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New MK808 Dual Core Android 4.1 Mini PC

Updated on August 21, 2013

Is the new MK808 a worthy successor to the MK802?

SainSmart SS808 (MK808) Mini Android 4.1 PC , Dual Core A9 Processor

The new MK808 is touted be the real successor to the wildly successful MK802 Android 4.0 Mini PC. There have been a few iterations to the original MK802.

The very first version of the MK802 came with a AllWinner 1GHz A10 chipset, 4GB storage and 512MB of DDR3 RAM. Shortly after that a similar model but with 1GB RAM was introduced and is sometimes referred to as the MK802 Plus. In early August, the MK802 II was introduced and it had minor change to the plastic housing, a built-in full sized HDMI connector, an additional mini USB port and additional ESD shielding on the HDMI connector.

The original MK802 had a few design flaws that kept it from being a truly great device. The two biggest problems that are often lamented by MK802 owners in the forums are the poor WiFi or WiFi interference problem and the over heating problem. These problems were not really resolved with the minor design changes introduced by the Mk802 II.

Fortunately, it seems that the designers of the MK808 have been paying attention to the complaints as the MK808 has features that addresses these two problems plus other smaller problems. It also adds new features that MK802 users have been asking for.

All images courtesy of Amazon

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SainSmart SS808 (MK808) PC-On-A-Stick/ Mini Computer, Android 4.1 OS, Dual Core 1.6 GHz A9 Processor, 1GB DDR3, 8GB Internal Storage, Dual WIFI Module On Board, OTG Port, Black

The MK808 has a Dual Core Cortex A9 processor, 8GB storage and dual WiFi antenna. You no longer have to worry about slow performance, bad WiFi reception and overheating.

MK808 Dual Core Android 4.1 Specifications

MK808 Dual Core Android 4.1
MK808 Dual Core Android 4.1

From a hardware point of view, the biggest upgrade is of course the Dual Core Cortex A9 1.2 GHz Rockchip RK3066 CPU with Quad Core Mali 400 GPU that powers the MK808. Please note that some vendors claim the speed of the RK3066 is 1.6 GHz while others claim it is only 1.2 GHz.

Though not as powerful as the quad core CPUs in today's latest Android smartphones, it is definitely a big step up from the MK802's Allwinner A10 1 GHz Cortex A8 CPU. For comparison purposes, the RK3066 is similar to the Samsung Exynos 4 Dual Core chips, that powers the Samsung Galaxy S2.

RAM remains at 1GB but the flash memory has been doubled from 4GB to 8GB.

The other significant upgrade is dual WiFi antenna that supports WiFi 802.11 b/g/n. The dual WiFi antenna is expected to resolve the poor WiFi connectivity of the original MK802. What is unknown is if this means that the MK808 supports dual band WiFi (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). I suspect that it only means that the MK808 has a couple of WiFi antenna that improves reception but not dual band technology.

The casing of the MK808 has a few rows of ventilation holes over where the CPU and RAM are supposed to be. On top of that, there are 2 additional cooling plates designed to remove the heat from the MK808. Both these features help to cool the MK808 and prevent the heat built up that plagues the MK802.

The MK808 seems to have done away with a dedicated power port that was present on the MK802. Power is now supplied via the mini USB port. This also means that you actually have one less USB port for connecting USB devices and a USB hub can be considered a necessity.

On the software side of things, the MK808 comes with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) compared to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on the Mk802. This means that you get extra features that comes with Jelly Bean such as the better Notification Center plus faster performance and response time thanks to Project Butter.

The official specification for the MK808 also lists support for Adobe Flash 11 but as far as I know, there is no support for Flash under Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The last version of Android with Flash support is Android 4.0.

Listed below are the full specifications of the MK808 Dual Core Android 4.1 Mini PC.

