Our MiiPC sample is the better-specified of the two models, but it’s not exactly overflowing with power. The processor is an Armada 1500 Plus, and it’s clocked at just 1.2GHz and has just two cores. On paper, at least, the Vivante GC1000 graphics processor is better – it’s the same chip used inside the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0.
Those parts are the same across both MiiPC models, and both machines include 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and Gigabit Ethernet. Our more expensive sample has 8GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM. The cheaper version has half the storage and memory.
They’re modest numbers, so it’s no surprise that the MiiPC could only cope with basic tasks. We had no issues when browsing, even loading intensive websites with ease, and we were able to smoothly stream video. Full HD video played without complaint, too.
Elsewhere we were hampered by irritating niggles. There’s noticeable judder when navigating between homescreens, and app loading times weren’t exactly rapid. The app drawer jerked into life rather than opening smoothly, and we can’t imagine the experience is any better on the cheaper version of this machine.
Games performance, too, let us down. Even basic games like Hill Climb Racing and Jetpack Joyride suffered from inconsistent framerates, which was a big issue in the latter title – it gets faster throughout, and so smooth gameplay is vital. We noticed a bit of input lag, too. Tougher 3D titles like Balance 3D and CSR Racing ran poorly.
A 1080p resolution doesn’t help when it comes to securing smooth framerates, but that’s the sort of resolution people will want to use with a system that’s designed around home use – it’s no excuse.
It’s no surprise that this machine didn’t exactly excel in benchmarks. In Geekbench 2 it scored 1,022, which is a long way behind last year’s Nexus 7 – and even further behind the latest model of Google’s cheap tablet, which scored 2,672.
The difference in power levels was even more dramatic in 3DMark’s Ice Storm test. The MiiPC limped through to a score of 2,804 – but the latest revision of the Nexus 7 scored a mighty 11,672. At least this machine didn’t struggle with heat or noise; we never heard or felt anything. It’s frugal, too, with a 6W draw from the mains.