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Posts Tagged ‘windows 10’

$175 Bben MN17A Celeron N3450 Apollo Lake Mini PC Comes with an mSATA SSD Slot

February 16th, 2017 9 comments

The first Apollo Lake mini PC available from China was Voyo V1 VMac Mini with a Celeron N3450 or Pentium N4200 processor, but there’s now a new model with Bben MN17A with Celeron N3450, 4GB RAM, and 32GB eMMC flash, and the ability to add your own storage via an SSD bay.

Bben MN17A mini PC specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron N3450 quad core processor @ 1.1 GHz / 2.2 GHz and 12 EU Intel HD graphics 500 @ 200 MHz / 700 MHz; 6W TDP
  • System Memory – 4GB DDR3L (up to 8GB)
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash (Options for 16, 64 or 128 GB) + mSATA SSD bay + micro SD slot up to 128 GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4b port up to 4K @ 30 Hz
  • Audio – HDMI + 3.5mm audio jack
  • Connectivity – Fast Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.2 (Intel 3165 wireless card)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) type C port, 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Misc – Reset and power buttons, power LED
  • Power Supply – 12V/1.5A via power barrel or USB type C port
  • Dimensions – 145 x 70 x 17.35 cm

The device comes with a fan, so we’ve yet to get an fanless Apollo Lake mini PC coming out of China. The specifications are fairly similar to the ones of Voyo VMac Mini, except for the slower Fast Ethernet port, a full HDMI port replacing a mini HDMI port, and better wireless connectivity with 802.11 ac and BLE 4.2. The SATA bay is a small advantage over Voyo VMac Mini which can also be upgraded but needs a teardown. The product page does not mention whether it’s an mSATA or M.2 interface, but after a chat with Bben, they confirmed it was a mSATA interface.

You can get the computer with 4GB RAM and 32GB for as low as $175 shipped, as long as you select an unlicensed version of Windows 10. If you want an activated version of Windows 10, it will cost you $14.50 extra. You may also consider purchasing from BBen official Aliexpress store instead with pricing starting at $167.50 + shipping. For reference, Voyo V1 Vmac Mini mini PC with Celeron N3450, 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC flash, and Windows 10 Home activated sells for $159 including shipping.

Via AndroidPC.es

GPD Pocket Cherry Trail 7″ Portable Computer Runs Ubuntu 16.04 or Windows 10 (Crowdfunding)

February 15th, 2017 17 comments

GPD HK launched GPD WIN Windows 10 portable gaming console with a Cherry Trail Atom x7 processor and a 5.5″ display last year on Indiegogo, and while the crowdfunding campaign works very well with over $700,000 raised, the company realized many people just wanted an affordable portable computer, so they removed the joyticks, increased the display size, and upgraded the processor in their GPD Pocket 7″ portable computer powered by an Intel Atom X7-Z8750 SoC and pre-loaded with either Windows 10 Home or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

GPD Pocket specifications (subject to change):

  • SoC –  Intel Atom x7-Z8750 quad core Cherry Trail processor @ 1.6 / 2.56 GHz  with a 16EU Intel HD graphics Gen9
  • System Memory – 8GB LPDDR3-1600
  • Storage – 128GB eMMC flash
  • Display – 7″ multi-touch display with 1920×1200 resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio; Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Video Output – micro HDMI port for final model (prototype has mini HDMI port)
  • Audio – Realtek ALC5645,  built-in stereo speaker, microphone, 3.5mm headset jack
  • Connectivity –  802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 type C port with power/data/audio/video support,1x USB 3.0 type A port
  • Keyboard – QWERTY keyboard
  • Sensors – Gravity Sensor,Hall sensor
  • Battery – Non-removable 7,000 mh Li-Po battery good for about 12 hours
  • Dimensions – 180 x 106 x 18.5 mm (material: magnesium alloy)
  • Weight – 480g

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The portable computer will ship with a  5V/2.5A charger (US plug), an international  warranty card good for one year, and a specification sheet. Note that it won’t be fanless, as it’s cooled with a “copper radiator pipe, a large-diameter heat output pipeline”, and and a fan.

