If you’ve been watching the Android Mini PC market for any length of time, you may have been waiting for the jump to Quad Core processors before making a purchase. With the a slew of Rockchip 3188 devices hitting the shelves beginning in the second quarter of 2013, the wait is finally over. Among the many alternatives in Quad Core sticks is the lastest offering from Tronsmart, the T428. Already known for their popular MK808, the Tronsmart T428 achieves a new level of performance in Stick Computing.
Loaded with higher end features such as the Rockchip 3188 Quad Core SOC, Dual Band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 2Gb RAM and the latest version of Android, the T428 opens up exciting new possibilities for Mini PC users. With its Quad Core processor, the T428 joins the ranks of third generation Sticks, the first generation being based on single core and the second, of course, on dual core.
The hardware compares well to higher end tablets. With 2Gb of RAM, there’s plenty of room to install and run your favorite Android apps. The Micro SD slot supports up to 32GB of storage so you can keep all your data offline, as well as taking advantage of cloud storage. Since the T428 incorporates nearly all of the most sought after features of third generation sticks, you can be assured a high degree of compatibility and supportability.
The Tronsmart T428 is best at what it was designed for – streaming high definition content over wireless connections. The WiFi is fast, as fast as any Stick to date. With its dual band receiver, you can also choose to bump up the the 5Ghz range for more reliable video performance at resolutions up to 1080p. The Bluetooth 4.0 receiver is also a big plus. Many of the sync issues seen with earlier Bluetooth devices are non-existent
Another slick feature is the T428 casing. The entire Stick is enclosed in its own heat sink. The top and bottom of the casing are designed to disperse heat quickly and efficiently away from the core components keeping it cool even after extended usage.
All this comes pre-loaded with Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean). With this version of Android, you’ll find many new apps available to you, including the Android version of Kodi. With some additional storage and accessories, and the T428 can function as the star of a media center or even as a secondary PC for browsing the web, Skype video, email and other general purpose tasks.
Since this review was written, Tronsmart has discontinued selling the T428. I recommend checking out the MK808B Dual Core TV Stick as a suitable alternative.
What I like about the Tronsmart T428
The Tronsmart T428 is a great choice if you’ve been waiting to get into Stick Computing. Because the latest firmware includes Android 4.2, you can plug it into your TV or Monitor and start using it right away. The Quad Core RK3188 chip means you’ll be running one of the fastest processors available. The Linpack score runs between 120 and 130 and the AnTuTu is over 15K. These are roughly twice the speed of the dual core Sticks! No stuttering or jitters when you stream Netflix or play any of your graphic intensive 3D games.
Because the T428 is preloaded with Android 4.2, you’ll have access to the Google Play Store right away. You can also download and run Kodi to enhance your media center experience. Kodi and many of the popular plugins have been tested and run without problems. The WiFi performance of the T428 is exceptional for a TV Stick and whether you’re streaming from the web or a media server on your local network performance is excellent.
A nice feature of the Tronsmart T428 is the external button for entering flash mode. If you’ve owned another Stick or watched Youtube tutorials on how to upgrade the firmware, then you’ve seen the issues some owners have had with getting their Stick into flash mode. This isn’t a problem with the T428. Simply hold in the flash button and plug the included cable into your laptop and bam, you’re ready to flash.
One of the few negatives of this unit is that it only includes a single full-sized USB port when many others come with two. If you anticipate needing to attach a variety of USB devices, such as audio and external storage, I’d advise you to pick up a powered USB hub from Amazon.com.
As I mentioned earlier, the T428 is easy to get into flash mode, and that’s a good thing because there are a few options that make it worth upgrading. Some users have reported issues with Netflix and several other Android apps in Jelly Bean. There is a custom ROM available for download (see FAQ below) that fixes this, and other issues, as well as providing a variety of enhancements.
Overall I would give the T428 a 3.5 out of 5 stars. My rating would be higher with the addition of a second USB port, a better out-of-the-box ROM and a better user guide. Having said that, it’s still a great choice among the third generation Sticks in this price range.
Company Product Information
Tronsmart is a fast-growing computer product manufacturer in China, focusing on Android Mini PC and and accessories. They are the makers of the popular MK808 line of Stick PCs, as well as the Quad Core T428 and MK908. 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
- Tronsmart T428
- User Guide
- AC Power Adapter
- Micro USB Cable
- HDMI Cable
Here’s an unboxing video from one of the very first reviewers.
