Best Android Mini PCs Awards of 2014

I’ve reviewed quite a few Android media players this year, and as 2014 comes to an end, I thought it might be worth writing a best of 2014. But it’s difficult to announce an overall winner since all have some flaws one way or another, I’ll classified by categories: Best Ethernet, Best Internal Storage, … a bit like for “Oscars ceremony awards, based mostly on objective results from my tests. However, and somewhat oddly for a media player, I won’t select any TV boxes based on their video playback capabilities, as so far I haven’t found one that can play most 4K / H.265 videos reasonably well in Kodi, and video playback tests are also subjective. This is obviously a flawed contest as they all are, because in order to be nominated, the media player must have been reviewed on CNX Software. But it should be fun anyway, so let’s […]

Android 4.4 and Ubuntu 14.10 Tested on Ugoos UM3 mini PC (Rockchip RK3288)

A few days ago I posted pictures of Ugoos UM3, a cute mini PC powered by Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex A17 processor, with 2GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, a few USB ports, and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac connectivity. There are so many Rockchip RK3288 based TV boxes and sticks on the market, that it has become difficult to differentiate, so Ugoos has decided to support not only Android 4.4 like all their competitors, but also Ubuntu 14.10, and they’ve provided an alpha release of dual boot Android / Ubuntu images for Ugoos UT3 and UM3 models. Yesterday, I flashed the latest Android/Ubuntu firmware for UM3, and tested the image, so today I can report my findings. First of all, I’d like to point out that I received an earlier sample with various flaws that I reported to Ugoos, and they’ve already committed to fixes: 5V/2A power adapter is not powerful […]

How To Upgrade Firmware on Ugoos UM3 mini PC

Ugoos released two new dual boot Android / Ubuntu images for Ugoos UT3 and UM3, which reduces the size of the system by 300MB, includes LibreOffice, replaces Firefox by Chromium + PepperFlash plugin, and fixes various bugs: ut3_dualboot_v0.2.rar – For UT3 full sized TV box UM3_dualboot_v0.2.rar – For UM3 mini TV box The firmware update procedure for Rockchip RK3288 is well-known, and Ugoos even includes a word file with flashing instructions in Microsoft Windows with the firmware images. However, it still took me about one hour to find out how to do with Ugoos UM3, so I thought I’d write a post in case others encounter the same issue. I flash the firmware in Ubuntu, so instead of using Android Tool, I flashed it with upgrade_tool command line utility I got from Orion R28 SDK, but you can also download Linux_Upgrade_Tool_v1.2.tar.gz directly. First let’s enter recovery mode. The procedure is […]

Unboxing of Ugoos UM3 Android and Ubuntu ARM mini PC

Ugoos UM3 is another minic PC powered by Rockchip RK3288 SoC with 8GB storage, 2GB RAM. It has Wi-Fi, but no Ethernet, so it looks like the offspring between a full-sized TV box and an HDMI stick. The company sent me a sample for evaluation pre-loaded with a dual boot image with Android 4.4 & Ubuntu 14.10. I’ll start by unboxing, and opening the device, before testing the dual boot image another day. Ugoos UM3 Unboxing The company sent me the device via DHL in a package for RK3066 / RK3188 devices, but I guess end-users will get an update package that will probably look similar. I was surprised how tiny the device was when I first took it out of the box, and with a black body and red cover, it’s probably the cutest too. It comes with a 5V/2A power supply and corresponding USB to micro USB cable, […]

Dual Boot Ubuntu 14.10 / Android 4.4 Image Released for Ugoos UT3

There has been several Ubuntu images released for Rockchip RK3288 based devices, even dual boot Android / Ubuntu images, first thanks to Ian Morrison who published instructions to install Linux on RK3288 devices based on the work done by T-Firefly team, then Nagrace released a preliminary dual boot Android / Ubuntu for HPH NT-V6, Open Hour Chameleon can boot either Android or Lubuntu from an SD card, and more recently Ugoos released a dual boot Ubuntu 14.10 / Android 4.4 image for their Ugoos UT3 mini PC, as well as a demo video. Three images are now available for Ugoos UT3: Dual boot (Android 4.4.2 – Ubuntu 14.10) – ut3_dualboot_0.1t.rar Ubuntu 14.10 only – ut3_ubuntu14.10_v0.1.rar Android 4.4.2 only – ut3_2.0.4.zip As a side note, I love mega.co.nz links as the download speed usually maxes out my Internet connection bandwidth. There are two files and one folder in the dual boot rar file: […]

Rockchip RK3288 Temperature Testing and Antutu Benchmarks

There are many upcoming Rockchip RK3288 based devices, and in the listing the CPU frequency varies from 1.6 GHz to 2.0 Ghz. so it’s difficult to know exactly what to expect. Ugoos has done some testing with their UT3 board measuring temperature after Antutu benchmark for different CPU clock frequencies and fan/fanless combinations. The board comes with a rather tiny heatsink which may explain some of the results below. They also added a small fan on top in about half the tests to compare the temperature against an heatsink only solution. Without further delays let’s go through the results: Frequency Antutu Score Temperature (heatsink) Temperature (Back of PCB) Heatsink only Heatsink + fan Heatsink only Heatsink + fan 1.608 GHz 38655 67 °C N/A 70 °C N/A 1.704 GHz 39853 72 °C 50 °C 75 °C 60 °C 1.800 GHz 41440 83 °C 52 °C 85 °C 62 °C 1.920 […]

Ugoos S85 Android HDMI TV Stick Features Amlogic S805 Quad Core SoC, Supports H.265 Video Decoding

HDMI TV sticks used to be popular, but as processors became more powerful, it became more and more challenging to put new SoCs in such a small form factor due to thermal issues. For example, there’s no HDMI TV stick powered by Amlogic S802 (4x Cortex A9 @ 2GHz), as even TV boxes may have troubles keeping things cool with two largish heatsinks. But the new Amlogic S805 quad core ARM Cortex A5 is more power-efficient, and Ugoos will soon release S85 model in an HDMI stick form factor. For now, they’ve just published some pictures of the board. Ugoos S85 specifications: SoC – Amlogic S805 Quad-Core Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz with Quad Core ARM Mali-450MP GPU @ 600MHz System Memory – 1GB DDR3 Storage – 8GB NAND FLASH + micro SD card slot Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4b with CEC (male connector) Video Codecs –  MPEG1/2/4, H.265, HD […]

List of Rockchip RK3288 Android TV Boxes So Far

In the previous years, you’d normally learn about new devices as they get listed on Alibaba or Aliexpress, and that’s how I built my – now very incomplete – list of Rockchip RK3188 based devices. But now companies seem to be anxious to let people know about their new devices even before they hit the market, and albeit I’ve been told full production of Rokchip RK3288 powered Android TV boxes is only planned by the end of July, many companies are already showing off their new devices, even though only the PCBA may be ready, or in development. Let’s go through the list of Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex A17 media devices that’s known (to me) so far: No brand D368 – HDMI 1.4 TV dongle with 1 or 2 GB RAM, 4, 8 or 16 GB flash, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac + (optional) Bluetooth, and 2x USB host ports. No […]