Posts Tagged ‘wifi’

Hi-Link HLK-M30 StartKit Based on Mediatek MT7681 WiSoC Sells for $10

October 31st, 2014 4 comments

Here’s yet again another low cost Wi-Fi board for the internet of things with Hi-Link HLK-M30 StartKit featuring an HLK-M30 Wi-Fi module powered by Mediatek MT7681 SoC, exposing 5 GPIOs, and a serial RS-232 DB9 interface. AFAICR, it’s the second MT7681 board featured on CNX Software after xWiFi.

HKL-M30 StartKit (Click to Enlarge)

HKL-M30 StartKit (Click to Enlarge)

Key feature of HLK-M30 Wi-Fi module and Starter Kit:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT7681 WiSoC
  • Wi-Fi
    • Standards – 802.11b/g/n
    • Wi-Fi encryption: WEP/WPA-TKIP/WPA-AES/WPA2-TKIP/WPA2-AES
    • STA/AP mode
    • Protocols supported by MT7681 – TCP Server/Client, UDP Server/Client, DHCP, DNS, HTTP
    • Internal and external antennas
  • Serial – DB9 connector for RS-232
  • Expansions
    • 2.54mm through holes for 3.3V/GND, Tx/Rx, and GPIO 1 0 to 4.
    • 4-pin SPI interface to flash firmware to IC (not usable by end users)
  • Misc – Test LEDs
  • Power – 5V power barrel
  • Dimensions – 14.1 x 16.5 x 2.25 mm

Documentation including User’s manual and AT command sets, windows based tool, and hardware design files for the kit can be downloaded from Baidu. HLK-M30 module is expected to be used in smart sockets, smart light bulbs, ODB-II Wi-Fi dongles, RFID, toys, industrial automation, telemetry, remote controls, and so on.

HLK-M30 StartKit can be purchased for $10 + shipping on Aliexpress, and HKL-M30 module only for $5.50 + shipping. You can save one or two dollars if you pledge for the module or kit on Indiegogo instead, but you’ll have to wait for 3 weeks until the campaign closes to getting the hardware shipped.

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Categories: Hardware, Mediatek Wi-Fi Tags: IoT, devkit, hi-link, wifi

Zero+ IoT Wi-Fi Board is Programmable with Lisp (Crowdfunding)

October 29th, 2014 2 comments

There have been so many low cost Wi-Fi modules and boards with GPIO headers announced this year, especially on crowdfunding sites, and from the hardware point of view, Zero+ (Zero Plus) board looks very much like many other Ralink RT5350 boards such as Vocore or AsiaRF AWM002, but what makes it different is that it can be programmed with Lisp from a web-based IDE.


But let’s go through Zero+ board specifications first:

  • SoC – Ralink/Mediatek RT5350 MIPS processor @ 360MHz with dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi with data Rate up to 150Mbps
  • System Memory – 32 MB RAM
  • Storage – 8MB to 16 MB SPI Flash (for firmware)
  • Expansions Headers – 2x headers with access to I2C, SPI, USB, 2x UART,  JTAG, and 14x GPIOs
  • USB – 1x USB host port, 1x micro USB for power
  • Misc – 2x buttons
  • Dimensions – 36 x 25mm (possibly module dimensions only, not full board).

I’m quite confident the hardware should be OK, as they are using an existing Wi-Fi module (WL-AM01-5350-V1.2) soldered to a baseboard with USB ports, buttons, and expansion headers.

But as mentioned in the introduction, the interesting part is that it can be programmed and debugged from a WebIDE or a Cloud service using a Lisp programming language called Lambda, and there’s no need to build the code, or load the firmware as the Lisp interpreter will handle your project, a bit like if your programmed with Python or JavaScript.

Preliminary Zero+ WebIDE (Click to Enlarge)

Preliminary Zero+ WebIDE (Click to Enlarge)

The board is also a standard router running OpenWRT, so you should also be able to access it, and configure it in a more usual way if you prefer.

