Jide's Remix Mini: The World's First True Android PC
George Ross, January 13, 2016
Microsoft's Windows OS has had some growing pains as of late with their last two OS releases. This has left a lot of people considering a switch in their desktop OS choice. Enter the Remix Mini. It is an Android based PC solution that has been optimized for desktop use. Could this be the way that Linux finally topples Windows dominance in the desktop sector? Given that Android enjoys strong developer support it is not to far fetched to think that Android could do very well as a desktop OS.
The Remix Mini is very well packaged. The Mini it self sits in cardboard cut out to fit it and has some foam on the top of the box for added protection. Even the power brick and HDMI cable are are in their own cardboard box with foam on either side to prevent them from moving around during shipping.
What's In The Box
The Mini doesn't have much in the way of accessories, but it does come with everything that is needed to get it up and running. You get the Mini itself, an AC adapter, a HDMI cable, a quick start guide, the product description and warranty, and a manufacturer certificate. Jide could have gotten away with omitting the HDMI cable, but it's inclusion is a welcome addition.
True to it's name the Remix Mini is in fact mini. Coming in at 4.9 inches long by 3.5 inches wide and 1 inch in height. The next thing you may notice about the Mini is there is no obvious power button. That is because it has a capacitive touch power button. So just touch the Remix logo and the PC comes on. There is a green power indicating LED that blinks to let you know the Remix Mini has been switched on. The Mini has all basic ports you have come to expect from a PC, but due to its size the Mini only has a DC input, an Ethernet, two USB ports, a HDMI port, a Micro-SD slot, and 3.5mm audio output. The mini also packs in Wifi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity as well.
||1.2GHz quad-core cortex A53 (64-bit) Allwinner
||Height: 1.0 inch (2.6 cm)
Length: 4.9 inch (12.4 cm)
Width: 3.5 Inch (8.8 cm)
||H.265 4K hardware decoding
1080P HDMI output
Support for 1920*1080 resolution
||Audio line out/headphone minijack (digital/analog)
HDMI port support multichannel audio output
|Ports and Connections
||Two USB 2 ports
Micro SD Slot
DC Power Input
802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi wireless networking compatible
Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology
||Line voltage: 100-240V AC
Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz, single phase
Maximum continuous power: 15W
Operating temperature: 50 to 95 ℉ (10 to 35 ℃)
Storage temperature: -40 to 116 ℉ (-40 to 47 ℃)
||Your Remix Mini comes with 90 days of support and a one-year limited warranty.
|In the Box
Here are the specifics on the mish mash of hardware that was in the benchmarking.
||Jide Remix Mini
||Moto G LTE XT1045
||ASUS Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
||1.2GHz quad-core cortex A53 (64-bit) Allwinner
||Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8226 / ARM Cortex-A7 1200Mhz 32bits Quad-Core
||Intel Atom Z3580 Quad-core 2.3 GHz
||Android OS v5.1 (Lollipop)
||Android OS v5.1.1 (Lollipop)
||Android OS v5.0 (Lollipop)
I'm loving how the computing world is right now. I'm having to compare a PC to smart phones in order to make as much of an apples to apples comparison as I can. So don't expect much in the way of performance from the Mini. As the benchmarks show the Remix Mini preforms about as well as some mid range smart phones.
The lackluster performance of the Mini doesn't necessarily translate into a poor user experience with the Remix OS. It could be a bit snappier at times, but for a $70 PC the performance of the Mini is in my opinion pretty good. It can be used to do the everyday stuff like surfing the internet, TV playback, video streaming, and thanks to the lite nature of Android some gaming.
The Remix OS
The real star of this review is the Remix OS. The Remix OS is a fork of Android that has been tweaked for desktop use. Jide has announced the Remix OS for PC. Meaning you will be able to install the Remix OS on x86 PC's. So the Remix Mini and Ultratablet are no longer the only devices to have the Remix OS. Whats more is apparently it will be released for free. Microsoft should be quaking in its boots.
The Remix OS has all the necessary desktop OS functions like a task bar, start menu, window manager, right clicks, most keyboard shortcuts, file manager, and notification area. Google Play is also supported and most apps will work with the Remix OS. The ones that don't will usually run, but if without touch input some apps just don't translate well. Jide tries to alleviate these issues with a great support website and experimental features like toggling the mouse wheel to act as a swipe gesture for example. The experimental features can be accessed in the Settings. Speaking of Settings I really like how Jide done the Settings. It looks more like the traditional Control Panel from years gone by. Jide will also let you experiment with testing versions of the Remix OS. You just have to enable this in the update options.
All in all I really liked the Remix OS. There is only one thing that I would like to see Jide add to the Remix OS. Local user accounts. This would allow for multiple users to keep there own settings and preferences and keep people from using one another's Google accounts. I'm guessing Jide has kept from this intentionally as to keep Google off it's back about the possibility of using another persons installed app without having purchased it.
I have included some screen shots below that were grabbed using the excellent screen capture tool that comes bundled with the Remix OS to give more life to my poor description of the Remix OS.
Jide has done a terrific job with the Remix Mini and for anybody looking for an alternative to the traditional Wintel PC solution the Mini was worth a look. Jide has complicated the matter by releasing the Remix OS as a standalone product that can be ran on x86 hardware. So you will be able to try out the Remix OS on any old PC by booting from a USB drive. So the question becomes why shell out $70 for a Remix Mini when I can download the alpha version of Remix OS for PC now? Hopefully armed with the information that has been laid out here you'll be able to answer this question for yourself.
Stay tuned for more as I will be looking at the Remix OS for PC.