List of Amlogic S905 TV Boxes and Sticks

Rockchip RK3368 TV boxes looked promising at the end of the summer, but ended up being disappointing, not because of their expected lower performance compared to RK3288, but simply because they could not deliver on their main selling point: 4K H.265 / H.264 video playback, and the sheer number of issues with the first devices selling for nearly the same price as equivalent Rockchip RK3288 devices. Rockchip RK3368 will soon have a worthy competitor with Amlogic S905, which won’t deliver amazing benchmark scores, but looks promising for its 4K 10-bit HEVC video playback, HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2, and historically Amlogic delivers better video playback than Rockchip. The first Amlogic S905 TV boxes should start shipping by the end of the month, and prices are starting very low, just over $40, thanks to competition between the many manufacturers launching devices based on the new Amlogic SoC. That’s why I’ve decided […]

Top 10 Antutu Scores of 2015 for Smartphones So Far

I’m mainly focusing on Android mini PCs, and not so much on mobile devices. But this year, silicon vendors launched 64-bit ARM processor for TV boxes based on the low power Cortex A53 cores, lowering costs instead of improving performance of their 32-bit ARM processors, as media player don’t usually need very fast processor simply because video decoding is normally handled by the video engine. Two exceptions being Amazon Fire TV 2015 which gets over 51,000 points mostly thanks to MediaTek MT8173‘s two Cortex A72 cores, and Nvidia Shield Android TV box getting over 68,000 points, but sadly these two devices are not (easily) available worldwide yet. But on the mobile space, the race to faster and faster performance is still on, and according to a recent post on Antutu website (in Chinese), the fastest smartphones now reach over 75,000 points in the popular benchmark. I had to look up the […]

Xiaomi Introduces Mi TV Bar TV Box Speakers Powered by Mstar 6A928 Processor

Xiaomi has introduced a few new products yesterday including Mi TV 3 60″ 4K UHD television,  a cheap Bluetooth voice remote, as well as Ninebot Mini self-balancing two-wheel scooter. But the company has also launched a product that looks like the offspring of a sound bar and a TV box with MI TV Bar, featuring Mstar 6A928 quad core Cortex A17 processor with 2GB RAM and running Android 5.1 Lollipop as well as built-in speakers with Dolby Audio technology. It’s actually designed to be the smart system for Mi TV 3, as Xiaomi found out that while TVs may last 10 years, the “smart” part in smart TV may need an update every couple of years. Mi TV Bar specifications: SoC – Mstar 6A928 quad-core ARM Cortex A17 processor @  1.4GHz with Mali-760 MP4  4 + 4 core GPU System Memory – 2GB  DDR3 Storage – 8GB eMMC 5.0 flash […]

Xiaomi Mi Smart Remote Center Review

Xiaomi Mi Smart Remote Center is a tiny box with WiFi connectivity and IR transmitters that is used to control infrared enabled devices such as TVs, medai players, air conditioners and more with your Android smartphone. The good thing is that it only costs $20, so I asked GearBest to send a sample to check it out, which they did. I’ll start this review by checking out the hardware, before running MiHome app to control a television and air conditioner. Xiaomi Mi Smart Remote Center Unboxing and Teardown The package is just a cardboard box with Mi logo. Once you open the page there’s a sticker with the QR core redirecting to MiHome app. You can peel it off, and take the box out of the package, where you’ll also find a USB to micro USB cable for power, and a user’s manual in Chinese only. To open the device […]

$20 Xiaomi Mi Smart Remote Center Controls Infrared Home Appliances via Your Smartphone

Home automation used to be costly and complex to install, and some solutions are still that way, but several devices have dramatically brought the cost down and simplicity up including Orvibo Wiwo S20 WiFi smart socket, now selling for $16, Semlamp SL-011 – an $8 audio controlled relay -,  or smart light bulbs like Yeelight. All three items have the advantage of being plug-and-plug, inexpensive, and controlled wirelessly using your iOS and Android smartphone. There are also been some WiFi, IR and RF gateways on the market, such as Broadlink RM2 / Pro, that can control devices such as smart socker, air conditioner, TV, and items using the 315/433MHz band. If you only want to control IR (and WiFi?) devices, and don’t need to control RF devices, Xiaomi Mi Smart Remote Center sells for half the price for Broadlink Pro for just $19.99 on GearBest. Xiaomi Mi Smart Remote complete […]

CX-S500 is a Xiaomi Mi Box Mini Clone with Amlogic S805 Processor and a USB Port

Earlier this year I reviewed Xiaomi Mi Box Mini, and so far this year it’s one of my most popular blog posts despite being basically usable for non Chinese speakers, and lacking a USB port. A Chinese company decided it might be a good idea to design an Android mini PC lookalike, but powered by Amlogic S805, while also adding a much needed USB port. C-S500 specifications: SoC – Amlogic S805 quad core ARM Cortex A5 @ 1.5GHz with quad core Mali-450MP GPU System Memory – 1 GB RAM Storage – 8 GB NAND flash Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (Realtek RTL8723) , and Bluetooth Video & Audio Output – HDMI USB – 1x USB 2.0 port Power Supply – Integrated into device. Probably 100-240V input (TBC) Dimensions – TBD (Specs listed as 208 x 83.05 x 22 mm, but clearly wrong) Weight – N/A The company (Sunchip?) did not […]

Study Shows Octa Core Processors Bring Little Over Quad Core Processors in Mobile Devices

Silicon vendor are now launching 8-core and even 12-core processors for mobile devices, and I can see some advantages in terms of power consumption in processors leveraging big.LITTLE processing with low power ‘LITTLE’ cores running light tasks such as audio or video playback, while performance ‘big’ cores running much demanding tasks. However, some processors, such as RK3368, feature the same eight cores, and in real-use don’t bring that extra bit of performance or lower power consumption, except in very specific cases. So the only “advantage” of this type of processor is a marketing one, with keyword like “Octa-core”, “64-bit”, etc… Last year, I found out, that more powerful cores may be more important than many cores, when I tested Allwinner A80 processor with PVRMonitor to check CPU usage per core in real-time, and in Antutu, while Browsing the web or playing games, only a few cores were used most of […]

Xiaomi Mi Box Mini Review

After showing pictures of Xiami Mi Box Mini, it’s now time for a “review”, but a bit different from my other reviews, as Xiaomi tiny media player is much different. First the firmware is in Chinese only, and there’s only one external port HDMI output. So first I’ll show the user interface is Chinese, then explain how you can install your own Android apps, and finally run some benchmark to evaluates Mediatek MT8568, Wi-Fi and storage performance. Xiaomi Mi Box Mini Setup and Chinese User Interface The device is super small, but in my case it was almost too big, as it takes enough space to potentially cause problems with the adjacent plug. This little issue will of course depend on your power extension.  You then need to connect the 1.5 meter HDMI cable, which should be long enough for most setups, and you’ll see some guide asking you to […]