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.
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.
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.