SmartMatrix, the company behind the project, is also providing ChipDuino, a tiny Arduino board supporting DIP MCU, to add more I/Os to Zero+, and support for a variety of sensors such as a VGA webcam, temperature and humidity sensors, light sensors, LEDs, gyroscopes, TFT and OLED screens, a PM 2.5 air quality detector, an infrared module and a microphone.

Zero+ board is shown in a few projects including an air cleaner, an electronic lock, and another project where it interfaces with Espruino JavaScript board.

In order to mass manufacture the board, the company has launched a flexible funding Indiegogo campaign planning to raise $25,000 or more. An early bird pledge of $19 can get you a Zero+ board, and after the first 100 boards, pledge will be $25. Many of the perks are kits going from $39 to $69 with sensors, a camera, an LCD display, etc… Albeit, no explicitly written, international shipping is probably included in all perks, and delivery is scheduled for February 2015.

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Vsmart V52D EZCast HDMI Dongle Supports Dual Band (2.4 / 5.0GHz) Wi-Fi

October 27th, 2014 No comments

EZCast wireless adapters are now pretty common, allow you to display and stream documents, pictures, music, and videos from your smartphone or computer to your big screen TV, and sell for about $20, but the vast majority come with a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi module, which may be a problem if your environment is crowded with other 2.4GHz routers. Vsmart V52D fixes that, as it includes a dual band Wi-Fi module supporting both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz frequencies.


The other part of the specifications remain the same:

  • SoC – Action Semi AM8251 @ 600MHz (MIPS)
  • System memory – 128 MB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 128 MB NAND Flash
  • Video output – HDMI 1.3 make
  • Wi-Fi – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi module
  • Standards – Miracast (EZMirror), Airplay (EZ Air), DLNA, and EZCast
  • Video Containers – MPEG2, MPEG4, AVI, WMV, MKV, MOV, RM, RMVB
  • Audio Formats – MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, AAC, FLAC, 3GP…
  • USB – micro USB port for power
  • Power – 5V/1A
  • Dimensions – N/A
  • Weight – N/A

The device ships with a USB cable for power and with and external antenna, as well as a user’s manual for M2-500, which might be the manufacturer name for this dongle. It’s not an EZCast Pro device, because it only features 128 MB RAM, so advanced features like split screen and multiscreen won’t work.

Vsmart V52D / M2-500 sells for about $32 on Aliexpress, but it can also be found on Ebay and Amazon US


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Mini PC Polls: Networking Connectivity, Video and Audio Outputs

October 17th, 2014 4 comments

It’s always interesting to find out how people use their devices, and I recently discovered Google+ support Polls as Droidmote posted a poll to find out whether people used Wi-Fi or Ethernet with their mini PCs, and I followed up with polls about video and audio outputs. Around 50 people have answered to each poll up to now, so even if it may not representative, let’s have a look at the results so far.
mini_PC_Ethernet_vs_Wi-FiAbout half of the people are connected via Ethernet, and the other half are using Wi-Fi after 43 votes. Wi-Fi is normally more convenient, but may not be as reliable, and for users playing high bitrate videos Ethernet is a must, unless you find buffering enjoyable….

mini_pc_1080_or_2160pAfter 58 votes, most people still connect their mini PC to a Full HD television via HDMI, with a few connecting it to a 4K UHD TV, and nobody using composite or component video outputs. This results was to be expected, as HDMI has been around for many years, and 4K UHD are still pretty new, often expensive, and availability of 2160p content is limited.

mini_PCs_audio_outputThe audio output poll surprised me however, as I did not expect that so many people were using AV receivers. 44% of people simply connect their box to the HDMI port  to get audio via their TV, but a combined 41% own an AV receiver mostly connected via HDMI (27%), optical S/PDIF (12%), and one person out of the 41 who voted so far is connecting their device via coaxial S/PDIF. Finally 15% connects their device to external speakers / TV via the AV port, and one member of the community mentioned he used a USB connection to an AV receiver with his Android mini PC. If this small sample of users (41) happens to be representative of buyers of Android/Linux mini PCs / TV boxes, manufacturers should really make sure pass-through audio is working as expected.

The polls are still open so feel free to vote if you have a Google+ account. Simply click on the pictures above to open a new window, and vote.

