In the summer of 2012, the world was introduced to the MK802 series of Android Mini PCs. It would be nice to say that the MK802 took the world by storm, but they didn’t exactly set the computer cognoscenti buzzing. One reviewer said of the new device “It doesn’t run at lightening speed, but for light web browsing, video streaming to a TV and simple gaming, it’s not a bad choice.” Hardly a glowing report. But things have come a long way since the summer of 2012.
The original MK802 was powered by an Allwinner A10 ARM Cortex A8 processor, 512 MB RAM, 4 GB storage and Android 4.0 software. The MK802 IIIs is a greatly updated version of the original MK802. It is the third iteration of the MK802 family, but because it incorporates the Rockchip 3066 chipset it’s still considered a second generation Android Mini PC device. What separates this version from its predecessors is the inclusion of Bluetooth, a USB OTG port and the upgraded version of Android (Jelly Bean) that supports soft power off and a variety of other functions.
If you’re new to Stick Computing I’ll give you a very brief introduction. The products in this segment include a variety of USB stick sized computers that connect to your television or monitor via an HDMI connection. They are characterized by their small form factor and extremely low power consumption. They usually include WiFi and a way of connecting Ethernet, keyboard and mouse via USB or wireless.
The majority of these computers run Android (4.0 and up), but a growing number are starting to support Linux. That means they can be used as a TV connected streaming media device, or as a mini productivity computer when connected to a suitable monitor and keyboard.
The MK802 IIIs is powered by the Rockchip RK3066 chipset, and the Dual Core ARM A9. It’s complimented by the Mali 400 Quad Core Graphics processor. It has 1Gb of RAM and 8Gb of internal solid state storage. For I/O it has 3 USB ports; one full size for connecting USB hubs or other devices, one for the included power adapter and one OTG port for communicating with other devices. It also contains an HDMI out for connection to your TV/Monitor and a Micro SD slot for adding up to 32Gb of Class 10 solid state memory.
With the included Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) you can stream 1080p HD content from a variety of known sources including Netflix, Youtube, Hulu+ and many others. When configured with additional storage and accessories, the MK802 IIIs can easily serve as the centerpiece of an XMBC-type media center or as a secondary computer for browsing the web, checking email, listening to music or making calls over Skype.
There’s an updated version of the Rikomagic MK802 IIIS that improves upon the original.
What I like about the MK802 IIIs
This is a great entry point into Stick Computing. The IIIs has been upgraded from the original MK802 in almost every possible way. Since the MK802 IIIs can be purchased from a US-based reseller for about $50, it’s one of the better price/performance choices on the market.
Because the MK802 IIIs runs Android 4.2 you can access Google Play and many familiar applications right out of the box. It’s also possible to install non-Google Play content such as Kodi for full media center functionality. With the included Bluetooth, you can choose from a variety of input and output devices such as keyboards and wireless speakers/headsets.
This stick boots pretty quickly and applications open as fast as you click them. The RK3066 and the quad core Mali GPU enable streaming video and demanding graphics applications like 3D to run pretty much jitter free. You’ll find that performance is as good as tablets of similar specs without being limited to a 7 or 10 inch hand held display.
The latest version of the ROM includes Soft Power Off. To unlock even more capabilities there are several possibilities for upgrading the firmware from third party sources that I’ve outlined below. The addition of a second USB port makes for easier expansion and simplifies firmware upgrades.
Overall I would give the MK802 IIIs 3.5 out of 5 stars. Some issues remain and I’ve detailed them in the Pros and Cons below. For the money, it still makes a great choice.
Company Product Information
The MK802 IIIs is made in China by Shenzhen Rikomagic Tech Corp Ltd. They have offices in Shenzhen, China and Essex, UK. In the UK they also do business under the name Cloudsto.com. The company specializes in and offer a number of Android Mini PCs and accessories. A US-based Rikomagic website offers limited sales and support. 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
- Rikomagic MK802 IIIs Android Mini PC 1.6ghz Dual Core Cortex-A9 Rockchip 3066
- User Guide (English)
- Power Adapter
- Micro USB Cable
- HDMI Cable
- OTG Adapter
Here’s a video to show you what comes in the package.
