Quad core Android Mini PC

I wrote a guide on buying Android Mini PCs a few months back. Back then, the only devices available were either the single-core or dual-core variety. Time flies and technology moves at a breakneck pace. The market is currently flooded with the new quad-core Android mini PC.

There are also many new players on the scene. Besides the original brands like Rikomagic and Ugoos, we are seeing new players like Tronsmart and Measy who are moving very aggressively by releasing multiple products in a very short time.

With so many models and options, it can get rather confusing for someone with minimal experience with Android TV sticks, looking to buy an Android mini PC for the very first time. I have to admit that it can get rather confusing even to someone like me who has been following the development of the Android mini PC for the past year.

Therefore, I believe now is a good time for me to write an update to my original Android mini PC buying guide.

If you are totally new to Android mini PCs and you are looking for basic info on what it is and what it does, you can start by reading my original buying guide at Squidoo. Most of the information in that article (what it can and cannot do) still applies today.

Selecting the Chipset – Rockchip RK3188 or Allwinner A31

With the new generation quad-core Android mini PC, the chipset options are the Rockchip RK3188 and the Allwinner A31. As far as I know, all the quad-core Android mini PCs released so far feature either one of these chipsets. The only exceptions that I am aware of is the Zealz GK802 and the TBS8240 that had a Freescale i.MX6Q quad-core chip.

There are other quad-core chipsets like the Nvidia Tegra 3 and Samsung Exynos 4412 but none of them are used in an Android TV stick form factor although there is one Android set-top box, the F9, that is based on the Exynos 4412.

The Freescale i.MX6Q is not a popular chipset and besides the two Android mini PC models mentioned above, there has been no new models using this particular chipset.

Therefore this guide will not cover these 2 models and will just concentrate on the RK3188 and A31 based devices.

Rockchip RK3188

The Rockchip RK3188 consists of a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU with speeds up to 1.8 GHz and is manufactured using a 28 nm process. The CPU is paired with quad-core Mali-400 GPU running at 533 MHz.

In benchmark comparisons with other quad-core chips, the RK3188 performed very well and easily matches or beats other popular quad-core chipsets like the Nvidia Tegra 3 and Samsung Exnos 4412.

It is not surprising that the RK3188 is the most popular chipset on quad-core Android mini PCs. The Rockchip brand name is well known because of the dual-core RK3066 which was the chipset of choice for the dual-core generation. Furthermore, the RK3188 has earned critical acclaim from users and reviewers not just for Android mini PC devices but also from tablets using the same chipset.

The list of popular Android mini PC devices that uses the RK3188 includes but not limited to:

Allwinner A31

The Allwinner A31 has a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 running at a max 1.2 GHz manufactured using 40 nm processes. The GPU is a PowerVR SGX544MP2 running at 355 MHz.

The A31 doesn’t perform as well as the RK3188 in raw power comparisons but the PowerVR GPU is superior to the Mali-400 GPU on the RK3188.  The Cortex-A7 design is 4 years newer than the Cortex-A9 found in the RK3188 but the A7 is primarily designed for lower power and cost. Therefore the A31 loses out to the RK3188 in terms of processing power.

The list of popular Android mini PC devices that uses the Allwinner A31 includes but not limited to:

  • MK810 / Kimdecent CS868
  • Measy U4K

Quad-core Android Mini PC basic specification

All quad-core Android mini PC regardless if it is based on the RK3188 or A31 have very similar basic specification. So to simplify matters, I am listing all the generic specs here and unless mentioned, you can assume that all the devices that are being discussed in this article have the following specifications:

  • 2 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 8 GB NAND Flash for storage
  • microSD expansion slot (up to 32GB)
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • 1 full sized USB 2.0 host port
  • 1 or 2 micro USB ports. 1 is used for power.
  • HDMI port (either male or female)
  • Android 4.1 or 4.2

Tronsmart T428 / MK908

Tronsmart T428Both the Tronsmart T428 and MK908 are based on the RK3188 and were released about the same time.  The Tronsmart T428 was released a little earlier and it is one of the earliest RK3188 models to be made available.

I am not sure why Tronsmart released the MK908 at all. Since the MK908 shares the same look as the popular dual-core MK808, it could be that Tronsmart wanted to cash in on the MK808’s popularity.

Since there is very little that differentiates between the 2 models in terms of hardware, software and pricing, I have grouped both models together in this guide.

