GENERAL => REVIEWS (of Hardware) => Topic started by: muguk on October 09, 2012, 11:26:00 AM

Title: Review: Android MK808
Post by: muguk on October 09, 2012, 11:26:00 AM
It arrived today .. full pictures and impressions to follow once I get home tonight. the damn thing working properly with a proper PSU.  Tried 2 so far and neither are quite enough.  Got to pick up a USA plug -> UK adapter for the one that comes with it and try that.

So apologies for the delay in getting this review online.  Due to the psu problem, I can't get it to work for more than 10 minutes (or less if I input the WiFi password!).
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808 (coming soon)
Post by: muguk on October 21, 2012, 12:28:07 PM
Facecrook album (set to Public viewing) of photos of the device plus it running bits and pieces (some taken from my sofa of it running on the 40" Sony TV, others (to follow) will be taken directly using the screenshot software I've installed.


Still got issues with the WiFi - my router is on the almost opposite diagonal of the same room but only works for a few minutes then dies out.  Currently using my Galaxy S2 as a WiFi hotspot (purely because I complained to Orange and they upped my monthly data allowance to 2Gb per month!).

Getting the emulators and stuff onto it this afternoon so I can see what kind of speeds it will handle PS1, N64, NeoGeo etc. games with. Then move onto the 8-bit machines.
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808 (coming soon)
Post by: muguk on October 22, 2012, 09:50:32 AM
Got the MK808 working – to a point.  More screens have been added to the above public FB album too.

I got a load of apps working on it - especially all the emulators :-) It's great playing PS1, SNES & Megadrive games on a 40” screen - although the on-screen touch controls make it impossible to play certain types of game.  e..g Jim Power (SNES version) needs the fire and jump buttons being pressed simultaneously a lot of times just to get off the first level.  Somewhat hard via a mouse-click on an on-screen button.

Therefore I'm looking into picking up a cheap PS3 wireless joypad as the driver is less than £1.50 on Play Store.

Games that didn’t work very well were Osmos HD (a most excellent game) but as soon as you finish the very first level, it wants a ‘two finger touch’ to get to the next screen.  Something you can’t do with a mouse ;-(

Other problems were with the Flick series of games.  For example in Flick Rugby, the menus are coded for swipe actions and the mouse just can’t swipe too far to the left or right for the game to recognise that you’ve moved the menu.  This means that the ‘medium’ difficulty level sits there as you can’t swipe to the left to start on the training levels .. and, naturally, you can’t play at medium level until you’ve completed the training and beginner levels.

GTA III works but due to the previously mentioned WiFi problem, I had to play it in silence as the d/l of the 480Mb of extra data failed around 2/3rds of the way, so no audio was downloaded ;-(  Again, a PS3 wireless controller will make this a lot easier to play instead of a keyboard on the lap for the arrow keys and clicking at the on-screen functions to do any of the other actions (inc. accelerate, brake, handbrake turn ..).  Even a keyboard with a trackpad installed in it wouldn't have made this any easier to play.

However, the two main problems found were:

a)   The WiFi signal drops within minutes of the device getting to the Jelly Bean desktop.  It’s there for about 5-10 minutes and works perfectly well at 65Mbps and then disappears.  The only way I could get it online after this was to use my Galaxy S2 to tether it and abuse my 3G data signal to download anything I needed.  Thankfully a recently renegoiated Orange contract means I get 2Gb per month to use :)

b)   The powered USB hub I bought, when connected, causes the MK808 to not boot up.  Which scuppers my chance of plugging in an external SATA caddy or, if necessary a USB->RJ45 connection so I can see the network.  More investigations are needed in this to see if it's a duff USB hub, or just the MK808 spitting its dummy out.

A useful forum is linked underneath - and has quite a few posts from me in there too ;-) It’s also where you get the fixed JellyBean firmware that’s pre-rooted and has the Play Store fix enabled.


Unfortunately my Android forum of choice, Modaco, doesn't have the same kind of help available.  Most of the few posts are mine :(
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808 (coming soon)
Post by: muguk on October 22, 2012, 07:23:51 PM
Tried the hub again tonight and it worked first time.  Still can't fix the WiFi issue.  Tried looking in the Be router but that's just gobbledygook to me :)
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808 (coming soon)
Post by: Rink on October 22, 2012, 08:25:31 PM
You're not selling this thing very well ;)

Best of luck getting it working properly.
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808 (coming soon)
Post by: muguk on October 22, 2012, 08:59:17 PM
You're not selling this thing very well ;)

Best of luck getting it working properly.

