Mele A1000 Android 2.3 STB Unboxing and Review

I’ve finally received the Mele A1000 media player I ordered 3 weeks ago. I mainly plan to use it as a Linux development platform for Allwinner A10 processor, but today I’ll just post some unboxing pictures and provide some feedback about the Android software running on the box.

I received the device in the box below. (Sorry about the picture quality, I took pictures with my smartphone).

Mele A1000 Box
Mele A1000 Packaging (Click to Enlarge)

Once you open the box, you’ll get see the set-top box, related accessories, a (not so useful) user guide in English and Chinese and what looks like a warranty card.

Inside Mele A1000 Box
Mele A1000 Packaging Opened (Click to Enlarge)

Once you unpack everything you get the set-top box, 2.5″ hard drive case, composite cable, remote control (infrared) and 5V power supply.

Allwinner A10 Device, power supply, audio/video cable, HDD casing and IR remote
Mele A1000 STB and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

You’ll noticed some buttons on the remote control have markings in Chinese, this is where the user manual can be useful.

You may already have seen the box itself (with clearer images), but I’ll show again the back of the box with most of the connectors and…

Allwinner A10 STB video output, USB, ethernet and power
Mele A1000 Rear Panel

…the left panel with another USB host port, the SD Card slot and the power button.

Left side of Mele A1000 STB
Mele A1000 Side Panel

Time to add 2 AAA batteries to the remote control, connect the power supply and connect the media player to the TV with an HDMI cable. After slightly over 1 minute, you should see the GUI.

Mele A1000 GUI
Mele A1000 Graphical User Interface

Everything is in Chinese, but you can easily change the language to English and setting up WiFi was a breeze. The Home Screen will mostly still be Chinese and this is normal, as most applications are in Chinese (mainly to access Chinese TV and movies online) and the MUIU weather widget in only available in Chinese, but the rest of the menus will be in English (mostly). I had to restart the device to apply changes.

My device was shipped with firmware version 1.2. You can do an OTA update (Blue icon with 2 curved white arrows) but it will only allow you to update up to version 1.3, although Mele has released version 1.5 which can be downloaded online and installed with an SD Card (more on that later).

So I kept playing with firmware 1.3.  The good thing is that the Android Market (now Google Play) seems to work just fine and you’ll be able to install and run most of your favorite apps. I tried gmail, Angry Bird, Fruit Ninja, Bloomberg for Mobile, Antutu benchmark, Terminal and a few others which seemed to work fine. Quadrant benchmark installed and started fine, but once you want to run Benchmarks it does not work.

Soon enough I realized that the remote would not be enough (e.g. try to play Angry Bird or write emails with the remote), so I connected a USB keyboard and mouse. It’s the first time I use an Android based media player and it feels quite awkward to use as you don’t exactly have easy access to all your media files and sometimes I found myself having to use the 3 input devices in one application.

Mele does provide a custom File Manager which allows you to browse files on your SD card, flash memory and external USB mass storage (but not NFS or CIFS/SAMBA network shares) and it can filter by Video, Music and Picture. Once you click on a file, you have to select which software you want to use to play and display the selected media file. The selected software can be made default, so that you don’t have to choose each time you click on this type of file. If you want to access file in a Windows Share (CIFS/Samba) simply install AndSMD or ES File Explorer, I used the later and it works well. The only thing that I could not achieve is a picture slideshow on a SAMBA share, as I had to open and close picture one by one (which is a pain).

I only tried about 10 videos, and about half of them could not play correctly. Some FLV and VOB files would not play at all and MOV files I shot with my Kodak camera could play but the image is corrupted. I was unable to play Youtube video in the web browser, however installing the YouTube application works just fine.

I finally upgraded the firmware to version 1.5 with an SD Card as a previous attempt to do so with a USB Thumbdrive failed miserably.  Once you download the file, extract them, run the Phoenix Utility and burn the firmware to your SD card (it will wipe out all the files on your card).  To upgrade the firmware, insert the SD card in the Mele A1000 SD card slot and power on your device. During upgrade nothing is display on the monitor (HDMI output), and you can only see the front panel LED blink and once the blinking stops, you can safely assume your firmware has been upgraded. Restart your device,  select the language, configure your network settings and you should see the new UI without the weather widget and less Chinese software. You’ll lose all settings and  apps  should installed with the previous firmware.