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Categories: Audio, Video Tags: 4k, Android, Linux, ethernet, hdmi, mini-pc, uhd, wifi

Mackerel Wi-Fi IoT Board Connects to Cloud Services

October 15th, 2014 No comments

ACKme Networks, a start-up specializing in embedded wireless solution, launched Mackerel evaluation board based on their AMW004 Wi-Fi networking module. The module is intend to interface to objects in standalone mode (SOLO), or controlled by a micro-controller (SLAVE), and features WiConnect software to interface with cloud services powered by “OEM cloud solution”.

Mackeral Board

Mackerel Board

Mackerel (AMW004-E03) board specifications:

  • AWM004 (Wallaby) Wi-Fi module:
    • MCU – ARM Cortex M4 @ 120MHz with integrated 1MB flash and 128kB RAM, onboard 8Mbit (1MByte) SPI-serial flash
    • Networking Standards – IEEE 802.11 b/g/n/d/e/h/i/j
    • 802.11 data rates – 802.11b: 1, 2, 5.5, 11 Mbps; 802.11g: 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 Mbps; 802.11n: MCS0 – MCS7
    • Wi-Fi Security – Open, WEP-40, WEP-104, WPA, WPA2-PSK, WPA/WPA2-mixed
    •  Network Protocols –  ARP, ICMP, DHCP client/server, DNS, NTP, SMTP, UDP, TCP, HTTP client/webserver,
    • Network Security –  SSL3.0/TLS1.1, HTTPS
    • I/Os – UART (up to 4Mbit/s), SPI (up to 10Mbit/s), I2C, USB, JTAG/SWD, I2S, GPIO, ADC, DAC, and PWM
    • Power consumption – Standby: 1.85uA; Sleep: 28uA; Wi-Fi Powersave: 0.77mA; Active Rx: 6.9mA (1Mbit/s UDP); Active Tx: 12.5mA (1Mbit/s UDP);
    • Supply voltage – 3.3V
    • Dimensions – 17.8 x 31.8 x 3.1 mm
  • USB UART – Up to 3 Mbit/s with hardware flow control (optional)
  • Breakout header – 2 x 2×10-pin header (connects to every pin on the AMW004 module)
  • Sensor – Thermistor
  • Misc – 2 x push buttons, 2 x LEDs
  • Power supply – +5V from USB (500mA max.)
  • Temperature Range – 0 – 70°C

The board is pre-loaded ACKme WiConnect serial Wi-Fi application, so you can just connect it to your PC via USB, and access the serial via a terminal program (minicom, PuTTy, hyperterminal, etc…).

gohackme_network_diagramFrom there you can enable networking, and register your board with three command lines:

network_up -s
ghm_capabilities download -s
ghm_signup  [email protected]  YourSecretPassword

You can then monitor the board temperature on your smartphone and computer by logging in with your chosen email/password. You’ll also be able to control the LEDs on the boards via the webpage. The whole setup is quite similar to the one I tried with Texas Instruments Connected Launchpad board and Exosite cloud services, except the board uses Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi.

GoHACKme website will let you monitor (Temperature, Humidity / Moisture, Light / Motion, door & window open/close…). and control (Servo motors, Fountains, Fans, Lights,Heaters…) your devices, as well as receive notifications by email, SMS, etc…  There are also many other Wiconnect commands that can be used in the serial console to control GPIOs, ADC, Wi-Fi connection, etc…

Mackerel evaluation board can be purchased directly on Ackme Store for $82, or via distributors such as Adafruit or Mouser.


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MXQ S85 Android TV Box (Amlogic S805) Review

October 11th, 2014 20 comments

MXQ S85 and EM6Q-MXQ are two main Full HD H.265 Android media players based on Amlogic S805 currently selling on Chinese online stores. I’m lucky enough to have received both, and I’ve already completed the review for EM6Q-MXQ, so today I’ll complete MXQ S85 review and compare both devices. I’ve already taken picture of the device, accessories, and checked out the board’s components in my unboxing post, so in this post, I’ll focus on the user interface, evaluate performance, and test most hardware features of this media player.

