Intel Z3736F

PiPO X9 Review: A Successful PC/Tablet Hybrid?

The PiPO X9 is a hybrid tablet/mini PC that runs both Windows 10 and Android 4.4. It also features a 1920×1200 pixel touchscreen. How good is this unique hybrid PC/tablet? Keep reading my PiPO X9 review to find out!

I want to say thanks to GearBest for sending me a sample to review.

Check Price at GearBest

What’s Inside the Box?

PiPO-X9-Inside-The-Box

PiPO have included the basics to get you started:

  • 1x PiPO X9 Mini PC
  • 1x 12V/3A Power Supply
  • 1x Warranty Card

It’s a shame that PiPO haven’t included a HDMI cable but as the PiPO X9 technically doesn’t need one, I understand the omission.

PiPO X9 Technical Specifications

  • Chipset: Intel Baytrail quad core processor with Intel HD graphics (Z3736F)
  • RAM: 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage: 32GB + microSD slot up to 64GB
  • Video & Audio Output: HDMI, 3.5mm Audio
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, 10/100 Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB: 4x USB 2.0 port
  • OS: Windows 10 & Android 4.4

PiPO X9 Review: Design

If you’ve seen the PiPO X8, you’ve seen the PiPO X9. The new device is essentially its predecessor enlarged.

The PiPO X9’s design is a matte black edge that’s dominated by its 8.9 inch touchscreen. There’s a Windows logo at the bottom of the screen that acts as a capacitive Windows key (or Home button in Android).

All the PiPO X9’s ports and buttons are on the back and right of the device. On the back, there’s a micro SD card slot, 2 USB 2.0 ports, a HDMI port, Ethernet and DC In.

PiPO-X9-Back

The right side houses the power button, volume rocker, 2 additional USB 2.0 ports and the 3.5mm audio output port.

PiPO-X9-Right

Both the left and right sides have small speakers. They’re capable of putting out decent volume but, like most small speakers, they lack bass and sound hollow.

PiPO-X9-Screen-01

Thanks to its high resolution and (relatively) small size, the 1920×1200 panel looks incredible. Cramming all those pixels into its 8.9 inches makes everything look razor sharp. It’s also reasonably bright too.

PiPO-X9-Screen-02

PiPO X9 Review: Using It

When I first plugged it in, the PiPO X9 booted automatically. You’re shown the familiar OS selection BIOS we’ve seen on other dual boot devices where you can choose to boot either Android or Windows. There’s a 10 second countdown, after which it’ll automatically boot into the last used OS. Unchecking the box in the top-left corner will hide the OS selection screen on subsequent boots.

Windows boots fast at around 12 seconds, whilst Android’s slower at around 36 seconds.

Windows 10 on the PiPO X9 works well, with the Intel Z3736F handling Microsoft’s OS with ease. Windows 10 was activated and there’s about 13GB free out of the 20.7GB Windows partition.
PiPO-X9-Windows-01Windows is essentially unmodified, with PiPO only adding the WinToAnd app that allows you to boot into Android directly from Windows and reactivate the OS selection screen. A switch to Android took around 53 seconds.

PiPO-X9-WinToAnd

The PiPO X9 features a HDMI out port and its practicality depends on the OS being used. Under Windows 10, the TV acts as a second monitor so you can mirror the displays, extend the desktop across both monitors or use only one.

Android isn’t really designed for dual monitor setups, with screen mirroring being the only option. I couldn’t find any way of disabling the integrated screen under Android. As I mentioned in my PiPO X8 review, Android’s not really designed for dual screen setups yet.

PiPO X9 Review: Android ROM

Android is essentially stock, with only the “OSSwitch” button in the notification shade added that boots you back to Windows. The Google Play Store works and Android’s rooted out of the box.

PiPO-X9-Android-02

If you’ve used Android 4.4, it’s pretty much the same Android experience we’ve seen before. Interestingly, the included video app did seem to automatically switch the refresh rate and turned off the integrated screen when connected via HDMI making it a bit more friendly than normal.

The ROM did have an annoying issue where after audio played, some slight hissing could be heard for a few seconds after the audio stopped. It didn’t happen at all under Windows, so I’m suspecting it’s a bug.

PiPO X9 Review: Media Playback

PiPO-X9-Kodi-01

Media playback was tested under Windows 10 using Kodi 15.2 via HDMI.

Video CodecVideo Performance (Kodi 15.2)
1080p 3D SBS H.264OK
1080p 3D ABL H.264OK
1080p30 H.264OK
1080p High Bitrate H.264OK
1080p60 H.264OK
720p50 H.264OK
1080i25 H.264OK
4K 30FPS H.264OK
4K 60FPS H.264Unwatchable (Video lags behind Audio)
1080p24 HEVCUnwatchable
1080p VP8OK
720p Hi10pOK
1080p Hi10pOK
1080p MPEG2OK
720P RMVBOK
1080p VC1OK
Unencrypted Bluray ISO (Sintel)OK

Media playback was pretty good, with only 4K 60FPS and HEVC content failing to play due to a lack of hardware decoding support on the Z3736F chip.