Mele A1000 Graphical User Inteface
Mele A1000 UI Firmware 1.5 (Click to Enlarge)

Now some more geeky stuff with Antutu benchmark and system details.

Allwinner A10 Antutu Benchmark
Mele A1000 Antutu Benchmark

With an Antutu score of 2337, the performance of Mele A1000 (Allwinner A10 + Mali-400MP) is similar to the one of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10i (Qualcomm QSD8250 @ 1GHZ + Adreno GPU), but previous tests showed scores around 2600/2700 closer to the performance of  Samsung Galaxy S (Samsung S5PC110 ARM Cortex-A8 processor  @ 1Ghz + PowerVR SGX 540 GPU) which is more in the range that we could expect. I’ve read somewhere the Allwinner A10 could be overcloked to 1.5 GHz, but I don’t know how to do this for now, nor if it is safe.

Although I could not run Quadrant benchmark, I could retrieve the system details.

Mele A1000 Android and Linux Versions
Mele A1000 System Details

This shows Android 2.3.4 and Linux 2.6.36 kernel run on the device, A10 gets about 1000 Bogomips and the available system memory for Linux is 305 MB out of 512 MB, which means 207 MB are used by the GPU.

I also captured the display and GPU details.

Allwinner A10 Mali 400 Details
Mele A1000 Display & GPU Info

Quadrant also shows OpenGL ES, OpenGL ES 2 and Pixel format, but I haven’t shown it. If somebody wants to know, leave a comment, I’ll provide a link to the screenshot.

If you are interested in purchasing the box, you could buy it for 70 USD + shipping on Aliexpress or like I did on dealextreme.com for 100 USD including international shipping. The total price on Aliexpress should be cheaper, and if you are a developer, you can ask the seller to include a USB to TTL board for debugging. In case you get an exorbitant shipping fee, you can tell the seller so that he can find a better option.

That will be it for today, I’ll keep updating this blog as (or should I say “if”) I make progress…

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Demetris
Demetris
8 years ago

Any development you do on it i would be much more than interested!
Please post your progress here, thanks.

deadfunk
deadfunk
8 years ago

hi:
i am interested in this machine, can you make a video review?, the machine have good speed?, working youtube?, flash is working?, whats vercion of flash compatible?.
do you want to install linux os?
thanks for the info
greetings

deadfunk
deadfunk
8 years ago

@ cnxsoft
thanks for the video, the sistem seems to respond fast, but like you say is for touch, with mouse is strange.
if you install ubuntu , make a an installation guide. i apreciate that. the use of mele a 1000 in a distribution like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XBMC_Live#XBMC_Live is my goal.
it have a remote control, sata plugin and power to reproduce full hd.
i keep seen your exelent page.
greetings

Haris Sarwar
Haris Sarwar
8 years ago

have u installed flash before checking youtube in the web browser?

Haris Sarwar
Haris Sarwar
8 years ago

What about the file playback issues after the firmware update to v1.5

Aurelio
Aurelio
8 years ago

Hi!

Thanks for the review. I am anxious for more news.

I care very much about power consumption. If you can measure that, I will appreciate it very much.

Thanks again.

Tom Cubie
Tom Cubie
8 years ago

Good review, thank you, Jean-Luc.

John
John
8 years ago

Have you tried installing other media players from the Android Market to see if they’ll play the files that you have trouble with? I’m considering buying one of these as a media player so I’m very interested in all of the media playing details.