Yep - it seems it's just my luck to receive what seems to be a 95% working machine.

Started again this evening with another firmware (Finless v1.4) .. and that's just as bad (if not worse) with my WiFi in that it won't connect to the router at all and I can't tether on my S2 either :(
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808 (coming soon)
Post by: Panther on October 23, 2012, 08:38:29 AM
Yep not got me hooked yet  :-\
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808 (coming soon)
Post by: Rink on October 23, 2012, 08:58:04 AM
Think I'll stick to my Apple TV.

Although that's not exactly free from problems either to be honest.
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808 (coming soon)
Post by: muguk on October 23, 2012, 09:30:11 AM
Mate's arrived yesterday and worked out the box straight away.

So it's looking more and more like it's my router and/or some odd configuration inside the MK808 that doesn't like my WiFi.
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808 (coming soon)
Post by: muguk on October 23, 2012, 08:59:57 PM
Working a lot better tonight.  Forced the Be router to always select one of my two strongest channels and the WiFi only goes off occasionally and a WiFi "Always On" app ensures it comes back on fairly quickly.

I'm getting there.
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808 (coming soon)
Post by: muguk on October 26, 2012, 12:36:26 PM
Another firmware update is available from the manufacturers who have admitted to geekbuying that they were aware of some of the problems that I (and others) have come across.

The new update will fix the WiFi problem permanently, up the desktop resolution from 1024x768 (which it's currently locked at) and make it higher and also fix the problems with the 1080p playback.

I'll update this thread once I've flashed the firmware update.  And restored all my files (again) via Titanium backup :)
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808
Post by: muguk on December 02, 2012, 03:38:06 PM
For those that saw my MK808 running at yesterday's RCM HQ visit (with the Finless Bob v1.5a firmware), here's the lowdown.

You can buy it direct from:


(Lightake (http://lightake.com/detail.do/sku.MK808_Android_4.1_Dual_Core_1.6GHz_1GB_8GB_HDMI_1080P_WIFI_3D_Mini_PC___Black-58509)) - where I got mine from but the supplied 1a 5v USB PSU needs to go in the bin a.s.a.p. and replaced with one that can do 5v 2a.  Currently it's now just under £40 and takes about 7 days to arrive.

(Geekbuying (http://www.geekbuying.com/item/MK808-Dual-Core-Android-4-1-Jelly-Bean-TV-BOX-Rockchip-RK3066-Cortex-A9-Mini-PC-stick-307415.html)) - who apparently supply it with a better USB PSU and it's installed with the above firmware too.  It's $51 on there but I've never ordered one from them.


(Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mk808)) - colleague in work ordered his via Amazon and it's branded 'SainSmart' but it's same device.  His came from a supplier in Germany but I don't remember him saying it was a dodgy PSU or not.  Prices do vary on Amazon as it's lots of multiple suppliers on the one marketplace.  Also depends on if you want your Nectar points too :)

Watch out for the following

Be wary of all the knock-offs and under-powered/spec versions that exist.  I've seen MK809's which have 4GB less RAM to play with.  Steer clear of the UG802 and MK802s as they're both lesser-powered models which the MK808 replaced.


The Wi-Fi.  Sucks. Big time!  It will connect at 65Mbps, then drop down to 50Mbps .. then drop again to 5Mbps making the device useless.

There are hardware fixes out there listed on the (ArmTVTech (http://www.armtvtech.com/armtvtechforum/viewforum.php?f=6)) forums where there are several possible fixes.

I cheated (due to knowing bugger all about soldering irons etc.) and bought a (USB->LAN adapter (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/261041318473?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649)) (again, via China) instead.  Support for these was added in Finless v1.5a firmware.

Downside to the adapter is that certain apps (e.g. TVCatchup) *know* that you're not using WiFi and therefore won't work.  Ho hum .. not found a solution to that.


