A few months ago I backed the Remix Mini project on Kickstarter, which was a massive success. Initially just looking for a modest $50k, Jide ended up raising more than $1.5 million.
I backed the $80 early bird tier which got me 2 x 2G Remix Mini Android PC’s with 16gb of storage (although some is taken by the OS).
The whole premise of the Remix Mini is to offer a fully featured Android powered PC (which is tiny) at a really low cost, running on a forked version of Android 5.1 aptly called Remix OS. Comparatively, there is nothing else out there like this.
So how does it stack up? Firstly, can I just say how glad I am to back a project on Kickstarter and actually receive it in a timely manner. Not all projects deliver on time, but the Remix team managed to ship within a week of their initial estimate.
The Remix Mini is definitely no supercomputer that will produce amazing benchmark results, but for the $70 retail cost you get a quite powerful little Android PC.
– 1.2GHZ quad-core Allwinner processor
– 16GB of flash storage
– 2GB of RAM
– 802.11b/g/n Wifi
– Bluetooth 4.0
– Ethernet port
– 2 x USB 2.0 ports
– Micro SD slot
– HDMI port
– 3.5mm headphone jack
Setup / First Boot
I was surprised how quick it was to get everything setup. From turning on until booting into a usable desktop environment, it takes about 20 seconds.
Initial setup took about 2 minutes (choosing language, connecting to wifi and logging into my Google account). I used a wireless keyboard and mouse, plugged in the adaptor and everything just work.
I then performed some updates on Google apps and services, installed apps and games I wanted and in 10 minutes I had a nice customised Remix Mini.
A note on screen resolution:
By default my resolution defaulted to 720p which looked horrible on my 50″ TV. Go into the display settings and change it to 1920×1080 and you’ll immediately notice the difference. This seems to be happening to everyone, so don’t be surprised or worried if everything looks horrible on first boot (which it will).
Remix OS 2.0
Quite an impressive operating system. You can tell in some parts it is based on Android 5.1, but for the most part Remix OS looks like a Linux distro. This is what Chrome OS should have been.
One of my favourite features of Remix OS is the fact it comes with a legit file manager application that looks great.
Everything feels intuitive. The usual keyboard keys work, my keyboard volume keys adjust volume, the
print screen button launches the screenshot tool. Hitting the Windows key opens up the start-like menu. Everything felt fast and snappy. Installing apps is easy and there is something liberating about browsing the Play Store with a keyboard and mouse.
Rather than focusing most of this review on features you can look up yourself, I thought I would focus on application compatibility with social media apps, streaming, gaming and more. After all, the Remix Mini is nothing without great app support.
Ultimate Guitar Tabs & Chords
As a guitarist who is always learning to play covers, this app is invaluable. I have the tab pro in-app purchase (which I don’t have on the normal website) and my phone’s small screen makes it hard to see tabs sometimes. Lucky, this works!
I use Slack for communicating at my day job and also on various contracting gigs as well. Works well.
Worked without any issues. I was able to post statuses, browse and do everything I can in the app on my Galaxy S6.
Another application that works without issue. You could just use the website, but the app will always yield better performance.
The Remix doesn’t have a camera, but it does support various webcams, so Instagram could be useful, although I am not sure if you can use a webcam with Instagram. This app seemingly works as well.
Being an official Google application, I knew this would already work. A few of the Remix demos showed Youtube use as well.
When I am on the computer I love to listen to music through Spotify. This is one of those essential applications in my opinion. Once again, this appears to be a fully functioning application.
Although it does look a little strange on a large screen. Maybe the web browser version of Spotify might look better fullscreen? Still works though.
At the moment there is an issue with Remix OS and Netflix. However, it is an issue the team are aware on and trying to get a patch out for as soon as possible. The app itself loads, but I was unable to stream any content, which is the same for everyone else.
Even though this game has its shortcomings, I still play it. I thought I would see how this drag and touch heavy application faired with a keyboard and mouse. There is a bit of lag (I have a big city), but the game is usable.
Worth mentioning to be able to login and get my city via Google Play Games, I had to perform a couple of updates as prompted for the game services and games app itself. I also experienced one crash as well, but only because I was scrolling fast.
Clash of Clans
Another game I play a bit is Clash of Clans. When you’re building your village, sometimes the drag and drop can be annoying. My immediate thought was a mouse would make it easier to create more precise town layouts.
I love this Adventure Time game. And to my amazement, it works well on the Remix. There is a little lag on the initial table load animation, when the screen spins but it isn’t a dealbreaker.
Candy Crush Soda Saga
The old classic addictive game Candy Crush. It works surprisingly well on the Remix, it makes it easier to play and it looks great as well.
Words With Friends
Some of us still play this game and surprisingly it works well on Remix OS. There is a word for that, oh yeah it’s: awesome.
Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Powerpoint
The whole gang of Microsoft Office applications works on the Remix. So now you can do word processing, create your school reports and write your novel.
Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Sheets
As expected, all of Google’s office type tools work. This means if you’re not part of the 1% and still use Microsoft Office, you probably use Google’s free office alternatives.
I am pretty impressed with the Remix Mini. But there are a few downsides, which are definitely not dealbreakers.
