Remix Mini by Jide Review – $70 of Android Desktop Experience

Remix Mini by Jide Review – $70 of Android Desktop Experience

Something has either gone horribly wrong or gloriously right when your PC costs less than your mouse. We're going to say gloriously right

The Remix Mini is the latest hardware option from Jide, the company that recently burst into the headlines when they released their own free build of android (Remix OS) featuring multi-window and the ability to be installed on most AMD or Intel devices.

This Mini PC takes the OS a step further by providing all the hardware you need to turn a HDMI enabled display into a PC running Android.

The Remix Mini is a tiny PC that runs Remix OS. First launched via a kickstarter campaign. The device delivers a desktop experience on hardware that can be slipped into a pocket or bag with ease. Access to the Play Store means that the potential uses for this device are incredible, hook it up to your TV and you have a media hub with apps like Youtube and Plex, a casual gaming set up and a mobile work-station all in one.  So without further ado let’s take a look at the specs.

 IMG_20160114_005240 

Variant 1 2
Processor 1.2GHz quad-core cortex A53 1.2GHz quad-core cortex A53
Storage 8GB 16GB
RAM 1GB 2GB
Video Support 1080P HDMI output, support for 1920*1080 resolution 1080P HDMI output, support for 1920*1080 resolution
Audio Support 3.5mm port and HDMI 3.5mm port and HDMI
SD card support Yes Yes
Connectivity Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
10/100BASE-T ethernet
Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
10/100BASE-T ethernet
Additonal 90 days of support and 1-year warranty 90 days of support and 1-year warranty
Included power cord and HDMI power cord and HDMI
Price Not currently on sale $69.99

Screenshot 2016-01-14 at 16.43.11

By this point you may have noticed a lack of power button, and that is because the device holds a capacitive button on the top, a gentle tap is all that’s needed to turn on the unit and likewise a second tap will bring up the power menu. This aside, the hardware is fairly low-end and for $70 I wouldn’t expect otherwise. This is something you buy for the software, not the amazing specs. Would we like to see a high-end variant? Of course! Do we mind that it doesn’t exist yet? Not so much. Navigation and non-intensive apps such as games run great on the unit with very little in the way of frame skips, some users have reported significant lag, and an all-round slow experience; however, we can only assume that these have been addressed in the more recent OTA updates.

Screenshot_2016-01-13-23-24-18
Screenshot_2016-01-13-23-27-30 
Profile GPU Rendering shows that while navigating apps there is little in the way of lag, however there are noticeable jumps when opening apps or resizing some windows. AnTuTu returned an expected low score of just 22,100 which explains why. Day to day running off apps will be fine, and I was comfortably able to watch a video on Youtube while at the same time writing a document in Word and scrolling through a chrome window all without any lag or noticeable issues, with intensive games such as GTA: San Andreas the toll was noticeable as frames started to skip and performance became erratic. The fact that now Remix is available to all does assuage many doubts about the platform, as it continues to be updated and grow we are sure to see many bugs associated with some apps be rectified. However, I cannot deny that while most apps I have tried do function correctly some exceptions for those that require overlays such as Facebook messenger and floating apps exist and will not open. Furthermore, some apps such as hangouts will only open in full-screen mode at this time but again this is still early days for the platform. Obviously, with many apps being designed for a multi-point touch screen issues can occur when two points are needed simultaneously. This means that many games are unusable unless you have a touchscreen monitor, although Android does support game controllers which help remedy the issues in a lot of cases. That being said the pinch to zoom can be used by pressing the alt key and moving the mouse.

Screenshot_2016-01-13-23-55-52

Where the device really comes into it’s own is definitely in the software, where it provides a desktop feeling for Android users. In addition to the exceptional multi-window support, this version of Android also features all the shortcuts we have come to know and love such as  Alt+Tab, CTRL+C, CTRL+X etc. Along the bottom of the display runs a familiar taskbar, which displays your currently open apps and pinned apps, this can be hidden until you move the cursor over it, however cannot be relocated to the sides. This is something we would love to see in a future update to save some screen real estate. The customizable app drawer is accessed again with a familiar button in the lower left-hand corner. Notifications can be accessed from a drawer that slides in from the right and groups multiple notifications from the same app into drop down menus. The device itself does not have a notification LED, opting instead for a small LED signifying whether the unit is connected to a power supply

While on the subject of hardware the device is somewhat limited by having only 2 USB ports, meaning connecting a USB mouse and keyboard means you can no longer use another OTG device such as hard drive or charge a device. In the case of my set-up (see above) a USB hub had to be used as the Alienware TactX keyboard requires 2 USB ports to function fully. This could be remedied by using a Bluetooth keyboard + mouse pack.

Jide have provided a tour of the OS:

I loved my experience with the Remix Mini and while I would not be able to use one instead of my laptop anytime soon, it has found itself as a permanent resident of my bag. It’s great to be able to carry around a cheap and small device that can be plugged into any HDMI monitor and bring up a desktop experience.  I am certainly looking forward to what Jide has to offer in future products and updates to the OS.

Some users included ourselves have reported issues with slow WiFi on their device, we have spoken to Jide and can confirm that this is an issue with proximity to a HDMI port. we purchased a longer cable than the one provided and noticed significant improvement

View our other coverage of Jide:
Remix Ultra Tablet Review
Jide Announces Multi-Window For PC/Mac

Have you tried the Remix Mini? Leave a comment below!

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