T428 / MK908 Pros

  • Being one of the first RK3188 models to be released has its perks. The T428 and MK908 have very strong support from the open source community, just like the MK808. The popular Finless ROM has been ported over to both models. Official Android 4.2 ROM is also available. If you enjoy ROM flashing, the T428/MK908 is the one to get.
  • True 1080p kernel available. Although all devices list 1080p support, this usually means 720p that is upscaled to 1080p. However, with a 1080p kernel, it is possible to get a true 1080p output.
  • Good WiFi connectivity although there are still complains of WiFi issues.
  • Comes rooted out of the box.

T428 / MK908 Cons

  • Original stock ROM had video playback bugs which results in dropped frames.
  • Original stock ROM has stability issues causing sudden reboots.
  • The Tronsmart devices come with  Broadcom AP6330 WiFi chipsets that are only capable of speeds of up to 65 Mbps. Devices with better WiFi chipsets can go up to 150 Mbps. However, 65 Mbps should be sufficient for streaming most HD movies except for those with very high bit rates.
  • Manual process required for firmware update. Updating the firmware will require you to be comfortable with downloading the firmware, installing some software on a PC and connecting the device to a PC via USB with some risks of bricking your device. If you are uncomfortable or are not bothered with this, give the T428/MK908 a miss. To get the most out of this device, you need to update the firmware.

T428/MK908 – Who is this for?

The Tronsmart T428/MK908 is recommended for those who are comfortable with getting their hands dirty and love hacking their devices to get the most out of their toys. If you are looking for something that works great out of the box, this is not the device for you.

T428/MK908 – Where to buy?

Tronsmart MK908II Smart TV Dongle Mini PC TV Box RK3188 Quad Core 2G/8G Bluetooth Black

Price:

3.0 out of 5 stars (56 customer reviews)

0 used & new available from

PriceAngels – MK908 Mini PC Android 4.2 RK3188 Quad Core 1G RAM 8GB ROM HDMI WIFI Google TV Player BOX(Black)

AliExpress – Tronsmart MK908 RK3188 Quad Core TV Stick Smart Android 4.2.2 TV Box 2GB RAM Built-in Bluetooth IPTV Mini PC

AliExpress – Tronsmart T428 Quad Core TV Box Android 4.2 Jelly Bean Mini PC

Rikomagic MK802 IV

Rikomagic MK802 IVThe MK802 IV is Rikomagic’s version of the quad-core Android Mini PC that is based on the RK3188.

Both the original single-core MK802 and the dual-core variations, the MK802 III and MK802 IIIs were very popular and sold pretty well.

Rikomagic also has a good reputation of supporting their products with firmware updates and bug fixes.

MK802 IV Pros

  • Good support from Rikomagic.
  • Comes installed with Android 4.1.1 but 4.2.2 is already available. Android 4.2.2 improved performance and fixed some bugs.
  • Relatively stable and bug free stock ROM.
  • Firmware is rooted out of the box.
  • True 1080p kernel ROM available.
  • WiFi chipset is Realtek 8189 that supports speeds up to 150 Mbps. The Realtek WiFi chipset is considered the best among all chipsets on the Android mini PCs.

MK802 IV Cons

  • Android 4.2.2 is more stable and fixes some bugs but has problems running Netflix.
  • Choppy graphics under 4.1.1.
  • Manual process required for firmware update. Updating the firmware will require you to be comfortable with downloading the firmware, installing some software on a PC and connecting the device to a PC via USB with some risks of bricking your device.
  • Not much support yet from open source community. No Finless ROM available.

MK802 IV – Who is this for?

The MK802 IV stock ROM is relatively stable and bug free among all the quad-core Android TV sticks out there. An official 4.2.2 ROM is available for users who want to upgrade. The MK802 IV is more suited for those who want a device that is relatively problem and bug free out of the box. The good WiFi chipset is also a big plus.

MK802 IV – Where to buy?

Price:

( customer reviews)

0 used & new available from

AliExpress – Original 2GB RAM Rikomagic MK802IV RK3188 Quad Core Android 4.2 Smart Mini TV

CX919

CS919 Android Mini PCOne of the most complaints from users of Android mini PCs is poor WiFi.

Users complain of either drop connections, difficulty in connecting to the router or slow speeds. Some of the manufacturers started introducing external antennas to help resolve this problem.

The CX919 has a built-in external antenna design that is reminiscent of the NC19A design.