In Kodi, automatic framerate switching worked perfectly during testing. Deinterlacing performance was good, without any noticeable artifacts.

I’ve had a few requests to specifically test 23.976FPS content. With AFR switched on, 23.967FPS content played back without any noticeable stuttering.

5.1 audio passthrough in Kodi also worked.

PiPO-X9-01

PiPO X9 Review: External Storage

I didn’t have any issues watching videos from my NTFS-formatted USB thumbdrive and 2.5″ USB HDD.

PiPO X9 Review: Gaming

PiPO-X9-Windows-BBR

To test gaming performance, I installed 2 games from the Windows store – 1 2D and 1 3D title:

Both games were tested at 1080p.

Gaming performance was typical of the Z3736F. The less demanding Jetpack Joyride was nice and smooth. Beach Buggy Racing was playable at maximum settings, though lowering the graphical settings led to a much better experience. Using the internal screen saw a drop in performance due to the slightly higher resolution of the panel, typically hovering around 30 frames per second.

Gaming Controllers and Bluetooth

I connected my iPazzPort Bluetooth Keyboard via Bluetooth without  issue.

My Tronsmart Mars G01 was recognized as a Xbox 360 controller and I was able to use it in Beach Buggy Racing.

PiPO X9 Review: Networking

To test out networking performance, I used iperf (iperf –t 60 -c SERVER_IP -r) to test networking bandwidth in both directions. My router is approximately 5m away, with a single wall between the router and the device. WiFi performance is heavily impacted by a number of factors so your performance may vary.

PiPO-X9-Ethernet

Wireless Performance

Wireless performance was reasonable, with upload and download speeds of 19.8Mb/s and 37.0Mb/s download respectively

Real world testing saw 4K video streaming without buffering from an NFS share. 1080p YouTube was fine too.

Ethernet Performance

Ethernet performance was reasonable, achieving 89.9Mb/s upload and 88.3Mb/s download.

PiPO X9 Review: Benchmarks

Windows Benchmarks

3DMark

Ice Storm Unlimited13109
Ice Storm Extreme8572
Cloud Gate1149

PCMark

Home Conventional973
Work Conventional1414

CrystalDiskMark 3.0.4

Benchmarking was done on the internal storage, offering solid performance.

PiPO-X9-CrystalDiskMark

PiPO X9 Review: Thermal Performance

Thermal performance was tested using HeavyLoad, a freeware application that simultaneously stresses the CPU and GPU. Testing was conducted using the internal screen at maximum brightness, as this situation would cause maximum heat inside the unit.

After 30 minutes, HWiNFO reported the SoC temperature as levelling off at 74°C without any throttling. Ambient temperature was 21.3°C.

PiPO X9 Review: Power Consumption

Windows (HDMI) 0.5W 4W4.8W 8W 10.5W
Windows (Screen)0.5W4W7W10.8W12W
Android (HDMI)0.5W4W3.1W12W12W
OffStandbyIdle1080p30 Video in KodiUnder Load

Should You Get One?

PiPO-X9-03

The PiPO X9 is an interesting device that works well. As a mini PC, it handles Windows 10 well, multimedia playback was great and Android worked well for those who need to use Android apps. Thermal performance was solid too, which is often a concern with some mini PCs.

I found the integrated screen pretty handy in some situations, particularly as a kitchen PC for recipes or at a recent party where it acted as a music control panel.

However, the Android ROM still has a few rough edges and the screen may not be useful to some.

Ultimately, if you’re in need of an inbuilt screen, the PiPO X9 is an decent contender as a PC/tablet hybrid.

Getting One

The PiPO X9 is available from Gearbest in 32GB and 64GB variants.

Check Price at GearBest

Alternatively, it’s also available at GeekBuyingAmazon and Banggood.

PiPO X9 Impressions: A Unique Dual Boot Tablet Hybrid

The PiPO X9 is a unique dual OS mini PC that runs Windows 10, Android 4.4 Mini PC and also features a 1920×1200 pixel touchscreen.

I want to say thanks to GearBest for sending me a sample to review.

Check Price at GearBest

What’s Inside the Box?

PiPO-X9-Inside-The-Box

Inside the box, you get:

  • 1x PiPO X9 Mini PC
  • 1x Power Supply
  • 1x Warranty Card

PiPO X9 Technical Specifications

  • Chipset: Intel Baytrail quad core processor with Intel HD graphics (Z3736F)
  • RAM: 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage: 32GB + microSD slot up to 64GB
  • Video & Audio Output: HDMI, 3.5mm Audio
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, 10/100 Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB: 4x USB 2.0 port
  • OS: Windows 10 & Android 4.4

PiPO X9 First Impressions

The PiPO X9 looks like someone took the PiPO X8 and hit it with an enlarging ray. It’s an interesting looking black wedge dominated by the 8.9 inch touchscreen. The 1920×1200 screen looks fantastic. It’s reasonably bright and, thanks to its smaller size, looks razor sharp. There’s a Windows logo at the bottom that doubles as a capacitive Windows key.

