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Android MK809 II TV dongle review

Author

Seán Byrne
Senior Administrator & Reviewer
Article posted 17 Mar 13 00:18

Introduction

Review: Android MK809 II TV
Reviewed by: Seán
Provided by: Justop
Firmware: 4.1.1

The MK809 II is an Android powered device that effectively turns any TV (with HDMI input) into an advanced Smart TV.  The problem with most Smart TVs is their features effectively become obsolete in as little as a year of purchase as the TV manufacturers limit new features to new TVs, even on TVs with marketing such as “Software-upgradable for future services”.  By using an Android set top box such as this MK809 II, the user gains access to a huge range of apps available on Android, far more than what’s available on most Smart TVs, including those that feature downloadable Apps.

Most Android apps that work on an Android Smartphone or Tablet will also run on the MK809 II, which means that if there is a music or video service anyone likes to use on their Android based Tablet, it will likely work fine on the MK809 II, allowing the user to take advantage of their large TV or sound system without wondering if the app/service will ever be made available for their so-called Smart TV.  In fact, most Android Apps can be simply “side-loaded” from a SmartPhone or Tablet to this without any problem. 

According to its specifications, it is preloaded with Android 4.1, features a Cortex A9 Dual Core CPU with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and supports Full HD (1080p) with its HDMI output, so we can expect similar performance to a typical Android Tablet with a Dual Core CPU.  As it lacks multi-touch support and motion sensors, it will have compatibility problems with Apps that depend on these features, such as certain games and utilities that rely on two finger gestures. 
 

Company Information

Unlike most products we review, the MK809 II appears to be resold under various brands and does not have a familiar brand name.  Our model was sold as Justop, a company which sells various Android devices and accessories.

The product does have its own website, appropriately named MK809.com, which provides technical specs and firmware updates for the device.
 

Drive Specifications


We obtained the specifications of the MK809 II from its website (typos corrected):

System parameters

Product Type

MK809II Android TV

CPU

RK3066 DUAL CORE

Main Frequency

Cortex-A9, up to 1.6GHZ

Inner memory

1GB  DDR3

Memory

8GB

Storage

MicroSD card or mobile hard disk

Operating system

Android 4.1

The main function

User interface

Using the Android system interface style

Browser

Browse webpage

Video

Can be connected to the Internet, watching video online

Audio

MP3/WMA/APE/FLAC/AAC/OGG/AC3/WAV

Music

Can be connected to the Internet, listen to music online

Picture

Supports variety of image formats browsing (jpg、png、bmp…)

Flash

Supports flash 11.1

Storage Expansion

Micro SD memory card and mobile hard disk expansion

Interface definitions and specifications

USB

USB HOST 2.0 & USB OTG

SD card

Micro SD card

HDMI

Connecting high-definition TV, the output audio and video signals.

Voltage parameters

5V-1.5A

Appearance description

Display

Through the HDMI output display

Product Dimension L×W×H

90mmx40mmx13mm

What’s inside the box


Let us first start by taking a look at the retail packaging as well as what the device ships with.

The following images show the retail box this drive came shipped in.

 
Top & Bottom


Top Cover removed

The contents of the package are as follows:

The retail bundle consists of:

  • Android 809 II Mini PC
  • Micro USB cable
  • HDMI extension cable
  • OTG to USB port adapter
  • USB power supply*
  • MK809 operating guide

*Note: The power supply is usually sold separately, but was included in the bundle we purchased for this review.

Unlike most set top boxes that are ready to use out of the box, the MK809 II requires a USB mouse, which is not included.  Pretty much any PC USB mouse and keyboard can be used, including cordless mice and combo keyboard/mouse kits.  The device does not come with a remote control either.  Whilst this device is usually sold without a power supply, it can be powered by the USB port present on most modern LCD TVs.  Based on user reports around the web, a dedicated power supply gives better Wi-Fi reception and allows it to provide additional power over its USB ports.

Now let us take a closer look at the MK809 II:


Top


Reverse side

The MK809 II is about the size of a typical mobile Smartphone and is made of hard black plastic.  Unlike most set top boxes, it has no buttons or LEDs and thus totally depends on a USB mouse to interact with it. 

Now let’s take a look at its connections:


Micro USB for power and main USB port


HDMI connector, revealed under its cap


MicroSD card slot and OTG Micro USB port

The MK809 II has the following connections:

  • Micro USB port that supplies its power
  • Full size USB port
  • OTG Micro USB port to connect a second USB device using the supplied OTG adapter
  • MicroSD card slot for additional storage

As we can see in the first picture showing its connections, the quality control during production is quite poor with the USB ports not aligning properly with the openings in the outer case.  However, from our testing, all ports on this device appear to function properly and did not give any connectivity issues throughout our review. 

Due to its compact size, the device can be easily hidden behind a TV without the need to make room for yet another set top box.  If the TV has a USB port that can provide adequate power, then this device can be powered without taking up an additional power outlet either. 

The device is very straight forward to hook up – Just plug the HDMI end into a HDMI port on the TV, attach the USB receiver of a USB mouse and connect the micro USB cable for power.  The device automatically powers on and then it’s just a matter of choosing this input source with the TV remote.  The HDMI extension cable can be used to plug it into a recessed HDMI port or to move the device further away from the TV to improve its Wi-Fi reception.

Unlike most media players and set top boxes, the MK809 II does not have any analogue TV outputs, let alone any audio connections.  This means that the MK809 II can only be used with a HDMI port.  As the audio is carried over HDMI, this rules out the possibility of using an old PC monitor with DVI/HDMI input as a display unless the user uses Bluetooth headphones or speakers. 

The following shows an example of what it looks like along with an SD card reader attached to its OTG port:

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