The project has now been launched with a funding goal of $200,000 on Indiegogo, where you can get GPD Pocket with Windows 10 or Ubuntu 16.04 for $399, a $200 discount over the $599 retail price once it becomes broadly available, or so they claim. They also have other rewards including a USB type C hub, and discounts for multiple quantities. Worldwide shipping is included in the price, and delivery is scheduled for June 2017.

$369 CHUWI Hi13 2-in-1 Windows 10 Tablet is Equipped with a 3000×2000 Display, Supports Ubuntu / Linux

February 15th, 2017 10 comments
I’ve recently reviewed CHUWI LapBook 14.1 laptop powered by an Intel Apollo Lake Celeron N3450 quad core processor, and found it to be a perfectly usable entry-level laptop with a few caveats like potential issues with USB ports, and the lack of brightness keys. The company is now about to launch with a higher end model, with the same processor, but instead of a 14.1″ Full HD display it will come with a high resolution 3000×2000 touchscreen 13.5″ display. The tablet will sell with Windows 10, but the company also claims support for Ubuntu, and other Linux distributions will likely work too.

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CHUWI Hi13 specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron N3450 quad core “Apollo Lake” processor @ 1.1 GHz / 2.2 GHz (Burst frequency) and 12 EU Intel HD graphics 500 @ 200 MHz / 700 MHz (Burst freq.); 6W TDP
  • System Memory – 4GB DDR3L memory
  • Storage – 64 GB eMMC storage + micro SD slot for up to 128GB extra
  • Display – 13.5″ touchscreen display with 3000 x 2000 resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio
  • Video Output – micro HDMI port
  • Audio –  Via HDMI port, 4x speakers, microphone, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Keyboard – Detachable metal rotary QWERTY keyboard
  • USB – 2x USB port on keyboard, 1x USB type C port on tablet with support for power, data, audio & video
  • Camera – 5MP rear camera, 2MP front-facing camera
  • Battery – 10,000mAh battery, fast charging with 24W power supply
  • Dimensions – 334 x 222 x 9.2mm
  • Weight – 1080 grams (tablet only)
The 2-in-1 hybrid tablet/laptop will also sell with a Chuwi HiPen H3, and the older HiPen H1 stylus also works with it.
 The company also provided a comparison table between CHUWI Hi13, Microsoft Surface Book, and Apple iPad Pro.
Hi13 Surface Book iPad Pro (12.9-inch)
Price $369 Starting at $1499 Starting at $799
Operating system Windows 10 (Ubuntu OS support) Windows 10 iOS 10
Screen size 13.5 inch 13.5 inch 12.9 inch
Resolution 3000 x 2000 3000 x 2000 2732 x 2048
Pixel density (PPI) 267 267 264
Aspect ratio 3:2 3:2 4:3
Speakers Four speaker audio Two speaker audio Four speaker audio
Thinness 9.2mm 13.0mm 6.9mm
Processor Quad-core Intel Apollo Lake Dual-core Intel Core i5/i7 Dual-core Apple A9X
Fanless design Yes No Yes
All-metal design Yes No Yes
Type-C port 1 x USB Type-C None None
HDMI port 1x Micro HDMI None None
Stylus HiPen H3 Surface Pen Apple Pencil
Keyboard Detachable rotary keyboard Detachable rotary keyboard Keyboard cover

While there are some similarities, the cheapest Surface Book comes with 8GB RAM and a 128 SSD, and a dual core Core i5 processor that will be much faster than the Apollo Lake processor, and usable for video editing and recent 3D games, which won’t be the case for CHUWI Hi13. Nevertheless, that could still be an interesting option for people looking for a device with a high resolution display for less than $400.

