The MK802 series are Mini computers the size of a USB key, that plug in to the HDMI port of your HD TV, and make it a smart TV. I’ve owned an MK802 Clone for the past 6 month, and this has become my main multimedia device at home since the day I got it. Sadly, it had a few limitations (especially, performance issues for everything that was not movies or music) which prevented me from fully enjoying it. Today, a friend got me an MK802 III, and I am happy to say it fixes all the issues I had with the MK802.
Well, I am not good at suspense, so let me start by simply saying that the MK802 III is the best device I’ve found to turn my TV into a smart TV, and I do plan to use it as my main multimedia device in the living room from now on, where it will be replacing my MK802 (first generation), and potentially my PS3 (at least for multimedia functionality).
This review will be mostly oriented as a comparison with the MK802. For those who don’t know this series of devices, here’s a quick summary: the MK802 and its clones are low consumption android mini computers. They easily fit in the palm of your hand, and are no bigger than a big usb stick. You’ll find mention of those as “droid stick” or “droid hdmi stick”. In addition to the low consumption, they are completely plug and play (you literally plug it into your TV with an HDMI port, and your TV screen starts running Android within seconds), and also extremely cheap (as low as $40).
The first generation of MK802 was very good for the price, but it also had some drawbacks. “What would you expect for $40” is what I’ve been told several times, but honestly for the price I was still quite impressed. The original MK802 was doing very well at playing HD video in various formats (I’ll talk later about my favorite apps on these devices), even highly demanding MKV videos, thanks to the Mali400 GPU integrated in its core. Sadly, the CPU itself is not really powerful (a single core Cortex A7 running at a bit less than 1GHz), and this made simple actions such as checking your email or browsing the web extremely slow and painful. Overall, the first generation of MK802 was very good if your only goal was to watch your local video files and Netflix, but not recommended for other things such as browsing the web, checking your email, or playing video games. You can read my full review of the first generation of MK802 here.
The MK802 III fixes all the issues I had with the MK802, which to me makes it the perfect device to turn my TV into a smart TV. It is not without issues, but so far the ones I’ve found are minimal (see below)
Price and where to find it
The MK802 III can be found on various online stores, such as Amazon and AliExpress. I would recommend Amazon given the solid reputation they have, but prices on AliExpress are usually cheaper, and I’ve never had any trouble ordering with them (it’s a subsidiary of Alibaba, one of the biggest online retailers in China, with a solid reputation). Prices are around $70, but can vary a bit depending on the seller, the amount of internal memory, and options.
Note that on both Amazon and AliExpress, you might end up with a clone of the MK802 III. This is usually not a problem (the MK802 itself is built with fairly generic components), but be sure you are not paying for an old generation. In particular, check the amount of RAM (should be 1GB), of internal memory (personal preference for 8GB), and make sure the CPU has a dual core.
(buy from Aliexpress with the image above)
Packaging and device, First impressions
The MK802 III ships with an HDMI adapter. Unlike its older brother, it directly has a male HDMI port integrated, which will allow you to plug it directly into your TV, assuming your TV’s ports are not too close one to each other. If, like me, your TV’s layout prevents you from plugin the MK802 III directly in, then that’s what the adapter is for. It’s basically just a female-male HDMI cable.
The device itself is the size of a big usb stick. Technically, those are the smallest computers in the world, and if you’re a geek like me, so much power in such a tiny device for such a reasonable price will probably make you tick. Like the previous generations, the MK802 III has 2 usb ports: one regular usb port, and a mini usb port. Sadly, the mini usb port is reserved to power the device. It needs to be mentioned that the package does not necessarily contain an A/C adapter to plug to the mini usb (it’s an option), so you might have to provide that yourself. These can easily be bought for cheap, or you can probably reuse any of your existing adapters if you happen to own an Android tablet or phone.
Overall the device feels pretty solid given its price.
Plugging it in the TV is easy as pie (plug the power, plug the HDMI cable, you’re done), and after using it for a few minutes, those of you who had a try with older generations of such droid sticks will feel an obvious difference in speed. Everything is smooth, including the browser and the mail client, and if it’s your first time trying to make your TV a smart TV, the HD Android output on your TV simply looks gorgeous.
