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.
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.
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.