Minix

MINIX NEO U1 Firmware FW010 Now Available

MINIX have released firmware FW010 for the MINIX NEO U1 (You can read my review of it here).

The changelog consists mainly of bug fixes and app updates.

I’ve embedded the full changelog below:

Changes

  • Updated Miracast app
  • Fixed Wi-Fi static IP connection issue
  • Updated MINIX XBMC app to fix HD audio passthrough issue (Build 20160911)
  • Removed system broswer to allow Android system webview support
  • Added Chrome browser (You may also install your own preferred browsers)
  • Modification to support up to 5 USB devices
  • New mouse icon of medium size
  • Fixed audio issue on some games (e.g. PACMAN 256)
  • Added a software switch for video layer output (default is still OSD layer)
  • Fixed some x265 video playback issues (e.g. Dragon Ball Super)
  • Fixed ghosting, smoke effect on some SD videos

MINIX XBMC Fixes

  • Fixed X264/X265/VC-1 playback/seek & audio out of sync issues
  • Fixed HD audio passthrough 90-95 minutes sound loss issue
  • Improved .mpg video playback smoothness
  • Removed non-supported settings options

You can upgrade to firmware FW010 on the MINIX NEO U1 via the MINIX OTA app if you’re on firmware FW009A.

For more information, check the release post over at the MINIX forums.

MINIX NEO Z83-4 Windows 10 Features 4GB RAM, Mini DisplayPort

The MINIX NEO Z83-4 is the latest Windows PC in the popular company’s stable of devices.

Powered by the quadcore Intel X5-Z8300, MINIX NEO Z83-4 has pretty similar specs to other Windows 10 PCs using the same chipset.

Inside you’ll find 4GB DDR3 RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage, wireless AC, Ethernet and Bluetooth 4.2 – the latest Bluetooth standard currently available.

4GB is a nice inclusion and should be helpful for those who love to multitask. This also goes for the included mini DisplayPort, allowing you to set up a second monitor for some dual-screen action.

Inside the box, you’ll get a the MINIX NEO Z83-4 Windows PC, wifi antenna, power adapter, HDMI cable and an instruction manual.

Where to Buy the MINIX NEO Z83-4

The MINIX NEO Z83-4 is available from the following stores:

MINIX NEO U1 Review: The Ultimate Amlogic S905 Android TV Box?

The Minix NEO U1 is MINIX’s attempt at Android box featuring the Amlogic S905. With a premium build and specs to match, is this the best Amlogic S905 box to date?

Check Price

MINIX NEO U1 Technical Specifications

General

  • Processor
    Amlogic S905
  • CPU CPU
    Quad-Core Cortex-A5 at 1.5GHz
  • GPU
    Penta-Core ARM® Mali™-450
  • Operating System
    Android Lollipop 5.1.1
  • RAM
    2GB DDR3
  • Storage
    16GB eMMC 5.0
  • Other Features
    IR Sensor
    Power button
  • Power
    DC 5V/3A

Interfaces

  • Video Output
    HDMI 2.0
  • Audio Output
    SP-DIF, 3.5mm Audio
  • Other Interfaces
    3 x USB 2.0
    1x micro USB OTG
    Microphone Input

Connectivity

  • WiFi
    802.11ac 2 x 2 MIMO Dual-Band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5.0GHz)
  • Ethernet
    1000Mbps
  • Bluetooth
    4.1

Physical

    What’s Inside The Box?

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Inside-The-Box

    MINIX have continued their tradition of providing a impressive set of inclusions within the box:

    • 1x MINIX NEO U1 unit
    • 1x Wifi Antenna
    • 1x IR Remote
    • 1x Power Adapter
    • 1x HDMI cable
    • 1x USB OTG cable
    • 1x USB to micro USB cable
    • 1x Instruction Manual

    MINIX NEO U1 Review: Design

    The first thing that strikes you about the MINIX NEO U1 is just how solid it feels. The whole unit feels like it’s built like a tank, with a metal case and an impressive weight to it that makes it feel more substantial than its competitors.

    The unit is a typical black square with a matte black finish, with embossed MINIX branding dominating the top of the unit. Ports are located on the right and rear sides of the MINIX NEO U1. The right side houses the power button, 3 fullsize USB ports, micro SD card slot, micro USB OTG port and a Kensington lock port.