The CX919 is widely regarded as one of the best quad-core Android mini PCs due to its hardware specs and firmware stability.

CX919 Pros

  • External WiFi antenna helps with WiFi problems.
  • Comes with a very stable and bug free Android 4.2.2 stock ROM. Bob of the Finless ROM fame rates this stock ROM as the best 4.2.2 ROM for the RK3188 devices.
  • Good open source community support. Finless ROM is available to those who are interested.
  • Customized launcher that is quite functional although it slows down boot-up a lot. Can be removed or replaced.
  • Netflix works fine with stock ROM.
  • Firmware is rooted out of the box.
  • Comes with  Broadcom AP6210 WiFi chipsets that can go to speeds up to 150 Mbps.
  • Compatible with Logitech C310 and C610 webcams for video conferencing.
  • No choppy graphics or dropped frames during HD video playback with stock ROM.

CX919 Cons

  • No true 1080p kernel available at the moment.
  • Manual process required for firmware update. Updating the firmware will require you to be comfortable with downloading the firmware, installing some software on a PC and connecting the device to a PC via USB with some risks of bricking your device.

CX919 – Who is it for?

The CX919 seems to be a great all-rounder that works well right out of the box without the need to update or replace the firmware. It is also fairly popular among the modders so if you are heading towards that direction, it is a good choice as well. The external antenna seems to be working in improving WiFi and it has a fast WiFi chipset.For these reasons, the CX919 gets my approval as the best overall quad-core Android mini PC.

CX919 – Where to buy?

OEM CX-919 Quad Core RK3188 Bluetooth Android 4.1.1 Mini Google PC TV Box 1G/8G BT/HDMI, Black

Price: $34.98

( customer reviews)

1 used & new available from $34.98

AliExpress – Quad core Rockchip RK3188 2GB RAM CX-919 Bluetooth WiFi

CX919ii

The CX-919ii was just released not too long ago. I have very little information on this model beyond what is provided in the vendor listings. Based on the provided information, it seems to be an updated version of the CX919 with 2 external antennas instead of one.

The most interesting part is that there seems to be an option for dual-band 2.4/5 GHz WiFi. If the rest of the CX919ii is similar to the original CX919 and the firmware is just as good, the CX919ii could very well take over the CX919’s throne as the best quad-core Android mini PC.

I will update this section as more information and user reviews become available.

CX919ii – Where to buy?

AliExpress – CX-919II Dual attenna strong Wifi Mini PC Quad Core RK3188 Android 4.2.2

Ugoos UG007B / QC802 / MK809 III

Ugoos QC802 Quad core Android Mini PCUgoos is well known for their range of Android mini PCs since the release of the dual-core UG802.

Strangely, Ugoos has released not one but 3 different quad-core Android mini PC models that are based on the RK3188 SoC.

As far as I can tell, all 3 models have the same hardware and software. The only difference is how they look physically.

The Ugoos models also share identical hardware as the Rikomagic MK802 IV. It has been proven that the MK802 IV firmware can be used on the Ugoos models.

Ugoos UG007B / QC802 / MK809 III Pros

  • Comes installed with Android 4.1.1 but 4.2.2 from MK802 IV can be used.
  • Relatively stable and bug free stock ROM.
  • True 1080p kernel ROM from MK802 IV should be usable.
  • WiFi chipset is Realtek 8189 that supports speeds up to 150 Mbps. The Realtek WiFi chipset is considered the best among all chipsets on the Android mini PCs. Some of the newer models come with Broadcom AP6210 WiFi chipsets instead. Performance should be about the same but using the wrong ROM may render the WiFi useless.

Ugoos UG007B / QC802 / MK809 III Cons

  • Choppy graphics under 4.1.1.
  • Manual process required for firmware update. Updating the firmware will require you to be comfortable with downloading the firmware, installing some software on a PC and connecting the device to a PC via USB with some risks of bricking your device.
  • Not much support yet from open source community. No Finless ROM available.

Ugoos UG007B / QC802 / MK809 III – Where to buy?

AliExpress – UG007B Android Mini PC TV stick RK3188 Quad Core 2GB RAM 8GB ROM

AliExpress – QC802 Android Mini PC TV Dongle Rockchip RK3188 Quad core 1.8GHz 2GB RAM 8GB ROM

AliExpress – TV BOX Androind 4.2 MK809 III Rockchips RK3188 Quad Core Cortex A9

iMito QX1

iMito QX1 quad core android mini pcThe dual-core iMito MX1 was noted for its stylish aluminum housing design. As far as I know, iMito is the only company that produces Android mini PCs with metal housings.

