One of the common complaints of early Android Mini PC buyers was that they felt abandoned after the sale. It’s no secret that the majority of Stick Computers come from mainland China, and the bulk of these are imported by US Distributors and online resellers. At first, resellers were unprepared to help when issues arose. As the market for these devices expands, that’s all beginning to change. More and more experienced sellers are coming into the marketplace and a surplus of technical support can be found on the many Android Forums catering to Mini PCs.
At the forefront of this new approach to marketing and selling are companies like MiniX US. They were an early entrant into this category and have enhanced their ability to grow their share by opening up US based offices. Their product offerings are solid. The MiniX G4 is an excellent example of the complete package for second generation sticks.
The hardware is pretty standard, a 1.6Ghz Cortex A9, Rockchip 3066 with Mali 400 Quad Core Graphics. It’s populated with 1GB of DDR 3 memory, 8GB of Flash storage, Wifi, Android 4.1.1 and a pair of USB ports. Since it sports the most sought after ingredients of these second generation sticks, you can be assured they are both compatible and supportable.
The MiniX NEO G4 excels at what it was designed for – streaming high definition content over wireless connections. The WiFi is fast, reliable and video performance is outstanding even at 1080p. This Mini PC is no slouch in the looks department either. The slick, black casing will look right at home next to your big screen monitor, or tethered among a variety of input and output devices.
Another bonus is the included IR Mini-controller. It won’t make you give up your K400, but it gets the job done, and is one of the few sticks that includes any sort of remote. The NEO G4 comes pre-loaded with Android 4.1.1 and Google Play Store so you can start downloading within minutes of hooking it up to your monitor.
Add on some additional storage and accessories, and the NEO G4 can function as the core of a media center or even as a secondary PC for browsing the web, Skype video, email and other general purpose tasks.
Since the G4 has been discontinued, I recommend taking a look at UG007B Mini PC on Amazon.
What I like about the MiniX NEO G4
The MiniX NEO G4 is a good choice for a variety of users. Because the software is mature and stable, you can plug it into your monitor and start using it right away. The Dual Core RK3066 chip means you’ll have the widest support and available upgrades. For the more advanced user there are added benefits to upgrading the Firmware to the latest versions, although it’s unnecessary for normal operation.
Since the stick is preloaded with Android 4.1.1, you’ll have access to the Google Play Store right away. You’ll also be able to download and run Kodi to enhance your media center experience. The WiFi performance of the NEO G4 is very good whether you’re streaming from the web or your own media server on your local network.
Unlike tablets, where you do most of the interaction with your fingertips, you need some sort of pointer/keyboard/mouse/joystick to operate your Stick PC properly. Typically, you must purchase these remotes separately. With the NEO G4, the IR Remote is included and for simple tasks like watching films and listening to music it will work just fine.
As I mentioned above, because MiniX has offices here in the US, they are available to answer questions and problems you might have. This can be a big plus for anyone getting started. They also have created a forum for users to gather and help each other with tips, tricks and upgrades.
Overall I would give the NEO G4 a 3.9 out of 5 stars. The only reason I don’t give them a higher rating is because there is still room for improvement, by perhaps adding an additional USB port and adding Bluetooth. Still, for the price, you’d be hard press to find a better offering.
Company Product Information
MiniX is a member of J&W Group which was established in 1994 and has become one of the fastest growing computer product manufacturer in China, supplying a range of products to the global marketplace. MiniX specializes in ultra small form factor systems for next generation computing. Geared for the Digital Home, as well as Digital Signage, Digital Surveillance, POS and other emerging markets. In order to insure the authenticity of the product and the best quality and service you should always purchase a product like this from a name that you trust, such as Amazon.com.
What’s in the Box
- MiniX NEO G4
- User Guide
- AC Power Adapter
- USB Cable
- HDMI Cable
- IR Mini Controller
Here’s an overview to give you an idea of how it looks when it arrives at your door.