CHUWI Hi13 will be officially released on February 20, with pre-orders for $369 starting on the same date. [Update: You’ll find the device on GearBest, GeekBuying and Aliexpress for about $350]

CHUWI LapBook 14.1 Windows 10 Firmware, Drivers, and BIOS

February 13th, 2017 No comments

In case you’ve installed another operating system like Ubuntu on CHUWI Lapbook 14.1 laptop, and want to re-install Windows 10, CHUWI has released Windows 10 firmware, drivers, and LapBook 14.1 “BIOS” in their forums.

So I’ve re-installed Windows 10 on the laptop using the Windows 10 image. You’ll need to download the 8 files CHUWI LapBook 14.1 Windows.part1.rar to CHUWI LapBook 14.1 Windows.part8.rar, and after extracting them you should get a “CHUWI LapBook 14.1 Windows” directory with all necessary files to reinstall Windows.

The files take 8GB, so it may not fit on all 8GB flash drives, and you may need to use a 16GB or greater drive. I just copied the files to an 64GB flash drive formatted with NTFS, insert the drive into the USB 2.0 port of the laptop, and I could start the installation process at boot time.

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However, it quickly failed as it tried to install Windows 10 on the flash drive itself:

Virtual Disk Service Error:

The operation is not supported on removable media.

The system cannot open the device or file specified.

Then I remember I had to set the USB drive label to WINPE for this to work. So I have to repartition the drive, format it to NTFS, set the label WINPE, and copy the files again. I reinserted the drive into the laptop, and update started successfully and went much further this time.

Note that by default CHUWI LapBook 14.1 boots from USB first, but if you have changed the settings in the BIOS, you’ll have to press F7 at boot time in order to select the drive. The installation went ahead, and after a while the laptop shutdown. I removed the USB drive, and pressed the power button to carry on with the installation.

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At this point System Preparation Tool 3.10 windows pops up, and I just clicked on OK which rebooted the laptop again, and brought me to the usual Windows 10 setup wizard where you select the language, WiFi network, setup and account, etc…

I just went through it as usual, and everything works.

If you have one of the earlier model, and your BIOS is older than version “A2W6_NA14.012”, you may to upgrade the BIOS by downloading “LapBook 14.1 BIOS 20161230.zip” and extracting the files to a USB flash drive formatted with FAT32/NTFS, insert it in the laptop, and boot it to complete the update.

Supermicro A2SAV mini-ITX Board Powered by Intel Atom E3940 SoC Features 6 SATA Ports, Dual GbE, and Up to 9 USB Interfaces

February 6th, 2017 14 comments

Intel introduced three Atom E3900 series Apollo Lake processors last fall that target IoT, industrial and automotive applications, and Supermicro has designed A2SAV mini-ITX board powered by Atom x5-E3940 SoC that comes with lots of interfaces include 6 SATA ports, two Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports, and up to 9 USB interfaces accessible from connectors or headers.

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Supermicro A2SAV motherboard specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-E3940 quad core “Apollo Lake” processor @ 1.6 / 1.8 GHz with 2MB L2 cache, 12 EU Intel HD graphics (6.5W TDP)
  • System Memory – 1x 204-pin DDR3 SO-DIMM socket for 2, 4, or 8GB 1866/1600/1333MHz Unbuffered non-ECC 204-pin SO-DIMM DDR3
  • Storage
    • 6x SATA3 ports include 2x from SoC, and 4x via Marvel 88SE9230 controller
    • 1x SATA DOM (Disk on Module) power connector
    • 64Mb SPI Flash EEPROM with AMI UEFI BIOS supporting Plug and Play (PnP), DMI 2.3, ACPI 5.0, USB Keyboard, SMBIOS 2.7.1, and UEFI
    • mSATA and M.2 (See  expansion below)
  • Connectivity – Dual GbE LAN with Intel i210-AT controller
  • Video Output – 1x VGA, 1x Display Port, 1x HDMI, 1x eDP (Embedded Display Port)
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports (rear), 7x USB 2.0 port (2x rear, 4 via headers, 1x type A)
  • Serial – 3x COM ports using RJ45, RS232 and RS485 ports
  • Expansion
    • 1x PCIe 2.0 (in x8) slot
    • 2x M.2 PCIe 2.0, M Key 2242/2280
    • 1x Mini-PCIe with mSATA
  • Misc – Voltage and temperature monitors, chassis intrusion header and detection, system overheat LED, 2x 4-pin fan headers
  • Power Supply – ATX Power connector, 4-pin 12V DC power connector
  • Dimensions – 17.145cm x 17.145cm (Mini-ITX form factor)
  • Temperature Range – 0°C to 60°C

