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21 noviembre 2014

[UPDATE] Guía de GameStreaming V2.0

Guía de GameStreaming V2.0


Buenas a todos!

He publicado la actualización de mi guía de straming, en la que he separado los temas para hacer mas liviano y fácil de comprender los conceptos.

Guía de GameStreaming V2.0

Como principal novedad en esta guía está la información de streaming remoto, esto es, lograr conectarnos y jugar en nuestro pc de casa, estando fuera de nuestra red.


Ahora tenemos separadas cada alternativa de streaming, de tal forma que podemos revisar directamente la que nos interese:


  • Steam
  • LimeLight
  • Kainy
  • Splashtop Gamepad THD


Así, si por ejemplo sólo disponemos de Steam, puedes saltar directamente a esta alternativa y buscar la información que te es relevante, omitiendo el resto de aplicaciones que no vas a utilizar.

Esta guía seguirá en evolución, ya que algunos artículos están incompletos y necesitan que me dedique a ellos para extenderlos, pero a rasgos generales creo que contiene la información necesaria para obtener un streaming/gamestreaming satisfactorio, eso sí, todo dependerá de las configuraciones (infraestructura de red, hardware de nuestro equpio, etc) que dispongamos para jugar.

Importante es que te leas algunos puntos de la guía que corresponden a conceptos generales, que no necesariamente tendrás que utilizar/aplicar, pero que es muy probable que haga referencias a ellos cuando esté explicando algún punto de la guía.

También, y dentro de este mismo marco informativo, hay una sección de Consejos Generales que es muy recomendable que también revises, por si te da ideas de como mejorar tu configuración y con esto ganar en calidad de streaming.

Streaming de consolas de sobremesa


El aspecto mas destacable de esta guía, y el que mas atención pueda tener, es que he aprovechado las propias soluciones de GameStreaming que he explicado, y las he aplicado para obtener un streaming de consolas de sobremesa, incluyendo control sobre las mismas (y con esto un gamestraming completo)



Para consultar directamente esta parte de la guía, visitar la sección Gamestreaming de consolas de sobremesa

Me he tomado el tiempo para investigar, probar, ponerme en contacto con gente, invertir recursos, etc, con el fin de lograr sacar un resultado práctico que se ha traducido en esta guía, y que espero sinceramente le pueda servir a alguien.

Nota: La guía está en español, y dada su extensión veo complicado sacar una versión en inglés (falta de tiempo sobre todo)

Zalu2!

02 octubre 2014

[REVIEW] Minix Neo X8-H (Set Top Box)

[REVIEW] Minix Neo X8-H (Set Top Box)



Acknowledgments


To the store Belchine for send me a sample of the product Minix Neo X8-H to test it and write this review.


Usage of this article


Author give permission to use this review, part of this or by a link reference, to anybody wants to use it, with only one condition that you must keep the author of this article, and the original source, that is on my blog.

For any update for the content of this article, i suggest to visit the link avobe.



Introduction

This is not the first time i reviewed a Minix product, and for this reason i have some expectations about the device itself. I know Minix is a quality manufacturer, that bring very good devices and support for their customers, and this anyone that checked one of these products can understand what i mean with this.

Visually, the device looks excact that any other Minix product. In fact, time ago i reviewed Minix Neo X7, and have exact aspect. This may be a point to consider if you think in a device that want to generate a specific brand of products (Minix Neo), but they can´t differentiate one each other. May be a little model logo/name in the chasis may be enought for solve this "detail" (that is not a real problem, really)

In the testings of the product, i have some issues with this, but most of these problems was generated by the firmware stock of the device, that is not running properly. Understanding that this is a software related problem, i focused in testing the device and obtain clear results on testings for offering here.

Hope you found this article interesting and useful.



Product showcase

(Checking of the external view of the package)




Minix take care on their packages, providing a good protection for their contents, and at the same time are so informative bout it. This case, you can found the most important features of the device printed ont he surface of the box.



