OXA Amlogic M805 Android 4.4 Mini TV BOX

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 12.17.33 PMI have been waiting for quite some time for a truly “smart” TV to arrive. Most TVs these days allow some extra functionality that has until recently been restricted to PCs – streaming online content, browsing the web, etc. However, due to the nature and variety of digital content it has been really hard making all of it accessible from your TV. Now I am completely convinced that unless you have a fully functional PC attached to your TV, you will always find some content that either doesn’t play well or is completely inaccessible. M805 promises to be inexpensive and powerful enough mini PC that will let you have all the functionality that you expect from such a device. It goes a long way in that direction, but it still has some suboptimal quirks, as well as Bluetooth connectivity issues (see below).

This PC-on-a-stick was relatively easy to setup and connect to my HDTV. It did, however, entail adding a whole bunch of new cables to the warren behind my TV. The version of Android running on MK808II has been optimized for external screen experience, and I was quickly able to adjust all the settings so they would support the native 1080p resolution of my TV.

The single biggest issue that I’ve encountered with this Android mini PC is its very poor Bluetooth connectivity, especially with the Bluetooth media center keyboards. I’ve tried connecting it with two such keyboards – Aerb Bluetooth Keyboard and QQ Bluetooth keyboard. In each case the process of pairing was very difficult. Each one of the keyboards had a lot of issues connecting and maintaining connection with M805, especially when it came to typing. I had previously connected each one of these two keyboards with a whole bunch of other devices, including my Galaxy S3 phone, and they never had any issues with them, so I know for a fact that there are no problems with the said keyboards. I’ve used M805 with a wired USB keyboard and mouse, and have not had any issues with them, so the problem has probably to do with Bluetooth itself, and not the peripherals in general. It might be possible to use a third party Bluetooth dongle or an RF dongle in order to pair M805 with wireless keyboard and make it usable as a media PC, but I have not tried this.

I was able to connect a USB stick as well as the micro SD card to this stick. Both of them were readable, and provided a convenient way of viewing large media file, especially movies and videos.

The media playback of M805 was pretty good. The HD video was nice and crisp, the sound was loud and clear, and it definitely satisfied my media viewing requirements.

Perhaps the biggest promise that Android and other mini PCs such as this one hold is for hobbyists, tinkerers, and hackers. Having a miniature fully-functional PC such as this one is a Godsend for anyone who wants to build their own “smart” device, or add automation to a home improvement project. I’ve connected this mini PC to my DSLR camera and am using it to remotely control it. I am coming up with some other ideas for various projects. I just wish someone would come up with a general-purpose developer platform. If that were to happen MK808II cold easily become a very serious alternative and competitor to Arduino or Raspberry Pi platforms.

This is very neat device, I really like playing with it, but it is not quite the optimal smart TV experience.

**** Product provided for review purposes. ****


Bojan Tunguz

Bojan Tunguz was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he and his family fled during the civil war for the neighboring Croatia. Over the past two decades he has studied, lived and worked in the United States. He is a theoretical physicist with degrees from Stanford and University of Illinois. Tunguz has taught physics at several prominent liberal arts colleges and has been writing about physics, science and technology for more than a decade. He also has a wide spectrum of interests, and reads and writes about current events, society, culture, religion and politics. Over the years he has reviewed many of the books that he has read, and posted his reviews on various online outlets. In 2011 he had become a top 10 reviewer on Amazon.com, where he continues to be very active. Aside from reading and writing, Tunguz enjoys traveling, digital photography, hiking, and fitness. He resides with his wife in Indiana. You can follow my review updates on the following pages as well: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tunguzreview Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tunguzreviews Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104312842297641697463/posts

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