The ports and buttons on the PiPO X9 are located on the back and right of the unit. On the rear, we’ve got a micro SD card slot, 2 USB 2.0 ports, a HDMI port, Ethernet and DC In.

PiPO-X9-Back

On the right is the power button, volume rocker, 2 additional USB 2.0 ports and the 3.5mm audio output port.

PiPO-X9-Right

There’s also small speakers on both sides of the unit. They’re reasonably loud but suffer from the same fate as most small speakers, lacking bass and sounding a little hollow.

The PiPO X9 booted automatically when I plugged it in. When it first turns on, you’re shown the familiar OS selection BIOS we’ve seen on other dual boot devices. You’re given the option to boot into either Windows 10 or Android 4.4, with a 10 second countdown automatically booting into the last used OS.

Windows 10 was activated and there’s about 13GB free out of the 20.7GB Windows partition.

PiPO haven’t added much in terms of customization.  The only clear addition was the WinToAnd app that allows you to boot into Android directly from Windows. Switching to Android took around 53 seconds.

I did some quick tests using the internal screen. For media playback, I installed Kodi 15.1. Both 1080p and 4K H.264 samples seemed to play back well. 1080p HEVC was hopeless, but that’s because the Intel Z3736F chip doesn’t support HEVC decoding in hardware.

PiPO-X9-Kodi-01

In terms of WiFi performance, I was able to stream 4K video from an NFS share without any noticeable buffering.

A quick gaming test was done with Beach Buggy Racing and Jetpack Joyride. Jumping into Beach Buggy Racing in Windows was average, with the frame rate typically sitting just 30 frames per second. I’m wondering whether the slightly higher resolution is to blame so I’ll retest it when the PiPO X9 is connected up to a 1080p monitor to see if performance improves. Jetpack Joyride played reasonably well however.

PiPO-X9-Windows-BBR

Jumping over to Android, PiPO have essentially kept everything stock, aside from the “OSSwitch” button in the notification shade to boot back into Windows. The Google Play Store works and Android’s rooted out of the box.

I did notice one oddity in Android that didn’t happen in Windows though. Whenever a sound played in Android, the speakers quietly hissed for a second after the audio stopped. I’m suspecting this is an Android driver issue.

Brief stress testing under Windows was done using HeavyLoad. After 10 minutes, temperatures seemed to level out at 74°C without throttling according to HWiNFO. Ambient temperature was 20°C.

Verdict So Far

The PiPO X9 is an interesting beast. The 8.9 inch 1920×1200 screen looks glorious and is really responsive. From my brief testing, overall performance seemed good in Windows and Kodi.

However, gaming wasn’t as smooth as other devices with the same chip. This could be due to the slightly higher internal resolution than the 1080p I typically test at so we’ll have to see whether switching to an external monitor improves the situation.

Keep posted for the full review.

Getting One

The PiPO X9 is available from Gearbest in 32GB and 64GB variants.

Check Price at GearBest

Alternatively, it’s also available at GeekBuying and Amazon.

PiPO X8 Review: A Dual OS PC with a Built-In Screen

The much-talked about mini PC has finally arrived. The PiPO X8 is a dual OS mini PC powered by the Intel Z3736F chipset. What makes it unique however, is its built-in 7-inch screen – an odd yet surprisingly useful inclusion. It also features 2GB of RAM and 32GB on onboard storage.

I’ve been keen to get my hands on one since it was shown off at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair. So how successful has this experiment been?

Thanks to GearBest for providing me a sample to review.

Check Price

What Is It?

The PiPO X8 is a small form factor Dual OS PC powered by a quadcore Intel processor and featuring a built-in 7-in touchscreen.

PiPO-X8-01

PiPO X8 Technical Specifications

  • Chipset: Intel Baytrail quad core processor with Intel HD graphics (Z3736F)
  • RAM: 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage: 32 GB internal storage + micro SD slot
  • Video & Audio Output: HDMI, 3.5mm Audio
  • Screen: 1280x800px
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, 10/100 Ethernet
  • USB: 4x USB 2.0 port
  • Other Features: Power button, Integrated Speakers, 1 year Office 365 subscription.
  • OS: Dual-Boot: Windows 8.1 with Bing/Android 4.4
  • Power Supply: 12v 2.5A

What’s in the box?

PiPO-X8-Box-Front

PiPO’s inclusions with the PiPO X8 are pretty sparse:

  • 1x PiPO X8
  • 1x Power Adapter
  • 1x Warranty Card

PiPO-X8-Inclusions

I have to admit I’m a little bit disappointed that a HDMI cable wasn’t included. However, given the emphasis on the internal touchscreen, I’m not too surprised.

PiPO X8 Design

The PiPO X8 is an interesting beast. It’s hard not to take notice of the 7-inch screen which stands out immediately. I was worried that the inclusion of a screen would make the device overly bulky, but thankfully it’s only slightly larger than the PiPO X7.