As you can see, there are some icons that are quick to understand:

  • 4K Ultra HD output display
  • XMBC, there is a specific version of installed by default.
  • Android KitKat logo
  • Wifi "n", 802.11n Dual Band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5.8GHz)
  • Quad-Core CPU
  • Octa-Core GPU (Mali 450)
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB Internal storage




This image display the contents of the device.

The interior is distributed for optimal transport, minimizing shocks to the device.




Al the content fit without problem in the box, under the plastic mold where the device is.


Package contents

(Unboxing y full description of the package contents)


When the package is opened, we found the following elements thats, i understand, are part of any standard shippment for this product.



  • Minix Neo X8-H device
  • Remote Control
  • MicroUSB OTG Cable
  • MicroUSB Data Cable
  • HDMI Cable
  • Power supply
  • External wifi antenna
  • User's Manual
  • Quick guide



Product description

(Enumerate of components that conform the product)


In the following section i will explain briefly each component that comform the device, listing each component existing in their structure and doing comments about these elements when i consider.

In this section i will list only the device parts that may contain elements interesting to comment.

Note: These faces of the device that don´t containt any element i will omit.

Front view




  • Power led (blue, when connected)




Rear view





  • Recover (Service) button
  • HDMI Output
  • Optical audio output
  • USB 2.0 port 1
  • USB 2.0 port 2
  • Lan port (RJ45 Ethernet 10/100)
  • Power in port (5V)



Right side view



  • Power button
  • Audio output jack 3.55mm
  • Mic jack
  • USB 2.0 port
  • SDCard Slot (Normal SD Card size)
  • MicroUSB OTG Port (Service USB)


Left side view






  • Wifi antenna port



Top view




  • Minix Logo


First Impression

(What i feel in my first impression with the device)


As expected, the first impression was so good. The feeling of the device manufacture is good, and all the accesories that come with it in the box bring a very good feeling about the manufacturer.

I connected the device to my TV and i don´t get signal. After checking i hear something into the box. Because i don´t get any video signal, i decided to open the device for inspection, and foun a little plastic piece that i don´t know from where is.

Moving a little bit the HDMI connector i managed to, finally, get video signal.

I tested few things of the device, but after some minutes it hangs i must disconnect from power for reboot.

At this stage, i assumed i received a defective unit, a very strange case in my oppinion if we talk about Minix products, but there is always some probability that this happend.

My feeling about this turn negative, because i can´t get this to work properly, and do many testings for some days.

Recovery was not working properly. When running the device in Recovery mode, any external storage was not recognized (for update firmware, as example), and can´t use internal for this.

USB port was not working proper for flashing directly from PC. (Windows can´t recognize proper the device). I assumed that the problem come from the SoC, that most probably get the USB port poor welded, or get broked by some blow in transport.

After some days i finally found a way to get USB working in Recovery mode. The steps are these:


  • Boot normally the device
  • insert any USB flashdrive or SDCard, and wait some seconds.
  • install any terminal app
  • go to terminal and reboot the device (soft reboot):
    adb reboot
When the device reboot, the external storage will be correctly mounted, and you can use it for upgrading the device.

Using this way, i managed to upgrade to a Beta firmware (currently there are two release candidates), and after this the device start running properly.

With this new firmware i was able to test the device, but still there are few problems to solve. As example, Antutu benchmark can´t do a complete testing (program unexpected stop) and other minor issues, but with this in mind i generate all the testing and collecting information about the device for offer here.



In another hand, the device come with two launchers, Android standard launcher and MINIX Metro Launcher, that as their name mean, is a Windows Metro Style launcher, that is nice to view and operate.


There is a tool for config specific features of the devices, that you can´t access from normal android settings screen.





The Display Position is a useful setting that help the user to adjust the screen size of the display, to adjust to their screen TV output. In my case, i tested the device in two different TV, and one of them can´t get the full android screen display (can´t see the bottom status bar with soft buttons), and i must adjust the "zoom" for solve this.




For now, my impression about the device is good. The device is running ok, even with stressed scenario (usually i using 1.9GHz CPU Clock, and performance governor), and except the hot surface (not so hot, but some), the device only get hang few times, that is a good result consider that in the same conditions, other devices hangs with only few minutes of activity.


