MK802 IIIs Android Mini PC is a big upgrade in some ways, less so in others

Rikomagic has given its MK802 III Android mini computer a spec bump and a new name. The MK802 IIIs has the same basic cuts as its predecessor including a dual core Rockchip processor. But the new model also has a new case design, Bluetooth, and an extra USB port, among other things.

The folks at Rikomagic sent me a model to check out, and while it certainly does some things better than the original, the MK802 IIIs isn’t without its problems.

Like other Android mini-computers, the MK802 IIIs is designed to be plugged into a TV or monitor, allowing you to run Android apps on a big screen. You can connect a keyboard, mouse, gamepad, or other accessories and watch movies, stream videos from the internet, play games, surf the web, or check your email.

Unlike earlier models, there’s also a power icon in the taskbar. You can tap it to bring up a shut-down menu which lets you turn off the MK802 IIIs when you’re not using it. That might not sound like a big deal, but if you’re wary of simply pulling the power cable when you want to turn off your device, it’s a nice feature to have.

MK802 IIIs

The mini PC comes with the Google Play Store pre-loaded, which should make it easy to download third party apps. Unfortunately in my tests, like many other Android TV sticks, the MK802 IIIs suffers from poor WiFi reception. I had a hard time staying connected to my home WiFi network long enough to load a web page or download an app, let alone to stream a video.

The MK802 IIIs model features:

  • Rockchip Rk3066 ARM Cortex-A9 dual core processor
  • Android 4.1
  • 1GB of RAM
  • Up to 8GB of storage (which is how much my demo unit has)
  • 2 micro USB ports (including 1 which is used for power)
  • 1 full-sized USB port
  • 1 full-sized HDMI connector
  • 1 microSD card slot

Inside the box there’s also a microUSB cable, a microUSB to full-sized USB adapter, and a small HDMI extension cable which you can use to plug the stick into a TV or monitor that might not have room for you to plug the stick directly into an HDMI port.

iii_05

The micro-to-full USB adapter on my test unit was a little finicky, and sometimes I had to pull it out and push it back in again before the device recognized the USB flash drive or mouse that I had inserted. But with a little wiggling, it does work, allowing you to connect two USB peripherals at once without plugging in a USB hub.

I also had no problems sharing files between the MK802 IIIs and my phone using Bluetooth, so that works.

But without decent WiFi reception, it’s hard to recommend this particular Android Mini PC.

The MK802 IIIs sells for as little as $60 at AliExpress. But for literally a few dollars more you can pick up the Minix Neo G4 from DealExtreme and get a similar device which comes with a remote control, the same processor, and much better WiFi reception.

The Neo G4 doesn’t feature Bluetooth, the extra USB port, or Android 4.1 though. It ships with Android 4.0.

Update: Rikomagic is testing a firmware update which the company says improves WiFi performance and add WiFi hotspot capabilities, but I haven’t had time to test the new software yet.

  • Voltron

    I also am an owner of the MK802 IIIs and Have the same Wifi Experience you are having, I have Consulted with Their Forums and Tech support, and Have even tried my own Wifi Antennae mod, but it is looking as tho it is a firmware problem. or a Problem with the Wifi Controller itself and they are hoping a firmware update in the near future will help the Issue, I’m hoping that’s the Case, because it otherwise is a FINE Piece of hardware,
    You forgot to Mention one of it’s really outstanding Features, They offer a Free Android App, that allows you to use your Android Phone as a Wifi Mouse to control the Device so you don’t have to purchase a Gyro Mouse. but again, that feature requires you to connect over the network.
    If you don’t Mind Going the Wired Network Route, a 10/100 USB Dongle can be had for 4$ and would make Streaming from a network for video a Much easier task.

    • Jorge

      I think use the phone (portable) to control a mini pc (no portable) is not a good thing. Will you let your phone at home for everybody can use? I think a NORMAL hardware like wireless mouse and keyboard or a flymouse is 1000 times better.

      • strider_mt2k

        It’s certainly not a BAD thing.

        I see it as an option for some that lets them use their existing hardware in a more creative way.
        It can also be a great way to control access to the device too.

      • Jorge

        Did you use that kind of controls like the one with G4 ?? My god, what can you do? Press Play, Stop, Pause… I remember the controls from MEASY, they pretend we move the mouse by using 4 buttons up, down, left, right.
        Buy a Rii, flymouse or wireless mouse + keyboard and will enjoy the device. It seems we back to the TV without remote control like years ago. An Android TV Box is not a simple TV or VHS player… come on, it requires another things like a keyboard, if not you can buy a simple and old media player.

      • Cho CoMo

        Everybody “at home” has their own phone with the App installed also.
        Do not need to leave my phone at home.

      • Jorge

        In my home not everybody has an Android phone… in my friend’s home same. It’s good to have this APP… but how can compare a real mouse with phone control? Maybe you also prefer to take pictures with phone unstead a real camera. It’s ok for a moment but no more than a small help. Even this comparation is not very good, a camera can be expensive but a mouse? Very cheap even good quality. I really can not understand how can even valorate the option of everybody have a phone with the APP instaled if you can have a control for everybody over the table…

      • Voltron

        I’m not worried about Other people accessing my MK820 IIIs it’s a “me” Device, so being able to use the app is more cost effective then buying a Gyro Mouse. if you have a family that will be using it while your away, then yes, a gyro mouse or having more then 1 android phone or tablet in the house would be useful. I understand we are looking at the situation from different perspectives, I’m just grateful to have This many varied options for control of the device, that’s all I was Saying

      • Steve Fink

        It’s a nice option but I agree that it’s not all that practical. I’m using the Logitech K400 wireless keyboard ($30 bucks @ walmart) and it works quite well on my MK802II…

  • http://twitter.com/_small_ Johan Bernhardsson

    Wifi for me got a tad better using a more powerfull usb charger than using the tv’s built in usb port

  • Jorge

    ZERO devices also sells a revision of its Z802 now called Z802B with Dual Core and same case than before. For me… I don’t need the bluetooth but it’s a good thing. Now it just need a module same size than the wifi for have BT too solded in the motherboard. But about the remote controls like that one for the G4…. i think it’s very bad, you will need a flymouse or connect wireless mouse and keyboard.