- No ability to zoom in and out inside of apps. I couldn’t find a way to replicate pinch to zoom
- Encountered various UI glitches (flashing windows and text)
- Low specification hardware means some games lag
- Included HDMI cable is really short
- Some UI lag when switching between apps (multitasking isn’t that great)
- Power adaptor doesn’t come in an Australian size, so I had to get a US plug and use a converter
- Not all apps are optimised for larger resolutions (not Remix’s fault though)
Uses for the Remix Mini
You’re probably wondering, why do I need a Remix Mini, what makes it a better choice than a cheap Android tablet or phone? Or an old laptop.
- A very kid friendly device. The ability to install games is a bonus and there are a lot of kid friendly apps that would work on this.
- A cheap study PC. If you’re just wanting something for writing text for school studies and the occasional Youtube/Facebook consumption.
- A media centre PC. With its HDMI output and support for 4K HD streaming, you can install Plex or Netflix and use it as a media PC.
- In-car PC. The size of the Remix Mini makes it perfect for an in-car PC paired with a touchscreen and powered from the cigarette lighter (the Remix only consumes 5 volts of power).
- IoT (Internet of Things) enabled device. Wanting to experiment with creating internet connected devices, then the Remix is a great entry with support for HDMI, Bluetooth, Wifi and more.
- For traveling. Don’t like the thought of carrying a laptop? Take your Remix with you, HDMI cable, keyboard/mouse and plug it into the hotel room TV.
I am impressed. The Remix Mini isn’t overly powerful, but for simple use it is fantastic and Remix OS is equally as impressive, it is what Chrome OS should have been.
Unless you’re wanting to play visually demanding games, the Remix can handle pretty much anything you throw at it, and for the price, it can’t be beaten.
Just got mine today, performance is pretty solid I’d say. A bit of UI lag here and there, impressive performance, still. I hope the devs would constantly improve them. A good buy, and I’d recommend this to my other geek friends! not yet ready for mass consumer yet tho..
How to zoom out/in :
Go to ‘Settings > About > Kernel version’ and click 7 times on it. This will turn on more Experimental features. Go to ‘Settings > Experimental features > Simulate 2 finger pinch gestures’ and turn the feature on. Then, while holding ALT+CTRL, right click on your mouse and move the mouse around to simulate pinch gestures.
How bad is the UI lag and flashes?
…compared to something like ChromeOS on the HP Chromebook 11 with ARM processor?
I’m thinking of getting one to replace my Chromebook. I’d just love to have Android all across different platforms for design continuity.
To be honest, I have definitely seen worse. If you try multitasking too much, the low-spec hardware will cause some lag, but it isn’t unbearable. I am genuinely surprised how great the Remix Mini is, even when you’re trying to do a few things at once.
Bought the first one for my own use/trial and find it great for use with email (Aquamail app) and browsing the Internet. I happen to have a car dealer who needed two computers for the shop (grimy and dirty) to use their Server based management system. Loaded the Microsoft Remote Desktop App and it worked perfectly. I now have two new computers for under $100 each that will not suck in dirt as they have no fans. Take up no space at all compared to a Windows Desktop unit. Once they are mounted with the 24″ monitor on an extending arm, wireless Logitech K400 keyboard with a touchpad, and an $11.00 adapter to convert the HDMI to VGA, we will have a very inexpensive system for the job at hand. Of course, the biggest advantage is no Windows 10 crap to deal with.
…support for 4K HD streaming….
Is something I hoped for. But I’ve seen no one actually telling us how you can stream 4K material (and better; SEE 4K).
Higher than Full-HD is not possible at the moment(?)
Can you access a shell?
Hello, I have just received a Remix Mini for Christmas. I Googled for IoT on the Remix Mini, and got to this web page. So I have never used Android in my life. I am a C/C++/Java programmer though who has been using Unix (almost all flavors, including Linux, which I consider Unix-enough although it isn’t POSIX) since the 1990s. I only mention these to say that I am a nerd well enough to be interested in doing something useful with the Remix Mini. So anyway, I am curious as to how I can use the Remix Mini as an IoT device. As a first project, I would like to use an unused webcam lying around in my house, and make the Remix Mini serve up a video and audio stream of my garage. Can you point me to online resources on how I can start developing IoT software for the Remix Mini? SDKs? APIs? I can run CentOS in Parallels Desktop on my 15″ rMBP if Linux is what it takes to develop for the Remix Mini. Much thanks in advance for pointing me in the right direction. Oh, and Merry Christmas, everyone!
Honestly without some kind of jailbreak, you can’t really put anything on the Remix that is not on the Google Play store or installed manually. You could develop an Android application and enabling developer mode, install it that way. The API’s and SDK’s I would imagine are just the standard Android ones. The Remix in my testing supports the use of webcams and other peripherals, and there are plenty of apps on the store, so there might be a security type application that does what you already want to do.
While looking for the most effective feasible online resource concerning Gaming laptop computer computer systems I’ve discovered your site as well
as found it actually appealing as well as insightful. I have actually found out a
great deal by merely reading few of your customers as well as write-ups discussions and also I hope you could continue
creating more regarding this topic in the future for the benefit
of other individuals. I wish you could showcase the most recent laptop computer systems produced video gaming on your following upgrade.
I am looking for a site or blog that has short articles about Bereavement
leave Philippines DOLE and discovered ypur site on Google.
I should state, I amm pleased onn your writing skills and
the ifo that you share is really valuable and can not be found anywhere.
Keep up the excellent work and I will return to your site regularly and will likewise share iit to myy friends.