Product information




According with the manufacturer, or searching info on web pages, we can found many sources of information about the device and sometimes these information may be not consistent (may be different from one web page to other), and this may cause some confusion for anybody that wants to get info about this product.

On this section i will post the info i get from the manufacturer (or is not possible, the web page that i consider more reliable), listing only the relevant points for a tech analysis of the product, and omit these points that don´t get any relevant info about the device (as many time we found on many pages, things such video capabilities, mail capabilities, etc, that really are software based features that we can install on the device, and not a real feature of the device itself)


  • Processor : Quad-Core Cortex A9r4 Processor 
  • GPU : Octo-Core Mali 450
  • Memory : 2GB DDR3
  • Internal Storage : 16GB eMMC
  • External Storage : SD/MMC card reader (SD 3.0, MMC V4.41)
  • Wireless Connectivity : 802.11n Dual Band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5.8GHz)
  • Bluetooth : 4.0
  • OS : Android™ KitKat 4.4
  • Video Output : HDMI™ 1.4b, up to 4K @ 30fps
  • Audio Output : HDMI™ 1.4b, 3.5mm stereo jack, optical SPDIF
  • LAN : RJ-45 Ethernet jack (10/100Mbps)
  • USB :  2.0 port x 3, OTG port x 1 
  • Ports : Microphone jack, Headphone jack,IR receiver (remote included)
  • Power : DC 5V, 3A adapter included (CE, FCC, CCC certified)


Info from the device itself (Android info)


In first place, to get a reliable source of info about the system, i take some screenshots from the same device showing android system info (thata usually is insufficient), and from another software that can give us more detailed information about the system, and with this info we can get a general idea about the capabilities of the device.




Android system settings info and factory setup.















Antutu Benchmark X System Info






Quadrant Standard Info






CPU-Z





Benchmarks



For people that don´t know about these programs, i can tell (in short words) that a benchmark is a program or normalized test that runs on a device. These tests give points (usually, averaging many results) the performance of a device, in the way that the final total point may be useful to compare, in a simple and direct way, the general performance between many devices.

There are so many benchmarks on Google Play Store, but in my test usually i use the most populars.

For the running of these benchmarks, the initial conditions of the device are:

  • CPU Frequency: 1.992 GHz *
  • CPU Governor: Performance
  • Screen Resolution: 1920x1080 pixels
* I tested with two firmwares, and show here the results of the last i installed (beta)

With the stock firmware, the device have so much hangs/freezes, even setting the max speed to 1.2GHz and governor = hotplug or interactive. Beta firmware is most stable and let to me to run at max speed of the CPU, and governor = performance.



3DMark - The Gamer´s Benchmark

 (Google play version)


This benchmark have two parts, the first "normal" called "Ice Storm", and the second with high resolution graphics called "Ice Storm Extreme"

The final total is the averaging of all the test of the benchmark (in each of this parts)



Ice Storm




  • Total Score: 7746


Ice Storm Extreme




  • Total Score: 5772


Ice Storm Unlimited




  • Total Score: 8354






Antutu Benchmark X Edition

 (Google Play version)

This is a version special anti-fraud edition from this popular benchmark.

Many manufacturer do some tricks to bring best results when running Antutu Benchmark, most of these tricks is temporal overclocking the CPU/GPU, when the SoC detect the benchmark is running. For this reason, this special edition of Antutu Benchmark was created, to avoiding these kind of cheats/tricks from manufacturers, offering a real result for their tests.

This time i can´t get results for this benchmark, because the app stops abnormally before finish.


The result of the benchmark depends on the moment when the system get the error, and for this reason cannot be taked as right test value.

This time, result is 15243

This time, result is 21253

For this reason, i will not consider this benchmark result as part of my testing for final conclusion.


RealPi Benchmark

 (Google play version)


The main goal of this benchmark is basically to calculate PI with a fixed decimals, and based on the time taked to calculate this.



















  • Pi calculated in: 320 miliseconds


  • CF-Bench



    This benchmark suite is specific designed to test performance of multi-core devices, and get 3 general values (totals): Native Score, Java Score and Overall Score.







