In this hands-on mini review, we take a quick look at the Ugoos UT2, a TV-centric mini-PC based on a 1.6GHz quad-core RK3188 SoC, and running Android 4.2.2.
Like the earlier Ugoos “UM2″ HDMI-stick style device, the “UT2″ runs Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) on a 1.6GHz quad-core Rockchip RK3188 ARM Cortex-A9 SoC, and offers HDMI, dual-band WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0. But unlike the UM2, the UT2 steps up to 32GB of internal storage, adds a 100Mbit Ethernet port and a third USB 2.0 port, and uses the standard, full-featured version of the Rockchip RK3188 SoC (more about that farther below).
Ugoos UT2 mini-PC runs Android 4.2.2
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The RK3188 SoC integrates four ARM Cortex-A9 cores clocked at 1.6GHz, along with a 500MHz ARM Mali-400 GPU. Despite the recent arrival of a higher-end RK3288, which combines four ARM Cortex-A17 cores with a 4- or 16-core Mali-T7xx GPU, a 4Kx2K video decoder, and HDCP2.x security, the RK3188 remains highly popular among makers of TV-oriented Android HDMI sticks and mini-PCs. A few examples include the Tronsmart T428, Ugoos UM2, and Rikomagic MK802IV stick-PCs, and the Rikomagic MK902 mini-PC.
According to Ugoos’s Eugene Boukyan, the Ugoos UT2 recently transitioned from being built with a feature-limited “RK3188T” SoC version to Rockchip’s standard, “non-T” RK3188 for future production.
Using the UT2
I started off trying to control the UT2 using an “RK Remote Control” app provided to us by Ugoos, but over my WiFi network, at least, there was far too much lag for WiFi-based control to work acceptably. Instead, I dusted off my trusty Logitech diNovo Mini Bluetooth keyboard/remote, and pressed it into service. (It comes with a small USB plug-in adapter.) Other than its lack of Android-specific navigation buttons for Home, Back, and so on, the diNovo Mini worked surprisingly well. The UT2′s slightly-customized Android UI provides a hidable row of Android navigation widgets along the bottom of its screen, so I only rarely resorted to using the UT2′s IR-remote for anything. A better solution would be a larger, Android-ready Bluetooth keyboard/touchpad — but I haven’t found the ideal one yet.
Ugoos UT2′s IR remote (left) and the diNovo Mini BT remote
After installing my favorite media-streaming and other apps on the UT2, and configuring its homescreen, I snapped a few screenshots using the device’s optional (via setup) screenshot widget. Among other tweaks, I substituted ADW Launcher for the device’s default homescreen launcher, and added Folder Organizer to enable greater flexibility in customizing folders, including the ability to assign custom images to each folder’s homescreen icon.
Ugoos UT2′s single homescreen, as customized
The screenshots below show my UT2 setup’s installed apps, the contents of its Watch, Listen, Stream, and Utilities folders, the included Media Center app, and a few selected Setup screens.
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Ugoos UT2 screenshots
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After installing the apps indicated in the screenshots above, I had no difficulty streaming media from Samba (Windows) shares and DLNA media servers, and could also “cast” content to the device from other systems and mobile devices using UPnP/DLNA, AirPlay, and Chromecast protocols. I also found it a snap to play multimedia files and view photos from USB media, as well as from Android apps including Pandora and Google Play Music. The UT2 came with XBMC, Media Center, Netflix, and numerous other useful apps preinstalled.
In my power measurements, the Ugoos UT2 consumed a mere 3-4 Watts when active, and simmered down to about 2 Watts when idle on its homescreen. Best of all, when placed in “standby” mode using the power button on the included IR-remote, the UT2 drew less than 1 Watt and returned virtually instantly to its Android homescreen when I popped it out of standby with another press of the IR remote’s power button.
All-in-all, the UT2 runs circles around my now-defunct Logitech Revue and Vizio Co-star Google TV boxes, and seems like a real winner. But bear in mind, I don’t play games or place other performance-intensive demands on my TV mini-PC. Rather, I simply use my Internet-enabled TV boxes in the typical cord-cutting manner: as a substitute for a cable TV service — streaming, downloading, and consuming multimedia content from everywhere imaginable.
Ugoos UT2 specifications
Specifications listed by Ugoos for the UT2 mini-PC include:
- Processor — Rockchip RK3188 (4x Cortex-A9 cores @ 1.6GHz) with 533MHz Mali 400 MP4 GPU
- RAM — 2GB DDR3 SDRAM
- Internal — 32GB NAND flash
- Expansion — SD card slot (supports up to 32GB)
- WiFi — 2.4/5GHz dual-band 802.11 b/g/n; external antenna (supplied)
- LAN — 10/100 Ethernet Base-T (RJ-45)
- Bluetooth 4.0
- USB — 3x USB Host ports
- A/V ports:
- HDMI v1.4 — full HD; 1080p@30fps
- A/V output — 3.5mm jack
- S/PDIF out
- Multimedia compatibility:
- Video decoding — MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.263, H.264, AVS, VC-1, RV, VP6/VP8, Sorenson Spark, MVC 1920x1080p@60fps
- Video encoding — H.264, VP8, MVC@1080p
- Audio containers — MP1, MP2, MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, OGA, APE, FLAC, AAC, M4A,
- Images — JPG, JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, JFIF; up to 8192 x 8192 resolution
- Streaming protocols — DLNA, Wimo
- 5V DC @2A wall plug-in power supply (included)
- Consumption (measured) — 3-4W active; 2W idle; 1W standby
- Dimensions (measured) — 160 x 117 x 26mm (6.3 x 4.6 x 1.0 inches)
- Operating system — Android 4.2.2, with full Google Android services including Google apk installation
The Ugoos UT2 Android TV box is currently available for $140 from various online shops, including Amazon.com, China Grabber, and DealsPrime.com. Further details may eventually appear on the Ugoos website’s Ugoos UT2 page.