First Boot, Settings and First Impressions

I’ve started by a quick test of the IR remote control, and it works as expected after inserting two AAA batteries, before switching to Mele F10 Deluxe air mouse for convenience. I’ve connected all ports of the device except the S/PDIF output: Ethernet cable, HDMI and AV cables, micro SD card, USB hard drive, USB webcam, and a USB hub with two RF dongles for my air mouse and gamepad.  I’ve connected the power, pressed the power button opn the top of the box, a Blue LED turns off, “Google TV” icon appears on TV and in a little more than 40 seconds the boot completes. It’s not quite as fast as higher RK3288 TV boxes (20s), but it’s much better than the boot time on EM6Q-MXQ (1m 50s), so the flash must be faster.

Home Screen (Click for Original Size)

Home Screen (Click for Original Size)

The user interface is the Android Home screen, but you can also switch the MediaBox launcher with a Metro-style user interface found in many Amlogic S80X TV boxes, by going to the “Home” section in Android settings. The box automatically selected 1080p60 Hz video output, and the user interface resolution is 1920×1080 as you can infer from the screenshot above. I’ve noticed that switching to 720p still keep the user interface to 1920×1080 resolution, so there’s no performance gain doing so.

The “Setting” menu is based on the same Metro-style interface as EM6Q-MXQ with four sub menus: Network, Display, Advanced and Other. I’ve highlighted difference in bold.

  • Network – Enable and configure Wi-Fi or Ethernet
  • Display:
    • Automatic or manual HDMI resolution: 480p/i @ 60 Hz, 576p/i @ 50 Hz, 720p @ 50/60 Hz, 1080i @ 50/60 Hz, or 1080p @ 24/50/60 Hz
    • CVBS Mode Setting: 480 CVBS or 576 CVBS (if Composite output selected on TV).
    • Hide or Show status bar
    • Display Position
    • Screen Save (Never, 4, 8 or 12 minutes)
  • Advanced:
    • Miracast
    • Remote Control (app)
    • CEC Control
    • Location for weather (Chinese cities only)
    • Screen Orientation settings
    • Digital Audio Output (Auto, PCM, S/PDIF pass-through, or HDMI pass-through)
  • Other – System Update: Local file or OTA (not working), Backup, and “More Settings” for standard Android Settings.

So it’s exactly the same as EM6Q-MXQ, except the current firmware also supports 1080p @ 24 Hz.

I’ve also tested composite output, and both 480 CVBS and 576 CVBS settings worked fine. There’s no component (YPbPr) output in this box.

I have not made a video for MXQ S85, because it’s very similar to EM6Q-MXQ, except you have the option to switch between the Android home screen or MediaBox launcher, 1080p24 is supported, and S85 is a little more responsive. But you can watch the video I shot for EM6Q-MXQ if you haven’t already where I walk through the user interface and settings, XBMC user interface (1920×1080 UI rendered at 30 fps), and show H.265 video playback in MX Player.

About_MXQ_S85MXQ-S85 comes with an 8GB NAND flash with a single partition (8.00 GB – black magic again…), and at the end of the review I still had 4.01 GB free. Looking into “About MediaBox” section, we can find out that the model number is “S85″, and the system runs Android 4.4.2 on top of Linux kernel 3.10.33. The firmware is rooted, and after I started the review I found firmware 106k4 (an updated to version 105k4 used for the review), which you can probably flash with Amlogic USB flash tool, but I have not tried.

All apps I needed for the review could be installed with Google Play Store including Antutu, 3D Mark, ES File Explorer, MX Player, Beach Buggy Blitz, A1SD benchmark, Sixaxis Controller, etc… However, as I scrolled through the list of apps installed on other Android devices, there were a few incompatible apps notably some messaging apps (Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp), Instagram, Google Translate, and a few others. But you can usually work around these issues by spoofing your device name with an app (paid), or changing build.prop. I’ve also downloaded and installed Amazon AppStore, in order to play Riptide GP2.