MK808 DUAL CORE ANDROID 4.1 MINI PC TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

> OS - Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

> Chipset - Rockchip RK 3066, Dual core Cortex A9 processor CPU, 1.2 GHz; Quad core Mali 400, GPU clocked at 250 MHz

> Memory - 1GB DDR3

> Built-in Storage- 8GB NAND Flash

> Network - WiFi 802.11b/g/n

> Additional Storage - MicroSD 2-32GB

> Video Formats - M-JPEG,MPEG-1,MPEG-2,MPEG-4,H.263,H.264,VC-1,DivX, Xvid, RealVideo

> Audio Formats - AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, QCP, MP3, WMA, WAV, MIDI, M4A

> Photo Formats - JPG, TIF, PNG, BMP

> Video/Audio Output - Mini HDMI

> IO/Ports - 1 Mini USB, 1 USB , 1 mini HDMI 1.3

> Size - 30mm x 87mm x 14mm

USB keyboard combos that work with the MK808 Dual Core Android Mini PC

A wireless keyboard allows you to sit back comfortably from your TV as you control the MK808.

Also, check out my review of the range of Rii, iPazzPort and FAVI mini wireless keyboards that work great with the MK808 and other Android Mini PCs.

Portable USB 2.4GHz Wireless Air Fly Mouse Multi Keyboard for PC (Black)

If you plan to use the MK808 together with a big screen HDTV then the best way to navigate is to use a flymouse type of keyboard plus mouse controller. The flymouse allows you to control the cursor on the screen like a Wii remote by moving it in the air and if you need to enter any text, you can do it quickly and accurately with the built-in full QWERTY keypad. Highly recommended.

Unisen iPazzPort KP-810-18R Wireless Keyboard and Touchpad with Learning Infrared (IR) Remote Control 2.4G RF Google TV Compatible

Another great mini wireless keyboard to pair with the MK808. This one has a touch pad instead of air mouse function. On one side is a full 82 key QWERTY keyboard with backlight while on the other is a learning IR remote for 2 devices. Check out my full review of the keyboard here.

Wireless Touch Keyboard K400
Wireless Touch Keyboard K400

Full sized wireless keyboard with track pad combo.

 
Logitech Keyboard Controller for Logitech Revue and Google TV
Logitech Keyboard Controller for Logitech Revue and Google TV

Meant for the Logitech Revue and Google TV but works with the MK808.

 
Mele Fly Sky remote control with wireless keyboard 2.4 GHz
Mele Fly Sky remote control with wireless keyboard 2.4 GHz

Another great air mouse option is the Mele Fly Sky air mouse. This one has a remote control like button on one side and a full QWERTY keyboard on the other side. Recommended.

 
Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard N5901
Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard N5901

Another mini wireless keyboard but this one comes with a trackball instead.

 
VisionTek CandyBoard Wireless 2.4GHZ RF Mini QWERTY Keyboard and center touchpad - 900508
VisionTek CandyBoard Wireless 2.4GHZ RF Mini QWERTY Keyboard and center touchpad - 900508

Great portable keyboard but with a touch pad instead of air mouse function.

 

MK808 Dual Core Android 4.1 Mini PC performance

There is a YouTube video (see below) from one of the resellers, Geek Buying, that shows the MK808 running a few apps like YouTube, Facebook and Chrome browser.

From the video, it is obvious that the MK808 runs much smoother than the MK802. Scrolling between screens is very fast and smooth. I am especially impressed with the smooth scrolling of the YouTube video wall.

Rendering of the Geek Buying site on the Chrome browser is also very fast and is definitely comparable to browsing using a Windows PC with a fast connection.

Unfortunately, the MK808 is not perfect and it has its fair share of problems. The MK808 outputs video at a very odd resolution, 1024x768, regardless of which resolution it is actually set to. It supposedly supports 720p and 1080p resolution but somehow, the actual output resolution is 1024x768. Because of this, some HDTVs may not support the MK808 as 1024x768 is not a common resolution for a HDTV.

Another side effect of this strange resolution is that videos look stretched when played on the MK808 with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Fortunately there is a workaround for this. The included video player app (aptly named "Video") plays 16:9 videos without the black bars. This is most probably a display bug and hopefully it gets fixed soon.