One point that newcomers have a hard time to understand is how an Android device can be controlled without a touch screen. This is where you will need either accessories, or special apps. This sounds difficult, but it really isn’t. If you don’t have anything else, you can plug a usb mouse in the usb port. Alternatively, apps such as DroidMote exist to control the device from your smartphone, or, my personal recommendation is to go with a wireless keyboard with an integrated touchpad. I am personally using the Logitech K400, and will be reviewing it one of these days. I recommend it given its relatively compact size and for the integrated touchpad, which makes controlling your smart TV from your couch very easy.
I have successfully tested the following video apps on the MK802 III: Netflix, Youtube, MX Player. They all work perfectly.
Those of you who have read my review of the previous generation MK802 might remember I had audio sync issues with youtube. These issues are completely gone with the MK802 III, although
one of the issues I am running in with youtube is that for some reason I can’t go full screen. I have yet to figure that out, but I consider this a minor issue for the following reasons: first, I my TV is big enough, and the youtube App has a layout good enough that even in windowed mode, the video uses a good third of my screen, which is good enough to me for most youtube videos(Edit: this was a bug in the Android youtube app and got fixed).
Netflix works perfectly, although I had to sideload version 1.81 of the apk, as Google Play says the application is not compatible with the device. I have heard that versions beyond 1.81 are indeed not compatible with the MK802 series, but I have yet to test and confirm that. By the way, if you live outside of the US, check my article on how to watch US Netflix from any country on your android smart TV .
MX Player, finally, worked perfectly out of the box. Here too I am seeing a massive difference compared to the MK802 first generation, as MX Player’s audio settings needed to be tweaked in order to avoid audio/video sync issues on the previous models. No such issue on the MK802 III, which to me makes it a 5 stars out of 5 for Video
Internet and Games
The MK802 first generation was basically unusable for anything else than Video. In particular, the browsing experience was painful because of the poor CPU performance. The MK802 III ships with a RK36066 CPU, which is not that much higher frequency than the MK802’s Allwinner 10, but has a dual core, and that seems to mean a whole world when it comes to performance.
Your typical Gmail app and various browsers (Chrome, or the default Android browser, etc…) are perfectly responsive. Flash support seems ok from the few tests I’ve done, but don’t quote me on this.
Speaking of the browsing experience, I need to mention that I had no connection drop issues with the Wifi, unlike what has been reported in other places. The MK802 III supposedly has an antenna which is not as good as the one in the old MK802, but I didn’t experience this. As a matter of fact, it felt more like the Wifi was fighting for resources with the CPU on the MK802, which I do not experience on the MK802 III. So, overall, the Wifi experience seems smoother. For those who still prefer a good old LAN connection, this is a possibility on the MK802 III, if you use a Lan-to-usb converter (and you will most likely need a usb hub as well if you do this, see below).
I have successfully used the MK802 III as a bittorrent client with an app named ADownloader, and also as an FTP server for my house. There are many FTP Server apps for Android in Google Play, but my favorite one is simply called FTPServer, and it is free. It is marked as “not compatible” in the Google Play store, but the author also hosts the apk file on his site, and that works completely fine.
Games with small requirements such as Angry Birds work smoothly, while high end 3D games still struggle a bit. This is clearly not a gaming device, but if you’re into casual gaming or emulators of old consoles, this will probably be good enough
Here are the issues I ran into using the MK802 III. Overall I think all of them are minor, but this might depend on you.
Lack of usb ports: the previous generations had a special input for the power adapter, so the 2 usb ports could be used for actual usb devices. The MK802 III only has one usable usb port, as the other one (the mini usb) is reserved for power. It turned out not to be an issue for me, as I only need one usb entry for the dongle of my wireless keyboard. But if you need to plug several usb devices to your MK802 III, a usb hub will work fine.