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Right

    The rear has a headphone jack, microphone jack, HDMI output, optical audio, Ethernet and DC In. The WiFi antenna connector is also located on the left side.

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Back

    The included remote is essentially identical to the pack-in remotes with other MINIX devices to date. It’s visually distinctive and fits nicely in the hand. It’s got basic functionality such as Android buttos and volume controls. I would have liked to see media controls but you can work around it. The buttons are a little clicky so presses are audible.

    As usual, I’d thoroughly recommend you fork out for an airmouse for a much better experience.

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Remote

    MINIX NEO U1 Review: Using It

    Booting up the Minix Neo U1 takes around 28 seconds with a wireless keyboard and mouse connected. Resuming from standby is instant.

    Out of the box, there’s a single 11.87GB partition which has 11.18GB free.

    MINIX have provided their TV-friendly MINIX launcher. Heavily using their trademark green and black colour scheme, the launcher uses attractive flat tiles with large icons of various shades of green and grey. It looks great. Apps can be manually organised into categories such as Online Video and Games for easy access.

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Android-01

    The app drawer also trades in the traditional white of stock Android Lollypop for a black color scheme which blends in nicely with the home screen.

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Android-04

    A variety of apps come pre-installed on the MINIX NEO U1 such as Airpin Pro, Airdroid, Netflix, and Kodi 15.2.

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Android-02

    Airpin Pro acts as a media center of sorts, offering DLNA and Airplay functionality. I was pretty impressed when I tried Airplay from my iPhone 6 and I was able to stream music, movies and even mirror my display without issue.

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Airpin-Pro

    OTA updates are supported for easy firmware updates via the MINIX OTA Updater app. The app will download and install the latest update, making the whole process painless. MINIX have already released a number of firmware updates (the latest at the time of writing was released on the 30th of January).

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-OTA-02

    The Amlogic S905 handles Android 5.1 well. During my testing, navigating the UI was smooth without any hitches. The box isn’t rooted but methods are available.

    MINIX NEO U1 Review: Media Playback

    The MINIX NEO U1 comes with stock Kodi 15.2 pre-installed. However, MINIX recommends that XBMC MINIX Edition which can be downloaded from their site. It looks like stock Kodi 15.2 with a custom splash screen but I’m guessing most of the changes are under the hood.

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Kodi-01

    Video CodecVideo Performance (Kodi 15.2)
    1080p 3D SBS H.264OK
    1080p 3D ABL H.264OK
    1080p24 H.264OK
    1080p High Bitrate H.264Unwatchable (Dropped Frames)
    1080p60 H.264OK
    720p50 H.264OK
    1080i25 H.264OK
    4K 30FPS H.264OK
    4K 60FPS H.264Unwatchable (Video lags behind Audio)
    1080p24 HEVCOK
    1080p VP8OK
    720p Hi10pOK
    1080p Hi10pUnwatchable (Decoding Issues)
    1080p MPEG2OK
    1080p VC1OK
    Unencrypted Bluray ISO (Sintel)OK

    Video playback performance was good, with only several formats causing issues for the MINIX NEO U1, such as 1080p Hi10p and 4K 60FPS content which trips up 99% of boxes.

    It was surprising that the high bitrate samples struggled to play back though the number of 120Mbps you’ll encounter are rare.

    Automatic framerate switching works, which is fantastic. Kodi automatically changes the frame rate to match the video codec, making video playback far smoother. I was able to play back 23.976FPS content without any obvious artifacts.

    Deinterlacing performance was good, with interlaced samples not showing any obvious artifacts during playback.

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-03

    5.1 Audio Passthrough

    Dolby Digital 5.1 passthrough worked fine via HDMI.

    Netflix

    Netflix works via the Android app. However, playback resolution is limited to 480p like most other Android boxes.

    External Storage Support

    I was able to play back movies from my 2.5″ USB-powered hard drive without any issues.