The company can provide mid and mini-tower chassis for the board, as well as a 1U chassis all “optimized for A2SAV motherboard”. There’s no list of supported operating systems yet, but Windows 10 (IoT), and various Linux distributions will certainly run on the board.

Supermicro product page has a few more details including some documents, but it does not mention pricing information. However, the board is listed for back order on Arrow Electronics for $253.73 (back order), and TigerDirect has the light version of the board, named A2SAV-L, with just two SATA ports and fewer USB ports for $169.99.

Thanks to Paul for the tip.

CHUWI LapBook 14.1 Apollo Lake Laptop Review – Part 2: Windows 10 Benchmarks, User Experience, and Battery Life

February 5th, 2017 14 comments

CHUWI LapBook 14.1 is the one of the first Apollo Lake laptop on the market. It features a 14.1″ IPS display, a Celeron N3450 quad core processor, 4GB RAM and 64 GB storage. The company has sent me a sample for review, and I had already check out the hardware in “CHUWI LapBook 14.1 Apollo Lake Laptop Review – Part 1: Unboxing & (Partial) Teardown“, so since then I’ve played with it including checking emails & news, writing a blog post on CNX Software, and watching some YouTube videos, as well as running benchmarks and estimating battery life, so I’ll report about my experience with the laptop in the second part of the review.

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CHUWI LapBook 14.1 System Information

LapBook 14.1 runs an activated version of Windows 10 Home 64-bit on an Intel Celeron 3450 “Apollo Lake” quad core processor @ 1.1 GHz / 2.2 GHz with 4 GB RAM (3.84 GB usable)

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The internal storage is a 64GB eMMC flash with a 57.1 GB Windows partition. The 64GB storage could mean it does not quality for a discounted Windows 10 license, as the requirements are  4GB RAM max, 14.1 display size max, and up to 32GB eMMC flash/SSD.

64GB storage will be filled quickly in Windows 10, especially if you have lots of emails, and store more and more pictures over time. It’s possible to extend storage via the micro SD slot, and possibly via an M.2 connector inside the device. USB storage is also an option, but as we’ll see below, I would not recommend it with this laptop.

I have taken a screenshot of Device Manager for people who want more details about peripherals.

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HWInFO64 mostly reports about the Intel Celeron N3450 processor, and as expected it’s exactly the same part number (CPU/Stepping/SSPEC) as on Voyo VMac Mini.

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The motherboard is named Hampoo A2W6_NA14 with the UEFI BIOS dated 12/30/2016.

CHUWI LapBook 14.1 Benchmarks

Let’s run some benchmarls on the laptop and compare them to Voyo VMac mini Celeron N3450 mini PC benchmarks results.

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LapBook 14.1 got 1,584 points in PCMARK 8 Home Accelerated 3.0, which compares to 1,566 points on Voyo VMac Mini that contrary to the laptop is actively cooled. So basically the score are identical here.

3DMark results are also pretty close with Ice Storm 1.2 (20,982 points), Cloud Gate 1.1 (2,092 points), and Sky Diver 1.0 (931 points), against respectively 18,892, 2,130, and 941 points for Voyo VMac Mini (N3450).

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The laptop achieved 830,7 points in PassMark PerformanceTest 9.0, against 998.4 points for the mini PC which is faster in all 5 categories: CPU, 2D Graphics, 3D Graphics, Memory, and Disk.

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Internal storage performance is acceptable with 256/116.4 MB/s sequential R/W speeds, and decent random read and write speeds, but not quite as fast as some other low costs devices.