No Linux support: One of the selling points of the MK802 was that people who wanted to tinker with it could install Linux on it if they wanted to. People are hard at work to make Linux happen on the MK802 III, but because the CPU is completely different from the MK802, this is taking some time and hasn’t happen yet
Those issues I think are not a “purchase blocker” in any way for me, but I’ll let you judge
The MK802 III fixes all the issues that the first generation of MK802 had, and it makes it a highly recommended device to turn your TV into a smart TV for less than $100. I have successfully used the MK802 III as a media player (local files as well as Netflix and Youtube), but its low consumption also make it an ideal bittorrent client or FTP server, that you can constantly leave turned on without fearing for your electricity bill. Finally, the small size factor is definitely a plus if you (or your wife? That’s my case 🙂 ) are tired of seeing so many huge and noisy devices (cough, Blu ray player, XBox,…) in your living room.
(for any droid stick, but I have tested those with the MK802 III)
- A Wireless keyboard/mouse system will make the device your perfect smart TV. I am very satisfied with Logitech’s K400
- If you plan to connect many devices to your MK802, a USB hubwill be needed
- Many people complained about a weak Wifi power, an Ethernet to USB adapter has helped me with performance and network
- If you want to use it as an FTP Server or a Bittorrent client, an external hard drive (1TB, works fine but in my experience disconnects once in a while because of the lack of power provided by the MK802).
- For gamers, a compatible gamepad such as this one
If you enjoyed this review and are considering buying an MK802 III, thanks in advance for using my affiliate links on either Amazon or AliExpress.
Disclaimer: MakeSmartTV.net is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
67 responses to “Review: Rikomagic MK802 III”
[…] been doing this on an Android Mini PC (a.k.a Droid stick) named the MK802 (see the review here) which I am using to turn my TV into a smart TV, but I’ve also tested the PC version as well […]
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[…] just got myself an MK802 III following the recommendations of MakeSmartTV.net (in particular their MK802 III review is what convinced me), but, as they describe in the review, I had trouble watching Youtube in […]
[…] MK802 III is an awesome and cheap device to make a smart TV out of your regular TV (see my review here). Rikomagic, the company behind the MK802 III, regularly provides firmware […]
Great remote app for this to use your android phone or tablet to control the rikomagic.
The problem of the missing fullscreen can be solved with an older version of the Youtube-App.
The new version is designed for playing full screen by rotate the smartphone or tablet – but this is a little bit problematic for the TV.
This is for phone firmware. Considering the concept behind this device, the the firmware is most likely the tablet version. The tablet OS has support for higher resolution, larger displays, and if an app has a tablet version it will be downloaded automatically. The tablet version of youtube does not go fullscreen through orientation, only if the button is clicked. However this tablet version of youtube has the power to deny you this button it seems, by arbitrary rules. For example on my transformer pad, if the keyboard dock is connected the OS decides fullscreen should be disabled. I am assuming this sort of functionality is why he cannot access fullscreen. It sees the HDMI as some sort of dock, or peripheral, that is deserving of fullscreen disablement.
Is it usable for my scenario if i would like to play 1080p MKV+DTS videos on it? Some android player should be fine, what about the performance, have you tried it?
And more importantly – where should i store them? USB disk + USB hub? What about the power issues with external USB HDDs?
It will decode 1080p MKV and DTS audio, but AFAIK the audio output is 2 channels only. Also, I have been told that the default rom only outputs video at 720p, and for true HD you will have ot install a custom rom such as finless.
To store your movies, it depends on their size. I personally have a 32GB card, and I copy the stuff I want from there. If you want a USB-powered hard drive, this will work but in that case I recommend to get a 2000mA AC adapter rather than 1000mA. Alternatively, no problem if your USB drive is externally powered.
I’ll try to do more tests with true HD MKV files, but so far no problem
i think the youtube issue might be something to do with that you cant “turn the screen” because when you turn a phone to the side it orients to landscape mode and throws it to full screen. i’m sure a tweak in some of the software could easily fix that.
i cant help but wonder if this has Bluetooth capability. if it does a good wireless controller would be a notable addon (or Wii-motes if the BT stack is compatible with the app needed)
The latest model (MK802 IIIS) has Bluetooth support. The MK802 III does not, by default
damn. i just pruchased the one without the S. is bluebooth the only difference?
also. since this site has been created for such things, are you guys going to support em? like releasing custom roms, etc. please do so. i purchased the mk802iii because of wololos review. thanks
yes b/t is only difference between the “s” models and the non “s” models
me want but me still only got old crt ‘box’ tv,
me got meself a chatango logging bot and me no like it when it over-heat me laptop because me got to leave it on all night
it only log a few mb everyday and i wipe most of the log at end of week,
this is what me need! it will help me save money too!
