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 …

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, …

Mecool KII Pro Set-Top-Box Upgraded to Amlogic S905D Processor, Android 7.1.2

VideoStrong is making some of the most popular – at least on this website – Android set-box boxes with digital TV tuner on the market with products like Mecool KIII Pro, or KI Pro, mostly because of their affordability. Software may be hit or miss depending on your local requirement (e.g. AC3 on DVB-T2, language encoding issues, etc..), so there’s fairly large number of users and some community tools or firmware such as DVB Channel Editor or Vitmos OS that may make them better devices. Most models are based on Amlogic S905 or S912, but Amlogic launched S905D processor some time ago with better tuner support (multiple demodulator support) which for example allowing me to watch terrestrial TV (DVB-T2) while recording satellite TV (DVB-S2) on Sen5 TV box. VideoStrong decided to upgrade their KII Pro Android set-top box  with S905 processor, DVB-T2/T/C and DVB-S2/S tuners to the new Amlogic S905D processor, and the new version of the device also get …

MeLE PCG35 Apo Apollo Lake Mini PC Review – Part 3: Ubuntu 17.10

I completed the review of MeLE PCG35 Apo with Windows 10 Home a few days ago, and as promised, I’ve now installed the freshly released Ubuntu 17.10 in the Intel Celeron J3455 “Apollo Lake” mini PC. I’ll start by shortly explaining the step to install Ubuntu 17.10 in the M.2 slot, although you could also install it to the internal eMMC flash replacing Windows 10, then show what works and what does, and finally include a video reproducing the tests I usually do in Windows 10. How to Install Linux in MeLE PCG35 Apo This partially follows the procedure I used to run (not install) Ubuntu 16.04 on MeLE PCG03 Apo mini PC. First you’ll need to download the ISO of your choice (ubuntu-17.10-desktop-am64.iso in my case), and prepare a bootable USB flash drive with the software of your choice be it Rufus, Startup Disk Creator or others. I did mine with Startup Disk Creator in my Ubuntu 16.04 computer …

Bqeel MVR9 (NT-N9) TV Box Review – Part 2: Android Nougat Firmware, RKMC, YouTube 4K, and More

Bqeel MVR9 is another TV box powered by Rockchip RK3328, but that model comes with Gigabit Ethernet and 2GB RAM contrary to the cheaper A95X R2 TV box I previously reviewed. If you want to check thsee some pictures read “Bqeel MVR9 TV Box Review – Part 1: Specifications, Unboxing and Teardown“, as in this second part I’ll focus on the firmware, and we’ll see if the claims of better 4K video playback thanks to DDR4, optimized RKMC with HD audio pass-through, YouTube 4K, and DRM support are true. First Boot, Setup, and First Impressions One good thing about Bqeel MVR9 is that it comes four 4 USB port, so I did not need to use a USB hub to connect my two RF dongles for MINIX NEO A2 Lite air mouse and Tronsmart Mars G01 gamepad, a Seagate USB 3.0 hard drive, and a USB keyboard I normally use to take screenshots. I completed the hardware setup with Ethernet, …

HiMedia Q30 TV Box Review – Part 2: Android 7.0 Nougat Firmware

HiMedia Q30 is an Android Nougat TV box powered by Hisilicon Hi3798MV200 processor, a cost-down version of Hi3798C V200 processor with the same CPU, a lower-end Mali-450MP GPU, about the same media capabilities, and less I/Os. I’ve taken pictures of the device and board if the first part of the review entitled “HiMedia Q30 (Hisilicon Hi3798MV200) Android TV Box Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown“, so today, I’ll report about my experience with the device while running Android 7.0. First Boot, Setup, and First Impressions I’ve connected a USB 3.0 hard drive to the single USB 3.0 port, and filled the two other USB 2.0 ports with a USB keyboard, and a USB hub with two RF dongles for an air mouse and a gamepad. I added Ethernet, HDMI, and power cable to start the device. A typical boot takes around 25 seconds to the Android launcher below. That’s your typical TV launcher with date and connection status on …

Bqeel MVR9 TV Box Review – Part 1: Specifications, Unboxing and Teardown

All Rockchip RK3328 based 4K TV boxes I’ve seen so far come with Fast Ethernet, not Gigabit Ethernet, with the exclusion of Rock64, which is not a TV box, but a development board. But Nagrace sent me Bqeel MVR9 box that comes with Gigabit Ethernet, in order to write a review. I’ll start by having a look at the hardware first, before experimenting with the firmware in several weeks. Bqeel MVR9 Specifications SoC – Rockchip RK3328 quad core Cortex A53 processor with ARM Mali-450MP2 GPU System Memory – 2 GB DDR4 @ 1066 MHz Storage – 16 GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz with HDR10 and HLG support, 3.5mm AV port (composite video) Video Codec – 4K VP9, H.265 and H.264, 1080p VC-1, MPEG-1/2/4, VP6/8 Audio Output – Via HDMI, and AV (stereo audio) ports; optical S/PDIF Audio Features – Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD via RKMC …

Yundoo Y8 Rockchip RK3399 mini PC Review – Part 2: Android Firmware, Audio & Video Playback in Kodi

Yundoo Y8 is one of the first Android TV boxes / mini PCs powered by Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor to be launched. GearBest sent me a review sample, and since I’ve already taken it apart in the first part of the review, I’ll report my experience with the firmware in terms of stability and performance, as well as audio & video capabilities with TVMC (Kodi fork), and more. First Boot, Setup, and First Impressions I’ve first connected a few peripherals Seagate USB 3.0 drive to the USB port, a USB keyboard to one of the USB 2.0 port, and a USB hub to the other one with two USB RF dongles for MINIX NEO A2 Lite air mouse, and Tronsmart Mars G01 gamepad. After adding Ethernet and HDMI cable, I pressed the power button on the unit to start it up. Please note that the remote control cannot turn on the box, so if you are comfortably seated in your …