1) I bought a standard wireless mouse and keyboard via Asda.  £14 for the pair and it works like a charm.  The only downside is that games (such as the excellent Osmos HD) that require a double-touch (and a triple-press) won't work.  However, you can get wireless keyboards via sellers on Amazon (they pop up when you search for MK808) that also come with a touchpad area.  Making a lot of the other gaming problems I showed yesterday go away.  Up to you whether you prefer proper mouse & keyboard or a funky looking portable one :)

2) Now that it's proved to work, an Xbox 360 wired controller :)   This was added to the firmware mentioned at the top of the thread.  Jimbo proved it worked extremely well when running GTA 3 yesterday.

3) A *decent* USB powered hub.  I bought a cheapo 7-port one (powered) but it hasn't got anywhere near enough ooomph to power an external h/drive, so I have to rely on the micro SD card for holding my music and video files.  If anyone has a recommendation for a decent powered USB hub that works with an MK808, then post it in this thread.


There are two forums I visit for help: (ArmTVTech (http://www.armtvtech.com/armtvtechforum/viewforum.php?f=6)) and (FreakTabs (http://www.freaktab.com/forumdisplay.php?110-Android-TV-Players)).  FreakTabs is where you also get the Finless v1.5a from.  Both forums are worth joining (and you'll need to join the FreakTabs one if you want to download the current and any future firmware.

Any other questions?
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808
Post by: muguk on December 04, 2012, 07:43:12 PM
Just read that Finless Bob is almost ready to release a new ROM (v1.6) which will include a lot more fixes - especially with the video playback side of things. 

I'm glad that I persevered with this little device after all :)
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808
Post by: muguk on January 01, 2013, 12:38:34 PM
Just flashed the latest v1.6 firmware by Finless Bob to my MK808 (new firmware, new year etc. :)!) and restoring my apps from Titanium Backup.

The features/changes are:

Release notes IMPORTANT please read this part!

1) This is NOT a true 1080p ROM! 2dark4u is still working on a 1080 kernel for the MK808.  So that will be 1.7 ROM.
However I have CUSTOM TUNED this ROM so it looks good "set" at scaled up 1080P!!! Font's Icons, etc!
On first boot I have DEFAULTED this ROM to boot at 1280x720 for compatability with older TVs! 
Some people cant boot custom ROMs unless EDID is ignored.  So I forced this to 1280x720 on first boot!
If you want the BEST look and your TV does 1080, then first thing to do is go into display settings and change it to 1080!
I think you will like how it looks scaled up now from 720!

2) Hide status bar NOW has a easy return.  My previous hide status bar the only way to get it back was to change apps.
Now all you need to do is put the mouse at the botton edge of the screen and click and swipe up!  Status bar is back!

3) Remote Control using RK Remote APP is now fully supported!
In the ROM kit is a RKRemoteControl.apk. 
You install this on your phone or tablet and now it can remotly control your TV player!
Just put the APK on sdcard or something and install it on your Android phone, tablet, etc.
ENJOY this one!  I had a HARD TIME getting it to work!

4) Powering your device down STABLE without it bricking!  Included on the status bar is a power down soft button.
USE IT! I have also added reboot APP by Petrus to allow you additional reboot options.
NEVER JUST UNPLUG your TV player.  It can brick the device and cause you to reflash ROM.
Android does not like to be unplugged. It can corrupt the ROM or user data area.
WHY early units did not have this feature is beyond me!  It bricked MANY PEOPLE!
Now it should work well.

5) Two boot.img's available.  While this is NOT a 1080P ROM for those that want to use Kriz MK808 or other 1080 kernels
and do not want the boot screen all jacked up, I have added a boot1080.img file.
The boot720 is set as default.  If you decide yto use another 1080 kernel, just change to boot1080.img
To change a selection for boot, in the flash tool click the empty box to the far right of boot line.
A file browser will open. Navigate to the FinlessROM folder and select the boot1080.img


Features in 1.6 ROM:

1) Optimized for scaled up 720 to 1080 for best look!
2) Hide status bar soft button with "easy" bring it back up by dragging mouse from bottom up!
3) Shut down soft button!  USE THIS instead of unplugging and causing a BRICK of your ROM!
4) Fully rooted with the latest SU and SUperUser.apk
5) Debloated of china and other junk APPs you an get back from Google Play
6) FULL GOOGLE PLAY mods!  Onlive and other Apps shouls show up now.
If you want more compatabiliyt like Gameloft, you must edit build.prop.  See Freaktab.com for that info.
7) Soft volume buttons on status bar/
8) Special add for this ROM.  Full init.d support!  If you do not know what that is... ignore it.
If you do, you can now install and use boot time scripts like V6 SUper Charger!
9) All APPs are up to date!  So you will not get any Google Play APPs needing updated.
10) Cleaned up the file system so it is not fragmented!  Basicly I used linux tune2fs when making the images.
11) I added a reboot APP that will allow optional reboot options like reboot to bootloader (flash mode).
12) The Xbox XPAD.KO module is now injected on boot. This was by request!  Enjoy!
13) CIFS, TUN and MD4 KO modules were also added by request.