PiPO-X8-10

The screen is positioned at a relatively comfortable angle and is impressive to look at. Thanks to PiPO cramming a 1280×800 resolution into a 7-inch panel, the screen offers crisp text and images. Whilst not the brightest screen I’ve ever seen, it’s bright enough, given the dimly-lit environments it’ll most likely be used in.

PiPO-X8-Screen-1

Black matte plastic makes up the remainder of the case is predominantly black plastic with a matte finish and some PiPO branding at the front. A metal base with vents finishes it off, helping keep the device cool passively.

PiPO-X8-Left

The ports are located on the righthand side and rear of the device. On the rear, from left to right, is the USB OTG port, micro SD card slot, 2 full-size USB 2.0 ports, HDMI out, Ethernet and DC In. The PiPO X8 also features an external WiFi antenna.

PiPO-X8-Back

Looking at the right side, there is the power button, volume rocker, 2 more USB 2.0 ports and the headphone jack. Both sides feature small speakers.

PiPO-X8-Right

The on-board stereo speakers aren’t the greatest. I’d say they outperform your typical tablet speakers, pumping out more power and bass. However, they still sound hollow and lack depth.

Using It

Booting the PiPO X8 is done by holding down the power button for several seconds. Before booting into an Operating System. you’re shown the OS selection screen with a 10 second countdown. After selecting the OS, Windows takes approximately 16 seconds to boot. An OS switch takes around 44 seconds to go from Windows to Android. You can set the PiPO X8 to always boot into the last used Operating System and I suspect most will avail themselves of the option.

Out of the box, Windows came activated and there was 11.7/15.6GB free on the C drive. Windows felt great during use, much like other devices using the Intel Z3736F.  I didn’t see any noticeable lag when navigating the Start menu or applications on the build-in screen or when using HDMI out. Interestingly, it seemed that the in-built screen never turned off when connected via HDMI. It seemed that the backlight remained on and the screen responded to touch, albeit as if it was in portrait mode, which was weird.

Rikomagic-MK36-Windows-Desktop

Windows was essentially “stock”, with the only inclusion being the “WinToAnd” application used to switch to Android. An equivalent “OS Switch” function appears in the Android notification shade.

PiPO-X8-OS-Switch

Android was a mixed bag. The Android version is more or less stock, with “OS Switch” function appearing to be the only customisation. Using just the integrated screen, the device functioned like your typical Android tablet such as 5-point multi-touch and the gyroscope. Navigating through the menus and launching apps felt nice and fast. However, plugging in the HDMI cable exposed Android’s inability to handle dual screens. There was no option to only output to the TV, so you always ended up with duplicated screens under Android which is frustrating. Even after setting the resolution to 1080p, the PiPO X8 seemed to lock the UI resolution to the screen’s 1280×800 resolution, leaving black bars on the sides.

PiPO-X8-Android-Drawer

Under both OS’, the touchscreen was responsive, whether navigating UIs or playing games.

PiPO X8 Media Playback

Media playback was tested using Kodi 14.2 under Windows.

Video CodecVideo Performance (Windows 8 – Kodi 14.2)
1080p 3D SBS H.264OK
1080p 3D ABL H.264OK
1080p30 H.264OK
1080p High Bitrate H.264OK
1080p60 H.264OK
720p50 H.264OK
1080i50 H.264OK
4K H.264OK
1080p HEVCUnwatchable (Too many skipped frames)
4K HEVCUnwatchable (Too many skipped frames)
1080p VP8OK (Software Decode)
720p Hi10pWatchable (Some Dropped Frames) (Software Decode)
1080p Hi10pWatchable (Some Dropped Frames) (Software Decode)
1080p MPEG2OK
720P RMVBOK
1080p VC1OK

Video performance was pretty solid across the board. I can confirm that automatic framerate switching worked under Windows.

PiPO X8 Gaming Performance

To test gaming performance, I installed 2 games,1 2D and 1 3D under both Windows and Android:

PiPO-X8-Beach-Buggy-Racing-Windows

When using the internal screen, with its sub-1080p resolution,  both games performed brilliantly under Windows and Android. Outputting 1080p to an external screen in Windows did impact performance. Whilst Jetpack Joyride performed as well as before, Beach Buggy Racing saw an anticipated drop in performance, but it still maintained a fairly solid framerate with the typically slowdown during high-action scenes that we’ve seen on these devices.

Gaming Controllers and Bluetooth

I connected my iPazzPort Bluetooth keyboard and iPega PG-9025 via Bluetooth without issue.

PiPO X8 Networking Performance

Thanks to the PiPO X8’s external antenna, wireless performance was excellent. Signal strength was consistently showing 5 bars under Windows. I was able to stream 4K video from an NFS over WiFi without any signs of buffering under Kodi 14.2.