^ and i talk like a kid 😀 ^
I recommend an air mouse remote like the RII RC11 oder Melee F10. These use a gyro for mouse control which feels like a Wiimote and have a qwerty-keyboard.
I’m waiting for the archos tv connect, I think it would kick asses
Looks pretty good, but i guess im gonna wait for the ouya… i only hope it does’nt consume much more electricity.
very nice review! i was interested in getting one of those usb hdmi android stick for a while and your review makes me more interested… i am a bit disappointed with gaming performance.. i thought the latest rockchip cpu/gpu was capable of handling the heavy games like NOVA etc.. 🙁
one question : have you tested the usb ethernet adapter? does it work? will a bluetooth usb dongle work too?
p.s. i use tubemate almost all the time when my connection is crappy and cannot stream properly in youtube app
hi I have a little thread in Italian forum and I collect some little things. what room U use, do you have advice or site to look?
I have found only finless and one other rom.
every things good accepted. thank you
hi. I have tried and tried to run a usb hub so I can have multiple usb ports for a 16gb thumb drive or external hdd. and also to connect a wireless mouse and keyboard. but on the the hub it will only detect the thumbdrive. it wont connect the wireless mouse and keyboard. but if I take the hub out and plug the keyboard and mouse only, the thing works. frustrated right now trying to figure out how to work multiple usb devices at the same time. well at least the external harddrive and the wireless mouse/keyboard. its all I need at the moment.
can someone shed a light on my situation. do I need to purchase a usb hub that’s ac powered? this device is getting a lil expensive than expected 🙁 sigh
Hello, i read about this hub issue a bit and i tink we need some hub which is more powered or with its own power supply, there are some devices which may/may not be helpfull: http://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&initiative_id=SB_20150709125621&SearchText=usb+hub+adapter
How good is this device to watch online live TV Channels or app TV from google market?
Great question. We haven’t checked any of those besides Youtube and Netflix. Do you have specific TV Channels or apps in mind? We’ll have a look at some of the TV apps out there
Below are some links for live TV:
And here are apps:
Please answer ASAP, I need to order this device before CNY.
BTW, which is the best MK802, MK802S, or MK808B?
I have the mk802+, the mk802II, the mk802IIIs and the mk808b and I find that the best “bang” for your buck is truly the mk808b – for it has same dual-core processor and specs as the mk802IIIs and is $15-$20 less 😉 and finlessbobs rom v1.7 is freekn AWESOME on it and we at TechKnow forum are working on Uberoid for a few of these models as well but at this moment finless bobs rom is the best tbh – hope I have helped answer you a bit and have a great day!!! -twjordo- mod at riko forum and admin at TechKnow
I purchased the mk802 iv and mk602 and they both work great for Arabic satellite streaming. I purchased them from http://www.minitv.ca they are the Canadian distributors for rikomagic but Im pretty sure they ship to the US.
[…] we started advocating for the MK802 III on this blog a few months ago, we’ve been receiving tons of great feedback about the device. […]
Can a microphone be connected via the bluetooth? Thank
The MK802 III does *not* have blutooth, the next generation model MK802 IIIs does however. I assume that one supports microphones but we haven’t tried it yet.
Bought one and received it yesterday. It didn’t work at all, so I tried to update the firmware. It worked for about an hour. When I tried to use it again…it didn’t work. Trying again to do firmware, but now it is unrecognizable even to the computer.
Failure as a product worth buying
You clearly got a lemon, possibly a poor quality clone. I would ask for a refund from your seller.
how do you connect camera and microfone in order to use SKype video call on this device?
Thanks for fine review! I all ready have Samsung Smart TV ES8000 series. But its operating system have some limitations and Samsung Store have only few programs. For example I have not found any programs for my surveillance cameras (as IP Cam Viewer or Tiny Cam Monitor for Android) or TV programs (as SPB TV or Russkoe TV HD for Android).
I would like to have Rikomagic 5th MK802IIIS. I use WIFI 802.1b/g/n Wireless with WPA2 security at home.
It is not mentioned in specifications of MK802IIIS about WPA/WPA2 security.
