MK809 IV Android TV Stick

Like its popular predecessor, the MK809, the MK809 IV is an enigma among Android TV Sticks.  Searching for information about this device will leave you wanting. You’ll begin to suspect you’re somehow not “in the club” and there must be volumes of information – if you could only find it.  Much of what I’ve found is heavy on the technical side, so if you’re into that and know where to look you’ll be happily satisfied with what you find.  I suggest you search the forums of Freaktab, ArmTVtech, VonDroid or Google Communities for more in-depth information.  Fortunately,  I’ve done a significant amount of research for you and what follows are my findings.

The MK809 IV is the third generation of a series that started with the MK809.  It’s near-cousin, the MK809 III is virtually identical, with often only a bit less RAM, Storage or an earlier version of Android separating them.  The MK809 is built upon the solid foundation of the Rockchip RK3188 Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor.  As is the case with other MK’s, the IV is paired with a Mali GPU.  In this case, it’s the Quad-Core Mali 400.  That means you’ll have fast and reliable media playback even at higher resolution.

The Topsion MK809 IV is a newer and more powerful replacement for the MK809.

The MK809 IV runs what has become the defacto standard for Mini PC’s, Android 4.4 KitKat, as opposed to 4.2 JellyBean run by earlier versions of the MK809.  In addition to these improvements, both base RAM and Storage have been upgraded to 2GB and 8GB respectively, giving you better response and greater flexibility.

One of the constant complaints about MK809, and other Android Sticks is the WiFi reception.  The MK809 IV addresses this issue with a WiFi extender.  Although the IV uses a single band 2.4ghz b/g/n chip, the performance is superior to many other devices.  Rounding out the positive enhancements to the MK809 is the addition of USB connectors.  The MK809 IV includes a single USB 2.0 connection and an additional 2 Micro USB connectors.

With the included Android 4.4 the MK809 IV provides a solid foundation for Video, Audio and Gaming applications.  You can stream 1080p HD content from Netflix, Youtube, KODI, or any variety of media services.  And because it’s Android, you’ll have access to the voluminous content in the Google Play Store.

What I like about the MK809 IV

This is a great value for anyone getting started in Stick Computing. Since the MK809 IV can be purchased for under $50, there is little reason to hesitate to add this to your media setup.

Because its Quad Core all the way and runs on Android KitKat, you can watch 1080p HD videos with little concern for quality or interruption. It’s also possible to install KODI for full media center functionality.

Boot times are fast. Application load speed is excellent.  AnTuTu benchmark scores were on the high side at around 17000.  You should expect performance to be as good as a comparable Quad Core in the $100 or less price range.

The MK809 IV has a unique design that provides better airflow across the main board.  Ventilation is, of course, passive but more than adequate.  Even after several hours of watching movies, it stays relatively cool.

I’ve had issues with WiFi reception before, but the MK809 IV’s extended antenna seems to provide actual performance increase.  Three bars is not a problem, where I would have suffered with two bars or less on other sticks.

Rounding out the pluses of this little gem is Bluetooth 4.0 and a Micro SD/TF  slot for up to 32GM of additional media storage.

I would give the MK809 IV 4 out of 5 stars and that’s only because of minor issues I’ve detailed in the Pros and Cons below. For overall value it’s a good choice.

Company Product Information

The MK809 IV is made in China and distributed by several unique Chinese trading companies from the Guangdong Province. Topsion is one such provider that deals in a variety of electronics products.  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

  • MK809 IV Android Mini PC 1.6ghz Quad Core Cortex-A9 Rockchip RK3188
  • User Guide
  • Micro USB to Full USB Cable
  • OTG Cable
  • Power Adapter
  • HDMI Cable

Here’s a short introduction so you can see what’s included.

Unboxing the MK809 IV

Features and Specifications

  • Rockchip RK3188, Cortex-A9, quad core processor, up to 1.6Ghz
  • Quad-core Mali-400 Graphics Processing Unit
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM, 8GB Internal Flash Storage, support for up to 32GB Micro SD card
  • Supports 1TB+ external storage
  • Built in 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n WiFi wireless network access
  • Android 4.4 KitKat OS, Google Play Store pre-installed
  • HDMI, USB, Mini USB, MicroSD interfaces

Specs

Screen Resolution 1080p
Max Screen Resolution 1080P
RAM 2 GB SDRAM DDR3
Disk 8GB
Graphics Quad Core Mali-400
Wireless 802.11b,g,n
Number of USB Ports 1 Full Size, 2 Micro
Dimensions ~ 4 x 0.4 x 1.5 inches inches
Weight ~ 3oz
Color Black
Hard Drive Interface USB 2.0, SD
Power DC 5V 2A

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Fast boot and fast application load times
  • Preloaded with Android 4.4 Jelly Bean and supports KODI
  • High Definition (1080p) streaming video from Youtube, Netflix
  • Compatible with Finless ROMs
  • SD Memory Expansion up to 32GB
  • Supports Flash 11.1 and a variety of image formats

Cons

  • Some quality control issues with boot failure
  • Periodic video hangs for some users
  • Surpassed by more recent (but more expensive) competition

Comparison

Compared to other Sticks of this generation, the MK809 IV is an above average performer. Graphics quality and WiFi reception are superior to similarly priced competitors.  It runs Android 4.4, which is tested and stable.  Many of the newly supplied Sticks have surpassed this unit in performance but because of its low price and the availability of third party support, it still makes a good choice.

FAQ

Linux

Many buyers choose sticks based on the Rockchip RK3188 because of the availability of Ubuntu Linux.  While there is not a specific version of Linux for the MK809 IV, several of the forums have created support and discussion around Mini PC’s using the RK3188 which you should be able to leverage.

There’s a suitable image for the MK809 IV here.

ROM Upgrades

It’s fairly easy to find updates for the MK809 IV. I always recommend that you 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 best known upgrades is called the Finless ROM, named after its creator. Regarding the MK809 IV, there is invaluable advice on the Google Community devoted to MK 809 and 908.

Forums

There are several Forums around the net dedicated to getting the most from your Stick. One of the most known is the Vondroid Forums. There is a section devoted to nearly all of the Mini PC’s I review. There’s a very good discussion of Recovery Tool, Official Firmware, Custom Firmware, and other tools located here on the forum.

Who is the product for?

The MK809 IV is a more advanced continuation of a solid line of TV Sticks.  It has several upgrades that make it suitable for the more demanding user.  With its entry-level pricing it’s also perfect for the beginner.  The ability to load Ubuntu Linux is just one of the long-term benefits of owning this stick. As a media player, the MK809 IV is above the average and a nice addition to a low-cost media center.

Some customer reviews:

As advertised this little stick pretty much converts your TV into a Smart TV and then some.”

 

“I’ve had several different TV sticks and this one seems like a great deal for the $$$. I’d recommend this over the 1gb/8gb models so makes a little faster depending on your purpose. ”

 

“It’s very easy to setup.There is a user manual in the box and explains how to set up the device. It works if you follow the steps.I really love it. ”

 

Review of the MK809 IV with Android 4.4

Summing it up

I’d recommend the MK809 IV as a solid performer at the heart of your media center.  It’s an affordable and sensible way to get started in Stick Computing. This device has an entry-level price with above average performance so your money is well spent. Some of the WiFi and overheating issues that plague other devices are noticeably absent. Because this unit is made with the Quad Core RK3188 and Mali 400 you’ll be able to take advantage of many of the free upgrades and enhancements from the user community.

Order with confidence and get fast delivery with Amazon.com