John
John
8 years ago

@ cnxsoft Some of the popular players are MoboPlayer, Dice Player, MX Player, and RockPlayer. I’d probably start with MoboPlayer because it was able to play some formats on my tablet that would cause the other players to freeze and reset my tablet. I’m most interested in h.264/MKV playback if you can test that out, especially in HD resolutions. I realize that the player as it is might be limited, but there’s some interest in porting XBMC to it, so if one of the apps that I mentioned can work “good enough” before XBMC is ported, then I’ll pick one… Read more »

Lagstarr
Lagstarr
8 years ago

@john
Have you tried Arc Media Player, It is the main Video Player I use Across all my android devices and it will play all video formats (h264/MKV/OGM/AVI/Xvid/Divx/MP4/Mpeg/WMV) but also allows streaming through SMB shares but look for the older version under 2.0

John
John
8 years ago

@ cnxsoft Sounds great. Is the output quality good when playing video with MoboPlayer? And have you tried to install Flash Player and see if Flash works in any browser (such as Dolphin or Opera)? If you can test out this live streaming Flash video in Dolphin and/or Opera, then that would be great: http://www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles Also, is the Aliexpress product exactly the same as the Dealextreme one? @ Lagstarr Thanks for the tip. I just gave arcMedia a shot and it seems to work for me as well. @ cnxsoft There are multiple versions of arcMedia depending on the cpu… Read more »

John
John
8 years ago

I wanted to add that I could get arcMedia to access my shared folders but I can’t seem to get anything to play from the shares.

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

I see in the screenshot above that your refresh rate is 61.9 Hz. Since most video is encoded at either 23.976, 29.970 or 59.940, this would be very bad for video playback. You would see micro-stutter every few seconds as frames are repeated/dropped every few seconds. Would be noticeable on panning camera shots, especially at higher speeds like 59.940. Do you know if the hardware supports other refresh rates? There is a good set of panning test videos here: http://st7.us/MotionBarsH264.7z . They run perfectly smoothly on the Sigma based media players over HDMI.

John
John
8 years ago

This STB sounds almost exactly like what I need (something that can both reliably play media and stream Flash from websites while costing $100 or less) but the refresh rate issue is unfortunate. I hope that it can be resolved. I don’t even understand why it would output at such an odd refresh rate.

John
John
8 years ago

Unfortunately for me, it might be one of those situations where “what has been seen cannot be unseen”. After reading about the refresh rate here, I watched an episode of a TV show on my Xbox with XBMC ripped from a DVD set. I wasn’t specifically looking for judder, but I noticed it even though I had never noticed it before in earlier episodes. I checked the framerate and it was 25fps, but my Xbox is NTSC and outputs at 30fps. Up until then, I had always assumed that the show was either 24 or 30fps and I had never… Read more »

Pedro
Pedro
8 years ago

Hi,

Could you tell me if It’s possible watch 1080p movies correctly ?

I’ll like to buy the Mele as HD player.

Thanks.

tret
tret
8 years ago

Is it possible to share a 2gb image? 412MB of deb package in the apt cache (/var/cache/apt/archives) could be easily removed with ‘apt-get clean’.

2gb would allow for a cheaper sd/mmc card.

tret
tret
8 years ago

@ tret
Maybe also remove openoffice?

tret
tret
8 years ago

Thnx for your answer. Another question:
OTA updates provide with 1.3 firmware. I downloaded 1.5 firmware. As you write, I won’t use Livesuite due to problems. I want to use PhoenixCard utility. Where can I find this utility?

bgiraut
bgiraut
8 years ago

PhoenixCard utility is provide within the 1.5 firmware rar on this review or on the mele site : http://www.mele.cn/download/mele_HTPC_v1.5.rar

brian
brian
8 years ago

just fyi 1.6 firmware recently released. The download page (both english and chinese) still points to the 1.5 firmware even though claiming 1.6

correct link is: http://www.mele.cn/download/mele_HTPC_v1.6.rar

Haris Sarwar
Haris Sarwar
8 years ago

Can u please check google play again?
I was thinking of upgrading to firmware ver. 1.6

Haris Sarwar
Haris Sarwar
8 years ago

I have upgraded my mele 2000 to ver 1.6. Built in file explorer utility keeps blinking when it is used to open usb or sd card. Explorer works correctly only on the first launch. Strange thing happened with the sd card. After upgrading the firmware i formatted the sd card and copied some movies in it to check the compatibility. When file explorer started blinking i power cycled the box. On boot up board started blinking as if box have started the firmware update process but there was no firmware update image on the sd card. After that board stopped… Read more »

Haris Sarwar
Haris Sarwar
8 years ago

I am using win 7 and try to format through phoenix utility.
How can i do boot up from sd card without changing the internal flash?
Mele manufacturers should have used separate memory for saving wifi and android store configuration. After the update you have to go through same process again.
Have u tried using skype in mele?

