Before the era of Mini PC, I used to plug-in my laptop to the TV (yes, even at the Analog era using a Video-in display adapter) because I enjoy movies on a bigger screen. That’s why I love my old Macbook Chiclet + remote control. Everybody was using it for presentation, but not me. It’s movies and front row app all the way. Yes, this is not ideal. That’s probably why the invented the Mini PC was invented. A small device you can connect to your TV that can do SOME of the task of a real PC but without the huge size and of course, the hefty price tag that comes with buying a PC.
I’m obsessed with the concept I read so much about on progamerreview.com/, so I bought the Miracast-enabled Dongle, Firefox TV Dongle from Kickstarter (which they failed to deliver.. bummer) and finally the Jide Remix Mini for $60. I gotta say, I’m loving the form factor.
There’s no button on the Remix Mini, you push the top to turn it on. There’s no “click” feedback when you push so you kind of have to believe that you turn it on. Wish they could put a better feedback on push. As you turn it on, you’re greeted with a Setup Wizard. Prepare a USB Cable Mouse and plug it right in the USB port and you’re ready to setup. It took like 20 seconds to finish and then you’re greeted with a Windows-like interface. From this point on you can setup a keyboard and mouse via bluetooth and enjoy your wireless freedom. The Remix Mini support USB Storage as well so I can just plug it in and watch some movies right away with the default File Browser.
The built-in feature is pretty bare, which is fine considering this is Android. I immediately install MX Player for videos, ES File Manager for transferring files via Wifi and Joox for everyday music streaming. If you need to get work done, I recommend installing Gmail, Google Office Suites and Chrome.
My overall experience with this is pretty so so. It crashes from time-to-time and it takes a while to load an app. I’ve ordered the 2GB version to avoid this but I’m guessing they still need to optimise this. But it’s $60, I’m not keeping my hopes high.
The bluetooth keyboard works perfectly, it can even copy and paste. The mouse can do right-click as well. But the mouse sensitivity is too high. There’s no way to tone it down as well. So you’re stuck on being super careful with your mouse. It doesn’t help that all the UI are optimised for clicks, not touch so the clickable area is small, similar to a desktop environment.
Running multiple apps at once doesn’t go smoothly as well. Takes some time to switch between apps and one or two apps tends to crash when left alone for a while. So I don’t think this will be comfortable enough as a main working station.
I tried mild gaming as well. I connect my Mi Gamepad through bluetooth and played some games that support it like Sword of Xolan and The Reaper but for racing games like Asphalt and Real Racing doesn’t recognised inputs from Mi Gamepad analog stick or Gyroscope. Maybe this is Xiaomi’s fault but it’s a bummer that this doesn’t come out right out of the box.
All in all for $60, this is decent. Don’t expect this too much as it will not replace your main workstation. But for a media center to watch your latest videos and casual youtube-ing, this is nice. It has some quirks, but it’s half of the price of Apple TV.
Btw if you have an Android top-box from your cable provider then this is not worth the upgrade. It’s pretty much the same but with nicer UI and.. that’s it.