Unboxing the MiniX NEO G4
Features and Specifications
- MiniX NEO G4 Dual Core 1.6GHz Cortex A9, Rockchip 3066
- Mali 400 Quad core GPU (Open GL ES2.0/1.1, Open VG1.1, Flash 11.1)
- 1GB DDR3 RAM, 8GB Internal Flash Storage, support for up to 32GB Micro SD card
- Built in 802.11b/g/n WiFi wireless network access, HDMI, USB and MicroSD card ports
- 3G Dongle Support (dongle must be purchased separately)
- Android 4.1.1 OS (Supports Kodi, Google Play Store)
- One Full Size and One Mini USB (OTG/Power)
|Max Screen Resolution||1080P|
|RAM||1 GB SDRAM DDR3|
|Graphics||Mali Quad core GPU|
|OS||Android 4.1.1 (Google Play)|
|Number of USB Ports||2 (1 Full, 1 Micro)|
|Additional Input||IR Port w/remote pad|
|Dimensions||3.7 x 1.6 x 0.8 inches|
|Hard Drive Interface||USB 2.0, Solid State (up to 32GB)|
|Power||5V 2A (via Mini USB port)|
Pros and Cons
- Dual Core RK3066 means widest support and upgrades available
- Preloaded with Android 4.1.1 and runs Kodi
- Fast WiFi speeds
- Mature and Stable ROM with power on, reset, webcam support
- Basic IR Remote included
- Above average vendor support w/forums
- Supports Google Play
- Some user complaints about WiFi issues on forums
- Early purchasers had power supply issues but this seems to be fixed
- Some buyers report issues with connecting Bluetooth devices
For overall speed, stability and support, the closest competitor to the NEO G4 is likely the MK808. These are both mature, inexpensive and easy to find. Both of these devices are powered by the Rockchip 3066 and Mali 400 GPU. In terms of community, it’s pretty much a toss up. MiniX does have it’s own forum, but there are also plenty of places to find support outside the vendors. One advantage of the NEO G4 is that the ROM is good enough to use right out of the box, whereas with the MK808 you most certainly will want to upgrade.
User Community Support
There are a number of forums that cater to users of Android Mini PCs. You’ll find most of them linked in various articles on Stick Computing. The majority of them are open forums that cover nearly all of the sticks on the market. MiniX also provides a forum specific to purchasers of its hardware. You can find it here.
Early versions of the NEO G4 shipped with Android 4.0. Early in 2013 they began shipping them with an updated ROM and Android 4.1.1. If yours did not come with Jelly Bean installed, there are instructions for how to do that on the forum listed above. The newest firmware comes with soft power off, hide status bar and a cell phone control function.
Who is the product for?
The MiniX NEO G4 is a top performer. If you want an Android Mini PC that’s easy to setup and get started with, and streams HD content from the web or your media collection, then this the stick for you. With a couple of add-ons and upgrades this stick could easily serve as a general purpose PC. For the more experienced purchaser there’s plenty of opportunity for upgrades and experimentation as well.
“Most people buy the MiniX Neo G4 as a way to turn their TV sets into “smart TVs” or in other words to make their TV Internet capable. What tends to get overlooked is that this little device is actually a fully functional computer, capable of doing most, if not all, of what many of us ask of our home computers.”
“Out of the box and useful in minutes! What an amazing product for the price!!! So small, tiny and powerful. I am an IT person and love all this has to offer.”
“I ordered this not expecting much but was pleasantly surprised! Within 2 minutes of opening the box, i was up and running on the big screen through HDMI (all cable supplied). Surf the web, watch videos, pretty much did everything I was wanting it to.”
“I researched several of these Android devices and I’m glad I went with this one. The price is great and I was up and running right out of the box in less than a minute. I’m a big Android user (six devices in the house) and this worked perfect for me.”
MiniX NEO G4 – installing Kodi
Summing it up
I’d recommend the MiniX NEO G4 as a mature, stable and polished entry into the world of Stick Computing. If you’re looking for an upgrade from a first generation stick or a simple “tv box”, the NEO G4 is a great choice. It looks good, performs solidly and as an added bonus has US support and service.
Order with confidence and get fast delivery with Amazon.com