Haris Sarwar
Haris Sarwar
8 years ago

Is there some way i could save android configuration in some file and restore settings from there?
I will try ubuntu image later.
I have tried a4tech usb mic + camera to mele but it doesn’t detect any thing.
I also tried logging to skype but it is stuck at login screen.

Haris Sarwar
Haris Sarwar
8 years ago

Thanks
Some apps in store require root in android, can mele be rooted to use these apps?

Haris Sarwar
Haris Sarwar
8 years ago

I have just checked the titanium backup app it also needs root

Haris Sarwar
Haris Sarwar
8 years ago

I was looking for usb camera and mic support in andorid and came across
http://artway.en.alibaba.com/product/520083544-213323202/New_Low_cost_Android_2_2_Internet_TV_box_support_USB_camera_microphone_and_DVBT.html
So it is possible in android if box contains the proper drivers.
Do you know anything about usb camera and mic support for mele?

Haris Sarwar
Haris Sarwar
8 years ago

When mic or camera is attached some sort of icon appears in the application menu?
Have u tested it with skype?

Haris Sarwar
Haris Sarwar
8 years ago

I tried again with my web cam and now skype is working fine. I don’t know what went wrong earlier.
Thanks

Lundman
8 years ago

Thanks for dropping the “Phoenix” util hint, I had no idea what to do with the android_4.0.img file 🙂

Haris Sarwar
Haris Sarwar
8 years ago

@ Lundman
Is ver 4.0 available for mele?

mic
mic
8 years ago

Can anybody tell me if the model number on the back of a2000 reads A100

Haris Sarwar
Haris Sarwar
8 years ago

@ mic
I will check it today and let you know

edzknows
edzknows
8 years ago

@ mic
My a2000 says A100 on the back

Decio
Decio
8 years ago

Hello, I want to buy this tv box too, but I have some question..
Does it work fine playing full hd movies? I want it just fow watching movies hahah.
What about the temperature? does it get hot?
and finally, does it have a bluetooth?
thank you!

Chandan
Chandan
8 years ago

I tried using 4gb sdhc class 4 sd card to update to ICS, but the phoenix utility gives an error while formatting. I don’t know how to proceed. what type of cards are supported to flash the firmware?

edzknows
edzknows
8 years ago

@ Decio
No built in bluetooth, but you can use a usb bluetooth module which only cost a dollar or 2 on dealextreme.
It should play full hd movies very well.
Mine does not get hot either.

Tate
Tate
8 years ago

Thank you for your review and answering questions. I have got a clearer view of what the box can and cannot do. I can buy well informed. I read somewhere that you could remove android and install ubuntu??? The hacking guide on one of the websites is more scary than helpful and leaves an impression it’s hard to do. Then every other website publish”Mele A1000 can be hacked easily to install Ubuntu blah blah blah” without hacking it themselves,reviewing the Android performance and the Ubuntu performance whether it’s for novice or not. After all l understand the A10 is almost… Read more »

Tate
Tate
8 years ago

@ cnxsoft. Any progress with rooting the Mele yet? Because it’s unbrickable, it’s makes it easy for any novice to play around without fear of having 406g ? Am no good with programming but don’t mind just experimenting, so am looking forward to a Mele toy soon foregoing Rasp Pi, MK,Cuddy.
Thanks for your efforts once again.

rcmrx7
rcmrx7
8 years ago

All of the images I have tested are already rooted.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

Does anyone have any tips on the firmware flash procedure, I’m trying to install the 1.6 update on the A2000. I used the Phoneix utility to burn the image to an sdcard and put it in the player and everything seems to be going according to plan but after two minutes it just sits there still blinking blue/red and well Google Chrome translate says the light should go off and thats when you remove the card. I waited another few minutes with it still blinking and removed the card, unplugged the power but it was still at firmware 1.5 after… Read more »

ekimia
8 years ago

@ Dan What size is your SDcard ? 4G is a min

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

@ ekimia
Thanks for the info, didnt know it had to be a 4GB card, was using 2GB cards.

