Review of MINIX NEO U9-H Media Hub & MINIX A3 Air Mouse
MINIX showcased MINIX NEO U9-H TV box at IFA 2016 last year, but was not ready to launch the product or provide the full details yet. The company has now completed development of their Amlogic S912-H octa-core TV box, and sent a review sample for evaluation on CNX Software together with their latest MINIX A3 air mouse with voice command function. I’ll start by listing the specifications of the TV box, take some pictures, and tear it apart to check out how it’s been designed in the first part of the review, and test the firmware in the second part which I intend to post in a few days.
MINIX NEO U9-H Media Hub specifications
One of the main difference over other Amlogic S912, is the -H suffix which means Dolby and DTS licenses have been paid for so all apps will handle those audio formats:
- SoC – Amlogic S912-H octa-core ARM Cortex A53 processor @ up to 1.5 GHz with ARM Mali-820MP3
- System Memory – 2GB DDR3
- Storage – 16GB eMMC 5.0 flash, and micro SD card slot
- Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz with HDMI CEC, and HDR support
- Audio I/O – Via HDMI output, optical S/PDIF, 3.5mm headphone jack, 3.5mm microphone jack
- Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1
- USB – 3x USB 2.0 ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
- Misc – IR receiver, power button, Kensington Lock
- Dual DRM Support – Play Ready 3.0 + Google Widevine Level 1
- Power Supply – 5V/3A
The device runs Android 6.0.1 with XBMC MINIX Edition.
The TV box has exactly the same shape as previous model, and ships with a WiFi antenna, a HDMI cable, a USB OTG adapter, a micro USB to USB cable in case you want to connect the box to your computer, a 5V/3A power adapter, a MINIX IR remote control, and a user’s manual in English, German, and Chinese.
The front of the device has a plastic window for the IR receiver, and the power LED, while one of the side includes the power button, three USB 2.0 host ports, a micro SD slot, a micro USB OTG port, and a Kensington lock. The rest of the ports can be found on the rear panel: 3.5mm headphone jack, 3.5mm microphone jack, HDMI 2.0a output, optical S/PDIF, Gigabit Ethernet, and the power jack.
MINIX NEO A3 Air Mouse
NEO A3 air mouse specifications include:
- Connectivity – 2.4GHz transmission with up to 10 meters range
- Sensors – 6-axis gyroscope and accelerometer
- Remote side and QWERTY keyboard side
- Built-in microphone for voice input.
- Power – 2x AAA batteries
- Support for Android, Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows
The remote ships with a user’s manual in English, and an RF dongle located in one of the two battery compartments located on the keyboard side.
The main difference on the remote side is the microphone & settings button in the new model replacing respectively the “enter button”, which I never use since the Android button does the same, and the mute button. The keyboard side is very similar, except for some adding characters on the arrow keys.
The remote fits well in bigger hands, and I’m overall happy with my experience with A2 Lite, but I wish that space, dot, and enter did not have alternate keys, as I often have to press the Fn button to switch between mode. For example typing an IP address is not that convenient, but one the other side I understand space is limited on such keyboard, and you may have to compromise. The air mouse works well with MINIX devices, and can also be used with other devices, except that you can’t turn on TV boxes from other brands with the remote. This would require some IR learning function which has not been implemented.
To be continue.........