Remix Mini Review: A $69 Android Desktop Micro PC

Several manufacturers have introduced Android-based computers over the past few years, including attempts by HP such as the Slatebook and Slate All-in-One. Unfortunately, these devices did not account for the fact that Android was built for smartphones and tablets to be controlled via touchscreen input, not traditional desktop interfaces like a mouse and keyboard. Furthermore, core Android applications aren’t always designed for desktop screen resolution and orientation, and Android itself isn’t friendly to multi-tasking.

The result has been that these devices have felt half-baked, and haven’t been successful in the marketplace.

Enter Jide, a Chinese company comprised of former Google engineers. Jide successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign for their Remix Tablet, which featured a heavily custom version of Android – Remix OS – that turned the tablet experience into something akin to a Microsoft Surface Pro. Following that, they then launched a Kickstarter for the Remix Mini, a small form factor Android desktop PC based again on their Remix OS, now a customer skin for Android 5.0.2 Lollipop.

With Kickstarter shipping completed and a few OS updates released based on backer feedback, the Remi Mini is now available from retail for $69.99, offering the promise of a desktop-like experience melded with the rich application library of Android.

Does the Remix Mini deliver on that promise?

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Budget Windows 10 Laptop Battle: HP Stream 11 vs Acer Cloudbook 11 vs Lenovo 100S

Last year, Windows 8 laptops dropped below the $200 price point for the first time, as part of Microsoft’s push back against Google’s Chromebooks. Two models in particular – the HP Stream 11 and Asus X205TA – made a strong case for the viability of cheaper Windows laptops. I did a comparison between these models and the Acer C720 Chromebook, here.

With the release of Windows 10 this year, there are new Windows 10 laptops available below $200 that have replaced those older models, which are now mostly off the market. These feature different hardware in addition to Microsoft’s updated – and much better, frankly – Windows 10 operating system.

In this article I’ll summarize my reviews of the following laptops:

For each device, I’ll explain its pros and cons, and then give some thoughts as to who should consider each device, and why. At the bottom of this post you can also find my video reviews for these laptops.

Note that as of this writing, all three of these laptops include one year of MS Office 365 and 1 TB of OneDrive storage.

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Lenovo IdeaPad 100S – Full Review including Minecraft Performance

2014’s crop of sub-$200 Windows 8.1 laptops all had their weaknesses, but in general they all offered a high enough combination of performance and solid construction to feel like a great value. Unfortunately, 2015’s Windows 10 laptops have thus far not been as good of a bargain for consumers.

The IdeaPad 100S is Lenovo’s new budget Windows 10 laptop, with an MSRP of $199, which includes one year of Office 365 and 1 TB of OneDrive storage. Is this late 2015 laptop the low-end Windows 10 device that finally recaptures some positive momentum for the budget Windows product line?

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The Best Chromebooks You Can Buy: Fall & Holiday 2015

Chromebooks have come into their own during 2015, growing in popularity and seeing incredible diversification. Where 2014 saw a Chrome OS lineup that featured mostly similar budget devices with low-resolution screens, in 2015 the Chromebook line-up varies from $149 ARM-powered budget devices, to $899 and up Intel Broadwell-powered touchscreen workhorses.

This guide is designed to help you navigate this lineup and find the Chromebook that is right for you, or whoever it is that you may be shopping for. Similar to the Spring/Summer version, I’ve listed the Chromebooks in ascending order by screen size, and then at the end summarize the best Chromebook for a variety of specific categories.

As information, “Crouton” is mentioned multiple times in this article, and is a reference to a set of scripts you can download which allows your Chromebook to simultaneously run Chrome OS and Ubuntu Linux. This allows you to run programs on your Chromebook which you otherwise could not, such as Minecraft, Steam, and more. For more info, see here for background on using Linux on your Chromebook, and here for an install guide.

At the bottom of the article, you’ll find links to reviews of almost all of the Chromebooks referenced here, as well.

11.6″ Chromebooks

Best Budget Choice – Asus C201

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The Asus C201 is still, in my opinion, the best budget Chromebook you can buy. It has an MSRP of $169.99 but has been on sale from multiple retailers for $159.99 or less, and is currently $154.99 on Amazon.com; there is also a 4 GB version that has an MSRP of $189.99.

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Kangaroo Mobile Desktop: $99 Portable Windows 10 PC

 

Announced earlier this summer and now hitting online retailers, the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop is a $99 mobile Windows 10 PC, with a surprisingly good combination of features and specs for its price point. A joint venture between InFocus and Foxconn, the Kangaroo is a unique portable PC that seems like a great value with the potential to be a versatile addition to your tech arsenal.

In this full review, I’ll talk about my experiences with this device over one full week of mixed use, inclusive of web browsing, local gaming, Steam Streaming, Minecraft, Hearthstone, and MS Office. Note that you can also click here to watch my full video review of this device on YouTube.

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