Xiaomi Mi A2 Review with Android 9.0 Pie

Mi A2 Review Android 9.0

I had been using Xiaomi Mi A1 Android One smartphone since the end of 2017,  and was mostly satisfied with it thanks to regular (monthly) firmware update, although I was a bit disappointed by the camera overtime. Eventually I had a serious issue with Mi A1’s eMMC flash, and stopped using it at the end of last year, or roughly after one year of service, since the phone became unusable, unbearably slow. Xiaomi Mi A2 and A2 Lite where released last summer, and having seen Mi A2 was getting an Android 9.0 firmware in Q4 2018, I asked GearBest whether they could send a sample to review the latest Xiaomi Android One phone. They accepted, and I posted the first part of the review in early December. However, at this time, I did not get the update, since it was not released in Thailand, but soon enough Xiaomi Mi A2 got upgraded to Android 9.0 Pie. I’ve now been using …

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LIVA Q2 Review – ECS Micro PC Tested with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18.10

ECS LIVA Q2 Teardown

ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) is a Taiwanese company that has been offering mini PCs for several years now. Last year they announced their ‘pocket-sized’ model the LIVA Q. Originally featuring Apollo Lake SoCs it has now been upgraded and renamed as the LIVA Q2 and offers a choice of Gemini Lake SoCs. The distinguishing feature of the LIVA Q series however is the form-factor. Compared with Intel Compute ‘stick’ PCs and Intel NUC ‘mini’ PCs the LIVA Q2 is a ‘micro’ PC. This micro PC is like a minimalist mini PC that includes just the minimum number of useful ports namely a couple of USB ports (3.1 and 2.0) on one side, a micro SD card slot on another and finally an HDMI (2.0) and gigabit Ethernet at the rear. The resultant micro PC is beautifully small consisting of a 70mm (2.76″) square case by 33.4mm (1.31”) tall which can still be mounted on the back of a monitor using …

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Khadas Edge Review – Part 3: Android 7.0 Preview

Khadas Edge Android 7.0

Hey Karl here with a look at a preview of Android on the Khadas edge. Jean-luc has done 2 parts already. The first one looking at the hardware side, and a second looking at Ubuntu. A third img is available that for LibreELEC. The initial release was very barebones, and the 2nd version is much more polished with the Play Store installed now and overall feels snappier. Khadas is supposed to be sending an Edge over to Super Celeron, and I hope they follow through. DHL DHL really messed up my board. Here are some pics. I will only be testing with Ethernet because the WiFi antenna got damaged badly and even bent the heatsink. I think the board is slightly damaged as well. I can only flash using the buttons on the board and not the carrier board. Everything else seems OK. Due to the damage I am using a heatsink that I had. I took some temp readings …

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Beelink X55 Review – An Intel Gemini Lake mini PC Tested with Windows 10 and Linux

Beelink X55 board

The Beelink X55 is very similar in style to Intel’s NUC7PJYH NUC reviewed earlier except that it is not a kit but a fully functional Windows mini PC. It is physically small consisting of an approximately 4.5″ by 4” case about 1¾” tall with a front panel that includes the power button and a couple of USB ports and a headphone jack with the rest of the ports including two HDMI (2.0) ones at the rear: The specifications include: The key highlights are that the Beelink X55 comes a 128GB mSATA SSD with pre-installed Windows 10 Home together with 8GB DDR4 RAM (soldered and is non-expandable) and space plus a connector for an SSD. Starting with a quick look at the hardware information shows it is mostly aligned to the specification but see the note below about the memory: As usual I ran my standard set of benchmarking tools to look at performance under Windows: At this point I normally …

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Beelink X45 Mini PC Review with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16.04/18.04

Beelink X45 Board

The Beelink X45 mini PC is now available, and Lightinthebox.com have provided a unit for review. It is very similar in style to Intel’s latest NUC Windows mini PC, the NUC7CJYSAL reviewed earlier. However it contains an Intel Celeron Processor J4105 SoC which is a quad core processor bursting up to 2.50 GHz together with the Intel UHD Graphics 600 processor that is capable of 4K support at 60Hz. It is physically small consisting of an approximately 4.5″ by 4” case about 1¾” tall with a front panel that includes the power button and a couple of USB ports and a headphone jack with the rest of the ports including two HDMI (2.0) ones at the rear: The specifications include: A key point to note is the Beelink X45 comes with 64GB eMMC with pre-installed Windows 10 Home together with 4GB DDR4 RAM (soldered and is non-expandable) with space and connectors for both an mSATA and SSD. Starting with a …

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MINIX NEO J50C-4 Mini PC Review – Part 2: Windows 10 Pro

MINIX NEO J50C-4 Wireless Keyboard Mouse

Intel Gemini Lake processors and associated have been products  available for several months, and although I’ve published several Gemini Lake reviews, those were courtesy of Linuxium, which means MINIX NEO J50C-4 is my very first Gemini Lake mini PC. We’ve already looked at the hardware and accessories in MINIX NEO J50C-4 Pentium J5005 Mini PC Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Windows Remote, M.2 SSD, and Teardown, and focused on MINIX NEO W2 remote control in a separate review post.  So in the second part of the review, I’ll focus on my experience with Windows 10 Pro, before likely publishing a third part about Ubuntu / Linux in a few weeks. Initial Setup, BIOS, and Booting MINIX NEO J50C-4 from the M.2 SSD The review will be a little different than usual since I’m on the road, and as a result I did not take all my accessories with me to travel light. I also had to find a room with …

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Intel NUC7CJYSAL “June Canyon” Gemini Lake NUC Mini PC Review with Windows 10 and Ubuntu

The hardware specification for mini PCs has recently evolved past the traditional fixed amount of memory and storage. Now mini PCs are shipping with SODIMM slots allowing RAM expansion and a variety of M.2 or SSD combos providing flexible storage options. Recent mini PCs are also coming to market with desktop processors rather than mobile processors because there has been a gradual acceptance of the necessary inclusion of a small internal fan. In doing so not only is this addressing the key limiting factors for mini PCs but it is also redefines the very definition of a mini PC. Until recently Intel NUCs (Next Unit of Computing) were seen as small-form-factor personal computers primarily because they consisted of the traditional motherboard with a processor, included removable RAM and storage and were enclosed in a case with an external power supply. They were also sold as kits meaning they were essentially the ‘barebones’ ready to be build with separately purchased memory, …

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Vorke V1 Plus Celeron J3455 Mini PC Review with Windows and Ubuntu

Most Intel based mini PCs use processors classified as ‘Mobile’ as these have lower thermal design power (TDP) ratings which is the maximum amount of heat generated by the processor: However, the new Vorke V1 Plus has incorporated a ‘Desktop’ processor namely the Intel Celeron J3455. On paper this processor looks like it should perform similar to the Intel Pentium N4200 processor but with a tradeoff between being a cheaper processor to purchase but more expensive to run due to the increased power requirements. Geekbuying provided a Vorke V1 Plus for review so let’s start by taking a look at the physical characteristics. The device comes in a plain box and was supplied with the ‘right AC Adapter’ for my country. The first observation is that it is quite a large device. At just over 6” square (153mm) and nearly 1.5” tall (38mm) it is the biggest mini PC I’ve seen with an Apollo Lake processor. It has a large …

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