouse pointer alignment drift over time, and I had to recalibrate it manually, by hitting the sides of the screen. This is clearly an annoyance, but somehow I could get used to. The Mele F10 Deluxe does not have this problem anymore, either because they improve they algorithm, or they get some help from the added 6-axis gyroscope. That’s definitely a plus.

I planned to test the play/pause, prev and next keys with XBMC, but for some reasons it was gone from my box, and I had troubles installing it. So instead I tried the play/pause key in YouTube, and prev/next key to play music, both of which worked just fine. The mouse button, also acting as the left click, is used to enable the mouse, which can be problematic as you may click without meaning to. The mouse will be disabled after one minute of inactivity, and you need to press the mouse button again if you plan to use it. The keyboard works very much like the Mele F10, and I don’t really have complains, except for the missing tabulation key.

One of the new feature is a “Game Controller” mode. There’s only one sentence on the user’s manual about this: “Press Game button to enter into game mode”…. right, it does not help, does it? I guess the remote is suppose to be used like a wheel drive, just like you would do when playing with a tablet thanks to the gyro. So I setup Riptide GP2 and Beach Buggy Games to tilt mode, confidently at least one of them would work, but tilting the remote did nothing at all. First massive failure.

The second major feature is the “IR learning function”. What can go wrong here? Everything is clearly explained in the user’s manual, so I started with recording the main keys of the TV remote control. All keys can be programmed on Mele F10 except Power, Game, My Box, STB and TV buttons. After I thought I had successfully programmed the remote control, I gave it a try, and…. it did not work. Trying again with just the volume+ key, and it failed again. Then I switched to my aircon remote control. no luck. Second massive failure.

You can also watch the video review below, where I compare Mele F10 to Mele F10 Deluxe,  try a few working features, and showing how Game mode and IR learning functions did not work for me.

In conclusion, despite Game mode and IR learning function disasters, Mele F10 Deluxe is a better air mouse than Mele F10 thanks to an improved control of the mouse pointer, and more useful keys (play/pause, prev/next) on the remote side. [Update: I’ve used it more, and when clicking with the OK button, the mouse pointer may jump, and this does not seem to happen with the L mouse button. This can get really annoying, and holding the remote to click the L button instead feels a little awkward]. Mele F10 Deluxe can be purchased for $34.99 on Mele’s Aliexpress store, but I understand you can get $5 discount by mentioning you’ve been referred by CNX Software in the comment field, bringing the price down to $29.99 (Chat with them first to confirm). There are also other sellers on Aliexpress that sell it for the same price, and it can be found on DealExtreme for $31.92. For reference, the original Mele F10 now sells for $27.30 on DX, and as low as $22.49 on Aliexpress.

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$50 CMX Dual Core Android TV Box Runs Android 4.2, Supports XBMC Linux

July 30th, 2014 12 comments

XBMC Android now runs fairly well on ARM based hardware, but some people still prefer to run XBMC Linux because they want a pure XBMC experience, and Android is just an unnecessary overhead, and some features are still better supported in XBMC Linux such as frame rate switching, which is not supported in Android (You need to manually select the refresh rate in the settings). One way to go if you want to get XBMC Linux is to buy one of the boxes pre-loaded with the firmware such as Jynxbox M1V2 Pure Linux or Little Black Box. But these devices are generally significantly more expensive than their Android equivalents. So instead, some people get an Android TV box, and install XBMC Linux firmware compatible with the hardware such as MX Linux which runs on media players with a “g18ref” and “mx2ref” boards. Gbox Midgnight MX2 is one of these g18ref Android TV boxes, but there are quite a few “clones” on the market, and CMX is one of the most recent, powered by Amlogic AML8726-MX, running Android 4.2.2, and selling for just $49.99 on GeekBuying.

Original Matricom Gbox Midnight MX2 and Accessories

Original Matricom Gbox Midnight MX2 and Accessories

CMX specs are indeed exactly the same as Gbox Midnigt MX2:

  • SoC – Amlogic AML8726-MX Dual Core Cortex A9 CPU + dual core Mali-400 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 8GB Flash + SD card slot (Up to 32GB)
  • Video Output – HDMI v1.4, composite (CVBS) and component (YUV)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and coaxial S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n internal Wifi + 10/100M Ethernet Port
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 Ports
  • Misc – IR sensor, LED
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A

The box apparently also comes with the same accessories including a 5V/2A power adapter, HDMI and AV cables, the same IR remote control, and a user’s manual.

It’s impossible to verify whether there’s indeed a “g18ref” board inside the device that compatible with XBMC Linux without actually trying it or opening the box [Update: CMX board picture can be seen on Freaktab]. After failing to get a satisfying answer from GeekBuying support, one reader contacted me about this, and I asked GeekBuying to try MX Linux or OpenElec on the device, and they kindly did test both versions, and reported them to boot fine.