    • Native Score: 33086
    • Java Score: 10084
    • Overall Score: 19284



    Epic Citadel



    This benchmark generate an intensive GPU usage, using the Unreal Engine 3 and get as a final result the average framerate that the device can show the test.

    Based on the kind of the devices and their features/capabilities, the benchmark can offer two or three kind of benchamark types: High Performance, High Quality and Ultra Hight Quality (This test only will be available for devices ables to run this benchmark).


    High Performance




    • Average FPS: 40.3


    High Quality




    • Average FPS: 38.9




    Nenamark1



    This benchmark is designed to test OpenGL|ES2.0, and will show graphics with a variety of effects such reflex, dyamic shadows, lights, etc. This version was designed for medium-low devices, but i run as a standard in any device thata i write a review.









      • Total score: 60.0 fps



      Nenamark2



      In the same way as the previous version, this benchmark is designed to test OpenGL|ES2.0, but in medium-hight devices. In the same way, this benchmark show graphics but with Hight Resolution, and apply effects such reflex, dynamic shadows, light, etc.









      • Total score: 60.0 fps



      Mindwill


      Windmill is a technology demonstration that showcases gaming engines from Allegorithmic and Unity. Windmill includes a benchmark mode that pushes your mobile platform to the limit by exercising multiple CPU and GPU cores with complex geometry and interesting texture and shader effects.

      The dynamic change of season and visual style (cartoon, spring, summer, winter) is made possible by the Substance technology.







      • Average Frame Rate: 13.03 FPS (1920x1008)



      This becnhmark is a testing suite, that basically are routines for HTML5 and CPU specific (Metal) testings.



      Browser




      Multicore





      Metal










      • Browser score: 827
      • Multicore score: 1840
      • Metal score: 2049





      GFXBench is a free, cross-platform and cross-API 3D graphics benchmark that measures graphics performance, long-term performance stability, render quality and power consumption with a single, easy-to-use application.

      GFXBench 3.0 adds advanced OpenGL ES 3-features and new special tests to the popular






      Base Mark OS II



      Basemark OS II is a cross-platform "All-In-One" benchmark that evaluates the overall
      performance of any Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8 smartphones and tablets for
      easy comparison.




      Official firmware




      The official firmware of the device is useful for, in example, if we have a "soft-brick", caused by some mods on the system and the device cannot start in a normal way.

      For these cases, is good to get a way to recover the device, and one of these ways is getting the official firmware (and the steps to flash it)

      At the moment of writting this guide, there is no official updates for this device and you can download the Official Release of the stock firmware.As i mentioned in the beginning, firmware stock have some problems that become the device in unusable.

      Looking for some alternative (minix forums), i found few beta firmwares that work better than stock.

      Note: If yoy have problems flashing via microUSB Host port, you can try using flashable zip files for update via recovery.




      Because these firmwares are betas, i will avoid on posting steps for installing here. If you want to install on your device, i suggest to check the Minix Forums link i posted, for more detailed information about how to install.



      Device Rooting


      One of the best things that take advantage on Android, is precisely get the device rooted and the superuser privileges enabled for our needs.

      There are so much users that have scared about the methods to get root on their devices, and for this they don´t get encourage to root it, limiting their experience because there are so much apps that uses this feature. Applications such Titanium Backup or Tincore Keymapper (for mention few) requires root acces to work property.

      The rooting steps i get from androidpc.es, and consist in a flashable zip file by recovery, that add the necessary adjusts on the device to get fully rooted.

      In general speaking, the steps are the following:


      • Download this ZIP file (don´t uncompress)
      • Copy this ZIP file to a SD Card (FAT32 formatted)
      • For ensure the device will read the SD, we will insert this on the device when is turned ON. wait some seconds for Android read your SD card
      • Install any Terminal 



      Descargamos el fichero ZIP de este enlace y NO LO DESCOMPRIMIMOS.
      Copiamos el fichero ZIP en una tarjeta formateada en sistema FAT32, introducimos la SD en el TV-Box apagado. Necesitamos tener conectado un teclado o ratón.
      Con el MINIX X8-H o X8 apagado mantenemos apretado el botón recovery y pulsamos el botón power.