Unboxing the Tronsmart T428
Features and Specifications
- Tronsmart T428 Rockchip 3188 Quad Core 1.6GHz Cortex A9
- Mali 400 Quad core GPU
- 2GB DDR3 RAM, 8GB Internal Flash Storage, support for up to 32GB Micro SD card
- Built in 802.11b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0 Built-in
- HDMI, USB and MicroSD card ports
- Android 4.2 OS (Supports Kodi, Google Play Store)
|Max Screen Resolution||1080P|
|RAM||2 GB SDRAM DDR3|
|Graphics||Mali Quad core GPU|
|Number of USB Ports||2 (1 Full, 1 Micro)|
|Additional Features||External Flash Mode Button|
|Dimensions||4 x 1.5 x 0.4 inches|
|Hard Drive Interface||USB 2.0, Solid State (up to 32GB)|
|Power||5V 2A (via Micro USB port)|
Pros and Cons
- Quad Core RK3188 means faster processing speeds
- Scores over 15000 on AnTuTu and 120 Linpack
- 5Ghz WiFi option and better overall WiFi speeds
- External reset switch for flash mode
- Case design serves as heat sink for better cooling
- Preloaded with Android 4.2 and runs Kodi
- Bluetooth 4.0 provides more stable connections
- Limited documentation and support
- Netflix and other software issues with Android 4.2
- Only 1 free USB port
For overall performance and reliability, the closest competitor to the T428 is perhaps the Zealz GK802. The GK802 runs the slightly slower Freescale i.MX6 Quad Core CPU & GPU running 1.2GHZ. It also comes with just 1Gb of RAM, Android 4.0, and single band WiFi. These are both relatively new devices and cost about the same. In terms of support, the edge goes to the T428 because of the large user base of Rockchip Sticks. One advantage of the T428 is the inclusion of Bluetooth 4.0, which resolves some issues with earlier implementations.
User Community Support
There are a number of forums that cater to users of Android Mini PCs like the Tronsmart T428. You’ll find many of them linked in various articles on Stick Computing. The majority are open forums that cover nearly all of the Android Mini PCs on the market. If you have issues with your T428, you will likely find the answers in the forums.
The T428 ships with an Android 4.2 stock ROM. There are some known issues with Bluetooth, Netflix and some other applications. In late May 2013 they began providing an updated ROM. If you experience any of these issues, you can update to the latest firmware. Finless has released version 1.5 for Android 4.2.2 and it includes many fixes and enhancements. It also comes rooted for those who wish to install apps requiring root. The latest updates can be found on the Freaktab forum.
Another benefit of upgrading the ROM is that you can reallocate application memory. This enables you to install and run more apps.
***WARNING*** Update your ROM at your own risk. Incorrectly flashing your T428 can cause it to become non-functional. Make sure you know what you’re doing when you upgrade, or have someone with prior experience do it for you.
Who is the product for?
The Tronsmart T428 is at the forefront of the third generation Sticks. If you need performance in an Android Mini PC, and one that reliably streams HD content from the web or your media collection, then this the stick for you. With the right accessories, such as a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, this stick can serve as a general purpose or secondary PC. If you’re a modder/hacker there’s plenty of opportunity for upgrades and experimentation as well.
“As a long time android phone and tablet user (had the first samsung 7 inch) i really love how fast and smooth it is, i was kinda worried before i got it that i was taking a risk but man i love it.”
“Plugged it in and it worked just fine, paired a WII Mote with it and started playing some SNES & MAME favorites. Started playing a couple of movies, everything looked great ( 720P 50″ Samsung plasma ).”
“Without getting into specifics, it does “exactly” what I purchased it for. Also, I might add, it does what other were not able to do, at least from what I have read about them in reviews.”
“It uses a new quad core CPU the RK3188 that’s nice and fast compared to other dual core CPUs. For comparison it’s a little faster than my Samsung galaxy S3 phone. I’m really happy with he T428 so far.”
Tronsmart T428 Review
Summing it up
I’d recommend the Tronsmart T428 as a leading edge and powerful entry into the world of Stick Computing. If you’re looking for an upgrade from a second generation Stick or a generic “tv box”, the T428 is an excellent choice. With some of the highest performance scores we’ve seen, and the latest in both hardware and software it represents the total package in Stick Computing.
Since this review was written, Tronsmart has discontinued the T428. I recommend checking out one of the newer alternatives such as the one below.
Order with confidence and get fast delivery with Amazon.com