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123InkCartridges.ca is approaching a time when a lot of people will be able to plug an Android 4.0 Mini TV Box into a monitor or a TV and accomplish the majority of what they can achieve with a ‘real computer’ a smart TV.
The RikoMagic MK802 ii was one of the first devices that really looked to exploit this. Aimed primarily at enthusiasts, the MK802 was a small box with a HDMI port, providing Android on your TV / monitor at an impressively low price.
In The Box
In the box of MK802 II, you get more in the box than you might expect! As well as the foam-packaged device itself, you get a paper manual, a microUSB power cable, a microUSB OTG adaptor (for connecting external storage) and a HDMI extension cable... everything you need to get going!
Hooking up and booting up
To get going, all you need to do is hook up a power input (a regular microUSB cable connected to a PC or a USB to mains adaptor), connect the HDMI output to your TV / monitor and then add an input source. This could be a wired or wireless keyboard / mouse, for my testing I used a Logitech K400 which I normally use for my media center - it works great.
The device starts to boot as soon as you connect the power, indicated by a blue LED. It first tries to boot from the microSD card (e.g. a Linux distro), before then booting the internal Android OS.
After the Rikomagic boot screens, you arrive at the Android home screen. The configuration is such that you get the regular Ice Cream Sandwich tablet UI. Out of the box my device was configured to 720P, however you can bump the resolution up to 1080P (24 / 50 / 60).
Out of the box the software included is fairly minimal, you get the standard Android base software with a (certainly unofficial) Play Store. The Play Store is interesting, the ROM could do with some permissions / fingerprint tweaks as quite a lot of apps don't show (e.g. Chrome, although this can be installed manually via APK).
By virtue of the fact the MK802 II has no hardware buttons or touchscreen there are some additional buttons on the bottom navigation bar for volume up / down, shutdown and legacy menu access.
You can plug most things in to the MK802 II. We've used USB flash drives, USB hard drives and some USB ethernet dongles are also supported. With 2 microUSB ports and a full size USB port you're not likely to go short! We believe some 3G dongles also work, but you might want to double check this if it forms part of your plans.
General navigation and browsing
In use, the UI performs as you'd expect for a 1GHz single core device driving a 720P (or 1080P) screen - that is to say that while it's generally usable, it does struggle at times, leading to occasional 'wait' dialogues (clicking wait generally does the job).
This experience is echoed in the Browser and in the Chrome browser if you download and install it. Although the device is usable, you do get occasional slowdowns which can be a little frustrating. It does very much depend on the intensity of the task you're doing.
We know a use case for the MK802 II is to enable streaming video services on a TV / monitor, so we made a point of trying out the popular services.
Finally, YouTube videos are silky smooth too.
Local / network video
One thing we really wanted to do on the MK802 II was to play MKV files. You will suspected that the device would be really good at this and it was! It can played from a locally attached drive and over the network and playback was flawless. The MK802 II can be susceptible to getting a weak WiFi connection, but with careful placement I was able to maintain a good stream.
Rooting and hacking
The MK802 II comes 'pre-rooted' with root ADB access and is ripe for hacking. There's already quite a few hacks around for the original MK802 and the same will no doubt appear for the new version.
It's a great little device to have a good play around with!
Pricing and availability
The MK802 II is available in 123InkCartridges.ca for $59.99 with Free Shipping in Canada!
Hardware - overview
Hardware - around the device
The top of the device has an Android logo (with headphones) and the Rikomagic branding. The bottom of the device has 2 sets of ventilation holes and a LED indicator, as well as labelling for the various ports on the device. Earlier iterations of the device did suffer from heat problems, so it's probably worth ensuring these are left clear of obstructions when you've sited the device.
One end has the HDMI plug. On the original MK802 this was a socket for a cable, whereas it's now built in. The top edge of the device has the microSD slot, a reset hole and one of the microUSB ports. This one is used for the OTG adaptor, to connect memory sticks or hard drives. The bottom edge has the second microUSB port (for power / ADB) and a full size USB port, which can also be used for keyboard or mouse, memory sticks or hard drives.
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