Special credits to THE freak Tab Development People:
1) Petrus for the reboot APP. 
2) Tattman65 for his boot screens and super fast bootanimation.
3) Geekbuy.com for sending me this awesome little device.

For me, I hope the Xbox 360 pad implementation is a bit better so I can get more games working with it.  Purposely keeping Expendables, Dead Trigger and Max Payne on my MK808 until they either patch the games and/or a firmware update allows full joystick control with them.

I'll do some more test playback of 720p, 1080i and 1080p films later on today.  Already tried one of the Animated Hellboy films and that's displayed a lot better than it was before.  So there's hope :)
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808
Post by: muguk on January 02, 2013, 10:41:46 PM
Just tried out the new feature of the RK Remote app that comes with v1.6.

I can now play touch-screen and gyroscope games using my phone as the controller!


All I need now is a bigger screen area to use the touch-screen app with as my S2 screen is a little tiny for use with Expendables Rearm.  But so happy that it's now working :)
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808
Post by: levs on March 22, 2013, 03:47:11 PM

These the same mate? If so I'm going to order one?
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808
Post by: muguk on March 26, 2013, 04:20:11 PM
There's an updated MK808, an MK808b (includes Bluetooth module) and rumours of an MK809.  Mine's all packed away at the moment, so I'd check on the website that Finless Bob posts his updates on (see previous page).

The last thing you want to do is flash a firmware to the wrong model of MK80x :(
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808
Post by: 1200xl on June 21, 2013, 04:53:27 PM
Hi Mike,
just a quick thank you for starting this thread and pointing me in the right direction.
I got one of these 808 jobbies for fathers day. I have flashed the latest Finless 1.7c rom (tried a couple of others too but this one is by far the best)
With the latest rom my wifi is great at 65mps, never drops below 50mps, got a lovely logitech keyboard and mouse and today have sorted out a wireless xbox 360 controller.
It's managed to cope with everything I have thrown at it so far app and video wise, although I think Droidmote is a waste of money.
 Will hopefully get time to put some emulators on it this weekend  :o

Oh, and my mom wants one now  :D
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808
Post by: muguk on June 22, 2013, 12:12:29 PM
No problem!  Fantastic little pieces of kit - blows a raspberry to the Pi :)

Mine's still packed away as not really unpacked much of my stuff since the house move - much to the annoyance of the other half - but I'll get around to using it.  Mine's still running on v1.6 :)
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808
Post by: 1200xl on June 22, 2013, 01:55:39 PM
So glad that I ditched the pi. Not saying it's a bad thing, just a bit too involved to make it useful.  But it was designed to be that way. However the pi is woefully underpowered in comparison at the price
Title: Re: Review: Android MK808
Post by: muguk on June 23, 2013, 09:13:28 AM
According to Lightake (where I ordered my one from originally) there's newer models coming out all the time.  With the price lowering of the quad-core chips (at the moment they're being used in the clone S3 phones and the clone Galaxy Tabs), it won't be long before the next batch of MK80x are out with quad core chips and Tegra 3 GPUs.

Title: Re: Review: Android MK808
Post by: muguk on June 23, 2013, 10:21:46 PM
The quad-cores are already available!


e.g. this one is £63 at Lightake.

.Android 4.0 ICS OS, Pre-installed Google Play
.Freescale i.mx6 Quad Core Cortex A9 1.2GHz, GC2000 GPU, Support 2D/3D Acceleration
.1GB DDR3 Ram, 16GB Nand Flash, Support TF Card Extension up to 32GB
.Built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, HDMI Output
.Built-in USB 2.0 Port, Support wireless air mouse & keyboard and some other USB devices

The MK812 is £5 cheaper *but* only has 8Gb on-board to play with.  The above has twice that amount.

Erm .. once I find it, anyone want an MK808? :)