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 …

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 …

Pepper Jobs GLK-UC2X Mini PC Review with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18.10

Pepper Jobs GLK-UC2X Teardown heat pipe cooling

Pepper Jobs is a new company led by Ken Wong who was formerly MINIX’s product director and defined many innovative products such as NEO-X series Android media hubs and NEO-Z series Intel-based mini PCs. The first Pepper Jobs designed and released mini PC is the GLK-UC2X targeting small business, 4K home theater, and living room use with an emphasis on low power and great savings on electricity bills. The GLK-UC2X contains an Intel Celeron N4100 Processor Gemini Lake SOC which is a quad-core processor bursting up to 2.40 GHz together with the Intel UHD Graphics 600 processor that is capable of 4K support at 60Hz. It physically consists of an approximately 139mm (5.5″) square case about 33mm (1.3”) tall with a side panel that includes the power button, a couple of USB ports, a Type C USB port and a micro SD card slot with the rest of the ports including headphone jack, Type C USB, HDMI (2.0a), mini DP …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Review of Firefly-RK3399 Board with Android 8.1 Firmware

Firefly-RK3399 Review Android 8.1

Last week, I tested Android 7.1 on NanoPC-T4 Rockchip RK3399 SBC, and this week, I’ve given a try at Android 8.1 (Beta) on Firefly-RK3399 Board. Since it’s still a beta version, I’m expecting some issues and we’ll have to see how it performs at this stage of development. Firefly-RK3399 Kit Assembly I had to do some assembly before starting the board.  It took me some 30 minutes to complete, so I’ll quickly go through the steps. Beside the default kit, the company also sent me a fansink ($7.9) and an M.2 to SATA board + required cable ($16) which will be part of the assembly instructions. The first step is to peel off the protective films on both sides of the acrylic case. I then fastened my own 2.5″ hard drive with four screws provided in the default kit. I then installed the M.2 to dual SATA adapter board in the M.2 socket on the top of the board, inserted …

Intel NUC Kit NUC7PJYH Review – An Intel Gemini Lake Pentium Silver J5005 Barebone Mini PC

When Intel released their latest NUC Gemini Lake mini PCs they prioritized cost over performance. As a result the processor they chose for the ‘Intel NUC 7 Essential’ mini PC is somewhat underwhelming. Fortunately they released another model in the series, the rather misleadingly named ‘Intel NUC Kit NUC7PJYH’ which is is actually a ‘barebones’ mini PC just needing a stick or two of RAM and an SSD for storage. It contains an Intel Pentium Silver Processor J5005 SOC which is a quad core processor bursting up to 2.80 GHz together with a slightly more powerful Intel UHD Graphics 605 processor that is capable of 4K support at 60Hz. Visually it is no different to the Celeron NUC reviewed earlier in that it is physically small consisting of an approximately 4.5″ square case about 2″ tall with a distinctive front panel that includes the power button and a couple of USB ports with the rest of the ports including two …