Big screen, mini PC

For the second evening in a row, I've been playing with an Android 4.1.1 device. Tonight, however, it wasn't a tablet. In fact, it wasn't a touch device at all, but an Android mini PC. To be precise, it was a NX003II Android 4.1.1 Dual Core Mini PC Google TV Player from DX.com.

As detailed on the website, the neat little package contained a mini PC, power adapter (not Australasian but that doesn't matter as it's charged off a standard USB wall plug and micro-USB), a (composite) AV cable, a (micro) USB cable and what is actually an HDMI extension, rather than HDMI cable. Additionally, there was a USB extension cable too and a wifi boosting mini antenna.

What US$69.90 with free international shipping purchased is pretty much a plug and play device. In fact, what took the longest to sort was finding and deciding which of my wireless and bluetooth keyboard/mice combos I would use. I tried three different options and they all worked first time.

Not only do I get all the convenience of a vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich installation, but I get it displayed at 1080p high definition using HDMI 1.4. Contrary to the website spec, however you get one, not two, micro-USB ports. Since the micro-USB feeds the power, you're pretty much stuck with the USB port for connecting devices. Never mind: not only was setting up wifi a breeze using the standard 'droid settings screen, but once online, it picked up the network access storage (NAS) and streamed media off it using DLNA. If you really must plug in a drive, up to 2TB on an external works fine too.

I have only played for about half an hour so there's still a lot to try: extending the 8GB onboard memory up to a further 32GB using TransFlash, the alternative composite video output, the 2.0MP camera. I did test browsing the web, navigating the filesystem, streaming video, accessing Play Store and installing Classic Bubble Breaker. I was demonstrating it to my other half, until he pointed out rather insistently that it was a waste of the TV to be playing a bubble popping game.

As a potential replacement for our dedicated entertainment PC, I believe this could be a go-er. And if your household hasn't the spare PCs lying around to build a media centre, well this makes an easy alternative given it comes with one already installed. For the price, I think it's pretty good value and it arrived a fortnight after I ordered it.

It comes in the metallic brown like mine or white or pink. That's important to some of you, I know.
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