    MINIX NEO U1 Review: Gaming Performance

    To test gaming performance, I installed 2 games,1 2D and 1 3D titles:

    Gaming on the MINIX NEO U1 was solid, like we’ve seen with other Amlogic S905 boxes. Jetpack Joyride played well, without any slowdown. Similarly, Beach Buggy Racing maintained a fairly solid framerate at 1080p on maximum settings. There was only rare frame rate drops when there was a lot of action on screen.

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-BBR

    Gaming Controllers and Bluetooth

    MINIX NEO U1 Review: Networking

    Networking performance was tested using Wifi performance was tested using Wifi Speed Test, conducting 3 tests and averaging the results. 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.

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Impressions-Featured

    Wireless Performance

    Wireless performance was excellent, with the MINIX NEO U1 being one of the faster devices over WiFi that I’ve tested to date.

    On the 2.4GHz band, upload and download speeds were 90.4Mb/s and 84.3Mb/s respectively.

    Changing over to the 5GHz band sees the speeds increase dramatically, to 250Mb/s upload and 276Mb/s download.

    In terms of real world performance, streaming 4K and 1080p H.264 samples from an NFS share on my server played back perfectly without any buffering.

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-04

    Ethernet Performance

    Ethernet performance was good, reaching 576Mb/s upload and 776Mb/s down.

    MINIX NEO U1 Review: Benchmarks

    BenchmarkScore
    Antutu 6.038026
    Antutu Video Tester 3.0 884
    3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited7221
    3DMark Ice Storm Extreme4222
    GeekBench 3 Single Core607
    GeekBench 3 Multi Core1720

    MINIX NEO U1 Review: Power Consumption

    OffStandbyIdle1080p24 VideoUnder Load
    0.1W0.6W3.5W4.2W7.1W

    Should You Get One?

    MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-02

    The MINIX NEO U1 is easily the most impressive Amlogic S905 box I’ve reviewed to date. With outstanding build quality, a customised version of Kodi that supports automatic frame rate switching and support from a company who regularly update their firmware, the MINIX NEO U1 is definitely worth the price of admission.

    Getting One

    The MINIX NEO U1 is available from GearBest for around $129.

    Check Price

    Alternatively, it’s also available from GeekBuying, Banggood and Amazon.

    MINIX NEO U1 Impressions

    The MINIX NEO U1 is famed TV box manufacturer MINIX’s latest Android 5.1 box and their first to feature the Amlogic S905. It also features 2GB DDR3 RAM, 16GB of eMMC storage, dual band MIMO wireless AC, and support for XBMC MINIX Edition – a customised Kodi fork based on Kodi 15.2.

    I want to say thanks to GearBest for providing a sample to review.

    Check Price at GearBest

    MINIX NEO U1 Technical Specifications

    General

    • Processor
      Amlogic S905
    • CPU CPU
      Quad-Core Cortex-A5 at 1.5GHz
    • GPU
      Penta-Core ARM® Mali™-450
    • Operating System
      Android Lollipop 5.1.1
    • RAM
      2GB DDR3
    • Storage
      16GB eMMC 5.0
    • Other Features
      IR Sensor
      Power button
    • Power
      DC 5V/3A

    Interfaces

    • Video Output
      HDMI 2.0
    • Audio Output
      SP-DIF, 3.5mm Audio
    • Other Interfaces
      3 x USB 2.0
      1x micro USB OTG
      Microphone Input

    Connectivity

    • WiFi
      802.11ac 2 x 2 MIMO Dual-Band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5.0GHz)
    • Ethernet
      1000Mbps
    • Bluetooth
      4.1

    Physical

      What’s Inside The Box?

      MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Inside-The-Box

      Inside the box, you get:

      • 1x MINIX NEO U1 unit
      • 1x Wifi Antenna
      • 1x IR Remote
      • 1x Power Adapter
      • 1x HDMI cable
      • 1x USB OTG cable
      • 1x USB to micro USB cable
      • 1x Instruction Manual

      MINIX NEO U1 Impressions

      The first thing you notice when unboxing the MINIX NEO U1 is how solid it feels. It’s got a heft to it that makes it feel far more premium compared to its competitors. The whole unit feels very well made.

      Ports are located on the right side and rear of the MINIX NEO U1. The right side houses the power button, 3 fullsize USB ports, micro SD card slot, micro USB OTG port and a Kensington lock port.

      MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Right

      The rear has a headphone jack, microphone jack, HDMI output, optical audio, Ethernet and DC In. There’s also a port for the wifi antenna on the left side.

      MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Back

      Booting up the Minix Neo U1 takes around 28 seconds with a wireless keyboard and mouse connected. Resuming from standby is instant.

      The MINIX NEO U1 has a single 11.87GB partition which has 11.18GB free out of the box.

      MINIX have shipped their MINIX launcher that heavily uses their trademark green colour scheme. Like other TV box launchers, the MINIX NEO U1’s launcher allows you to sort your apps into various categories such as Online Video and Games. It looks great and is pretty intuitive to use.

      MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Android-01

      The Amlogic S905 handles Android 5.1 well, without any noticeable stuttering or lag. Unfortunately root access isn’t available out of the box. However, the methods for rooting it are already available.

      The MINIX NEO U1 comes pre-installed with a variety of included apps including Airpin Pro, Airdroid, Netflix, and Kodi 15.2.

      MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Android-02

      I had a quick play with Airpin Pro and was impressed to see that Airplay Video and even Mirroring were working with iOS9 – something most boxes haven’t been able to do.

      MINIX have also integrated OTA updates, allowing you to easily update the firmware when new versions are released. There has already been two updates available (the latest was released on the 31st of December) and after a small download each time, I had the latest firmware installed. The whole process was painless.

      MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Android-OTA-01

      Stock Kodi is pre-installed. However, MINIX recommends that XBMC MINIX Edition is used so I downloaded the APK from their site. It looks like a stock version of Kodi 15.2 with a custom splash screen. However, I did notice that automatic framerate switching worked when I played back some 24Hz videos.

      MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-Kodi-01

      1080p H.264 and HEVC videos appeared to play back fine, though I did notice that the HEVC video did become a little jerky if I skipped through it.

      Wifi performance seems to be solid, with streaming of both 4K and 1080p H.264 samples from an NFS share on my server playing back without any buffering.

      Gaming performance was as good as other Android boxes powered by the Amlogic S905. Beach Buggy Racing performed solidly at 1080p on maximum settings with only the occasional bit of slowdown.

      MINIX-NEO-U1-Review-BBRBenchmarking in Antutu 6.0 and 3DMark’s Ice Storm Extreme tests saw the MINIX NEO U1 score 38026 and 4222 respectively.

      Verdict So Far

      The MINIX NEO U1 is probably the most impressive Amlogic S905 box I’ve played with so far. It’s build quality is outstanding, the launcher is unique and MINIX have long had a reputation for updating their boxes after release. However, the significant price premium will be hard to swallow for some.

      Getting one

      The MINIX NEO U1 is available from GearBest for around $129.

      Check Price at GearBest

      Alternatively, it’s also available from GeekBuying, Banggood and Amazon.

      MINIX NEO U1 Features Amlogic S905 and Android 5.1

      Minix are jumping onboard the Amlogic S905 train with their latest Android TV box. The MINIX NEO U1 features the quadcore Amlogic S905 processor running Android 5.1.1.

      There’s also 2GB DDR3 RAM, 16Gb of eMMC 5.0 storage, dual band MIMO b/g/n/ac WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth 4.1.

      MINIX are promoting that the unit will come with XBMC MINIX Edition, which will inevitably involve some tweaks to the stock Kodi app to make it more functional on MINIX’s hardware. I’d also wager that MINIX will be including a custom TV-friendly launcher like we’ve seen on a number of their other Android devices.

      Inside the box, you’ll get the MINIX NEO U1 unit, IR remote, HDMI cable, USB OTG cable, USB-to-USB cable (presumably for flashing firmware if required), a 5V 3A power supply and instruction manual.

      MINIX-NEO-U1-N01

      MINIX have a great reputation for build quality and firmware updates, so whilst the U1 does come at a premium to some of the other S905 devices, presumably some of this will essentially pay for improved support and better quality components compared to other manufacturers.

      Getting One

      You can purchase the MINIX NEO U1 for around $130 from GeekBuying, GearBest, Banggood and Amazon.