Is MK802IIIS operating with WiFi WPA2 protocol?
I use WPA2 on my router and have no problem with the MK802 III. SO I think the same is true for MK802 IIIs 🙂
I confirm your thoughts 😉
What do You think:
Fly air mouse F10
Fly air mouse RC11 ??
Same price with Rikomagic MK802 IIIS (80 $) from China.
Or I can use Galaxy smartphone/tablet for operating Rikomagic MK802 IIIS?
Is it easy to connect the wireless keyboard to the iiis?
Just a gamepad note, once you have an s or other Bluetooth receiver on the 802 there are apps for mapping and using a Wii controller for playing games.
Nesoid and wiimote working good here and cool little setup for some retro gaming all wireless anytime in the living room. Although the wiimote works for most games and also in mouse mode for standard navigation.
[…] watch Netflix on your PS3 from outside of the US also works with Amazon Instant Video. Our lovely MK802 III android smart TV still doesn’t have Amazon Video support yet, so this is a definite advantage of the PS3 over […]
Thank you!! I was thinkng of buying a Smart TV, but this a lot better. Seriously, thank you & may god bless you haha 😀
and if I remember when purchasing this stuff, I’ll use your affiliate link 🙂
I just wanted to tell you that I too have purchased the MK802 III from Hideer Store on Ali Express. Killer stuff. The Youtube issue can be solved if you’re using a keyboard mouse combo. Once the video starts playing, click on the video page so that the menu at the bottom shows up. You will find a small icon with arrows pointing in all directions. Click it. And it goes to full screen. Worked for me. Should for you too. 🙂
The one thing I am unable to do though, is load my 1TB HDD onto the Riko magic. It just doesn’t recognise it. I guess it doesn’t have enough power. I do have a multi-usb hub which can be externally powered. Would it help to power it and plug in the HDD from there? I’d have to buy the power adapter for the hub, so asking. Or should I just buy a higher Amp adapter for the Rikomagic and try that out? Any help will be appreciated.
Be sure that you are using the regular usb port and not the mini one for your HDD. Also, yes, a better amp (either for your hub or for the rikomagic itself *will* help). If you have 1.2A or less right now, it is probably not enough for your hard drive, you might want to power the MK802 with 2A if you want to plug more than a keyboard/mouse combo to it
[…] to this site before, you know we are big fans of the mk802 series from Rikomagic, in particular the mk802 III, which is currently the device I currently use to make my regular HD TV a smart TV. These smart TV […]
In Germany, is it possible to watch Netflix streams with the MK802 III? I want to make sure before I buy one 😉
Inspired by this interesting blog, as an experiment, with my Android 4.2.2 smartphone (Samsung Galaxy Nexus), I installed the Unblock-US app and managed to sign up for Netflix using my German VISA card without any problems.
However, I cannot install the Netflix android app. It fails with “not available in your area” (perhaps because my google account refers to Germany?)
Is there something else than the android app, or how could I do it?
Yes, Netflix will work in Germany if you follow our guide here: http://makesmarttv.net/how-to-setup-unblock-us-on-your-mk802-iii/
Basically you need to sideload the Netflix app, and use a DNS redirector. The process is simple (takes a few minutes of setup)
Thank you for this was going to buy a SMart TV, you saved me £££££££ i have just orderd the new Rikomagic MK802IV Quad Core !!!! shaaaa ting
I thought it might be interesting to inform you about my use case of the MK802 III. I use this neat device as a car media server (Access Point + DLNA Streaming server), which can be accessed from any tablet PC (such as iPad or Android Tabs) with help of DLNA Rendering Apps such as 8Player, nPlayer, AirPlayer, ..)
My kids really appreciate this during log distance travel. Once I unlock my car, the Access Point and Streaming Server on the Stick boot up and are ready to be used.
