Hands On Review of the Uhost Android Mini PC

by WizzRoy

The Uhost Android Mini PC may not be a name that Android Mini PC fans are familiar with but if developer Smallart continues with the great design, this is going to change.

It may seem that the new Uhost Android Mini PC is also an MK802 Android-on-a-stick duplicate which may be seeking to profit from the popularity associated with the MK802 scaled-down Android computer systems. The truth is you will likely to be astounded to discover that the Uhost Android Mini PC actually predates the MK802 as mentioned by the developer and producer of the Uhost, Smallart.

The existing variant of Uhost draws on the common Allwinner A10 chip-set and was actually first released in May 2012 although an older model which was using the dual core EV2 chip-set was launched a year ago.

This evaluation was composed after I have assessed the Uhost for approximately a week. The review Uhost device is supplied by Smallart for the purpose of this evaluation with the knowledge that this review shall be impartial and Smallart would have absolutely no influence on the actual written content of the review. Smallart is only going to be viewing this evaluation right after it has been posted.

Uhost white
Uhost white
Uhost packaging
Uhost packaging
Uhost open box
Uhost open box
Uhost accessories
Uhost accessories
Uhost and optional air mouse remote
Uhost and optional air mouse remote
Uhost launcher screen 1
Uhost launcher screen 1
Uhost launcher screen 2
Uhost launcher screen 2
Uhost running YouTube
Uhost running YouTube

The unboxing

The packaging for the Uhost Android Mini PC is quite eye-catching. The box quality is certainly durable plus the artisitc white style and design is reminiscent of Apple. It's actually fascinating to see more China produced products that are taking more care of their packaging even for a somewhat inexpensive item such as the Uhost.

The interest directed at the appearance of the packaging also includes the interior of the box.

The Uhost Android Mini PC device is firmly fitted within a tray. The holder that holds the Uhost features a draw loop which makes it an easy task to lift the tray.

Beneath the top tray is a tray which is designed to secure the customized air mouse remote that is sold separately. My evaluation package didn't include the air mouse remote because FedEx doesn't permit delivery of products having non detachable built-in battery pack.

The 2nd tray includes a draw loop too. Take out that and at the base of the container are a double plug mini USB cable, a HDMI extension cable along with a USB power-adapter. Just like the MK802 II, the Uhost obtains its electrical power by way of the mini USB OTG interface. It is possible to either make use of the power-adapter together with the USB cable or draw electrical power straight from the TV's USB interface. In the event the TV's USB interface is unable to supply sufficient electrical power, you may make use of extra electrical power from a 2nd USB interface using the double plug USB cable.

It is actually great that the HDMI extension cable is supplied because not every high-definition television is going to have sufficient area to fit the Uhost connected directly to it. On my LG HDTV, there are four HDMI slots and I have occupied the other three slots. I had not been able to connect the Uhost straight into the vacant HDMI slot because the closest HDMI slot is situated too close to the vacant HDMI slot. I was certainly pleased that the extension cable had been provided.

The casing of the Uhost is constructed from matte dark-colored plastic material and the construction is quite decent quality. My initial perception is the construction quality is superior to the MK802 as well as the MK802 II. Every one of the slots are clearly marked by means of embossed tags on the case itself.

Similar to the MK802 II, the Uhost features a built-in HDMI plug on the unit itself. It is protected using a cover just like a USB thumb drive. On the other end of the device is a regular USB host 2.0 slot. One edge of the device houses a microSD or TF card expansion slot along with a 3.5mm mic interface allowing you to connect an external microphone.

On the reverse side of the device is a mini USB OTG slot which is used for powering the device along with a button labelled as U. I eventually discovered that this is the Udisk button which is used to switch the Uhost into a USB thumb drive.

At the top surface area is an LED light which shows if the Uhost is powered and which mode the Uhost is set to. And lastly, this is also the location where the built-in microphone can be found.

I was quite astonished to discover absolutely no ventilation openings around the Uhost and taking into consideration precisely how hot my MK802 becomes when in use, I had a little bit reservation concerning this.

Specifications of the Uhost

The Uhost is powered by the Allwinner A10 chipset, identical to what can be found within the MK802 and MK802 II. The Allwinner A10 chipset is made up of a Cortex A8 1Ghz single core CPU combined with a Mali-400 GPU. The hardware might appear quite underpowered when compared to dual and also quad core processors present in the most recent smartphones on the market today but that being said, it is adequate for basic tasks including HD video decoding, web browsing and playing simple games.