      MINIX NEO U1 Technical Specifications

      General

      • Processor
        Amlogic S905
      • CPU CPU
        Quad-Core Cortex-A5 at 1.5GHz
      • GPU
        Penta-Core ARM® Mali™-450
      • Operating System
        Android Lollipop 5.1.1
      • RAM
        2GB DDR3
      • Storage
        16GB eMMC 5.0
      • Other Features
        IR Sensor
        Power button
      • Power
        DC 5V/3A

      Interfaces

      • Video Output
        HDMI 2.0
      • Audio Output
        SP-DIF, 3.5mm Audio
      • Other Interfaces
        3 x USB 2.0
        1x micro USB OTG
        Microphone Input

      Connectivity

      • WiFi
        802.11ac 2 x 2 MIMO Dual-Band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5.0GHz)
      • Ethernet
        1000Mbps
      • Bluetooth
        4.1

      Physical

        MINIX Z-Series Windows 10 Mini PCs Feature Intel Braswell SoCs

        MINIX are stepping up their Mini PC game, announcing new MINIX Z-series Mini PCs featuring Intel’s Braswell SoCs.

        Following on from the excellent MINIX Z64, The new mini PCs will come in two versions. One will be powered by the Celeron N3150 (Quad core, 2.08 GHz) processor whilst those willing to splash a bit more cash can get one with a higher performance Pentium N3700 (Quad core, 2.40 GHz) processor.

        Both will feature all-metal cases and an entirely fanless design for completely silent operation.

        There are still a few specs to be confirmed, although a MINIX rep stated that the two models will feature 4GB/8GB DDR3L 1600MHz RAM. There’s a pretty comprehensive set of ports on board, with HDMI, DisplayPort, S/PDIF, 3.5mm Audio, and three USB 3.0 connectors all making an appearance. There’s also two removable Wifi antennas which is a nice touch.

        MINIX have said that full specifications will be unveiled at the IFA Exhibition in Berlin next week.

        Getting One

        MINIX haven’t announced any pricing or availability information at this stage. However, given other devices in the market and MINIX’s premium pricetag, expect prices to be north of $200.

        Additional Images

         

        MINIX NT-II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones Announced

        The MINIX NT-II are wireless Bluetooth headphones that feature NFC. MINIX, typically known for their high quality mini PCs, are following up the popular and well-received MINIX NT-I with a new foldable design that’s well-suited for those on the go and 3.5mm audio for greater flexibility.

        MINIX NT-II Technical Specifications

        • Connectivity: Bluetooth V3.0+EDR, 3.5mm Audio
        • Bluetooth Profiles: HSP,HFP,A2DP,AVRCP
        • Effective Range 10M
        • Impedance: 32 ohm
        • SNR: >93+/- 3db
        • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20KHz
        • Battery: Built-in 320 mA Lithium Polymer
        • Power Supply Input: DC 5V/160mA
        • Standby: Up to 360 hours
        • Charging Time: Approx. 3 hours

        The MINIX NT-II can be used both wirelessly via its Bluetooth connection or via a 3.5mm audio jack. Having NFC support should make it a breeze to pair it with compatible devices.

        Minix-NT-II-Detail

        The marketing material also mentions “Multi-link technology”, claiming you can connect two devices at once. This is great for someone who uses moves between their phone and laptop for example.

        According to the specs, the internal 320mAH battery should be good for around 10 hours of music playback or 11 hours of talk time via the built-in microphone. Micro USB charging should make it easy to keep it topped up.

        The older MINIX NT-I was well received by a number of reviewers, thanks to excellent build quality and respectable sound quality. Given MINIX tend to improve their products over time, I’m hoping that they can repeat their success with the NT-II

        Getting One

        The MINIX NT-II is available for purchase from GeekBuying and Amazon.

        [via MINIX]

        MINIX NEO Z64 Review: An Excellent Quadcore Windows Mini PC

        The MINIX NEO Z64 is a quadcore Intel mini PC by famed mini PC manufacturer MINIX. Whilst MINIX have traditionally played in the Android Mini PC space with popular devices such as the X8-H Plus, the MINIX NEO Z64 breaks the mold by coming in both Android and Windows variants. I was fortunate enough to review the Windows Edition, also known as the MINIX NEO Z64W.

        Read moreMINIX NEO Z64 Review: An Excellent Quadcore Windows Mini PC