Monday, April 8, 2013

Rikomagic MK802IIIS Android Mini PC Review

I was searching for a device to use on my HD televisions since I had the LG Smart TV Upgrader ST600 Box connected to my main television set (I purchased the TV Pad for my parents). I was using my Acer Iconia Tab A100 on my HD television (using a micro-HDMI to HDMI cable) when I wanted to watch Netflix programming outside of the Canadian and the US Netflix selection using the Unblock-Us service but I thought that there must be a better solution.

Enter the Rikomagic MK802IIIS Android Mini PC. The device is slightly larger than my USB SD card reader and my Nokia CS-18 Internet Stick.

The device plugs into an HDMI port on your HD television/monitor. The unit comes with a small HDMI extension cable, a micro-USB male to USB male cable, and a micro-USB male to USB female adapter. The Rikomagic MK802IIIS includes a small HDMI extension cable in case it is difficult to plug the device into your television's HDMI port. The included micro-USB male to USB male cable is provided since the device is powered by USB (micro-USB port) and most HD televisions have a USB port that it can be connected to in order to supply power to the unit. In my current set-up, I don't use the micro-USB male to USB female adapter but it can be used in order to plug an external memory/disk drive to the unit or a wired mouse/keyboard to the unit. The Rikomagic MK802IIIS also has a port for adding a micro-SD memory card. The device is wireless and there isn't a port for wired ethernet connection but I suppose that you can perhaps use a micro-USB (or USB) to ethernet adapter. I will probably purchase such an adapter and test it on my unit in about a month.

According to the specs on the MK802IIIS, it has a dual-core CPU and a quad-core graphics processor. I find the MK802IIIS to be very responsive. As mentioned, I use the device mainly to watch Netflix and YouTube videos and I find that the MK802IIIS does this very well.

Here is a list of some of the things that I don't really like about the Rikomagic MK802IIIS:

1) On one of the HD television that I tried, there was either something wrong with the unit itself or the USB port on the HD television did not supply enough power for certain tasks and the unit would power off. For example, when I went into the Google Play store, the unit would immediately power off or when I went to Netflix, it would power itself off immediately. When I plugged my micro-USB AC adapter to the unit and performed the same task, it didn't power itself off. On another HD television that I tried, the unit did not power itself off when it was powered by the television's USB port.

2) The ability of the Rikomagic MK802IIIS to lock onto the wireless signal (even when my wireless router was within 2 feet of the device) was sometimes problematic. Whenever it didn't connect to my wireless router, I would sometimes have to reboot my wireless router (although my other devices were able to connect to this wireless router without the need to reboot it occasionally). This is why I am looking for a wired solution for it although it isn't a high priority for me. When the unit locked onto my wireless signal (remember that my wireless router is within 2 feet of the television that I wanted to use), there was no problems maintaining the signal.

3) The included version of Android (v 4.1.1) on the Rikomagic MK802IIIS doesn't come with the Android default screen locking feature. This is a problem because if you configure the device to use your Google account (for Gmail, Calendar, and the GooglePlay store) and later lose the device (or it is stolen), the person has access to your Google account on the device. To prevent this from happening, I downloaded a program/application locking app so that in order to launch any particular app on the MK802IIIS, a password was required.

4) The first time I connected the device to the internet, the device immediately updated/downloaded the GoogleMaps and StreetView application but after the download, there was no GoogleMaps application on the device nor can you launch it or redownload it for the device.

Here is my list of the Rikomagic MK802IIIS positive aspects:

1) As stated previously, it plays Netflix videos very well. I find the video quality to be amazing. This is of course dependent on your internet connection speed as well as the type of HD television you have.

2) It includes the actual Google Play store as opposed to some third party Android application store.

3) The MK802IIIS has multiple resolutions. I'm not sure what the maximum resolution is but on the television that I was using I was provided with resolutions of 1920x1080p-60, 1920x1080p-50, 1280x720p-60, 1280x720p-50, 720x576p-50, & 720x480p-60. On another HD television that I tried, I didn't see as many resolution options so it is probably dependent on the television used.

4) Rikomagic included an application called eHome Media Center on the MK802IIIS which allows the MK802IIIS to either function as a media server (enabling you to play videos stored/connected to the MK802IIIS) or a media player (enabling you to play videos onto the connected television from a media storage device such as a media drive or a media computer). On a secondary note, I tried to copy this program onto my other Android devices (Acer tablet, LG Nexus-4, and Samsung Nexus-S) and even though the program installed on these devices and ran, it was not able to see my media drive or my media computer on the same network.

5) The MK802IIIS comes pre-rooted so you can run applications requiring root access. The only thing that you might want to do is to download SuperUser from the Google Play store so that you have control over the which programs have root access to the system.

6) There is a free Android application called MK802III Remote Client available at the Google Play store that will allow you to remotely control the MK802IIIS device via your internal network (both your Android device and the MK802IIIS must be on the same network).

I'm not sure if this was an issue with the television that I connected my MK802IIIS to or the resolution that I selected or a problem with the MK802IIIS unit itself but occasionally/randomly (maybe after ~5 hours of viewing Netflix, the television would turn black for ~1 second and then would resume the Netflix playback.

Overall, even based on some of the issues that I mentioned above, I have no problems recommending the Rikomagic MK802IIIS unless the issues that I mentioned above is a show-stopper for the person (ex: the person wants to use Googlemaps on the device).

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below. Please note that the comments are moderated and any comment which contains a URL link (whether it is embedded or not) will automatically be labelled as spam and will not be posted.

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