      ClockWorkMod(CWM)/TeamWin Recovery Project (TWRP) - Custom Recovery)




      Android have a special mode called Recovery, that is used many times to recover the device if this have problems to run properly, but there exist an alternative Custom Recovery that add a lot of new functionality and tools, and few of the most popular is one called ClockWorkMod Recovery, and another called Teamwin Recovery Project.

      The most important difference between these both custom recoverys, is the kind of interaction that offer to the user. CWM is focussed on functionality, and is the first that become popular. TWRP bring a nice and very functionaly touch interface, that may be more comfortable for most users.

      There are some devices that can install CWM, another devices that can install TWRP, or some devices that have both versions availables to install. In any case, is so recommended to install any of these custom recovery on the device.

      One of the most important features of these custom recovery, is the NANDROID generation, a way to generate a full backup of the nand (where the operating system resides) to a directory, and can be used as a recovery point for the device in case of semi-brick, or simply if you want to get a clean firmware on it.

      Take note that this backup (nandroid) is a image of the NAND, this means, there will be stored all your configs, users, passwords, accounts, etc. Is a good idea to get a clean firmware insatlled on the device, and install and configure all your base programs (file admins, cloud services, google account, etc) and then get a nandroid for your personal use. When you get back to this image/backup, you will get a clean and configured system, saving lot of time on basic configurations and installing basic software.

      Currently there is a functional version of TWRP for this device, that you can use with a standard USB mouse.



      I installed on the device, but for some reason always when i reboot in recovery, i get normal recovery stock on screen. Most probably i'm doing something wrong, and i will keep trying for update this section when get this to work.

      I found the steps for installing here:
      androidpc.es (original source in freaktab.com)

      When i get the right way of installation, i post my directons to do. for now, please refer to the links i mentioned for more information and support.


      Custom Firmware




      A custom firmware usually is a firmware stock with some moddings, via tweaks or compiled directly from source code (if this exist), and generating an optimized version of the original system.

      Beside the above, the custom firmwares can add new functionality to the device, that originally don´t get in the firmware stock such bluetooth usb dongle support, gamepad support, fixing framework, updating modules, CIFS, etc.

      For now, i´m working on installing the Finless Rom 1.0 for Minix X8 (that i assume is for Minix X8-H too), but until i get sure this is not generating problems on my device (such don´t allow to run conrrectly TWRP recovery), i will avoid for now giving directions about this firmware.

      If you want to test (ALWAYS AS YOU OWN RISK), can visit this link for mas info.


      Game Performance




      As usual, the most common way to show the performance of a device is running and playing games, android natives and emulated (roms) using emulators.

      In the following lines i will show some games and emulators running on the device, and some comments with relevant info.



      Android Games




      Android games are specific for touch screens, and may use another device sensors such tilt sensor, and most of them show on screen controls to interact with the game, but only few of them have native joystick/gamepad support.

      For now, there are some alternatives that we can use to bring these kind of support (joysticks/gamepads and other devices) on these games, bringing another way of playing using physical controls. Most of these alternatives are based on emulating the events and mechanisms that the device originally support for interact with the games. Most of these events are touch screen based, then this kind of apps will "emulate" these touches, linking physical controls (buttons, sticks) to screen locations.


      Red Bull Racers





      Nice game to be played on big screen. There are lots of details and good gameplay, with very simple (touch) controls (you need a tool for map your gamepad to screen).

      There is no slowdowns, even in any camera view.


      Deus Ex





      The game cannot be played normally without touch screen. Considering this, i tested the game to check performance, and all is smooth.

      This game is a very interesting title, bur unfortunately without gampead support is impossible to be played normally on devices without touch screen interface.


      Batman Arkham Origins





      Another game with very good graphics, but lack of gamepad support. This game can be "played" with any touchscreen mapper tool, but the experience will not be the same as gaming in a tablet or smartphone with touchscreen.

      The game run smooth, without problems.


      Soul Calibur





      This game have gamepad support and can be played without problems. There is no graphics glitches, except some specific slowdowns that don´t affect to the gameplay.


