Black Friday 2015 – International Deals

While Black Friday is very much a US tradition, Chinese online retailers have made an habit to launch Black Friday, and to a lesser extend Cyber Monday, promotions discount on their sites bringing the event to an international audience. This year is no different, and have gathered some promotions that may be of interest to CNX Software readers. DealExtreme I have not found specific deals on DealExtreme, but the company launched a Black Friday 2015 Lucky Draw event where you can get partial or full refunds of existing orders, as well as coupons for future order. Here are the rules: This campaign is for all DX customers. Please log in first. One play per valid order number. Valid Orders must meet the following three conditions: Orders made on or after 10:00:00(AM) Oct. 28th and before 9:59:59(AM) Nov. 26th, 2015 (UTC+8). Order should include one or more MVP product(s) and the […]

A Look at Android and Windows Mini PCs’ Power Consumption in Power Off, Standby, Idle, and Video Playback Modes

I’ve previously measured power consumption of Amlogic S812 and Rockchip RK3288 based TV boxes using a multimeter. This provides relatively accurate measurements, as well as neat power consumption profiles of devices, but it’s a little complex and time-consuming, so it’s not something I would do for all devices. The easiest way to measure power consumption is to use a kill-a-watt type of device, but my first one broke after only 3 months last year.  I purchased a new one recently, so I run run some power measurement tests on several devices. I selected five devices for this test: MeLE PCG01 HDMI stick with Intel Atom Z3735F processor running Windows 10 Zidoo X9 TV box with Mstar MSO9810 running Android 4.4 Open Hour Chameleon TV box with Rockchip RK3288 processor running Android 4.4 Tronsmart Orion R68 Meta TV box with Rockchip RK3368 processor running Android 5.1 Tronfy MXIV TV box with […]

Ubuntu 14.04 / 15.04 Tested in Tronsmart Ara X5 Cherry Trail Mini PC

After reviewing Tronsmart Ara X5 with Windows 10, I decided to give a try at Ubuntu. Initially I downloaded Ubuntu 15.04 Desktop 64-bit ISO image, and prepare a bootable USB drive with UNetbootin in my computer running Ubuntu 14.04. But after inserting the USB flash drive into Ara X5, and pressing F7, there was no options to select the drive, so I went to UEFI settings, and the drive was clearly detected, but not available as a bootable device. Finally, having heard one company booted Ubuntu on MeegoPad T04 using Rufus, and Tronsmart confirming Ubuntu 14.04 could boot on Ara X5 using Pendrive Linux USB installer, I decided to try again with Windows tools, and prepared an Ubuntu 15.04 image with Rufus. Great! Pressing F7 would show the USB flash drive, and I could boot Ubuntu 15.04. But unfortunately audio output is not working (only Dummy output), nor is WiFi […]

Tronsmart Orion R68 Meta mini PC Unboxing and Teardown

I’ve already reviewed one Rockchip RK3368 mini PC with Beelink i68, and found out that although HDMI 2.0 up to 2160p60 was working, there was still some work to do to have 4K 60 fps videos playing smoothly, and compared to Rockchip RK3288 device performance was – as expected – significantly lower. But I now have a new RK3368 device to play with as GeekBuying has now sent me their Tronsmart Orion R68 Meta with higher specifications including Gigabit Ethernet support, 802.11ac support, and 16GB storage (vs just 8GB for Beelink i68 sample I received previously). Tronsmart Orion R68 Meta Unboxing GeekBuying sent me the package via DHL, which seems the preferred courier of many resellers who provide samples. Tronsmart Orion R68 is in a retail package with complete specifications at the back. There are two models for Orion R68: Meta (2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, GbE, and AP6335 wileress module) […]

Review of Tronsmart Ara X5 Windows 10 mini PC with Intel Atom X5 Processor

Tronsmart Ara X5 is one of the first mini PC featuring a Cherry Trail processor, more exactly Atom x5-Z8300 quad core processor manufactured with 14nm process. Price and max TDP are similar to Atom Z3735F Bay Trail-T processor found in many mini PCs designed in China, so it will interesting to compare the two platforms. Yesterday, I took some photos of the device, and found out the design was comprised of a baseboard and system-on-module, but today, I’ll focus on testing the device in Windows 10, checking everything works as it should, as well as running some benchmarks, verifying the Windows license status, test H.265 video playback in Kodi, and more. Tronsmart Ara X5 Setup I had not much to do the first time I booted the device, as it was already configured to use English, and the system logged in with user “User” without password. I still double checked […]

Tronsmart Ara X5 Cherry Trail mini PC Unboxing and Teardown

Tronsmart Ara X5 is one of the first Intel Atom X5 mini PCs available on the market, and should provide a decent update to the many Intel Atom Z3735F based devices with its Atom x5-Z8300 quad core processor. GeekBuying sent me one sample for review, and today I’ll take a few pictures, and take it apart to find out more about the components used and its thermal design, before doing a review in the next few days. Tronsmart Ara X5 Unboxing I received the fanless computer by DHL in the following package together with a EU to US plug adapter. Ara X5 ships with a 5V/3A power adapter, an HDMI cable, and a user’s manual in English. The front panel has two USB 2.0 host ports, a 3.5mm headset jack, and the power button, while the rear panel features the power jack, a Fast Ethernet RJ45 port, HDMI output, a […]

List of Rockchip RK3368 Android mini PCs

Last year, Rockchip RK3288 was always going to be popular, since it offered a massive performance upgrade compared to its predecessor (Rockchip RK3188) with Cortex A17 cores replacing Cortex A9 cores, and a Mali-T764 GPU replacing an aging Mali-400MP4 GPU, plus the addition of 4K video output and decoding, as well as H.265 video codec support. So many manufacturers got involved that I decided to write a list of RK3288 TV boxes and sticks. Rockchip RK3368, the company’s new “flagship” processor for 2015, is a bit less exciting despite providing eight 64-bit ARM cores, since Cortex A53 cores are significantly less powerful than the Cortex A17 cores found in RK3288, and the performance of the PowerVR G6110 GPU used in the processor is a bit of an unknown for now. RK3368 might still rank pretty well in benchmark since it comes with eight cores instead of four cores, but I’m […]

Tronsmart Orion R68 RK3368 TV Box Firmware and Android SDK Released

Tronsmart Orion R68 is an Android 5.1 TV box powered by Rockchip RK3368 octa core ARM Cortex A53 processor with 1 or 2GB RAM, and 8 or 16GB eMMC flash depending on model, most probably based on Beelink i68 hardware. The goods news is that the company has now released the stock firmware as well as the Android SDK for the device. The firmware is version 100L1100_0720, dated July 20th, with the following changelog: OTA firmware updates support USB audio support Remote control function via smartphone In case you need to flash the firmware manually, you’ll need a Windows PC, a toothpick and a micro USB cable, and download Updating_instruction&Drivers&Flashing_Tools.zip which contains instructions, and the latest version of two Windows based utilities: DriverAssitant v4.3 – Program used to install the USB drivers for your version of Windows. FactoryTool v1.39 – The tool that does the flashing. If OTA is working, […]

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