Android Mini PC

Android Mini PC

I had a large credit on Deal Extreme so I decided to spend it on this Mini Android PC that came packed with the Mini Wireless Keyboard. Basically it’s a Android device that plugs into HDMI and is powered by USB. It can turn any HDMI TV into a “smart tv” powered by Android.

I was a little afraid that this device wouldn’t work well, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was able to sign into the Google Play store and download apps no problem. The device comes with a MIDI SD card slot, which I loaded with movies and music. The built-in applications handled all the formats I tested just fine for both video and music. I was worried that video would lag, but so far it’s been ok.

I already reviewed the keyboard that was bundled with it, which works great on a Windows PC. However, the keyboard is a little strange on the Android. Android remaps some of the keys, so “click” is some random button, and not all the buttons do what their icon suggests. Clearly this wireless keyboard is meant for PC and not specifically this Android device. However, since both the keyboard and the device are sold separately, I won’t dwell on the keyboard too much.

The device has a full size USB port on it, so you can mount thumb drives, or use USB accessories that are supported by Android. If you need more than one, I’ve found that USB hubs will work.

I’ve only found two downsides to the device. First, it requires a USB port to be powered. Most TV’s and Monitors have HDMI ports these days, but unfortunately HDMI doesn’t provide power. Luckily my TV has a USB port, but the one at the Gym does not. To make it work, you must carry with it a cell-phone USB charger wall-wort, and a pretty long USB micro cable, to make sure you can plug it in somewhere. Of course, there do exist portable USB recharging power supplies, and I suppose one of those would work as a make-shift battery.

The other downside is that it might not be able to update to the newest version of Android. It was the current version when I got it, but I haven’t tried or thought about upgrading it. *shrug.* Though personally I don’t mind using an older version as long as it works well for my needs: videos, music, and casual web browsing.

packagedevice

The ports on the device.

The ports on the device.

 

December 10, 2013 at 12:31 am | Technology Reviews

 

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