PiPO-X8-02

PiPO X8 Windows Benchmarks

3DMark Ice Storm

PiPO-X8-3DMark-Ice-Storm

3DMark Ice Storm Extreme

PiPO-X8-3DMark-Ice-Storm-Extreme

3DMark Cloud Gate

PiPO-X8-3DMark-Cloud-Gate

CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3

PiPO-X8-CrystalDiskMark

PiPO X8 Android Benchmarks

Antutu 5.7.1

Antutu returned a respectable score of 36873, although the UI resolution was locked at 1280×800.

PiPO-X8-Antutu

PiPO X8 Thermal Performance

I was a little concerned given the PiPO X7’s thermal throttling issues. Using Prime95‘s Small FFTs test on the PiPO X8 when connected to an external screen was the SoC temperature max out at 66°c according to HWiNFO after 30 minutes. Switching over to the internal screen saw the temperatures increase however.

Loading up a test that taxed both the CPU and GPU did see the temperatures climb further however. After 8 minutes of running the PiPO X8 at 100% CPU and rendering 3D images, the device did see some minimal thermal throttling. PiPO could have improved cooling further but the PiPO X8 still outperforms the X7 considerably.

PiPO X8 Power Consumption

Power StatePower (W)
Powered Off0.9 W
Standby4.4 W
Idle6.3 W
Load11.5 W

Getting One

I was provided my PiPO X8 from GearBest.

Check Price

It’s also available from Amazon, AliExpress and GeekBuying.

PiPO X8 Additional Images

PiPO X8 Impressions: A Dual OS PC with a Built-In Screen

It’s finally here! The PiPO X8 is a unique dual OS mini PC featuring a built-in 7-inch screen. It’s powered by the Intel Z3736F chipset, the PiPO X8 features 2GB of RAM and 32GB on onboard storage.

Thanks to GearBest for providing me a sample to review. Click here to view the latest price.

Update: Click here to read our PiPO X8 Review

What Is It?

The PiPO X8 is a small form factor Dual OS PC powered by a quadcore Intel processor and featuring a built-in 7-in touchscreen. Suitable as a office or home theatre PC, its integrated touchscreen adds to the device’s capabilities such as for a jukebox where guests can select tracks whilst content plays on the second screen.

PiPO-X8-01

PiPO X8 Technical Specifications

  • Chipset: Intel Baytrail quad core processor with Intel HD graphics (Z3736F)
  • RAM: 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage: 32 GB internal storage + micro SD slot
  • Video & Audio Output: HDMI, 3.5mm Audio
  • Screen: 1280x800px
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, 10/100 Ethernet
  • USB: 4x USB 2.0 port
  • Other Features: Power button, Integrated Speakers, 1 year Office 365 subscription.
  • OS: Dual-Boot: Windows 8.1 with Bing/Android 4.4
  • Power Supply: 12v 2.5A

What’s in the box?

Inside the box, you have:

  • 1x PiPO X8
  • 1x Power Adapter
  • 1x Warranty Card

PiPO-X8-Inclusions

PiPO X8 Impressions

I’ve been curious to see this box in the flesh after it was shown off at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair. Would it be a bizarre experiment or a successful union?

I’ll admit I was worried the screen would make the box bulky. Thankfully, it’s fairly compact, being only slightly larger compared to the PiPO X7.

The 7-inch touchscreen dominates, making the PiPO X8 immediately stand out in a good way. Set at a comfortable viewing angle, the screen is excellent. Shrinking down its 1280×800 resolution down to 7-inches leads to excellent picture quality with sharp text and excellent clarity. It’s also bright enough, particularly given it will typically be used in a dim environment rather than daylight like a typical tablet.

PiPO-X8-10

The remainder of the case is predominantly black plastic with a matte finish. A metal base plate featuring ventilation is underneath the device to help keep it cool.

The ports are distributed along the right and rear of the device. On the rear, going from left to right, we have the USB OTG port, micro SD card slot, 2 full-size USB 2.0 ports, HDMI out, Ethernet and DC In. A large WiFi antenna also makes an appearance.

PiPO-X8-Back

The right-hand side houses the power button, volume rocker, 2 more USB 2.0 ports and the headphone jack. Both the left and right sides feature small speakers.

PiPO-X8-Right

The on-board stereo speakers are functional and reasonably loud. They’re an improvement over your usual tablet speakers but still sound a little hollow.

On booting the device, you’re shown the OS selection screen with a 10 second countdown. You can choose to always see this screen or automatically boot into the last used Operating System. After selecting the OS, Windows takes approximately 16 seconds to boot. An OS switch took about 44 seconds.

Out of the box, Windows had 11.7/15.6GB free. It was also activated and I was prompted to install Office 365 so it seems the PiPO X8 comes with the 12-month subscription. Windows felt fast and I didn’t see any noticeable lag on both the screen and when connected to an external screen.

Rikomagic-MK36-Windows-Desktop

To switch OS’, Windows has a “WinToAnd” application whilst Android features an “OS Switch” button in the Notifications shade.

Android was fast on the PiPO X8 too. On the integrated screen, everything worked like you would expect on an Android tablet, including the 5-point multitouch and even the gyroscope. However, plugging in the HDMI cable exposed a quirk. With the resolution set to 1080p, it still refused to fill the full screen despite the aspect ratio looking correct. Clearly, Android’s not designed for dual screens yet.