Here are the links to both versions with instructions:

  1. OpenELEC 4.2 beta2 – It can be installed on generic g18ref device after flashing Matricom’s firmware 1.1.6 that changes the NAND layout/partition table. Geekbuying reported they did not need to update the firmware on CMX, and it just worked by flashing OpenELEC directly.
  2. MX Linux v1.00 Stable

If for some reasons, after you try XBMC Linux, you want to get back to Android, you can always reinstall the stock firmware.

Beside GeekBuying, CMX TV Box is also available on Aliexpress for $57.99 and up. I don’t know any other dual core Android TV box compatible with XBMC Linux that sells for $50, and whether you run Android and Linux, it looks like a very good deal.

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Rockchip RK3288 Beta Firmware Release for Unnamed Android TV Box

July 28th, 2014 1 comment

The whole activity around the upcoming media players based on Rockchip RK3288 is pretty interesting, or some would say amusing. First, many companies started to release pictures of their boards a few months before their products are actually ready, and now we’ve got a beta Android 4.4 firmware for Rockchip RK3288 for an unknown TV box released via Geekbuying Blog. I’ve read rumors about a Tronsmart Orion R28, so it might be that one, but who knows.

Android_Kitkat_Firmware_RK3288Before investigating the content of the firmware, here are the features that we know about the hardware:

  • Based on Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex A17 processor
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM (Samsung)
  • Storage – 8GB flash (Kingston)
  • Wi-Fi –  AP6330 Wi-fi module

The firmware is based on Linux 3.10, the build number is rk3288-eng 4.4.2 KOT49H eng.ant.20140721.164453 test-keys, and the software version RK3288_R_BOX_Android 4.4.2-SDK_v1.0.0_140613.

Most people won’t need this, but if developers want to checkout the content of the firmware, go ahead and download Geekbuying_RK3288 BETA__AP6330_20140721.zip.

After you unzip it, you’ll get a single Geekbuying_RK3288 BETA__AP6330_20140721.img file, which you might be able to extract with img_unpack and afptool utilities for RK3188 (TBC, I haven’t tried yet).

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Geniatech Unveils ATV585 Enjoy TV Box Powered by Amlogic S805 with HEVC Hardware Decoding

July 26th, 2014 6 comments

After Eny Techology EM6Q-MXQ, there’s at least another Amlogic S805 based media player with Geniatech ATV585 Enjoy TV powered by the quad core Cortex A5 processor, with 1GB RAM and 8GB flash. Compared Amlogic S802 based STBs, you’ll get slower CPU and GPU performance, and lose 4K video decoding and output, but gain HEVC hardware decoding up to 1080p, if you’re lucky, you’ll get Gigabit Ethernet, and in theory, the price should be cheaper.

Geniatech_ATV585_Enjoy_TVATV585 Enjoy TV specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S805 quad core Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz with quad core Mali-450MP4 GPU @ 600MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC FLASH + micro SD/MMC card slot up to 32GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4 and CVBS
  • Video Codecs / Containers – MPEG1/2/4, H.264, H.265, VC-1, WMV, AVI, MKV, MOV, etc…
  • Audio Formats – MP3, WMA, AAC, etc…
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi with external antenna
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, Net and status LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A (Typical power consumption: 4W)
  • Dimensions – 100 x 100 x 15 mm
  • Weight – 160g

Geniatech_ATV585_Enjoy_TV_Front_PanelThis media player runs Android 4.4 KitKat, and comes with an HDMI cable, a power adapter, an IR remote control with mouse function, and a user’s manual.

ATV585 Enjoy TV appears to be available to resellers right now, but I could not find it listed on any Chinese e-retailer yet. For reference, Eny EM6Q-MQX currently sells for $76 to $80 on Aliexpress. That’s less than most Amlogic S802 based Android TV boxes, but not all. You can find more information on Geniatech ATV585 Enjoy TV page.

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Probox2 EX Quad Core Android Box Comes with an Air Mouse Designed for Gaming

July 22nd, 2014 5 comments

Probox2 EX is an Android TV Box with an enclosure similar to MX3, but with better hardware including Amlogic S802-H, 16GB eMMC Flash, 2GB RAM, dual band Wi-Fi, and more, and an interesting RF air mouse dubbed “Remote+” that can also be used for playing games, and audio chat.
Probox2_EX

Probox2 EX specifications:

  • SoC – AMLogic S802-H quad core ARM Cortex A9r4 at 2.0GHz with ARM Mali-450MP6 GPU up to 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC Flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4b  and AV
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with external antenna, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports + 1x micro USB OTG
  • Misc – IR Sensor, Power LED, power button, and recovery/update switch via AV jack
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 11.5 x 11.5 x 2.6 cm
  • Weight – 200 grams

If you’re sick and tired of seeing the same colorful Metro style user interface all over again, Probox2’s developers have designed a custom user interface running on top of Android 4.4 that I haven’t seen in other products.