For example, Voyo V1 VMac Mini SSD achieved about 500 MB/s read speed and 200 MB/s write speed, with significantly faster random R/W operations too.

CHUWI LapBook 14.1 User Experience

Two big parts of deciding whether a laptop is worth your consideration are the display and keyboard. The latter feels really nice to use, but unfortunately lacks brightness adjustment keys, which can be a pain is you set the brightness really low at night, and then need to use the laptop in broad daylight. I’m quite happy with the Full HD display, but you have to know it’s a non-touch display, it does not rotate that much (see video below), and viewing angles are not that great on the side. For my personal use, those did not affect me at all.

I’ve run some typical tasks, and shot a video with:

  • Multi-tasking – Launching and using Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, and Gimp at the same time
  • Web Browsing with Firefox
    • Loading multiple tabs with CNX Software blog
    • Playing a flash game  (Candy Crush Saga)
    • Playing a 1080p YouTube Videos
  • Gaming with Asphalt 8

Overall, I’m quite happy with the performance considering it’s a low power, fanless, entry-level laptop. I could load my hundreds of thousands emails in ThunderBird, while browsing the web with multiple tabs, and editing photos with gimp. 1080p YouTube videos are watchable in Firefox, although there are a few dropped frames here and there from time to time. I did not really notice it, and if you want slightly better playback, you can use Microsoft Edge browser with YouTube. Asphalt 8 feels a little smoother than in VMac Mini (N4250) possibly because the display is smaller.

The laptop also comes with a mini HDMI port to connect to an external display. A cable is not included so you’ll have to buy your own adapter or cable.

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Once connected Windows 10 will default in clone mode, but I had no trouble switching to extended display, and I had two Full HD independent displays.

I used a USB mouse connected to the laptop for close to 5 hours, and I had no problems, but this was another story with USB flash drives.

USB 2.0 Port OK Not detected OK
USB 3.0 Port OK Not detected Detected, but not mounted (“No Media”)

The laptop has two USB ports, one 2.0 port, and one 3.0 port, as you can see I did not have always have luck with my flash drives, especially the USB 3.0 port. This is what my DataTraveler G4 USB 3.0 flash looked like in Disk Management while connected to the USB 3.0 port.

“No Media”, but if I plugged the very same flash drive to the USB 2.0 port, it could be mounted.

A USB hub allowed me to work around the issues. However, I downloaded some system info and benchmarking tools on the laptop, copied them to one of the USB drive, but once I try to install those on another computer some of the files appeared to be corrupted. So I would not trust USB storage with important data, or you have to make sure you run some data sanity check (e.g. MD5) on your files. It’s also possible I was just unlucky, but it’s something to keep in mind.

CHUWI LapBook 14.1 Battery Life

Battery life is also an important aspect. While companies like Hewlett Packard are using MobileMark 2014 for testing battery on their Windows 10 laptops. but it’s a paid program, and I could not find a free battery testing application. So instead, I did my own “real use” case by charging the battery to 100%, and doing things on the laptop,  I normally do on my desktop PC in a typical day with two main use cases:

  1. Working outside from 9:00 to 12:00 with 100% brightness, checking emails, browsing the web, and editing pictures in Gimp
  2. Play YouTube videos in Firefox indoor with brightness set to 25% from 12:30 to about 14:00

When I started, Windows expected about 5 hours and a half of battery life.

I’d like to note I have lots of messages in Thunderbird because of mailing lists and RSS feeds (a few hundreds thousands), so Thunderbird was pretty active during the morning.

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After 3 hours I had 37% of battery capacity left. I had lunch, and then I went indoor to watch YouTube videos, and it lasted about 1h30 until the battery was fully depleted. So I had 4h30 of battery life on a charge.

An earlier full charge of the battery from 13% to 100% took just under 3 hours.

