Back in August, I wrote about a Chinese startup’s mission to rope in $50,000 towards the production of its Remix Mini, the self-proclaimed “world’s first true Android PC.” That very same day, not only did Jide receive its goal of $50,000 in pledges, it exceeded its objectives twenty-fold to the tune of $1 million pledged.
Now, if you didn’t get the chance to score a Remix Mini when it was available for 20 bucks on Kickstarter, the company has posted a more capacious offering on Amazon, albeit at a steeper cost. To be clear, this isn’t the version with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of flash storage we saw on Kickstarter earlier this year. Instead, this version boasts 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, with a going rate of $70. Still not a bad deal by any means, but it’s no twenty-dollar computer.
Nonetheless, the Remix Mini comes fully stocked with Remix OS, a custom Android kernel that makes the mobile platform run more akin to a desktop OS like Windows, or more comparably, Linux. While its appearance may remind you of an Apple TV or a Roku, it’s intended to be used more like a desktop, with a mouse and keyboard, rather than an entertainment system.
With the Remix Mini, you can compose and revise documents, browse the Internet, play games, and do practically anything else you could do with an Android phone or tablet. The main difference is hardware connections. While most phones and tablets running Android aren’t equipped with proper HDMI or Ethernet ports, the Remix Mini is, making it a convenient and affordable choice for projecting to a monitor and establishing a wired network connection.
While I haven’t had the chance to test out a Remix Mini for myself, Brad Linder from Liliputing said it “really does feel like a desktop… sometimes.”
That’s because while it adds a taskbar, start menu, resizable windows, and other features you might expect from a desktop, much of the software fails to make a smooth transition from phone to PC. A lot of Android games, for instance, don’t work well with a traditional mouse and keyboard setup. And even though you can plug in any controller supported by the OS, not every game is going to have support for those inputs.
“When I tried using Firefox to write blog posts for Liliputing,” Linder writes, “there was horrible lag between the time I typed a word on the keyboard and the time it showed up on the screen.”
On the bright side, Remix Mini is much better at running video streaming services like Netflix and YouTube. Then again, so is a Fire TV Stick or a Chromecast, and at even more affordable prices. If you’re in desperate need of a cheap computer for writing up Google Docs or light web browsing and gaming, Remix Mini might satisfy that quick fix. If you’re looking for something more intensive, however, you may want to search in the complete opposite direction.
The 16GB Remix Mini is currently available exclusively on Amazon in the United States. There’s no word yet on whether the original, less expensive version is going to make its way to market.
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