Chuwi HiPAD LTE Tablet Review – Part 2: Android 8.0

CHUWI HiPad LTE Tablet Review

Last month, I received HiPad LTE tablet, and in the first part of the review I checked out the specifications of the 10″ tablet with a MediaTek Helio X27 deca-core processor, 3GB RAM, 32 GB storage, and had a look at the accessories including the keyboard dock. I’ve now had more time to actually play with the device, so I’ll report my experience with Android 8.0, and the pros and cons of the latest Chuwi tablet. General Impressions My previous tablet was Onda V18 Pro, and Chuwi HiPad LTE is clearly an upgrade thanks to the faster Heliox X27 deca-core processor coupled with 3GB of RAM. The 10.1″ display has a 1920×1200 resolution, not quite as good as the 2560×1600 resolution of the Onda tablet, but I still found the screen to be crispy and sharp. I found the tablet to be great for browsing the web and watching YouTube videos, as well as playing some casual and 3D games, …

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ODROID-H2 Review – Part 2: Ubuntu 19.04

ODROID-H2 Review

After many months of delays due to Intel not mass-producing Gemini Lake processors, Hardkernel started selling ODROID-H2 again, more exactly ODROID-H2 Rev. B, and the end of last month, and the company sent me a full kit for evaluation. You can check out ODROID-H Rev. B with Type 3 case and the assembly instructions in the first part of the review. I’ve now had time to play with the board using the pre-installed Ubuntu 19.04 operating systems so I’ll report my experience in this second part. Note that ODROID-H2 does not rely on a custom version of Ubuntu, and instead you can download and flash Ubuntu 18.04 or 19.04 ISO directly from Ubuntu website. First Boot and System Information I had already connected two SATA drives inside the enclosure, one SSD and one HDD, but before booting the device I connected an HDMI cable, one Ethernet cable, USB keyboard & mouse, as well as the power supply. The board booted …

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4K Video Playback on Raspberry Pi 4 with LibreELEC (Alpha)

LibreELEC Raspberry Pi 4K

In my short Raspberry Pi 4 review, I tested 4K video output and playback in Raspbian, and sadly neither are working properly, with video output stuck to 1080p60 even after selecting 4K HDMI in the settings and yes, I double checked for “hdmi_enable_4k=1” in config.txt, while H.265 video playback is still clearly using software decode in both VLC and omxplayer. However, LibreELEC team announced support for Raspberry Pi 4 in LibreELEC 9.2 Alpha1 release based on Kodi 18.3 and Linux 4.19.x. So I downloaded LibreELEC-RPi4.arm-9.1.001.img.gz and flash it to a microSD card with balenaEtcher. The good news is that I could manually set the resolution to 3840×2160 and confirm it works with my TV, but the refresh is limited to 30 Hz maximum. Other refresh rates currently available include 23.98 Hz, 24 Hz, 25 Hz, and 29.97 Hz. The hardware is capable if 4K 60Hz, so it’s just a question of time before this is fixed. Note LibreELEC for RPi4 …

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Batocera.Linux OS Combines Kodi & Retro Gaming for Raspberry Pi & ODROID Boards

batocera.linux

There are already several ways to run retro games on development boards, with for example RetroPie, and derivatives like RetrOrangePi, Lakka and Recalbox. Batocera.Linux is another option that I had never heard about so far, and works on PCs, as well as Raspberry Pi and ODROID boards, with ODROID-N2 support having been added very recently. batocera.linux operating system can easily be run from a USB flash drive on your computer without altering your existing OS, while it will boot from a standard microSD card on Raspberry Pi and ODROID boards. Beside retro-gaming support, the OS also includes Kodi media center for playing videos, or listening to music. You may even play games in it since retro-gaming support was added in Kodi 18. The partial compatibility table above shows all platforms have a different level of support, and for Intel hardware support more emulators than Arm based boards. The Orange arrow means it works but performance is poor, and the yellow …

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MINIX NEO Z83-4U Review – Ubuntu 18.04, Kodi 18, and Xibo Digital Signage

MINIX NEO Z83-4U Review

MINIX NEO Z83-4U is a Cherry Trail mini PC pre-loaded with Ubuntu 18.04. I received a sample a little while ago, and in the first part of NEO Z83-4U review I checked out the specifications and hardware that appears to be exactly the same a MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro mini PC, except for the eMMC flash capacity that has increased from 32GB to 64GB. Since the mini PC comes with an older Atom X5-Z8350 processor, and is designed for commercial applications, I’ve decided to make a slightly different review. We already now how the system is supposed to perform thanks to benchmarks with NEO Z83-4 mini PC running Windows 10 Pro, so I’ll just check the main features are working as expected in Ubuntu 18.04, test audio & video support in Kodi 18.1, and try out Xibo Linux open source digital signage CMS and player on the mini PC. MINIX NEO Z83-4U Initial Setup I connected various USB peripherals, an …

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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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Kodi 18 “Leia” Released Ahead of FOSDEM 2019

Kodi 18 Leia

As one should have expected based on the abstract of the upcoming Kodi presentation at FOSDEM 2019, Kodi 18 “Leia” has just been released a few days before the 2-day open source developer event. It’s been nearly two years since the release of Kodi 17 “Krypton”, and it took a little longer than initially expected for Kodi 18 to become stable enough for an official since there have been so many changes including half a million lines of code added by 36 open source developers, close to 10,000 commits for almost 9,000 changed files. Some of the improvements in Kodi 18 include: Retroplayer gaming with support for gaming emulators, ROMs and game controls. Digital Rights Management (DRM) decryption support to play subscription content Improved Music Library with better filtering, faster API access, and more Live TV improvements including support for new back-ends like Zattoo, Teleboy, and Sledovanitv.cz, as well as enhanced EPG and PVR support among other things. Binary addon support …

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FOSDEM 2019 Open Source Developers Meeting Schedule

FOSDEM 2019

FOSDEM – which stands for Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting – is a free-to-participate event where developers meet on the first week-end of February to discuss open source software & hardware projects. FOSDEM 2019 will take place on February 2 & 3, and the schedule has already been published with 671 speakers scheduled to speak in 711 events themselves sorted in 62 tracks. Like every year, I’ll create a virtual schedule based on some of the sessions most relevant to this blog in tracks such as  open hardware, open media, RISC-V, and hardware enablement tracks. February 2 10:30 – 10:55 – VkRunner: a Vulkan shader test tool by Neil Roberts A presentation of VkRunner which is a tool to help test the compiler in your Vulkan driver using simple high-level scripts. Perhaps the largest part of developing a modern graphics driver revolves around getting the compiler to generate the correct code. In order to achieve this, extensive …

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