Gaming performance was tested using Beach Buggy Racing and Jetpack Joyride under both OS’. On the screen’s reduced resolution, both games were silky smooth under Windows and Android.

On Windows, outputting 1080p to an external screen saw an slight yet expected performance hit to Beach Buggy Racing. However, it maintained a fairly solid framerate, with occasional slowdowns during busy scenes. Jetpack Joyride’s performance was remained consistently excellent however.

The PiPO X8 features an external WiFi antenna and it seems that it has improved WiFi reception. Whilst the Beelink Pocket P1 averaged 4 bars, the PiPO X8 has consistently had 5 in Windows. Streaming 4K video from an NFS share didn’t show any buffering.

PiPO-X8-02

Thermal performance is certainly an area where PiPO have had issues in the past. I used Prime95‘s Small FFTs test to load the PiPO X8, which is designed to generate lots of heat. After 30 minutes of running it, the SoC temperature maxed out at 66°c according to HWiNFO. It was slightly warmer compared to other devices I’ve tested, but there’s still plenty of thermal headroom here which is an excellent improvement. Ambient temperature was 19.1°c.

Verdict So Far

The PiPO X8 is proving to be more than a strange experiment, with seemingly genuine utility behind what should have been an unholy union of TV box and screen. Windows performance feels solid so far, although Android has its quirks – most likely due to not being designed for a dual screen environment.

Keep posted for our full review shortly.

Getting One

I was provided my PiPO X8 from GearBest. Click here to view the latest price.

It’s also available from Amazon, AliExpress and GeekBuying.

[gb-pipox8]

 

Rikomagic MK36 Review: An Excellent Dual OS Mini PC

The Rikomagic MK36 is Rikomagic’s first Windows Mini PC. Leveraging the slightly more powerful Intel Z3736F SoC,  the Rikomagic MK36 runs both Windows 8.1 with Bing and Android 4.4 and features 2GB RAM and 32GB of onboard storage.

Thanks to Rikomagic for providing me a sample to review. Click here to view the latest price.

What Is It?

The Rikomagic MK36 is a small form factor Dual OS Mini PC powered by a quadcore Intel processor. Its low power requirements, fanless design and small form factor make it an ideal HTPC or desktop. Thanks to its Dual OS capabilities, you have a wide ecosystem of games and applications at your disposal.

Rikomagic-MK36-03

Rikomagic MK36 Technical Specifications

  • Chipset: Intel Baytrail quad core processor with Intel HD graphics (Z3736F)
  • RAM: 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage: 32GB + microSD slot up to 64GB
  • Video & Audio Output: HDMI, 3.5mm Audio
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, 10/100 Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB: 4x USB 2.0 port
  • OS: Windows 8.1 with Bing (32-bit) & Android 4.4

What’s in the box?

Rikomagic-MK36-Box-Front

Rikomagic have included all the key items to connect up the MK36:

  • 1x Rikomagic MK36
  • 1x HDMI Cable
  • 1x Power Adapter
  • 1x English Instruction Manual

Rikomagic-MK36-Inside-The-Box

Rikomagic MK36 Unboxing and Demo

Rikomagic MK36 Design

Military. That’s how I’d describe the Rikomagic MK36’s design. With clean lines and angled faces, this looks almost sporty. I have to admit I’m a fan of its design.
A dual material approach was taken for the case. The bulk of the case is plastic, with a top plate that features Rikomagic branding and a nice brushed metal texture. A metal bottom plate completes the case and is clearly used to help dissipate heat. The device feels durable, but not as solid compared to the PiPO X7’s all-metal build.

Rikomagic-MK36-Top

The ports are located along one side and the rear of the device. Along the side, we have the power button, 2 USB 2.0 ports and 3.5mm audio output.

Rikomagic-MK36-Side-01

The rear of the device has a Kensington lock port, micro SD card slot, 2 USB 2.0 ports, HDMI Out, Ethernet and DC In. The Kensington lock is definitely a plus and I’m actually surprised it hasn’t appeared on more of these mini PCs.

Rikomagic-MK36-Back

It’s great to have so many USB ports, as you can never have too many. I did have a small issue with the lower rear USB port being close to the HDMI cable. As such, bulkier USB drives didn’t fit. Switching around my (smaller) wireless Keyboard/Mouse dongle to the bottom position did the trick however.

Using It

Holding down the power button for several seconds causes the device to boot. On booting, the OS selection screen is displayed with a 10 second countdown. A handy check-box in the top left,lets you always choose the OS or just boot into the last one used.

It took around 13 seconds to boot into Windows after selecting the OS from the OS selection screen. Android takes slightly longer to boot but resuming from standby in both OS’s is essentially instant.

Rikomagic-MK36-Windows-Desktop

Windows performance was excellent. I didn’t notice any lag when navigating the Start menu and desktop. Windows is activated for those concerned.

Switching to Android is handled via the “WinToAnd” shortcut on the desktop. A full OS switch takes around a minute.