@ cnxsoft I did use the Phoenix utility on two different computers with 2 different SDcards and each time it reported no errors during the process.

I’ll go get some 4GB+ cards and give those a go.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

@ Dan
Just wanted to say the 4GB+ card worked, so thanks again for the help everyone.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

One other issue I’ve noticed is that AC3 and DTS audio tracks don’t work with hardware decoding active, but they do work with software decoding but that’s no good really. Other audio formats like MP3 or AAC are fine with hardware decoding so it must be a bug in the firmware as the stock player and third party ones which can use the hardware decoding like MX Player are all affected. Someone on the Mele forum posted a patch for AC3 audio, I tried installing it and applying it but it seemed to not do anything, even after rebooting the… Read more »

lezioul
lezioul
8 years ago

Have just tryied flashing the mele a2000 with latest 1.6 FW using a 8Gb SDCard.
First try was a fail…After 20minutes, i stopped the device.
Then i try to boot normally but it won’t.
So i’m trying again… It’s been 45minutes now… Blue light still blinking… Unbrickable they said? 😀
If you have any idea, you are welcome!

lezioul
lezioul
8 years ago

Ok, switch to ICS for A10… Upgrade works and was very quick.
I also test one of these lubuntu image : sounds really promising 🙂

0level
0level
8 years ago

hi,

i got A2000 when try to falash 1.6 fw blue and red light blinking and screen remains black,try again and again but no luck and only blue light. try ubuntu or ICS but also no luck.
Please some one help.

Thanks

d1dd1
d1dd1
8 years ago

Does anyone have the Android 4 Image

Build apollo_mele-eng 4.0.3 IML74K 20120422 test-keys & google play (market) ?

Thanks

lezioul
lezioul
8 years ago

@ cnxsoft
This one : https://www.wuala.com/zercosz/Mele%20A2000/Firmware/?key=ThisIsFC2012
I do not recommend it as it is based on aosp and do not provide gapps…

@ 0level
Same thing with 1.6 on a2000… I’ve one of the latest lubuntu build on a 8Gb SDCARD : no problem

0level
0level
8 years ago

ok. imanged to burn the iamge correctly , i’ve used “PhoenixCard(windows XP)” under windows 7 32 bit with xp Compatibility mode and with admin rights.

hope that’s helps others

Ricardo
Ricardo
8 years ago

There is a way to use Mele a1000 to make a DIY tablet putting an TFT LCD to work? There is a group or forum for Mele?

Ricardo
Ricardo
8 years ago

@ cnxsoft
Thank´s for fast reply, i´ts possible to use a touchscreen on amele? Sorry about noob questions.

mhkadiwal
mhkadiwal
8 years ago

tsHello!
Have anybody tried using this as a thinclient ? I am very much interested in using these type of devices as thin terminals in an educational setup.
Again does anybody have experience of this ?- http://m.aliexpress.com/item/2012-Android-2-3-HDMI-TV-Box-Computer-Thin-Client-Network-Terminal-PC-Station-with-Smooth-Video-IN-N900-Thin-Client-Android/581745767.html
This has mlogic AML 8726M . The supplier will be able to ship only after 20 July.

Decio
Decio
8 years ago

Hello, I finally get my Mele a1000, but.. I played two videos, after that, I can´t play nothing.. :S. even the same videos that I played before.. I reload the SO, and nothing.. any help?