Conclusion

CHUWI LapBook 14.1 laptop almost matches all my needs. It is lightweight, the full HD display is good enough for me, battery life is good for about 5 hours, performance is acceptable for tasks such as web browsing, office applications, watching YouTube videos, and occasional light gaming. Normally I like to get at least 512 GB storage in a laptop, and that one only comes with 64GB eMMC flash with average performance, but it can be expanded with a micro SD card and possibly and M.2 SSD, but the latter are still quite expensive compared to hard drives. I also miss the keys to adjust brightness, and the main issue I found on the device is that USB mass storage is unreliable with some flash drives not  supported, and potentially data corruption when they are.  One of my other requirements is to run Ubuntu, so I’ll try to install Ubuntu 17.04 (daily build) on the laptop.

I’d like to thank CHUWI for sending an early sample of the laptop, which is not yet for sale, but available for pre-order on sites like GearBest and Banggood for $259.99 and up with shipping scheduled by the end of February.

Kodi 17 “Krypton” Released, Kodi 18 “Leia” Development Started

February 3rd, 2017 1 comment

Although not officially announced yet, Kodi developers have finally released Kodi 17 “Krypton” which you can download for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS, as well as Raspberry Pi and some other development boards, and several Linux versions specific to TV box such as Nvidia Shield Android TV, Amazon Fire, or WeTek Hub. The most visible changes of the update are the new Estuary and Estouchy default skins, and people who have bought recent Amlogic based Android TV boxes may have already experienced them as several TV boxes shipped with Kodi 17 Beta versions.

There’s a long list of changes, but some noticeable ones include:

  • Lots of changes and updated to the Live TV and PVR (Personal Video Recorder) include PVR backend clients addons
  • New Settings user interface
  • Media library improvements with multiple sources support, more filtering & rating options, and better scanning & database performance
  • Audio Engine improvements on most platforms using ActiveAE
  • New default web interface called Chorus2

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There are also some Android specific changes, with the most important being that you now need Android 5.0 or greater to run the latest version of Kodi:

  • Moved to Android API 21 and SDK 21 with NDK 10 as minimum, meaning at least Android 5.0 is now required
  • Moved jni into its own separate project / submodule (jni backports from SPMC)
  • Added support for audio pass-through for DTS-HD, DTS-X, Dolby TrueHD, and Dolby ATMOS
  • Added support in CMake to debug binary-addon packaging issues on Android
  • Improved MediaCodec API video decoding implementations support for Android 5.0 (API level 21) and later
  • Improved automatic refresh rate switching support for video playback on Android 5.0 & later (>= API 21), inc. Android TV
  • Improved support for UltraHD decoding / 4K resolution output when HW supports it
  • Improved playback of HEVC, VC-1 / WMV 9, and VP9 hardware video decoding when using Android’s MediaCodec API
  • Removed AMLCodec hardware accelerated video decoding support for Android on Amlogic device

Now that Kodi 17 has been released, no new features will be added, but bug fixing will still occur, and a dot release might be available later on. New features are now developed on Kodi 18 “Leia”.

Via Liliputing

MeegoPad T8 TV Stick Supports Dual Displays via HDMI and USB type C Ports

February 1st, 2017 3 comments

MeegoPad T8 was a Windows 10 mini projector in 2015, but time has passed, and the company has now decided to use the same name for a Windows 10 HDMI TV stick  supporting two displays thanks to the usual HDMI 1.4 male port, as well as a USB -C port with DisplayPort capability.

MeegoPad T08 TV stick specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.92 GHz with Intel Gen8 HD graphics (2W SDP)
  • System Memory – 4GB DDR3L-1600
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 128 GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 male connector + USB type C port
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.1 type C port for power, data, and video output, 1x micro USB port, 1x micro USB port for power only
  • Misc – Power button & LED, fan
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A connected to micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 14.20 x 4.20 x 0.99 cm
  • Weight – 200 grams

The device runs Windows 10 Home 32-bit. If you want to use the extra display, you’ll need a USB-C to HDMI adapter.

MeegoPad T08 is sold for $155 on GeekBuying and GearBest, but you could also find it for as low as $129 on Aliexpress if you decide to buy it without an activated version of Windows 10.

Via AndroidPC.es