The Jide Remix Mini is a small, pebble-shaped computer that runs a custom version of Google Android called Remix OS. It’s from the same folks who brought us the Jide Remix Ultra tablet earlier this year, but the Remix Mini presents a much more affordable way to try out Remix OS.

When the company launched a Kickstarter campaign this summer, a small number of early adopters were able to reserve one for as little as $20 (although you had to pay twice as much for a model with more memory and storage).

Didn’t get a chance to pledge during the crowdfunding campaign? Now Jide is selling the Remix Mini directly to consumers. You can pick up a model with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage from Amazon for $70.

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Remix OS is designed to make Android feel like a desktop operating system, and so while the Remix Mini looks more like a Roku than it does like a desktop PC, it’s really designed to be used like a computer: connect a keyboard, mouse, and display and you can edit documents, surf the web, play games, or watch videos on a big screen.

I’ve been testing a demo unit Jide sent me for a little while and hope to have a detailed review soon. For now, I can say that the Remix Mini really does feel like a desktop… sometimes.

Remix OS adds a taskbar, a sort of start menu, and some custom features including a file browser and system tray to Android. It lets you run some (but not all) Android apps in resizable windows that you can position anywhere on the screen and view side-by-side.

But some Android apps just don’t play well with devices that don’t have touchscreen displays. Some games are practically unplayable with a keyboard and mouse, for instance. You can get around this by plugging in an Xbox or PlayStation-style controller, but many Android games don’t know what to do with those either.

There’s no good way to emulate pinch-to-zoom functionality, and some apps can be sluggish: using the Firefox web browser for Android feels a bit like using Firefox for Windows or another desktop OS. But when I tried using Firefox to write blog posts for Liliputing, there was horrible lag between the time I typed a word on the keyboard and the time it showed up on the screen.

Update: There’s an experimental option that lets you press Ctrl+Alt+left mouse button and drag your mouse to zoom. 

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On the other hand, the Remix Mini does a good job with media-centric apps such as Netflix, YouTube, or Kodi. If you don’t expect it to be a fully-functional replacement for a Windows desktop, this $70 machine could be a good option for turning any TV or monitor into a cheap computer capable of some tasks such as web surfing, some gaming, and document editing (Google Docs and Microsoft’s Office apps for Android both work nicely).

I’ll have more details soon, but now that the Remix Mini is available for purcahse in the US, I wanted to share some initial thoughts.

 

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12 replies on “Jide Remix Mini Android PC is now available for $70”

  1. There is some inconsistency in the experience being reported. Brad – I have been typing into Evernote, gmail in Chrome, the gmail app, and Google Docs, and experiencing no lag whatsoever, from a Logitech wireless keyboard. Skyeurope – my experience is that performance is faster than the Windows netbook I have been using as my main PC for a couple of years (with external monitor, keyboard etc.).

    Perhaps the inconsistency depends upon the Remix Mini version? I have the 2G RAM version, and am susprised at how well it copes. Perhaps Brad & Skyeurope have the 1G RAM version?

    Brad – pinch-to-zoom works perfectly with my mouse scroll wheel*.

    My experience is that I am astounded that such a cheap, low-power computer works well. The windowing on a 24″ monitor is invaluable. I look forward to some of the runkles, such as right-click consistency, being ironed-out.

    *pinch-to-zoom – enable the experimental feateure whereby Ctrl-Alt + scroll emulates pinch-to-zoom.

    1. That’s why I was very specific in describing what I was doing when I had keyboard lag: using Firefox to compose blog posts for Liliputing using the web-based WordPress admin.

      I’m also using a 2GB/16GB model. My first thought was that I’d use the WordPress app for Android to try and get some work done, but it lacks some of the features available in the web-based editor. So I tried Firefox.

      I’ll probably try again with Chrome and maybe some other browsers before publishing my review, but right now the point is that while there’s a lot the Jide Remix Mini can do, you may have to pick and choose the right apps for the job because not every Android app works perfectly on the device… particularly if you’re hoping to get a desktop-style user experience.

      I’ll have to look into the pinch/zoom thing though.

      1. OK, the Ctrl+Alt+Click+drag thing does seem to work for zooming, although that’s kind of a lot of buttons to press at once!

        I tried using WordPress in Chrome today, and text input is much smoother. It’s still kind of awkward to get work done because I like to open two browser windows side-by-side, and right now you can’t do that with Chrome… although I guess a workaround would be to run both Chrome and Firefox side-by-side.

        More details soon!

  2. It’s painfully slow. I really wanted to love my Remix mini, but while using I find myself wondering why am I even using it. At the moment it’s purely an enthusiast toy.

  3. I’m not sure I like the idea. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for cheap PCs with a modern (= Mobile: no need for an Admin) OS; and I like Android desktops, I’ve got 2 for myself, and recommended a couple handfuls.
    But the main reason Android desktops are nice is that they have the exact same UI as the phones and tablets people already know. Full-screen apps, Home and Back buttons… and absolutely nothing new to learn. More mature players (Tronsmart, Minix) also usually emulate pinch to zoom and support gamepads out of the box.