Decio
Decio
8 years ago

@ cnxsoft
I re-installed the firmware. Anyways I download the version 1.6 (I had the 1.5 version) and now its working.. I only have to find the best video player which can play AC3 audio.. and some APP to play ISO images..

mhkadiwal
mhkadiwal
8 years ago

@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft) Thanks for the suggestions. I was not aware about Mele1000 or other A10 solutions before coming to your site. I have already ordered aml 8726m based thin box.Now I will order Melee box also ,as there seems to be a larger community out there for support. Ours is a school in which I m going to start a computer lab. Thinclient seems to be the best solution economically and administratively.There are cheap win ce devices available but these new android/Linux based boxes may provide better experience both as standalone system and better multimedia in server-scientific setup. Thanks… Read more »

Decio
Decio
8 years ago

@ cnxsoft
Where I can find it, and how do I intall it??.. It´s something similar to be a root? or what?

Decio
Decio
8 years ago

@ Decio
Well I install Android 4.03, it solve the AC3 problem, and it makes the TV box faster.. But, there is always a but, the market (or google play) does not work, and does not recognizes the SATA..

Decio
Decio
8 years ago

@ cnxsoft
I install the version android 4.0 (the file´s name..) and after I install Mele_HTPC_Android 4.0_V1 , this is working fine, I just had to install the patch 1.3 and change the video size and ready to use.
I recommend it!…

Decio
Decio
8 years ago

Anyone knows if there is a way to install ubuntu tv on our mele?

Sumit Thapa
Sumit Thapa
8 years ago

I have been using the same device with wireless keyboard but I am unable to hit “Enter” with the keyboard so can anyone suggest me the equivalent key for “Enter”.

Sumit Thapa
Sumit Thapa
8 years ago


, yes the virtual keyboard shows up but it would be comfortable if I could hit the enter button on my wireless keyboard rather than clicking in the virtual keyboard. When ever I hit the “Enter” button on my keyboard it types “q”.

ASB Youcef
ASB Youcef
8 years ago

this update (1.1) resolve my HD streaming problem (multicasting over Ethernet)
now i can watch HD video in my straming multicast server (UDP & RTP)

i upload it in another server more fast

http://uploadhero.com/dl/wC4BBSL3

@Sumit Thapa
because when you click enter you had “Q” as sellected in the vertual keyboard
you have juste to desactivate (the VK) 😀

ASB Youcef
ASB Youcef
8 years ago

@Sumit Thapa

hit escape key on your keyboard to hide the vertual one and you can use Enter
i think there is an option to desactivate the vertual keyboard (the problem is with you hit ENTER, you choose the default sellected key on the VK, so enter work prefectly, you have just to hide the vertual keyboard)

Jupsu
Jupsu
8 years ago

Any idea how to change USB drives to read/write for applications in Mele a2000 ICS. I can move files around with stock file manager and ES file manager but apps can not write to USB drives. I tried modifying usbhost0 permissions with ES fileexplorer but is says “Change was failed”

Jupsu
Jupsu
8 years ago


That works! Thanks, although now I lost ethernet connection and wifi alltogether. I reloaded the backed up platform conf but still no internet connection anymore, rebooted all devices etc..
Ethernet connection gets an ip but nothing connects to the web, not even browser :/

Jupsu
Jupsu
8 years ago


Yep, could not figure out what went wrong so I upgraded to the latest official fw last night, with the fix you provided everything is now working like a charm. Thanks for the assistance. Now if DX would just send the remote keyboard I ordered.

Ivã
Ivã
8 years ago

Hello, where can I find the Phoenix utility to burn the files on my SD card?

Ivã
Ivã
8 years ago

Thanks, friend!

Gabe
Gabe
8 years ago

And another one, this one seems to have power button, remote & LAN, price is US$ 85:
http://dx.com/p/gv-16-mini-android-4-0-network-multi-media-player-w-wifi-hdmi-usb-tf-lan-white-2gb-142255?item=17

Sumit Thapa
Sumit Thapa
8 years ago

Does this device support USB EVDO Modem?

Zazu
Zazu
8 years ago

Any idea when a Mele with 1 gb or 2 gb RAM is available. Really like the Mele connectivity and HDD but the cubieboard has more RAM option. Connectivity or RAM???1gb RAM for Mele would b nice.

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