Quad-core processing power; Up-to-date Android OS; Sturdy build quality; DLNA and Miracast support
No 1080p Support; USB webcams, headsets don't work
The RK3188 Android Mini PC offers fast quad-core performance in a compact design but its peripheral support could be better.
Technology is advancing so fast in the Android mini PC market that perhaps we'll wake up tomorrow and find an octo-core device that weighs 1 ounce and costs $50. However, today, the fastest mini PCs on the market pack quad-core CPUs, 2GB of RAM and the fully-featured Android OS into a chassis the size of a Pez dispenser. The RK3188 Android Mini PC is the latest member of this group, providing graphics performance that's good enough for serious gaming, along with Android 4.2.2 and full Google Play store access for just $79.
DesignAndroid Mini PC RK3066, which is also sold exclusively by Timing Power, the Android Mini PC RK3188 has a wide rectangular shape that's more similar to a cigarette lighter than a USB key. The black matte plastic shell felt sturdier than the CX-919's flat glossy case, though it wasn't as attractive. We found it easy to remove the top of the case when we had to press a button on the motherboard in order to flash the device with its latest firmware. At 1.3 ounces, the RK3188 weighs a little less than the CX-919, but is the same weight as the Measy U2C and MK808B.
You'll need an HDMI cable to attach the RK3188 to your TV or monitor, because it has a female HDMI port. We prefer the male HDMI ports used on competitors like the CX-919 and Measy U2C because they can either connect directly to the back of your TV or attach to a dock. To connect to the Internet and your local devices, the stick comes with both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios.
Android 4.2.2 Experience
The virtual keyboard is stock Android, providing just the basic gray keys we've come to expect. As with other Android Mini PCs, we found that connecting a physical keyboard allowed us to type much faster and more accurately than navigating from key to key with a mouse.
The RK3188 supports full Google Voice Search, provided you can attach a working speaker and microphone. Two different USB Logitech headsets we tried weren't recognized by the operating system, but we did manage to connect a 3.5mm headset to the device and use that to issue commands to Google. Unfortunately, it order to get our headset to both send and receive sound, we had to insert the jack only half way and jiggle it just right. Even then, Google had a hard time interpreting our speech. For example, when we asked "Who is the prime minister of Japan," it interpreted our speech as "who is tan?"
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Video Conferencing Ability
The Android Mini PC RK3188 is able to conduct video or voice chats using popular apps like Skype and Google Hangouts. However, the system didn't recognize any of the two USB headsets and three different webcams we plugged in.
Unfortunately, finding devices that will work is a challenge with any Android mini PC. Some users report that the Logitech C270, which is one of the cameras we tried, works well on other systems, but it did not work on this one. Perhaps a future firmware update will allow the RK3188 to use this camera or perhaps another camera will work for you. There is no list of compatible peripherals.
Synthetic tests echoed the strong performance we saw in real-world use. On Antutu, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall performance, the RK3188 scored 5,184, which is about on par with the similarly specked CX-919 (5,210) but nearly double the dual-core MK808B's mark (2,972). The Android Mini PC RK3188 returned a score of 15,550 on the 3DMark Ice Storm test, which is slightly higher than the CX-919's 15,432 and more than 80 percent above the MK808B (8,336) and the Measy U2C (9,156).
Unlike the CX-919 and MK808B Android mini PCs, the RK3188 does not come with root access enabled. Users hoping to install special root-friendly apps such as an overclocker or a video screen capture app cannot do so unless and until someone comes up with a hack that will allow users to gain these privileges.
VerdictCX-919 Android Mini PC has the same CPU and RAM for around the same price, but comes pre-rooted, has custom ROMs available and offers better pre-loaded software along with an extra USB port. However, if you're looking for an Android PC with a sturdy design and the fastest performance on the market, the RK3188 Android mini PC is a strong choice.
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|CPU||1.6-GHz quad-core Rockchip RK3188|
|Storage Drive Size||8GB|
|Front-Facing Camera Resolution|