Thursday, November 29, 2012

MK802 Media PC Review

I recently made a post comparing the specs of the A10 based MK802 to the RaspBerry Pi. For those who are unaware the MK802 is a low cost, Android based media PC you can pick up on Amazon for less than 40 USD. A little over a month ago I replaced my desktop sized media computer with an MK802 - today I would like to share with you my thoughts on the device.

The Hardware:

The MK802 is a little bit larger than a flash drive and the package includes a power adapter, HDMI mini to HDMI cable, a user manual and a few USB cables:

Now, the MK802 has only a single USB port, which means unless you have a keyboard/mouse combination you are going to want to be sure to pick up a USB hub to go with this device so you can attach multiple peripherals to it.

I have read reviews that said this little device is prone to over heating - I do not believe such reviews. I've left my MK802 powered on for over a week straight and playing hours of video in a single sitting without issues. It is a little trooper.

The Software:
The default operating system that comes with the MK802 is a fairly stock version of Android 4.0. So much in fact that it is very clearly designed for a tablet computer - not a media center PC. Still, the GUI functions well enough with a USB keyboard/mouse and with a few minor tweaks it is near perfect.

The first thing I did on the device was disable the on-screen keyboard. It seemed terribly silly to have a giant keyboard take up half my TV screen every time I clicked into a text box. This issue is quickly solved by installing and configuring the Null Keyboard application from the Play Store.

Speaking of the Play Store, I've installed several applications from there and most of them have worked fine - however not all of them. For example Google's Chrome for Android does not support the device.

One nice thing about the device is that the version of Android on it is rooted by default and the device knows what to do with an APK file when you click on it in the file manager.

In terms of speed the MK802 isn't going to win and records. The 1.5ghz single core processor runs most applications fast enough, but there is a noticeable speed reduction when using multiple applications on the device simultaneously. If you are interested in the full specs of the device I would direct you to my post here.

Wrapping Up:
Over all I've been very happy with my purchase of the MK802. It has aptly replaced my media PC at a low cost, while using much less power. I would highly recommend this device to anyone looking for a cost effective media PC device.

As an aside I haven't been successful in booting an alternative operating system on the device - but I'm not giving up yet. Bodhi Linux will be booting on this thing before the end of the user.

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. Did you get ext4 to work?

    1. I have not yet. Haven't had time to screw around with custom kernel modules.

  2. Hello. I have an mk802 too and I use linuaro linux:

    I hope that this can be an good start for trying linux this little gadget :)

    1. That was the first image I tried. It refuses to boot on my MK802 device :-/

  3. Okay, that did it. My Amazon order is on it's way. With Netflix, it will be perfect for giving my secondary TV some smarts.

    Thank you Jeff, I will be looking for more tips and tricks from you.

  4. have you tried xbmc on it?

  5. Quick question.

    Why would you choose this over a UG802 based device? Dual core 1.6 with similar features?

    1. My goal was a sub-50$ device with decent Linux support. While some work has been done on getting Ubuntu/Debian working on the Rock chip with UG802 uses - it is far from being as open source friendly as the A10 based chipset the MK802 uses.

  6. I have one of these too and am glad you are working on Bodhi Linux for it!

    I think the 1.5 Ghz is an advertising myth though. The actual Cortex A8 runs around 900 mhz, not 1.5 Ghz. (it plays Plants vs Zombies fine, so I am fine no matter the Mhz are).

    I read about the overheating too. I expect it is a rare circumstance, but they do run quite warm all the same. Mine has not locked up or cooked in the months I've had it.

    Anyway, just wanted to say "thanks". You make great stuff and your opinion is always interesting

  7. Jeff,

    Unless there is some key difference about this device from my Mele A2000 based on the same chipset, then the very newest Netflix release will once again work on it. In fact, with my A2000 it actually runs better than 1.8.1, which is what I was forced to stick with until the most recent release a few days ago (was it November 26?).


    This is an older device, so you'd expect it to be less powerful. It is still cheaper than a UG802 device, though I agree that the newer device is worth the c. 20$(US) price difference when used strictly as an Android device.

    Still, this device will automatically boot from a properly prepared SD card, and it is pre-rooted. There have been several prepared Linux images for the SD card released for this older device. On the other hand, the UG802 devices are not rooted out of the box (though there is now a technique to root them), and no Linux images have been released for them (though I would expect that to change eventually since the new SoC is a popular one). The older devices, besides being cheaper, are generally more open to begin with, and that can be useful.

  8. Have you tried Plex on it? That would be my main use.

  9. I totally agree with your choice (but then again, I am biased).

    Here are a couple of good sources:

    I hope you get Bodhi running soon. That would be FANTASTIC!

  10. Box arrived from Amazon. It runs. Netflix works.. that's about the only reason why I'd want to run Android on it though.

  11. The Lubuntu versions from Miniand run fairly well, but booting from SD card is inconsistent, works maybe 1 out of 4 times. Most of the time there is no signal to the display. I see no activity indicator on the device besides the power light. At least the RPI has lights giving you some feedback.

  12. In case anyone may be interested in my experiences; I settled on using this device mainly for Netflix. Using a USB cable to a port on the TV, it powers up when I turn the TV on. Not all my USB cables worked for this purpose. It works fine with my Mediatomb server, but I consider it a waste to use a TV for playing music.