The iMito QX1 has a similar metal body design that looks different but equally stylish. The original MX1 was also well-known for its good ROM and stability.

The QX1 carries on this tradition although there are still some bugs in the firmware.

QX1 Pros

  • Support for an optional external WiFi antenna via an external antenna port. Adding on the external antenna improves the WiFi signal about 10%.
  • Comes with Android 4.1.1 but official 4.2.2 ROM is available from iMito. ROM is quite stable.
  • True 1080p kernel ROM available.
  • Metal body also acts as a heat sink for the CPU. Additional cooling can be added by placing a passive heat sink on the metal body.
  • WiFi chipset is Realtek 8189 that supports speeds up to 150 Mbps. The Realtek WiFi chipset is considered the best among all chipsets on the Android mini PCs.

QX1 Cons

  • Stock firmware is not rooted.
  • XBMC does not run on stock ROM.
  • Finless ROM is currently in progress but still not available yet. Some support from open source community.
  • Manual process required for firmware update. Updating the firmware will require you to be comfortable with downloading the firmware, installing some software on a PC and connecting the device to a PC via USB with some risks of bricking your device.

QX1 – Who is it for?

Like the CX919, the iMito QX1 works well right out of the box. The external WiFi antenna option is good to have but you need to fork out extra for it although some retailers do include it in the package. The QX1 is gaining some interest among Android mini PC enthusiasts but at this moment, no Finless ROM is available yet but one is expected in the near future. The QX1 is a strong contender for the best quad-core Android mini PC once most of its firmware problems are fixed.

QX1 – Where to buy?

AliExpress – [Free External WIFI Antenna] 2GB RAM imito QX1 RK3188 Quad Core Android 4.2 Smart Mini TV Box

MK705 / Hi705

There isn’t much information available for the MK705 and Hi705 yet. The unique feature of this Android mini PC is the built-in camera. While the Android OS does support external USB webcams, not all webcams are supported and there is a lack of information on supported webcams. Most of the information available on this topic are from user feedback through trial and error.

Therefore, if a working webcam is important to you, the MK705 or Hi705 is worth considering.

MK705/Hi705 – Where to buy?

Andriod4.2 Mini Pc Mk705 Quad Core Tv Box with 5mp Camera

Price:

( customer reviews)

0 used & new available from

AliExpress – Hi705 Android 4.2 Mini PC RK3188 Quad Core 1G RAM 5MP Camera Bluetooth HDMI WIFI Google TV Player BOX(Black)

AliExpress – Hi705 Quad Core RK3188 Android TV Stick MINI PC With Camera 2.0MP 2GB RAM

MK810 / Kimdecent CS868

CS868 quad core android mini pcThere is a little confusion over the MK810. If you do a search online, you will find 2 different Android mini PC models that are identified as the MK810.

The first is a dual-core Amlogic ALM8726 based model and the other is an Allwinner A31 based model that looks like a rebranded Kimdecent CS868.

I have decided to group both these models together as the A31 MK810 seems to be the same product as the CS868.

MK810/CS868 Pros

  • The CS868 models all seem to come with 16 GB of NAND Flash for storage while the MK810 all seem to come with the standard 8 GB.
  • Stock firmware is pre-rooted.
  • Allwinner A31 SoC  supports 4K/2K video decoding
  • Metallic casing helps with heat dissipation.

MK810/CS868 Cons

  • There seems to be a lack of interest in the A31 based models among the open source community. There is almost no sign of any work on custom ROMs. If you are into flashing ROMs, stick with the RK3188 models.
  • Stock firmware has stability issues.
  • No true 1080p kernel ROM available.
  • Manual process required for firmware update. Updating the firmware will require you to be comfortable with downloading the firmware, installing some software on a PC and connecting the device to a PC via USB with some risks of bricking your device.

MK810/CS868 – Who is it for?

In view of the limitations of the Allwinner A31 based models, I cannot really recommend them unless you want 4K/2K decoding. On the other hand, if you can afford a 4K/2K display, I am sure you can do much better than a budget device like an Android mini PC.

MK810/CS868 – Where to buy?

Price:

( customer reviews)

0 used & new available from

AliExpress – Kimdecent CS868 Allwinner A31 Quad Core TV Stick Smart Android TV Box