The Uhost comes equipped with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. It is possible to add up to 32GB of additional storage space by means of the micro SD expansion slot. For network connection, it offers integrated WiFi 802.11 b/g/n support. It includes both an integrated microphone in addition to a 3.5mm port for connecting a regular 3.5mm external microphone.

Addititionally there is integrated support for the optionally available air mouse remote. The remote has a built in gyroscope and has simple buttons like volume controls, home and search buttons. No extra USB transmitter is necessary for the remote.

Dimension wise, the Uhost measures 90 x 40 x 10 mm and weighs about 38 g.

Another similarity with the MK802 is the Android OS 4.0.4 that comes with the Uhost. It is already rooted which means that replacing the OS is made just that much simpler.

Uhost Performance

Considering that both Uhost and MK802 1GB possess the exact same chipsets, I anticipated the Uhost to perform in a similar fashion as the MK802. However, through my actual utilization I discovered the fact that Uhost in reality performs significantly better than the MK802.

The initial sign of the improved performance was during start up. When I first booted up the Uhost, I believed that it booted quicker to the desktop and I verified this a bit later simply by timing the actual bootup sequence. The Uhost required under 50 seconds whilst the MK802 required about a minute and a half.

Using Android 4.0.4, screen resolution is supported up to 1080p 60Hz. I have experimented with both 1080p and 720p resolution and I discovered that just like the MK802, things works a bit smoother at 720p therefore I have retained it at the resolution although I can state that 1080p functions okay but not as smooth.

 The Uhost boots to a customized launcher whilst the MK802 simply offers the standard Android 4.0 launcher. I've noticed a number of the customized launchers created for several of the Android 2.3 TV boxes and they look truly dreadful but thankfully Smallart has kept the launcher quite simple and it undoubtedly appears that a lot of thought have been put towards designing it for display on a television and also manipulated using an air mouse remote from a distance.

The fact is Smallart incorporated not only one but two customized launcher that you can effortlessly swap between within the launcher page itself. The standard launcher simply had a simple line of rather big shortcut icons (Apps, Download, Browser, Settings, Multimedia and File Manager) at the bottom similar to an Apple Mac dock. The 2nd launcher has got the icons organized in a ring structure and aesthetically it appears to be somewhat better but functionally, the dock launcher is a lot easier to navigate using the remote from far. As much as I know, there isn't any method to customized the icons by adding or getting rid of the shortcuts.

Because I could not review the optional air mouse remote, I am not able to state for certain exactly how effectively it functions together with the Uhost but I was able utilize a comparable air mouse keyboard controller and the large icons makes it quite simple to navigate the customized launcher screen.

Considering that the Uhost includes an integrated microphone, I was really curious precisely how well functions together with Skype. I installed the most recent version of Skype from the Google Play Store and logged in with no complications. I attempted a couple of test calls and the integrated microphone functioned reasonably well even though its level of sensitivity is on the low side. I had to get a bit nearer to the TV in addition to speaking out slightly louder but I had no difficulties being fully understood by the other person on the call. In addition , I experimented with with an external microphone attached to the microphone slot and that most certainly worked far better. The quality of the phone call is comparable to Skype with a PC.

As a final point, I was quite pleasantly surprised to find out that the Uhost doesn't run hot although it is devoid of any cooling slots. After testing it out for somewhere around 4 hours installing and running all sorts of application, the Uhost body was just warm to my touch. I am most certainly more confident of the Uhost having the ability to operate continually for extended time periods.

Check out how the Uhost fare on a head-to-head comparison with the MK802.

If you are still undecided if the Uhost Android Mini PC is right for you, check out my Android Mini PC Buying Guide for some help.

Buy the Uhost on Amazon

Uhost U2 Android 4.0 Mini Pc Internet Tv Box 1g RAM 4gb ROM Allwinner A10 Hdmi/3g/wifi/skype

Features: 1.Support most of display terminals,such as LCD TV,monitor, projector up to 2160p 2.Independent Mali400 game graphics,perfectly support 3D games,3D movies 3.Support sk...

View on Amazon

Updated: 11/07/2012, WizzRoy
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