– Any version of the MK802
– microSD of good size (>16GB)
– strong 12volt car adapter with 2 USB-Ports (2100 mAh)
– Optional: USB-Pendrive or 2.5″ USB-HDD with Y-Powercable
Here’s what you need to do in preparation with the MK802 III:
– install BubbleUPnP
– install Tasker
– Configure Wifi Tether (enter SSID Name, choose encryption method and passphrase)
– configure Tasker to autostart “Tether Wifi” and “Bubble UPnP” on System Boot
– configure “Bubble UPnP” to share all media included on the microSD and on external storage (if connected). To do this configure in Local Media Server an additional local mount point towards /mnt
– add some media to the microSD and/or USB HDD or pendrive and connect it with the MK802
– restart the MK802 to check if access point and Bubble DLNA autostart properly
Testing the device:
– connect the stick with the 12V adapter within your car. Upon ignition (if not powered all the time – you should check to avoid draining the battery), the stick will boot and autostart the wifi access point and the Bubble UPnP DLNA Server
– connect with your tablet to the access point of the MK802
– start DLNA Renderer App, select media
– Think about a good place for the placement of the MK802 within your car. I used hook-and-loop tape to hide it under my console where I have hidden the cables.
The same method would also allow you to use the following:
– SAMBA Server to serve files to your tablet (such as ebooks)
– Install VNC Server (such as DroidVNC) to manage the device
– Install PPP Widget to tether a connected UMTS Stick or phone supporting USB Tethering (did not test this yet)
– Play with the power supply of the stick within your car (i.e. include a small battery to leave the stick on for a while once the car has been parked. This would allow you to wirelessly update the files on your card with help of SAMBA (if the car is parked within distance of your house)
I hope you enjoy this one. This is by far the cheapest and best performing car media server I’ve ever. I’ve tested this with three accessing tablets in parallel whereas all of them streamed different 720p movies from the same device simultaneously – without stuttering or connectivity issues.
-Jan, this is a nice use of the device.
May I ask though, if your kids bring tablets in the car, wouldn’t it be somewhat easier for them to simply copy the content to their tablet directly? Or is the point to be able to access it from any tablet without having to think about it?
The lack of free space on the devices (iPads) drove me to this idea. Local sync via iTunes is kind of slow and needs to happen in prep on each and every device before going on a long travel (and then I would have probably synced the wrong content, anyway). A large 2,5″ HDD or even a 64 to 128GB USB-Stick is therefore much more flexible (and cheaper than an upgrade to a 64GB tablet). I simply bring along everything on the HDD and leave them the choice. You can find a HowTo on my Blog (sorry it’s in German – but I guess that Google Translate can help: http://www.jweck.net/?p=20823)
How can I purchase?
May be a silly question but I have to ask, can this be used to play online videos such as dailymotion, watch online movies from the Internet directly? Is there anything that can do this made for tv?
Yes, the default browser on these devices supports flash and dailymotion, etc… will work fine, so technically it gives you direct access to all these websites on your TV.
[…] MK802 III is so far our favorite mini PC, will the MK802 IV confirm this trend? Let’s find out! We will try to review this device fro […]
[…] flaws (wifi issues, video issues,…), and at roughly twice the price of its older brother the mk802 III, I didn’t see the […]
my app need to support display resolution higher than 1024×768 but my MK802iii display resolution 1280×672.
with this resolution detect my device as a phone not a tablet.
how to solve this problem?
if i wanted to play movies on a usb memory, the MK802III could play any?
[…] best solution so far, which lets me play full HD videos on my Android Mini PC (mk802 III, my review here), while still enjoying the great XBMC […]
Hi there and thanks a lot for the article.
I would like to ask you for one simple thing. Having TV with this USB mini computer plugged in, may I browse files in lets say external HDD, which is not connected directly to mini computer, but to TV itself? Does the “smart system” see HDD or other devices that are connected to TV?
Thank you guys for reply.
Check out the chromecast. Found it on internet and its cheaper.
You might want to read this: http://theamericanwriter.hubpages.com/hub/Why-Bluetooth-MK808B-Device-Beats-Google-Chromecast
chromecast dude is limited on some live broadcasting apps like twitch,youtube etc. its a piece of shit comparing to this, i do have chromecast but it’s not worth it.
[…] experience with the Fire TV to that of the android dongles I’ve been using for a while: the MK802 III and the […]
[…] Android Smart TV (a.k.a Android dongles used to make your TV a smart TV – that includes the MK802 III which we reviewed here). The article was extremely popular, and, although the suggestions are still valid, I feel like it […]