    I understand Jide’s Windows-like UI and limited multiwindowing might be nice for some. But not for most: it’s more complex, different from what people already use, and somewhat glitchy. Interesting in theory, in practice, if you want Windows get Windows (there are $100 mini-PCs), and if you want Android you’ll probably prefer the mainstream version in Tronsmart or Minix Android boxes. The niche for Jide is vanishingly small.

    1. I disagree. I’ve was a Kickstarter early backer and I can see a lot of use for something like this.

      The Android UI doesn’t work well on a desktop… it’s not what it is designed for. So the answer may be to get a Windows desktop for $100 (as you say), but these don’t run Android apps. There’s a large universe of things I can do with Android applications and they are typically custom designed to work well and take minimum resources.

      Jide’s Windows-like UI isn’t too different from what people already use, Windows, so it isn’t that complex.

      It’s not likely to be a mainstream OS, but I think it could work well for a lot of people. Let’s also remember that the basic version of this device was $20… a far cry from even the cheapest Windows PCs.

      1. Actually, many of the $100 Windows mini-PCs dual-boot Android. For advanced users, that’s probably a better trade off today than Jide.
        For basic users, 2 different UIs is too much. 1 UI is too much already, frankly: they’re struggling. (My dad accepted the “Upgrade to windows 10” prompt from MS, and called me because, I quote: “The squares have disappeared and he can’t get the tables”, meaning the Live Tiles aren’t his usual and he doesn’t know how to launch his apps). Well, he’s 80 and never used a computer at work.

        I’m using an Android desktop every day. Aside from performance, the issues are:

        – zooming,
        – keyboard shortcuts (mostly unsupported, and idiosyncratic when supported),
        – right-click (“Back” doesn’t make sense, needs to be Menu or, better Context Menu).
        – And of course App compatibility.

        Multitasking/windowing is mostly not an issue, I use multiple devices for that.

        Yeah, at $20 Jide was a steal. For the same price as a Windows, or Android, or Windows+Android box, I don’t really see the point.

        1. I think elderly who haven’t used a computer are a special case. The average everyday Windows user can use Remix OS.

          And yes Android wasn’t designed to be a desktop, so there are going to be issues. It’s amazing that it works as well as it does.

          It is an Android box, so what’s wrong with it being the same price as an Android box?

          I’m pretty sure they can build these cheaper ($20 ones are proof of that), but I think $70 is a pretty competitive price compared to a $100 Windows machine and a $50 Roku. Let’s not assume that their current pricing is going to be final.

    2. Windows didn’t create the UI that we see today, all UI’s that are a window based systems are based upon the Xerox Star operating system, this is a desktop-style OS. Remix OS isn’t as complex as Android or Windows; windows usually has many hidden features and the Android UI is always changing, Remix OS keeps everything simple, click the app drawer and you have all your apps! Every operating system is “glitchy”, Windows 10 shipped with many critical bugs (people couldn’t use it at all and they switched back to Windows 8.1) a lot have been fixed.

      People want Android for the apps, I believe that there are over a billion apps and to be able to multitask with them is beneficial. Those boxes that you’ve mentioned are for people who want to watch a video or play a game, not do multiple things at a time, those boxes are boring and not like a PC at all. I believe that it’s quite the opposite, with people using Android people will have the apps that they’re used to using an interface that they can multitask on. I see Android really taking over the desktop if this trend continues.

  4. I can say I was a backer at two devices and can confirm what Brad wrote! Also the community forum for the device is alive and many apps are being cleared by the early backers, there is a list. But not all apps are working for all backers. So there is an inconsistency across units at this time. I don’t know the rate of failure, but some have had to send theirs back or have stated they have given up on their units usability, though I don’t know how fervent those posts are. Some users are complaining at the timeliness of Jide staff response to their issues with the units they have. I can say that on my end I have made 4 complaints and received a response within a week to 10 days, so again mileage varies there too. The majority of posters though are helping out as they find their own solutions and work-around. If you sign up to follow various topics you do receive posts from others. I have been following the apps cleared by users and also a peripherals thread where folks are posting what other devices can be used with the minis.
    Overall I have good hope the units will work out these kinks. Don’t know why Jide rushed these out to market so fast, after all backers just got theirs last month. But we are getting OTA updates and the community IS responding to other users and posting stuff all the time. Hope that was helpful while we wait for Brad to get his review out! So far he is on point though.

    1. for $70 this is a ripoff you’d think they’d want to get the os into as many hands as possible.. and maybe google would buy them considering that they are going to integrate android into chrome os

      1. There is no proof that Google is integrating Chrome with Android. Initial reports were denied by Google. But I think this roll out is a matter of money more than being ready for prime time. Mine work very well. I have had 4 question/problems that were minor, and resolved in 10 to 15 days. And some of the issues I resolved a lot sooner than I got the answer. So I guess I and more than a few early backers are ahead of the curb. We have had I think 4 updates already.

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