When I first heard about the Zealz GK802 I was excited to get my hands on one and find out just what this little powerhouse could do. Rather than incorporating the Single Core and Dual Core Allwinner and Rockchip SOC’s the majority of sticks use, the GK802 relies on the relative newcomer Freescale i.MX6 Quad Core chip. While I’m not disappointed with its performance, I’d say that the Zealz is more of an evolutionary than revolutionary design.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the GK802 is its appearance. The metal casing gives it a more solid and heftier feel than the competitors. At about 2 ounces it’s no heavyweight, but at the same time it feels more substantial. That sturdiness can be important if you plan to move it around a lot. It’s also a bit thinner and wider than other sticks, such as the MK808.
Zealz has provided ample ventilation on both the top and bottom of the stick. Turns out this is a necessity because the unit can get quite warm after extended usage. Another nice touch is the molded power cord that isn’t as sensitive to being pulled from its socket as the OTG cables.
The GK802 should still be considered a second generation device. It’s one of the first Stick Pc’s to include the Freescale i.MX6 chipset. Its implementation of the ARM Cortex A9 and Vivante GC2000 Quad core GPU point toward performance roughly twice that of the first generation Allwinner based devices.
Where the Zealz GK802 really shines is in its WiFi and streaming video performance. Nearly all of the tests and owner feedback have shown that this is one area you can count on for superior results.
With the included Android 4.0 or the optional Ubuntu Linux and proper system updates (*see below for more info) you can watch high quality 1080p HD content from Netflix, Youtube or many other services. You can also play a variety of games at full frame rate and resolution, including 3D games.
Properly configured with additional storage and accessories, the GK802 works nicely as an Kodi media center or deployed as a general purpose computer for browsing the web, checking email, listening to music or making phone calls over Skype.
Since the Zealz is no longer available, try the OEM CX-919 Quad Core .
What I like about the GK802
The GK802 is an excellent choice for the intermediate to advanced user. It could be considered more of a hobbyist Stick because it requires upgrades before its full power can be unlocked. At the current price of just under $100, it’s near the top end of market.
Out of the box the stick does not come rooted. This means you’ll have to find the latest firmware updates available from the user community and immediately update the ROM. If you aren’t an experienced user or don’t like the idea of having to update your system ROM, you may want to find another Stick because updating the GK802 is essential to getting access to all of its potential.
For example, Gmail, Spotify, AnTuTu don’t run out of box, but run fine after the firmware update. Same goes for the ability to shutdown the stick. You’ll need to update the firmware for this to work.
Given that warning, the GK802 ships with Android 4.0 which means you can access Google Play and many familiar applications right out of the box. You can upgrade to 4.1 and 4.2 without firmware upgrades. So if you’re fine with the apps that come with the stick and everything you need is working for you, then you can enjoy the Zealz right out of the box.
The built-in WiFi and Bluetooth are fast and reliable. The WiFi clocks at true 802.11n 150mbps, unlike some of the other sticks that default to 802.11g 54mbps. Streaming HD movies from Netflix is not a problem.
Overall I would give the GK802 3.5 out of 5 stars mainly on questions of price/performance and the necessary updating in order to fully utilize its features.
Company Product Information
The GK802 is made in Mainland China by Zealz and is distributed in the US under its own brand name. 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
- GK802 Freescale i.MX6 1.2Ghz Quad Core Cortex A9 Android Mini PC
- User Guide
- AC Power Adapter
- Micro USB Cable
- HDMI Cable
Here’s an overview to give you an idea of the basic features.
Unboxing the GK802
Features and Specifications
- Freescale i.MX6 Quad Core CPU 1.2GHZ
- Vivante GC2000,Quad core GPU, Quad IPU for high quality video playback and 3D gaming
- 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
- Built in Bluetooth
- Android 4.0 OS (Android 4.1/4.2 upgradeable)
- True 1080P HD decoding and support full HD 1080P playback
|Max Screen Resolution||1080P|
|RAM||1 GB SDRAM DDR3|
|Graphics||Vivante GC2000 Quad core GPU|
|Number of USB Ports||1 Full Size|
|Dimensions||102 x 38 x 10 mm|
|Weight||50g (~ 2oz)|
|Hard Drive Interface||USB 2.0, Solid State|
|Power||5V 2A (via Mini HDMI port)|
Pros and Cons
- Quad Core for fast start-up and application load times
- Preloaded with Android 4.0 and supports Kodi
- True 802.11n WiFi speeds for faster streaming
- Durable solid metal casing with ample ventilation
- SD Memory Expansion up to 32GB
- Quality power adapter
- Runs Ubuntu Linux
- Users have experienced issues with out-of-the-box ROM
- Does not come rooted
- Might be most suited to hobbyists.
Compared to first generation models, such as the MK802, the GK802 is a big step forward in design and speed. There’s no doubt that quad core devices will reign supreme for the foreseeable future and that puts this stick right in the thick of the competition.
One of the most anticipated developments in Stick Computing is the availability of Linux. Ubuntu 12.4 can be loaded on the GK802. There are a variety of sources on the net for information, but you can start at this website. Most of the core functions are working.
Because of the wide community support there are a variety of options for upgrading the system. It should be stressed that 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!
The best known updgrade is the so-called “deadhp” ROM, named after its creator. You can find the upgrade in the ArmTvTech forum. Some users have experienced better results by creating a completely new ROM and replacing the original by hand. Instructions are here. ***Warning*** Replacing the ROM in this manner will delete any saved data currently on your stick. You should use deadhp ROM 1.65.4 or newer, which has been tested as compatible with the GK802. This version allows you to power off the stick, offers root access and fixed a variety of other issues, including Gmail and AnTuTu.
Some users find the Android bottom bar to be an annoyance. On the GK802 it also prevents expanding the video to full wide HD. For 1.99 you can download Hide Bottom Bar on Goggle Play and it will fix the problem.
Who is the product for?
The GK802 is an intriguing stick. For the hobbyist, there’s plenty to keep you occupied from the moment you take it out of the box. Upgrades are almost required to get it fully operational. If you just want a solid Android TV stick, the GK802 provides an excellent streaming media experience.
Some Customer Reviews:
“Everything worked out of the box and it was quite simple to upgrade the firmware to provide improvements and root access. I have used the iMito also and find this stick to be more responsive.”
“Once you install the fixes, especially the play store, this is a very good tv stick that produces very smooth 1080P video.”
“When I plugged in my jump drive to the usb hub the GK802 found all my media and played it with no problem.”
GK802 Running Ubuntu Linux
Summing it up
I’d recommend the GK802 as a great little streamer, or as a worthy hobbyist stick. It’s great looking, fast and very expandable. With some updates to the ROM and OS, it could also become a full-fledged primary or secondary computer.
Order with confidence and get fast delivery with Amazon.com