ROCK 5B developer edition preview – Part 1: Unboxing and first boot to Debian 11

ROCK 5B Rockchip RK3588 SBC

Radxa ROCK5 Model B (aka ROCK 5B) is one of the most anticipated Rockchip RK3588 single board computers due to its features set and relatively affordable price. It was first showcased in January, but it’s taking a while as the Cortex-A76/A55 SoC is a complex beast. The good news is that the public launch is getting closer as Radxa sent “developer edition” samples to developers and enthusiasts for a “debug party”. I was one of the recipients so, in this post, I’ll have a closer look at the latest revision of the board, and give it a quick try first before going into more details in the second of this preview. ROCK5 Model B unboxing I received the 16GB RAM version which should be the same for all board part of the “developer edition batch. Developers are invited to submit reports to Radxa forums, and since those are public, anybody […]

Mini review of ORICO “USB 4.0” M.2 NVMe SSD enclosure

Orico USB 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD enclosure review

ORICO has sent me a sample of a USB 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD enclosure for review, which was timely as I did not have a fast USB storage option for testing. In this post, I’ll check out the hardware, show how to install an NVMe SSD, and test performance in UP Xtreme i11 mini PC since it happens to come with a USB4 port. ORICO USB 4.0 M.2 SSD enclosure specs and unboxing The exact model I received is the ORICO M234C3-U4 with a Rose Gold aluminum enclosure (107x50x17mm), supporting M.2 M-Key and B+M Key 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 SSDs (more on that later), and offering up to 40 Gbps through its USB 4.0 port. The device ships with a USB Type-C to USB Type-C/Type-A cable, a thermal pad, a heatsink, two screws, and a multilingual user manual. There’s only one USB Type-C port one the device. M.2 NVMe SSD […]

Getting started with WiFi on Raspberry Pi Pico W board

Raspberry Pi Pico W UART serial console

Raspberry Pi Trading announced the Raspberry Pi Pico W board basically based on the same design as the original Raspberry Pi Pico board with RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller but adding a wireless module with WiFi 4 and Bluetooth LE 5.2, although the latter is not enabled on the board at this time. The company sent me a sample for review/evaluation, and I’ll focus on the WiFi part since the Raspberry Pi Pico W supports the same MicroPython and C/C++ SDKs as for the Raspberry Pi Pico board plus additional APIs for wireless connectivity. Raspberry Pi Pico W unboxing The board I received was cut from a 480-unit reel, and I also got a one-meter long micro USB to USB cable, which should probably not be included by default for people ordering the $6 board. Just like its predecessor, the board is tiny, and The pinout is the same as the […]

Beelink MINI S Review – A Low-cost mini PC tested with Ubuntu 22.04 and Windows 11

Beelink MINI S review

Whilst the first mini PCs were relatively simplistic using low-powered Intel Atom processors with minimal memory, storage, and ports, more recent mini PCs have become so advanced they can challenge SFF builds for both performance and functionality. However, such mini PCs come with prices to match. Beelink has now released the MINI S which is a mini PC that goes back to the basics and is based on a cut-down version of their earlier Beelink U59 mini PC and priced to match. Beelink kindly sent one for review and I’ve looked at performance running both Windows and Ubuntu and compared it directly against the U59. Beelink MINI S hardware overview The Beelink MINI S physically consists of a 115 x 102 x 41mm (4.53 x 4.02 x 1.61 inches) square plastic case. As an actively cooled mini PC, it uses Intel’s new 10 nm Jasper Lake N5095 processor which is […]

Mekotronics R58 review – Part 1: Rockchip RK3588 mini PC unboxing & teardown

Mekotronics R58 review Rockchip RK3588 mini PC

Mekotronics R58 is a cost-optimized Rockchip RK3588 mini PC and SBC that sells for as low as $169 with 4GB and 32GB eMMC flash. The company has now sent me a model with 8GB RAM and 64GB flash for evaluation, and in the first part of the review, I’ll do an unboxing, check out the hardware more closely, and boot it up for a quick check. Mekotronics R58 Unboxing There’s no retail package so to speak with just a white box and a sticker reading “MINI 8+64G” indicating the RAM and storage capacity for the device. The mini PC ships with a 12V/3A power adapter and cord, an IR remote control with two AAA batteries, two WiFi antennas, an HDMI cable, and a USB-A to USB-C cable probably to flash the firmware if needed. The mini PC is housed in a metal enclosure with plenty of ventilation holes at the […]

BP Doctor PRO review – A 2-in-1 smartwatch and blood pressure monitor

YHE BP Doctor Pro 2-in-1 smartwatch & blood pressure monitor

So far, If I wanted to monitor my blood pressure monitor and overall fitness, I’d use a Bluetooth blood pressure monitor (Koogeek BP2) plus a fitness tracker/smartwatch such as Weloop Key S3. It does the job, but WearWiz has come up with something much more compact with the BP Doctor Pro 2-in-1 device that acts as both a smartwatch/fitness tracker and a blood pressure monitor, and at $299, offers a cheaper alternative to the $500 FDA-approved Omron Heartguide. The company sent a sample to CNX Software for review, so we’ll have a look at the device and accessories, the Android app, and features such as blood pressure monitoring, HRM, SpO2 level monitoring, and more. The review is rather long, so if you are short on time, you may want to check the two sections: Blood pressure monitoring with BP Doctor PRO smartwatch Conclusion with Pros and Cons BP Doctor PRO […]

Beelink SER3 & SEi8 mini PCs review – Part 2: Ubuntu 22.04

Previously, I reviewed Beelink’s new SEi8 and SER3 mini PCs running Windows 11, so in this part, I will cover Ubuntu 22.04. Hardware Recap The SEi8 is an actively cooled Intel mini PC that physically consists of a 124 x 113 x 41 (4.88 x 4.45 x 1.61 inches) square metal case with a plastic top and uses Intel’s 14++ nm Coffee Lake Refresh Core i3-8109U processor from 2018 which is a dual-core 4-thread 3.00 GHz mobile processor boosting to 3.60 GHz with Intel’s Iris Plus Graphics 655. In comparison, the SER3 is an AMD mini PC and is physically very similar, consisting of a 126 x 113 x 40mm (4.96 x 4.45 x 1.57 inches) square metal case. It is also actively cooled and uses AMD’s 14 nm Zen Ryzen 3 3200U Picasso processor from 2019 which is a dual-core 4-thread 2.6 GHz mobile processor boosting to 3.5 GHz […]

NanoPi R5S preview – Part 2: Ubuntu 20.04 (FriendlyCore)

NanoPi R5S M.2 NVMe SSD

I started the NanoPi R5S review with an unboxing, a teardown, a quick try of the pre-installed OpenWrt-based FriendlyWrt, and some iperf3 benchmarks on the 2.5GbE interfaces that were rather disappointing. I test further I switched to the Ubuntu 20.04-based FriendlyCore image since I’m more familiar with Debian-based operating systems, and some tools will not run on OpenWrt. Note the performance is still not quite optimal, and that’s why I call this a preview since numbers should improve in the next few months as more people tweak the software. OpenWrt optimizations? But feature jumping to Ubuntu, I gave an updated version of FriendlyWrt a give as FriendElec told me they had added some optimizations: We have made some optimizations on the new image, such as NIC interrupt settings, and offload support… So I downloaded “rk3568-eflasher-friendlywrt-20220526.img.gz” found on Google Drive, and flashed it to a microSD card with USBImager, and booted […]