Albeit the box features a power button, power handling is not perfect, as a clean power off is not possible. You can either use the remote control power button to enter and exit standby, and the power button on the unit, can be used to achieve real power off, and to turn the device on, but it’s and hardware power off which powers off the device immediately, Android does not cleanly shuts down. The device temperature is pretty cool: 40°C and 46°C measured with an infrared thermometer respectively on the top and bottom of the box, right after running Android 5 benchmark. And after playing Riptide GP2 for about 10 minutes (at which stage the game froze), the maximum temperature on top and bottom reached 42°C and 46°C…

The system very pretty stable, but just like with EM6Q-MXQ, attempting to play a 4K video in XBMC will freeze the system requiring a hard reboot. However, the flash is fast enough no to experience various slowdowns, or making apps randomly exit. Android did pop up the “app not responding” windows at load time for some games, so it’s not perfect, but answering “wait” will start the games normally. Nevertheless, although it’s clearly not as snappy as the latest Amlogic S802 or Rockchip RK3288 based mini PCs, I did not find MXQ S85 frustrating to use, unlike EM6Q-MXQ.

Video Playback

Videos were playing from SAMBA share in Ubuntu 14.04 over Ethernet using XBMC 13.1 pre-installed in the system, switching to MX Player for videos that failed to play. I had no problems connect to SAMBA with XBMC and ES File Explorer.

I started with videos from, H.265/HEVC videos by Elecard, as well as a (low resolution) VP9 video:

  • H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • MPEG2 codec / MPG container, 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • MPEG4 codec, AVI container 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • VC1 codec (WMV), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • Real Media (RMVB) – RV8, RV9, and RV10 – OK but not that smooth (S/W decode)
  • WebM / VP8 – 480p OK, 720p some rare parts in slowmo, 1080p plays in slow motion all the time.
  • H.265 codec / MPEG TS container
    • XBMC – Audio only
    • MX Player – OK (H/W decode), but seeking does not work properly. It will switch to S/W decode, and the video becomes unwatchable.
  • WebM / VP9 (no audio in video)
    • XBMC – Won’t even start
    • MX Player – OK (H/W decode).

Then I played some higher bitrate videos:

  • ED_HD.avi – XBMC: audio only; MX Player: black screen only, no audio.
  • big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi (1080p H.264 – 12 Mbps) – OK.
  • h264_1080p_hp_4.1_40mbps_birds.mkv (40 Mbps) – OK
  • hddvd_demo_17.5Mbps_1080p_VC1.mkv (17.5Mbps) – OK, but could be smoother, and XBMC reports skipped frames regularly.
  • Jellyfish-120-Mbps.mkv (120 Mbps video without audio) – OK (Played from USB hard drive)

Videos with high definition audio codec could be played in XBMC (with performance issues), but not in MX Player (except AC3):

  • AC3 – OK
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 / 7.1 – OK
  • TrueHD 5.1 & 7.1 – OK
  • DTS-MA – OK
  • DTS-HR – SAMBA: Audio completely cuts after a few seconds. USB: No problem with audio, but video feels slow.

A Blu-ray ISO video (Sintel-Bluray.iso) played perfectly in XBMC.

I tested over a dozen other videos from my library (AVI, MKV, FLV, VOB/IFO, and MP4 containers), and they could all play with any A/V sync issues. I also watched a complete 1080p video (1h50 / MKV / 3GB), so no problem with stability either.

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 and Ethernet)

A 278 MB file between a SAMBA share (Ubuntu 14.04) and the internal flash, and vice versa, repeating the test three times with ES File Explorer. Wi-Fi transfer speed is still pretty good @ 2.95 MB/s on average, although not quite as fast as EM6Q-MXQ media player.

Wi-Fi Transfer Rate in MB/s

Wi-Fi Transfer Rate in MB/s

Ethernet worked at 100 Mbps connected to my Gigabit Ethernet switch, with performance similar its competitor. Tronsmart Orion R28 Meta is way ahead, simply because it’s the only box I have that actually supports Gigabit Ethernet.

Ethernet Transfer Rate in MB/s

Ethernet Transfer Rate in MB/s

For a raw benchmark of Ethernet performance, I ran iPerf app using “iperf -t 60 -c -d” command line. It does not quite maxes out Fast Ethernet bandwidth like Rockchip RK3288, but results are similar to EM6Q-MXQ just like with the test above.