Unboxing the MK802 IIIs
Features and Specifications
- Rockchip RK3066, Cortex-A9, dual core processor, running at 1.6Ghz
- Quad-core Mali-400 GPU
- 1GB DDR3 RAM, 8GB Internal Flash Storage, support for up to 32GB Micro SD card
- Supports external drive storage
- Built in 802.11b/g/n WiFi
- Upgrade from MK802III now includes Bluetooth
- HDMI, USB 2.0, USB OTG and MicroSD card ports
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS (*upgradeable see below), Google Play Store pre-installed
|Max Screen Resolution||1080P|
|RAM||1 GB SDRAM DDR3|
|Disk||8GB Flash NAND|
|Graphics||Quad Core Mali-400|
|Number of USB Ports||3 (1 Full Size, 1 Power, 1 OTG)|
|Dimensions||~ 90 x 40 x 13mm|
|Weight||~ 40 grams|
|Hard Drive Interface||USB 2.0, Solid State|
|Power||DC 5V 2A|
Pros and Cons
- Full Sized USB and USB OTG port
- Preloaded with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and supports Google Play
- Supports Android Phone/tablet control software
- Rootable, Custom Rom Support
- Wifi and BlueTooth included
- Supports Kodi
- AnTuTu scores ~ 8000
- Some users have received incorrect power supply (1.5 amp) causing problems
- WiFi/Bluetooth not supported in PicUntu Linux
- Firmware Update required for complete operation
Compared to its predecessor the MK802, the MK802 IIIs is the evolution of an already good thing. Only a handful of Sticks can lay claim to the price/performance and supportability of this device. Because of the big jump in hardware performance, the latest software upgrades, the built-in Bluetooth and the large installed base and overall supportability, it makes a great all around choice.
Because this stick is a generational upgrade of an existing product, there are a variety of options for upgrading the MK802 IIIs. Warning: You should only attempt to upgrade ROMs if you have some expertise and can follow the instructions exactly. Improperly flashing a ROM can cause your device to become non-functional!
One of the better known firmware upgrades is the NEOTV CROM. You can find the upgrade in the FreakTab forums under the MK802 section. The latest update includes Android 4.2.2, rooted, an improved launcher and Init.d support.
The MK802 IIIs supports remote control by Android Phone or tablet. Download the remote app from the Google Play Store onto your hand-held device and use your cell or table to control all of the features of your stick.
The MK802 IIIs supports Kodi for Android to turn your Stick into a full Media Center. You’ll need to download the .APK file directly from the Kodi Website and install it by following the instructions provided there. Don’t forget to remove the .APK file from your storage after the app is installed.
Some purchasers have received an incorrect power supply, providing only 1.5 amps. This can cause a variety of issues, including premature shutdown of the stick. If you don’t have the proper 5v/2a version of the adapter, contact your reseller for the correct model.
Who is the product for?
The MK802 IIIs is an everyday performer. If want to get started right away in Stick Computing, and you’re looking for something that’s upgradeable and priced right, then this is your Stick. For the hacker or hobbyist, you’ll find an existing base of users on the forums that help you make the most of your PC. If you just want a reliable Android media stick to plug into your TV or monitor, the MK802 IIIs can assume its position at the center of your media hub, or alternatively as a capable general purpose PC.
Some Amazon customer reviews:
“Wow to cool. HD video plays flawlessly and is even powerful enough to play games like dead trigger and shadowgun.”
“Great for people who want a extra INTERNET option. Hard to go too wrong for well under $100.00 bucks.”
“It’s amazing having a 42″ version of my Android tablet in my living room. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was because Hulu+ isn’t available through Google Play Store.”
“Absolutely impressed with the quality of this product considering the price. Easy setup and access, this is my Plex and TVersity media streaming box. Full Android ICS, Rootable and has Custom ROM support.”
Flashing the MK 802 IIIs for 1080p HD support
Summing it up
The latest in the growing line of the MK802 sticks doesn’t disappoint. A series of improvements in both hardware and software keep the legacy alive. The MK802 IIIs will turn your HDMI TV or monitor into a smart TV and more. The addition of Bluetooth and support for cell/tablet gravity remote means you can play all sorts of 3D games. With addition firmware upgrades or by switching over to Linux it can also become a full-fledged primary or secondary computer.
Order with confidence and get fast delivery with Amazon.com