The other big problem is that the MK808 has problems supporting Wireless N standard on WiFi. Although it uses the RK901 WiFi chip that supports 802.11 b/g/n but somehow it has problems connecting to N only routers. Again, this most probably a software bug that hopefully gets fixed soon.

The support for Google Play Store seems to be limited to only free apps only so even if you use a Google account that supports app purchases, the paid apps are not shown.

Last but not least, the MK808 does not come rooted out of the box unlike the MK802. Fortunately it is possible to root the MK808. Instructions are posted here.

(Update)

The manufacturers of the MK808 has released firmware update for the MK808 that seems to have partially fixed the resolution but not the WiFi problem. Files and instructions can be found at the ArmTvTech forum.

There is also an ICS firmware for the MK808 that is made available on the same page.

Rockchip RK3066 Dual Core Android Mini PC Firmware Update Guide

Check out available firmware updates and custom ROMs that are available for the MK808 Android Mini PC. Links to ROM files and required tools plus detailed instructions are available.

YouTube - MK808 Android 4.1 Mini PC Review Performance

A short video showing the performance of the MK808.

Linux support for the MK808

The MK808 runs on a RK3066 chipset and unlike the Allwinner A10 chipset on the MK802, the manufacturer of the RK3066 has never released the source and there is no indication that they would do so. What this means is that there is very slim chance of having Linux run on the MK808. If you plan to run Linux, the MK802 or one of the other Allwinner A10 based Android Mini PCs is your better bet.

(Update 11/19/12)

A copy of the kernel source for the RK3066 has been leaked out. With the availability of the source code, it is now highly possible to have Linux running on the MK808 and more importantly, some of the major problems that plagues the MK808 like the stretched display, lack of native support for 1080p resolution and maybe even the WiFi problems may be resolved with a new firmware.

Details of this new development can be found here.

More photos of the MK808 Dual Core Android 4.1

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Conclusion

From the specifications alone the hardware a very impressive and the MK808 is a very significant upgrade over the MK802. However, there are a few software bugs currently that can be deal breakers. While the MK802 is only single core and far less powerful, it has been around for a little longer and there is more developer support for it.

Initial pricing puts it at about the same price when the MK802 first came out and considering that the MK8802 itself was only released sometime in the middle of the year, to have a much more powerful successor in just under 4 months at more or less the same price point speaks a lot about the pace of technology.

You might also be interested in the UG802, a similar product to the MK808 as both are based on the Rockchip RK 3066. Check out my review of the UG802.

MK808 versus UG802

Find out how the MK808 Android Mini PC fairs when we pitch it head-to-head against the UG802.


How to choose the right Android Mini PC

Check out my comprehensive guide that highlights all the important features and differences between all the different Android mini computers.


SainSmart SS808 (MK808) PC-On-A-Stick/ Mini Computer, Android 4.1 OS, Dual Core 1.6 GHz A9 Processor, 1GB DDR3, 8GB Internal Storage, Dual WIFI Module On Board, OTG Port, Black

The MK808 has a Dual Core Cortex A9 processor, 8GB storage and dual WiFi antenna. You no longer have to worry about slow performance, bad WiFi reception and overheating.

Are you interested in the new MK808?

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    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I don't think the user manual is available for download but then I don't think the manual is really necessary.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I just had a new 808 delivered to me 2-8 and theres no user manual. Where can I download one from off the web? Sincerely, Spotdog1

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you, now I have de original firmware and anothers updates. (h t t p : / / adf.ly/EY7KP).

      Saludos desde México.

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Check out the ArmTvTech forums.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi Mr Roy, I need install the original firmware (4.1.1 not root), where download this?

      Thanks

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I believe you can do the latest official firmware update by just copying the zip file to a micro SD and just boot up the MK808 with the card inserted.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Does anyone know if there's a way to root and update the firmware directly on the MK808, or does it have to be connected to a computer? I ask because my only computer is running a Linux distro, (Pinguy), and there doesn't seem to be support for Linux unless Linux is loaded on the MK808. That would be getting a bit complicated for me.