  • Arrdee

    What about thermal performance? These devices all seem to get far hotter than I’m comfortable with.
    I’d prefer to see the case doubled in size with good passsive cooling, better WiFi, a lightweight skeletal plastic “spider” VESA mount with all cables pointed down for stability. Even at $15 more you’d have a more practical device. Just mount it to the back of a TV set.
    I guess I just have my doubts about the success of this form-factor after using a couple of them.
    The main improvement here is probably the shut-off app supplied. I have USB keyboards with a built-in unpowered USB hub for a mouse so the extra USB port isn’t a big thing.

    • Steve Fink

      My sentiments exactly regarding the heat issue as my MK802II became
      uncomfortably warm (incredibly friggin hot) when using any cpu intensive
      apps or when streaming video. Therefore a simple mod seemed to help
      considerably….I’m using the Logitech K400 wireless keyboard and it
      works well.

  • flatquasar

    Users make the same wifi connection complaint about the UG802. Odd as this may seem, I found you can correct the problem by swapping out the supplied USB AC mini USB cordadapter for a better one. Evidently, the supplied cord isn’t sheilded enough and the leaking interrupts Wifi signal enough to cause the radio to drop signal lower than the Firmware wifi management software can handle. It drops connection and cannot reconnect until user reboots. Fix it by using better Mini to full USB cable to your AC plug

  • http://twitter.com/pstjmack Paul StJ Mackintosh

    I have the same device but not the S version, and had no wifi problems at all. It is not without its issues, but that isn’t one of them. In fact I’m writing on it now, using the neat app that turns your tablet or phone into a remote control/virtual keyboard.

  • http://twitter.com/Dave01568 dave01568

    Here is the minix neo g4 on a Motorola atrix lapdock http://youtu.be/guwTeYt6o6E

    • Tom Wong

      Why G4 is more expensive than RIKOMAGIC MK802IIIS. I just checked most functions are similar?

  • strider_mt2k

    When it comes to the offerings in this segment, the more I think about it the more I’m likely to simply wait and order an Ouya console:

    1) It’s a Tegra chipset, a proven performance SOC with great features

    2) The company is eager to support this product (firmware, etc)

    3) There is already a developer/early adopter community springing up around the thing

    4) The enclosure allows for more cooling and the possibility of easier modifications such as an external WiFi antenna.

    5) Yeah, okay…it comes with a controller or two

    So while it is more expensive, I think the quality will be better and it will lend itself more readily to performing well in this role.

    • Grigory

      From what I’m hearing in customer review, it’s a piece of junk

  • Tom Wong

    Yes, it seems the very important thing for mini pc is the wifi. Just got the IIIS from their aliexpress. Their service said, will upload the new fw of MK802IIIS next week.
    Which optimized the wifi connection.

    • http://twitter.com/vbjelak Zaphod Beeblebroks

      can u please give some impressions about current FW on wifi issues if there are some?

      • Tom Wong

        To be frank, the wifi was optimized. I think wifi it also depends on the router setting. And the service told me dont put any metal device around the router.
        But if it can work, and dont influence watching online Tv, the wifi speed is enough.

  • DancesWithRobots

    What bugs me about these devices is they’re all sold as media devices. “TV sticks.” I’d like to see ROS running on one of these. I’m building a sophisticated robot with an onboard Atom based SBC and I could really use something lighter with simpler power requirements. And yes I’ve seen the micro desktop devices. They’re not that much better yet.

  • Zorbas

    Has obviously the same wifi-problem as a lot of other rock-chip devices. It is a hardware-problem and not a firmware-problem.

    The solution is a little crude, but helps: open the case and pull out the wifi-antenna, which is glued to one half of the case. Close the case while having the antenna still outside (fits aside the usb-port.) you will have a perfect wifi-connection.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Jones/100005276679221 James Jones

    I have similar Android Stick.
    I have intalled there ArkMC application. So now my tv is DLNA enabled!

  • danny

    Can anyone help me i have the above model, was working fine for a week but now just hangs on the boot screen, tried updating firmware but that doesnt work either.

  • Paul

    Just got mine today. Plugged into tv worked ok. Switched off and tried later. Won’t boot past Android screen. Seems to be a common problem. My advice DON’T BUY !!!

    • Sami

      Need at least 1000m amps adapter.

  • http://twitter.com/mike_lemire Mike Lemire

    Awesome.. but lack of 5.1 audio kills it for me..

  • g14r

    Wifi seems to work when I don’t use the HDMI extension they supplied with the unit. Tested it both with and without, using the speedtest app. Without the extension cable, I can get about half of my broadband speed. With the cable, zero, or barely there.
    I don’t know if this will fix everyone’s wifi issues, but it may be worth a try.

  • Alex

    I use this devise already 3 weeks now and i don’t have any problems with it. My son loves it even more than me=)) Don’t have any WiFi issues at all…

  • Ben

    Dont even bother. I got mine with the aim of using it to stream spotify through my amp and to my speakers. The sound quality is appalling. Stay away if you want this for audio.

  • Stephanie Tongpalan Arruda

    Help I shut My down and can’t get it to boot back up?