PROBOX2 Ex Home Screen (Click to Enlarge)

PROBOX2 Ex Home Screen (Click to Enlarge)

The device comes with Remote+ air mouse, a power adapter, a backup IR remote control, an external dual band 5dB Wi-Fi antenna, HDMI and AV cables, a USB cable, and a user’s manual. Remote+ features a gyroscope (for air mouse function), a D-pad and buttons for gaming and XBMC navigation, and a built-in microphone. It’s not clear what kind of batteries are used with the remote.

Probox2 EX is available for pre-order now on W2COMP for $149.99 including shipping, with delivery expected for August 8. It’s exactly the same price as MINIX NEO X8-H with NEO  M1 air mouse, and slightly more than Tronsmart Vega S89-H + TSM1 air mouse. However, both Probox2 EX and MINIX X8 comes with eMMC, against NAND flash for Vega S89-H, and Probox2 EX air mouse seems to have more features than M1 air mouse. However, one of the main advantages of MINIX is their regular firmware update and user’s forums. Based on Probox2 Ultimate (RK3066) history, I expect Probox2 EX to receive firmware upgrades, but there’s currently no user’s community. More details can be found on Probox2 EX product page.

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Amlogic S802 TV Boxes Are Getting Cheaper: Meet $72 MX3 (M82) TV Box

July 18th, 2014 23 comments

When Android media players based on Amlogic S802 first launched a little over 3 months ago, they all sold for over $100. Since then various products have come to market, with prices slowly edging lower. But none comes as cheap as MX3 (aka M82), whose name is probably inspired from Gbox Midnight MX2, as it sells for $72.22 on GearBest including shipping. [Update: It can be found for $70 on DealExtreme]

MXIIILet’s go through the specifications:

  • SoC – AMLogic S802 quad core ARM Cortex A9r4 at 2.0GHz with ARM Mali-450MP6 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 4 GB NAND Flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video and Audio Output – HDMI  and AV
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n,
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports + micro USB OTG
  • Misc – IR Sensor, Power LED, power button, and recovery/update switch via AV jack
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 11.5 x 11.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Weight – 192 grams

The box comes with HDMI & AV cables,  a power adapter, an IR remote control, and a user’s manual. In order to achieve a lower price, they’ve cut a few corners with just 1GB RAM, 4GB flash, and Bluetooth and SPDIF found in many other S802 have been dropped. The biggest issue might be the 4GB flash if you plan to install many applications.

There’s another reseller, Earnwisdom, that sells the box, and they made a review video showing the unboxing and the device in action. It’s still running Android 4.4 with XBMC pre-installed, and the usual metro style user interface.

The MX3 on Earnwisdon is sold for a more standard $99.99, but comes with 2GB RAM, 8GB flash, dual band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so clearly there are several variations of the same model.

Via AndroidPC.es

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Eweat EW802 Android TV Box (Amlogic S802) Supports External SATA Drives, Features Dual Wi-Fi Antennas

July 14th, 2014 3 comments

Amlogic S802 does not support SATA natively, so few Android media players based on this quad core SoC comes with SATA hard drive or SSD support. Zoomtak T8 is one of them, but there’s now another options with Eweat EW802, except than having an internal bay for 2.5″ hard drives, it just features an external SATA connector capable of handling both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives, and comes with better specs including dual Wi-Fi antennas, 2GB RAM, and 16GB flash.

Egreat_EW802Eweat EW802 specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S802  quad core cortex A9r4 @ 2 GHz with Mali-450MP6 GPU (N.B: It could also be S802-H due to Dolby abd DTS hardware decoding claim).
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB NAND flash + micro SD slot + SATA connector
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi with two external antennas, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4a and AV (3.5mm jack)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Misc – IR receiver, Power LED,  power button (at the back),  and recovery/reset pin hole
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A
  • Dimensions –  161x100x27.5 mm
  • Weight – 850 grams

The device runs Android 4.4 using the same user interface as other S802 boxes, is preloaded with XBMC, and is said to support FAT16, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, HFS+, and Ext-2/3 file systems. The box comes with an IR remote control, HDMI and AV cables, a SATA cable, a micro USB cable, a 12V/2A power adapter, a Quick Installation Guide, and a warranty card.

Eweat_EW802Eweat EW802 is now available for $118.50 including shipping on Aliexpress. You can also check out Eweat EW802 product page on the company website, where you’ll find a “firmware zone”, but nothing for EW802 just yet.

Via AndroidPC.es

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