TCP window size: 136 KByte (default)
[ 6] local port 57781 connected with port 5001
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 4] 0.0-60.0 sec 476 MBytes 66.5 Mbits/sec
[ 6] 0.0-60.0 sec 566 MBytes 79.1 Mbits/sec

Throughput in Mbps

Throughput in Mbps

Miscellaneous Tests


Contrary to the version of EM6Q-MXQ I reviewed, MXQ S85 comes with Bluetooth.

I could transfer pictures from my Android phone to the box over Bluetooth, Sixaxis Compatibility Checker appeared to support PS3 wireless gamepads, but my controller was not recognized.

Bluetooth LE (Smart) was tested with Vidonn X5 activity tracker, but unfortunately the app could not locate the device over BLE.


FAT32 formatted micro SD card and USB flash drive could be recognized and properly mounted by the system
Only NTFS and FAT32 partition on my USB 3.0 hard drive could be mounted and accessed. That’s common to all Android mini PCs I tested, except A80 OptimusBoard which could mount the EXT-4 partition too (but in read-only mode).

File System Read Write
EXT-4 Not mounted Not mounted
BTRFS Not mounted Not mounted

A1 SD Bench was used to benchmark USB hard drive and internal flash performance. The read speed was 16.92 MB/s, and the write speed of 21.87MB/s fore NTFS partition in /storage/external_storage/sda1, both results being weak.


USB HDD (NTFS) Read and Write Speeds

The NAND flash speed is clearly not outstanding at 15.8 MB/s (read) and 6.83 MB/s (write), but still better than EM6Q-MXQ, and apparently good enough for a smooth operation of the device most of the time.

MXQ_S85_NAND_Flash_BenchmarkUSB Webcam

I had troubles with both Skype and Google Hangouts with my USB webcam. I did manage to see the image in Skype once, but never long enough to make a phone call. The camera is not detected at all in Hangouts.


Candy Crush Saga, Beach Buggy Blitz, and Riptide GP2 could run on the box. I played Candy Crush Saga with my air mouse, and switched to Tronsmart Mars G01 wireless gamepad for Beach Buggy Blitz and Riptide GP2. For each game, the system showed up pop up with “App XXX is not responding. Do you want to close it?”, but selecting “Wait” could load the games just fine. Beach Buggy Blitz framerate felt good using the default settings (low res), but I did notice some very short freezes (<1s) from time to time. Riptide GP2 is not really enjoyable with default settings (high resolution), but lowering the resolution makes it relatively enjoyable to play. Riptide GP2 freezing I encountered on other Amlogic s802/S805 devices, and Allwinner A80 development board occurred yet again, after just around 10 minutes of play time. I’m not sure if the game itself is buggy, or the GPU drivers/libraries are. I checked the maximum temperature on the top and bottom of the device at that time, and I got 42°C and 46°C.

Even if games can run, the gaming experience is not great, and you should really consider spending more to get a Rockchip RK3288, or not as good, Amlogic S802 devices if you are really interested in playing games. Nvidia Tegra K1 devices should even be better but in a completely different price category.

MXQ S85 Benchmarks

CPU-Z shows the device is indeed powered a quad ARM Cortex A5 processor clocked between 24 MHz and 1.49 GHz, but instead of using a performance governor, MXQ S85 is using a hotplug (on-demand). The board is m201, which can be a useful thing to know in case you download firmware files. FYR, EM6Q-MXQ is based on hd18t board.


The devices gets 16,448 points in Antutu 5.1 which is consistent with the score I got with EM6Q-MXQ (16,647).


There are some differences in Vellamo 3 however, with a lower Browser score (812 vs 1061), a higher multicore score (1319 vs 1139). The metal score is about the same.


Ice Storm Extreme test in 3DMark is about the same with 2,308 points (vs 2,325 for EM6Q-MXQ), and clearly shows the relatively low performance of the quad core Mali-450MP GPU used in S805 compared to high-end SoC with better GPUs.



