It’s been about a year since the MK802 Android TV stick hit the market and changed the way many of us think about tiny computers. Since then we’ve seen dozens of little devices with low power ARM-based processors and Android software arrive.
Some have dual or quad-core chips. There are models with built-in cameras. Others come with wireless remote controls. And while they all tend to ship with Android, some can even run full desktop Linux software like Ubuntu.
Liliputing has been covering these devices pretty regularly over the past year, but one thing that readers regularly ask for is some sort of comparison chart. I’ve sort of put off that idea because I know how much work it takes to create a good comparison chart and keep it up to date.
But if y’all are willing to help out, there may be another way. Ian Morrison posted a link on Google+ to a tool called SocialCompare that lets anyone with an account contribute to a crowd-source comparison table.
There’s already USB-dongle computer chart that’s a work in progress. While I’m not in love with that name, I’m also not looking to reinvent the wheel here.
So this afternoon I took a few minutes to update the chart with an entry for the Tronsmart MK908 which is sitting on my desk. The process is pretty fast and simple (if you’re doing one device at a time). Entering dozens of devices would be a bit more time consuming.
But if you’ve been following this space for a while and have a minute to update the chart with a device that’s missing, all you have to do is register for a free account or login with Facebook to start editing.
And if you notice any mistakes, you can edit the chart as well.
That means its accuracy will depend on user contributions. We’re also relying on a third-party service that may not be around forever, which is something I’m always a little wary of doing. But right now this may be one of the best tools available for folks looking to compare new Android TV sticks against existing models to find out which best suits your needs.
If this takes off, I’ll think about adding a permanent page to Liliputing featuring the comparison chart.
In the meantime, I’ve embedded the work in progress here. Just hit up the main page if you want to start contributing.
That USB dongle chart is as lousy as it can get. Take a look at http://www.prisjakt.nu. Its a Swedish comparison website. Haven’t seen anything as neat as this one.
Their UK site is https://pricespy.co.uk
Is there a list of the boxes as well? Im more into boxes than sticks. This social comparison is just what I had in mind the other day. Im glad I didnt start coding now that I read this.
One thing I rarely see facts of but is important is boot time. Some sticks boot in 2 minutes some in 40 s. I’m looking for a 1080p capable that can boot under 30 s. Not gonna happen it seem.
it seems that the idea spread :] it’s already number of devices listed….I’m waiting for the “gold one”: 2GB ram, quadcore processor, cam, reliable wifi, bluetoth 4.0, at least 2x usb 3.0, IR, reset button and ethernet port… have you seen one?
Just a thought , what about having an XBMC supported / compatibility field ?
One feature that may be of interest is removable primary storage. The GK802 has this and is the main reason I bought one.
By having removable primary storage, how is the performance, is NAND faster than removable storage?
I don’t have any benchmarks but I’m assuming that this would depend on the type of removable and the quality of the chips being used on the stick–they’re both NAND. For me, overall performance wasn’t as important as being able to play around with an alternate OS without bricking a stick.
btw. I shared this post on google+ android PC community
Thanks! I added my 5 pennies already! one suggestion – it seems that rating doesn’t work – I was not able to rate the device not add a comments) . On the other tables I saw likes row works (maybe dislikes are available as well + pure text for comments would be fine)
Below some of you are stating that there are duplicates (different name, same hardware) and/or there will an excessive amount of sticks to be entered overtime, a solution to mitigate this is to have the ability to filter / a place to enter your requirements. … Please show me all sticks with a Quad Core and a Camera, sort by price etc…
One issue with comparison charts like this is that there are many variations of each unit, each with different features included or omitted. For example, I just learned the hard way that some MK808 units have Bluetooth and some don’t (and that Amazon will sell you a non-Bluetooth version even if you search for “mk808 bluetooth”). Another mk808 variant is advertised as having 8GB of internal storage but reviews indicate it ships with only 4GB. All of the variants are within about 5 bucks of each other currently.
In the end, these are endlessly configurable PCs, just not by the user.
My initial idea was that it would be good to have a living document capturing key information on Mini PCs and if “we” maintained the data then it wouldn’t be a burden on a single person and would probably be more timely. I’ve jigged around the comparison criteria and added some additional ones to show how simple it is to enhance the information repository. I like the way that the table is auto-updating in this very article.
Since new products are coming out all the time, it might be useful to add a “hardware release date” for each item. It can help users identify what models are the latest or past their prime.
While not possible through the simple spreadsheet implementation, having a user rating on the device would be nice too. That would allow the users to identify what models are actually useful and not a headache to own. 😉
Thanks for pulling this together.
I added a “User rating” criteria into the table as the website seems to suggest that individuals can rank a product and it will keep a record of the ratings.
I’ve also started a database for these little guys. I want to make it look pretty and more convenient before publishing it on my site. But, I like the idea of having a common sheet populated by the community. So, no longer sure what to do now.
However, I’m not sure about embeding the prices since they are variable over time. Updating prices will demand too much maintenance imho.
Can you add external hard drive formats? Hate that the mk808 dose not do exfat.
Cool. I added the Probox2 that I bought after reading the review on this site.
Suggestion though: There needs to be a place for comments. The Probox2 is $90, but comes with an air mouse/remote control. There’s no place to point that out.
I annotated the price field with this information.
awesome, I have my own google doc for this for over a year now. But its good to see another comparison too.
Haven’t found a mini pc thats capable yet, the 3188’s look very promising.
Make a google docs spreadsheet of all this as a backup, it will grow well over time
Hmm. Not sure a comparison like that is really much use. It’s okay for small numbers of devices but there are so many now that it’s going to be unwieldy pretty soon.
From what I can tell you can’t filter devices either.
What we need is something like GSMarena. If no one else can be arsed and someone doesn’t mind hosting it (or I could chuck it on a free host) I’ll knock something up if people want it.
@chippy from Ultrabook News created the database we use for https://products.liliputing.com/ and he’d be happy to create a new category for these sticks — but it’d require someone to take charge of entering data.
If anyone wants to volunteer for the task I can hook you up with Chippy. In the meantime, this seems like a simpler, crowd-source solution.
But you’re right, it’s imperfect if it’s not searchable and sortable.
Hmm. Go on. I’ll bite. Are you able to contact me through Disqus so we can sort it out?
Done. I’ll warn you though… part of the reason I haven’t done this myself is because the database entry in our current system is kind of a PITA. 🙂
I also have an extensive google spreadsheet. Email me if you are interested in having it as a reference.
I’d be interested. How do I get in contact with you?
Although it might appear as data duplication, I would also like to suggest that the SocialCompare tool be used as an open input forum and then the captured information be entered into the Liliputing database. The rationale is two-fold: firstly it encourages user participation in finding the data and sharing the data (especially the “User review” voting capability I’ve just added); secondly, Liliputing and other websites might want to refer to a database that is strictly moderated and not overly dynamic and one that hopefully isn’t at risk of disappearing overnight.
Chippy’s open to the idea of creating a new mini PC-only section in the database, but it might take a little while to get started. In the meantime, this SocialCompare tool seems like a good way to crowd-source the data gathering and collect it in one place.
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