      N.o.v.a. 3


      HDMI 480p Output

      HDMI 1080p Putput


      There are some slowdowns presents in the gameplay, in screens with many particles (dust effect, as example)

      I do some testing, changing the output resolution from 480p to 1080p, but the results are so similar.

      Maybe the game need some specific optimization for Mali 450, but in general the gameplay is not much playable.

      Saphalt 8: Airburner






      Run ok. There are slowdowns, but the title is playable in general speaking. Graphics looks great, and can bring to the user a similar experience than any desktop gaming console can give.


      The Dark Knight





      This title don´t have gamepad support, but with any mapping tool you can configure for play.

      There are some slowdowns (specially when fighting with many enemies at the same time), but i appreciate less graphics glitches than other GPUs (as Mali400).



      Emulation (Playing emulated games)





      In the same way that Android games are an important way of testing the performance of a device, emulation is another factor to get in concern, and most important, for systems that are quite hard to be emulated, because with these emulators/roms we can see differences between devices. (most of times, the pure power of a CPU/GPU can run better a game in a device, and get poor performance in another device)

      In Android, we get many emulator alternatives (emulated systems) that we can recreate on the device that we are testing. We can use emulators of old computers, videogame consoles, and is possible to run some x86 system (MS DOS, windows 9x but so limited), and we can run most modern systems such Nintendo64, Playstation one (PSX), both of these emulators are consider the top of the current frontier of emulation, but this is not limited to these systems. There are new emulators that most probably will become the new top/frontier, with emulation of PSP that many games currently are playables with near of 100% of speed, or Nintendo DS, that currently is able to run many titles.at full speed (or near to)

      This way, we can say that the emulators are important than Android games en terms of entertainment, and for this reason are a big and important part of any testing planning of any device.


      PPSSPP (Playstation Portable PSP)




      The only PSP emulator for Android. This app can run many games in a playable way, and get so many updates to improve their emulation and new features.


      Tekken 6




      I can´t get this game to run at full speed without frameskip. There is needed to setup the emulator for getting a good speed that allow to play "normally"

      Check the video for the config i´m using for running this title.


      Tekken Dark Resurrection





      This title requires less resources than Tekken 6, and for this reason run a little bit better.


      Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core





      CGI Video and audio played without any issue. Gameplay is ok, there is no problems that report (except that I'm the worst player out there for this title)


      Mame4Droid (Arcades)




      Personally, i think this is the best arcade emulator on the Store. I prefer this (for arcade) instead of another alternatives than Retroarch or similar, because many titles run smoothly than another emulators.


      Street Fighter Alpha 2





      There is no problems to mention. The title runs perfectly.


      Marvel vs Capcom





      One of my favorites titles for testing and playing. I didn´t appreciate any problem in the gameplay.


      Garou Mark of the Wolves





      I'm not a good player for this title, but as i can appreciate, there is no problems with input timing, sprites are right, and there is really no problems to mention.


      Soul Calibur *





      This is one of these titles that i know cannot run ok in any current android device, but for me is interesting to see the performance of this title.

      * This testing is only this, a test, and cannot be consider in any final conclusion about the general performance of the device.


      Tekken Tag Tournment *




      As the previous title (SoulCalibur), this is only a test for checking the performance of the game running on this device.

      * This testing is only this, a test, and cannot be consider in any final conclusion about the general performance of the device.


      N64Oid (Nintendo 64)




      There are many Nintendo64 emulators on the Google Play Store, but personally i prefer to use this one, that you can buy directly from SlideMe store, and in my opinion, this emulator run better than other options that i tested.


      Banjo Kazooie




      Some graphics glitches and slowdowns, but the title is playable.


      Mupen64 (Nintendo 64)




      This is another Nintendo64 emulator, that have more updates than N64Oid and have a free version on Google Playstore.


      Vigilante 8




      There are graphics glitches, but the title is functional and playable.

      Note: Intro and menus have so much graphic glitches. You must know where are te options for selecting this, because there is no clear image on these screens for selecting options.


      Starfox




      Minor graphic glitches and audio gaps. The game is fully playable.


      Perfect Dark





      First of all, apologize my poor gameplay. Is so complicated to play this when you get usual on other kind of control schemme.