WinToAnd-Switch

Those wanting to return to Windows can use the OS Switch icon in the Android Notifications shade.

Rikomagic-MK36-Android-Switch-OS

Rikomagic’s Android build is essentially stock. The only hints of customization is the inclusion of MXPlayer and the inclusion of the OS Switch function.

Rikomagic-MK36-Android-Home

The MK36’s Z3736F chipset blazes through Android. All animations were fast and incredibly smooth. I suspect the reduced OS overhead helped.

Rikomagic-MK36-Android-Drawer

Rikomagic MK36 Media Playback

Media playback was tested using Kodi 14.2 under Windows 8 and MXPlayer under Android. I had to install the “Custom X86 Codec” for MXPlayer as some audio codecs were appearing as not supported.

Getting Kodi up and running was simple in Windows. However, Kodi on Android refused to read my USB until I actually added it as a media source. I’m not sure whether this is an issue with Kodi itself or the MK36’s Android ROM.

Video CodecVideo Performance (Windows 8 – Kodi 14.2)Video Performance (Android – MX Player w/ Custom Codec)Video Performance (Android – Kodi 14.2)
1080p 3D SBS H.264OKOKOK
1080p 3D ABL H.264OKOKOK
1080p30 H.264OKOKOK
1080p High Bitrate H.264OKOKOK
1080p60 H.264OKOKOK
720p50 H.264OKOKOK
1080i50 H.264OKOKOK
4K H.264OKOKOK
1080p HEVCUnwatchable (Too many skipped frames)Unwatchable (Too many skipped frames)Watchable (Some Dropped Frames)
4K HEVCUnwatchable (Too many skipped frames)Unwatchable (Too many skipped frames)Unwatchable (Too many skipped frames)
1080p VP8OK (Software Decode)OKOK
720p Hi10pWatchable (Some Dropped Frames) (Software Decode)OKUnwatchable (No Video)
1080p Hi10pWatchable (Some Dropped Frames) (Software Decode)Watchable (Some Dropped Frames)Unwatchable (No Video)
1080p MPEG2OKOKOK
720P RMVBOKOKOK
1080p VC1OKNo AudioOK

I didn’t have any issues playing the Sintel Bluray ISO under Kodi under either OS. Interestingly, whilst Kodi 14.2 under Windows and MXPlayer under Android couldn’t handle my 1080p HEVC sample, it was watchable under Kodi 14.2 on Android.

Automatic framerate switching worked under Windows. However, I was surprised when it also appeared to work under Android, with some video samples in MXPlayer causing the HDMI output to switch to the correct refresh rate.

Rikomagic MK36 Gaming Performance

To test gaming performance, I installed 3 games,1 2D and 2 3D titles, under both Windows and Android:

Jetpack Joyride performed well under both Windows and Android. Beach Buggy Racing was also great, with only small framerate drops during busy scenes.

Under Windows, Asphalt 8 was playable but the framerate was sub-30 FPS. Switching to Android saw the framerate improve dramatically and was a far better experience. I suspect Android’s reduced overhead helped here. Keep in mind that Gameloft’s recent update did appear to hurt Asphalt 8 performance on a number of my devices.

Gaming Controllers and Bluetooth

I connected my iPazzPort Bluetooth keyboard and iPega PG-9025 via Bluetooth without issue.

Rikomagic MK36 Networking Performance

Iperf (iperf –t 60 -c SERVER_IP -r) was used test networking bandwidth over both WiFi and Ethernet. The device was located approximately 5 meters from the router through a single wall. WiFi performance varies heavily depending on your equipment and environment so results may vary.

WiFi performance was good, with upload and download speeds of 17.2 Mbps and  48.5 Mbps respectively. Streaming 4K video from an NFS share was no issue, with no buffering in sight.

Switching over to Ethernet saw upload and download speeds improve as expected, reaching 90.5 Mbps and 90.1 Mbps respectively.

Rikomagic MK36 Windows Benchmarks

3DMark Ice Storm

Rikomagic-MK36-3DMark-Ice-Storm

3DMark Ice Storm Extreme

Rikomagic-MK36-3DMark-Ice-Storm-Extreme

3DMark Cloud Gate

Rikomagic-MK36-3DMark-Cloud-Gate

3DMark Sky Diver

Rikomagic-MK36-3DMark-Sky-Diver

PCMark 8 Home Conventional

Rikomagic-MK36-PCMark-Home-Conventional

PCMark 8 Work Conventional

Rikomagic-MK36-PCMark-Work-Conventional

CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3

Rikomagic-MK36-CrystalDiskMark

Rikomagic MK36 Android Benchmarks

Antutu 5.7.1

Antutu returned a respectable score of 35839

Rikomagic-MK36-Antutu

Epic Citadel

The Rikomagic MK36 scored 39.7 FPS at Ultra High Quality

Rikomagic-MK36-Epic-Citadel

Rikomagic MK36 Temperatures

To stress test the Rikomagic MK36, I used Prime95‘s Small FFTs test. This test is designed to generate maximum heat. Temperatures seemed to stabilize at 61°c without any thermal throttling according to HWiNFO. Ambient temperature was 19.7°c. I didn’t experience any thermal throttling during testing.

