The Tronsmart Draco H3 is an Android mini PC powered by the quadcore Allwinner H3. Adopting a stick form factor, this tiny mini PC is capable of decoding and outputting 4K content.
Thanks to GeekBuying for providing me a sample to review. Click here to view the latest price.
Update: Our Tronsmart Draco H3 Review is now available.
What Is It?
The Tronsmart Draco H3 is a tiny Android mini PC that’s capable of decoding and outputting 4K content.
Tronsmart Draco H3 Technical Specifications
- Operating System: Android KitKat 4.4.4
- Chipset: Allwinner H3
- CPU: ARM Quad-core A7 up to 1.5 GHz
- GPU: Octo-Core Mali-400 GPU
- Memory: 1GB DDR3
- Internal Storage: 8GB NAND + MicroSD card slot
- Connectivity: 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Broadcom AP6212), Bluetooth 4.0
- Audio/Video Output: HDMI
- Interfaces: 1x USB 2.0, 1xUSB OTG
What’s in the box?
Inside the box, Tronsmart have given a fairly comprehensive set of accessories:
- 1x Tronsmart Draco H3 Mini PC
- 1x USB Power Cable
- 1x Power Adapter (5v 2A)
- 1x Instruction Manual
- 1x HDMI Extension Cable
Tronsmart Draco H3 Initial Impressions
The Tronsmart Draco H3 is slightly larger than other stick-shaped mini PCs such as the MK808B Plus and the Chromecast. The dongle is covered in a nice rubberised coating which feels great and makes the device feel more expensive than it actually is.
The device looks almost military, covered in angled ventilation and grooves. At just 101x37x10 mm, it’s incredibly portable.
In terms of ports, the basics are all here. On the bottom of the device, we have a function button, micro SD card slot and DC In.
Moving around to the bottom of the device, we have a USB OTG port as well as a fullsize USB port.
The male HDMI connection is hidden under a removable cap to keep things neat and protect the connector during transport. Just make sure you remember where you put it.
Plugging in the Tronsmart Draco H3 causes it to boot automatically. A cold start takes around a minute and a half. While slow, this device is designed to be left on constantly, so this isn’t as big of an issue as it seems.
On the first boot, the resolution was set to 720p. You can change the resolution up to 4K at 30Hz. However, it does seem that the UI is locked to 720p. Thankfully, video output is unaffected by the resolution lock – with video playback under MXPlayer being rendered at its native resolution.
Tronsmart have provided a 1080p kernel for those who are willing to sacrifice OTA updates and some performance for the improved UI resolution. I’d guess the trade off is worth it for those who love glorious Full HD UIs.
The Android launcher essentially stock, with a few media applications such as Netflix and Plex come preinstalled.
Kodi 14.2 is pre-installed and configured to use an external player as Kodi doesn’t support the Allwinner H3’s hardware decoder at this stage. However, my device never loaded the external player so this didn’t work. Playing media via MXPlayer was fine however, with my 4K HEVC samples playing back nicely.
I initially had some challenges with wifi However, it turns out a rogue QoS service on my router was to blame. Disabling QoS allowed me to stream both 4K and 1080p samples without issue. I watched the 4K version of Big Buck Bunny without any buffering so WiFi performance is actually quite good. Wifi signal strength remained at 5 bars at all times thanks to the external WiFi antenna.
Gaming performance was tested using Beach Buggy Racing and Jetpack Joyride. With the 720p output, both games ran well. With maximum settings, Beach Buggy Racing managed a fairly consistent framerate, with only the occasional dip.
Verdict So Far
So far, the Tronsmart Draco H3 is an interesting device, particularly at its sub-$40 price point. With its ability to play a variety of media codecs and have reasonable gaming performance thanks to a lowered UI resolution, it’s a good option for those wanting a media player on the cheap.
You can purchase the Tronsmart Draco H3 from GeekBuying. Click here to view the latest price.