      The game run without major problems.


      Mortal Kombat Mytologies - SubZero




      The game run with sprites and scenario inverted (only Y axe). The game performance is ok, but hard to be played with inverted screen.


      Snes9X EX+ (Super Nintendo)



      A popular Super Nintendo emulator. This section is only for showcase about this emulator. There is no major problems running these titles in general speaking.


      Teeneage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Tournament Fighters




      As expected, the game run without problems. Good speed and control respond.


      Battletoads & Double Dragon The Ultimate Team




      No problems found running this title.


      Donkey Kong Country 2 - Diddy's Kong Quest




      No major problems found running this title.


      Prehistorik Man




      There is no problem running this title.


      Super Double Dragon





      No problems found running this title.


      Reicast (Dreamcast)




      This great emulator allow to us to play our dreamcast games in android devices that don´t requires high end specs (but some decent needed). The emulator is under development, but for now can execute many games in smooth way.



      Dautona USA




      There is a problem with the emulator and the analogs, that don´t allow to me to check the game, but as i can appreciate, there is no major problems in the emulation itself. There is no graphics glitches, and sound is ok.



      Speed Devils





      The same as Daytona. There is a problem with the analogs in the emulator, but the title appear to run without problems in general.



      Soul Calibur



      Emulator versions may be so different and can generate graphics glithces. I'm testing the last version running in the playstore, but i´m sure if i test another version (a nightly as example), some of these problems will not occur.

      Without considering the graphic glitches, i fell the game run ok, with some frameskip but that don´t affect so much the gameplay.



      Project Justice





      I'm not player of this game, but even considering this, i feel that slowdowns don´t let me play normally.


      Gamestreaming




      With this section i want to test devices for gamestreaming, focused in control usage and wifi (strenght, stability, heating)

      My tests are based on the article i wrote for gamestreaming "From PC to our Android Gaming Console" (in spanish, but you can use english translator of the blog), and this may help to bring examples of another kind of usages of the device.

      Usually, i test with the same games, for comparing devices. You can visit my youtube channel for more gameplays on many devices, and compare with this.

      Of course, the image quality of these gameplays are poor than original image on PC, but are enought (most of time) for normal gameplays. There are a little lag too, and for this reason i use games that can play correctly, even with this lag in sound, image and/or controls. For more info, i suggest to visit the link of the article i mentioned previously.

      If you want to see these videos, i suggest to see on your device (mobile/android gaming device). These videos will looks well in small size screens. If you see them in your PC or similar, in full screen, of course you will see a low resolution image quiality, but for devices are enough for playing.



      KAINY





      This app allow to stream from PC (Windows and Linux) to many kind of devices, including:

      • Android (Smartphones, Tablets, Set top Box, etc)
      • IOs (iPhones, iPads, etc)
      • Chrome browser (chrome plugin)
      • PC to PC (using Chrome version, or native windows client)
      • Allow to connect via 3G/4G


      Support up to 4 gampeads (4 concurrent connections to a server), Direct XInput implementation on gamepad and more other features.

      I've tested some games using this alternative, and there are some videos of these testing.



      Sleeping Dogs





      I tested different resolutions for playing this, but in all cases i get similar performance.

      The game cannot be played in "Focus" mode (that may improve the streaming experience). I appreciate so much slowdowns due my PC cannot run this title fluently when running Kainy server.

      There are so much graphics problems, and i must use low quality resolution for the streaming.



      Strike Sector





      Sorry for the bad gameplay, but is so hard to play this title using gamepad.

      I test many graphic configs, but all the time i get similar results.

      I don´t feel the gameplay is good for this kind of title. There are so much slowdowns in the streaming, that don´t let to play normally.



      Devil May Cry





      I feel this title can be played using Kainy on this device. There are some screen slowdowns, but is playable in general speaking.



      Blades of Time






      This is one of the games that i use as base for testing Streaming.

      The image quality is not so good, because i must lower it for gain a little bit in performance.

      There is more lag than other devices i tested. The gameplay is not smooth.