MXQ S85 is actually a pretty good device and performance considering the price (<$50). Wi-Fi and Ethernet are pretty decent, video codecs/containers is quite good in XBMC, and H.265 can be played in MX Player, but not yet in XBMC. The firmware is pretty stable, and I did not come across massive slowdowns like in EM6Q-MXQ.


  • The firmware is stable, relatively smooth to operate, and only hung when trying to play 4K videos
  • Good XBMC support.
  • HEVC/H.265 hardware video decoding support. Working in MX Player, but not with XBMC (yet)
  • Very good price/performance ratio.
  • Good Wi-Fi, and decent Ethernet performance
  • Video Output – Supports 1080p24/50/60 (but no 25/30 Hz), and composite output (NTSC/PAL).


  • Despite having a power button, power off is not perfect (no clean power off)
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (mostly used for wearables) is not currently supported.
  • OTA firmware upgrade is not working
  • USB / NTFS storage performance is disappointing.
  • USB webcam did not work reliably for me in either Skype and Hangouts.
  • “App xxx not responding” message may appear while loading large apps such as games.

Gearbest provided the sample for review, so if you are interested in purchasing you could do so on their site for $47.99 (with MXQBCM coupon), or for $45.99 (with MXQCM coupon) for the version without Bluetooth. Coupons are valid until November 30, 2014. MXQ-S85 can also be found on other stores including DealExtreme, Amazon US, Dealsmachines, and Aliexpress.

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ZSun Wireless USB Flash Drives Add up to 32GB to Your Mobile Device

October 10th, 2014 8 comments

Yesterday, I wrote about the Egg personal cloud storage device which allows you to easily store and share your files without having to rely on cloud services, and also includes a touchscreen display. But it might be possible to achieve the main selling point of that product, that is keeping your data private, while accessing it from anywhere, at a fraction of the cost, by using a Wireless USB flash drive instead. Some well known companies such as Kingston (rather expensive), and Sandisk (much more affordable) already offer such products, but I’ve been informed Zsun, a Chinese company, was also manufacturing such devices with up to 32 GB capacity.


The company calls its wireless flash drive “Apple Disks” showing how much money you could save with their device, by showing the ridiculous price different between apple devices with difference storage capacity, but they can also work with Android devices, as well as Windows and Mac OS X computers. There are three models: SD111, SD112 and SD113 respectively with 8, 16 and 32GB storage.

Zsun Wi-Fi flash drives specifications:

  • SoC – Unamed Qualcomm Atheros Wi-Fi SoC
  • System Memory – N/A
  • Storage – 8, 16 or 32 GB eMMC depending on models.
  • Wi-Fi – 802.11 b/g/n up to 150Mbps with open, WEP, and WPA/WPA2 security.
  • Performance
    • Up to 34 MB/s and 20 MB/s write speed (Udisktool) over USB.
    • Up to 38 Mbps read speed, and 39 Mbps write speed over Wi-Fi.
  • USB – micro USB 2.0 port to transfer files and charge the battery
  • Battery – 700 mAh Li-Po battery. Good for 3h30 of continuous use. Includes automatic power off after 5 minutes of inactivity.
  • Misc – Power button, LED, and reset? pin hole.
  • Dimensions – 8 x 3 x 1.2 cm
  • Weight – About 30 grams

In order to connect to the device you need to download and install Superdisk – Anysave app (aka Apple Extender) available for Android 2.2+, iOS 5.0+, and Windows. The app will connect to the drive ESSID (zsun-sdxxxx) and let you upload, download, share, manage, and backup your files. It’s not 100% clear whether it’s possible to use the device as a network bridge to keep the internet connection to a Wi-Fi router.

Android and iOS Apple Extender App

Android and iOS Apple Extender App

Since it’s based on Atheros chip, I guess it might be possible to hack and run OpenWRT (if it is now already running it), but I haven’t seen anybody take the device apart yet, and try to hack it.

Zsun SD111 (8GB) starts at $23, and price goes up to $47 for SD113 (32GB) on sites like DealExtremeAmazon, GearBest or GeekBuying.You can also visit Zsun Apple Disk page for a few more details.

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Categories: Hardware, Linux, Qualcomm Atheros Tags: usb, wifi, zsun