Rikomagic MK36 Power Consumption

Power StateWindowsAndroid
Powered Off0.5 W0.5 W
Standby4 W3.7 W
Idle4 W3.7 W
Load7.9 W10.2 W

Getting One

The Rikomagic MK36 is available from GearBestAmazon and AliExpress.

Rikomagic MK36 Additional Images

Rikomagic MK36 Impressions: A Quadcore Dual OS Mini PC

The Rikomagic MK36 is Rikomagic’s first entry into the Windows Mini PC space. Powered by the Intel Z3736F SoC,  the MK36 runs both Windows 8.1 with Bing and Android 4.4. It also features 2GB RAM and 32GB of onboard storage.

Thanks to Rikomagic for providing me a sample to review. Click here to view the latest price.

What Is It?

The Rikomagic MK36 is a small form factor Windows PC powered by a quadcore Intel processor. Its low power requirements, fanless design and small form factor make it an ideal HTPC or desktop. Thanks to its Dual OS capabilities, you have a wide ecosystem of games and applications at your disposal.

Rikomagic-MK36-03

Rikomagic MK36 Technical Specifications

  • Chipset: Intel Baytrail quad core processor with Intel HD graphics (Z3736F)
  • RAM: 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage: 32GB + microSD slot up to 64GB
  • Video & Audio Output: HDMI, 3.5mm Audio
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, 10/100 Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB: 4x USB 2.0 port
  • OS: Windows 8.1 with Bing (32-bit) & Android 4.4

What’s in the box?

Rikomagic-MK36-Box-Front

Rikomagic have provided everything you need to connect up the MK36:

  • 1x Rikomagic MK36
  • 1x HDMI Cable
  • 1x Power Adapter
  • 1x English Instruction Manual

Rikomagic-MK36-Inside-The-Box

Rikomagic MK36 Unboxing and Demo

Rikomagic MK36 Impressions

Unboxing the Rikomagic MK36, the first thing you notice is the case. With its faceted design, it looks almost military in nature. I love the look of it.

The top case is predominately made of plastic, with a stylish “brushed metal”-textured top plate featuring Rikomagic branding. The bottom plate is entirely metal and is clearly used to help dissipate heat. The device feels well made but does feel relatively light thanks to its mixed material build.

The ports are located along one side and the rear of the device. Along the side, we have the power button, 2 USB 2.0 ports and 3.5mm audio output.

Rikomagic-MK36-Side-01

The rear of the device has a Kensington lock port, micro SD card slot, 2 USB 2.0 ports, HDMI Out, Ethernet and DC In.

Rikomagic-MK36-Back

Booting the device is done by pressing the Power button for a couple of seconds. On booting the device, you’re shown the OS selection screen with a 10 second countdown. Using a check-box in the top left, you can choose to always see this screen or automatically boot into the last used Operating System.

Boot times are reasonably fast, taking around 25 seconds to boot into Windows from a cold start. Android takes a little longer at around 40 seconds for a cold boot. A full OS switch is around 50 seconds. Resuming from standby in both OS’s is effectively instant.

To switch from Windows to Android, use the WinToAnd shortcut on the desktop. On Android, select the OSSwitch icon in the Notifications shade.

As expected, Windows performance was great. Everything animated smoothly and I didn’t see any issues. Windows does come activated, so no need to worry there.

Rikomagic-MK36-Windows-Desktop

Android was even smoother, with everything animating beautifully. The Intel Z3736F has plenty of power here.

Rikomagic-MK36-Android-Switch-OS

Gaming performance was tested using Asphalt 8 and Jetpack Joyride under both OSs. Jetpack Joyride was excellent on both Windows and Android. Asphalt 8 was playable on Windows but the framerate was sub-30 FPS. Switching to Android saw the framerate improve dramatically – no doubt thanks to the reduced overhead of the mobile OS. Keep in mind that Gameloft’s recent update did appear to hurt Asphalt 8 performance on a number of my devices so keep that in mind.

Thermal performance is another important factor that many worry about with regards to these devices. Due to their small form factor and fanless designs, some models do overheat under load. To test briefly, I ran Prime95‘s Small FFTs test for 20 minutes which should generate lots of heat. Temperatures seemed to stabilize at 61°c without any thermal throttling according to HWiNFO. Ambient temperature was 19.7°c.

Rikomagic MK36 Power Consumption

Windows

Powered OffStandbyIdleLoad
0.5 W4 W4 W7.9 W

Android

Powered OffStandbyIdleLoad
0.5 W3.7 W3.7 W10.2 W

Verdict So Far

I’m liking the Rikomagic MK36 so far. With the slightly faster CPU, Dual OS, plenty of USB ports and promising thermal performance, it is looking like a solid mini PC.

Getting One

The Rikomagic MK36 is available from GearBest. Click here to view the latest price.