      SPLASHTOP Remote PC Gaming THD




      This APP allow to stream contents from PC to Android, bringing a good quality image, but low level of customization.

      Splashtop THD is optimized to run with NVidia GeForce graphics, and Tegra 2 or better CPU on Android. If you have this, then you can run in optimized mode, that run games in high quality image, and low lag. If you meet the minimal requeriments for this app, then you will get good results streaming your games. Case else, you must run in "compatibility mode" that is a normal non optimized version of streaming.

      This app have gampead support with XInput implementation. For this, the streamer need to install a X360 Controller on windows side, to emulate this using the proper josytick driver from android, and transforming to X360 controller in windows (with XInput support)

      I have tested some games using this solution, and there are some of the videos i captured.


      Tomb Raider





      As expected, the gameplay have so much lag. I´m playing on the computer, and capturing the streaming generated on the device.

      The few last minutes i played directly on the TV, but is so hard to play with this lag, really.


      The Walking Dead





      Better gameplay, because is a game that really don´t need precise input for playing. Quick Time events have a lot of time for interacting with the action.


      Pros, cons and improvements.




      As in every product, there are pros and cons points that are good to mention in a clear way. These points will help to us to decide if the device features are enough for what the user are looking for in a device of this kind.

      Pros are based on features that highlight, comparing the device with another similars, or these features improve the experience of the user.

      In the another hand, the cons are these points that worse the experience, or the feature is not enough for fulfill what we expect from the device.

      Finally, the improvements pints are some features or specs that i think must be improved in a supposed new version of the device, and will generate a better experience in my opinion.

      As i mentioned at the beginning of this article, the unit that i tested appart to present few problems, but i will abstract about these problems for this section, because i understand is a very strange situation getting these problems in a device of this kind and brand.

      Note: I will not take in consideration the specific problems of my unit. I gather info on the web and i confirm that is not a generalized problem on the device.


      Pros




      • Minix mean good quality, and this is not the exception. Materials appear to be solid and you can feel this from opening the package.
      • 3 USB ports, that is enough for most usage of this device, and are so accesible to be used.
      • Normal size SD Card. This allow to use SD and MicroSD (with an adaptator).
      • Optical audio output
      • Wifi antenna, that generate good range and strenght signal.
      • Detachable wifi antenna.
      • Wifi "n". With this antenna you can get up to 150Mb/s of connectivity (but in my case, i never get more than 56Mb/s, and i don´t know really why)
      • Device come with a (very) simple remote control for (very) basics functions
      • 4k Support (not tested)
      • Specific XBMC version



      Cons




      • Lan port is 100Mb/s Ethernet. I consider this device must come with, almost a Gigabit port.
      • Some fixeable problems in the firmware stock.
      • Remote control is have only so basic functions. I think this device can have some other functionality (included flymouse)
      • Bluetooth is not working 100% in the way they suppose to work. I get problems pairing some gaming controllers, and disconnection using bluetooth audio (headphones, bluetooth receiver, etc)



      Improvements




      • Include Flymouse or similar on the remote control.
      • Include Gigabit (1Gb) LAN port instead Ethernet (100Mb)
      • Include almost one USB 3.0
      • Include a webcam within the device chasis.



      Conclusion




      Was a little bit complicated testing this device, because the problems this give to me.

      Frotunately, i solved most of these problems and tested the device, gathering info about it for bringing here in this article. The device is running ok for now, and is working so much (MUCH) better with the beta firmware than the stock. Hope Minix release a new official firmware soon for all these users that don´t know how to search and install beta firmwares.

      The device is comfortable to be used with right devices, such an wireless keyboard+mouse. Is a very good alternative for consider if you need android on your tv for streaming video and for gaming, obviously considering on playing games that you can play on a device like this (without touch screen)

      I´m not a big fan of XMBC, but as i tested, is so comfortable and feel as part of the device when using it. Any new user of this device will love this, for sure.



      Final words





      I really sorry about my delay publishing this review. I get some troubles with the devices and external situations that make to me hard to test normally and write this article, but finally i posted.

      I really want this article may be helpful for these users that want to find some information about it.


      Zalu2!

      Deen0X

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