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Are you comparing apples to apples by using the same file on all 3 players?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      i just purchased 1. tho the speed is a bit impressive for such a little thing, the resolution pixels aren't. its very grainy and not as smooth as a roku or my sony blue ray player. any suggestions?

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @royyap: I managed to find a Hulu+ apk from XDA-developers forum that is usable on all Android devices and not just those approved by Hulu. I can confirm that it works although I could only watch the free stuff as I don't have a subscription.

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Linux for RK3066 is far from ready. However, the good news is that the source code has been leaked out. Not sure on the legality of it as its sort of a grey area but chances of seeing a fully working version of Linux on the RK3066 devices just got a whole lot brighter.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      The above article is wrong about the Linux support

      www.slatedroid.com/topic/40717-ubuntu-linux-for-the-ug802

      Android truly is virus-infested garbage that will be dropped once Samsung finishes moving away from it (google) --and who knows what crap the Chinese engineers were forced by their gov't to "add"..so better off with AppleTV 3, but being able to use these as cheap Linux PCs rocks!

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @royyap: I managed to download Hulu+ and tried it out but unfortunately Hulu is blocking video from being played. You can still view and manage your queue but not view any videos. Perhaps there is a version that can circumvent the check.

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I have not tried Hulu+ because I don't have a Hulu+ subscription. However, you can search for and download the Hulu+ apk online and then install on your device manually.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Is there any Hulu+ support? The current Google Play version (2.4.200921) indicates "The Device is not support [142]"

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: You can plug in any USB mouse/keyboard. It can also recognize RF wireless keyboard/mouse but not the BT ones.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for the review.

      Do you have to purchase a keybord to make it work, or can you use your Android Phone as a remote control ? If not can you use a classic USB Wireless Keyboard that you usually use for your desktop computer ?

      Thanks in advance.

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes. I hope it comes back on soon as there is a lot of useful information on the forum.

      For the screen output, my TV does register it as 1080p 60Hz but you can definitely see that it is stretched horizontally so it looks like there is some kind of internal scaling. Icons on the screen that are supposed to be round appear as ovals.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      armtvtech site seems down

      Everting depens on the firmware version you use..

      currently there are 5

      mine came with build32 sept jb :

      Screen output : 1080p (even after reboot)

      Ethernet : No

      Bluetooth : No ( devices with locktoken do work)

      Wifi : No issues (wpa2 tkip - netgear)

      ExternalHD : yes (needs external power)

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for the slap on the wrist, GrammarGuy. I needed that.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Ya, this mini pc looks great!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I just bought one with air mouse from sainsmart.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      It's "is touted to be" not "is taunted be".

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This device si great, there is a forum for it now minipcforums dot com with many youtube videos

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm using the C270 (only working audio, no video) and I can sit as far back as 4-5 feet.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      How far is your webcam on the tv to you in order to pick up sound? thinking of getting the logitech c525 from reading your reviews

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: There is a build in file explorer but to install side loaded apps you need

      something like Astro File Manager.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @royyap: No access it's internal storage (in a read-write fashion). Just thinking I could install an app just from accessing the filesystem.

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Sure. Just hook up a hard disk to it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Can you use it as an external storage device (to access the whole filesystem)?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      i am going to purchase a new mini pc after these great stuff i am glad you shared

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I should be getting my MK808 unit soon. I will test it out when I get it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Do you have tested webcam that can run on MK808?

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes it is but you need a USB Ethernet adapter. Details at https://hubpages.com/technology/mk802-troubleshoot...

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Is it possible to get it wired instead using WIFI

    • annaharris lm profile image

      annaharris lm 4 years ago

      Nice lens... very informative.

    • royyap profile image
      Author

      royyap 4 years ago

      @anonymous: This is not an actual review yet because I haven't gotten my mk808 yet. I will come up with a proper review once I have played around with it for awhile. Yes, I do plan to review on the accessories as well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great review. Things are moving fast with those new Android devices.

      Can you Skype - Video Conference with a USB camera with the new mk808?

      Do you have any review about wireless keyboards, air fly mices, etc?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very nice review, Roy.