The M8S Pro detected our wireless test keyboard and mouse (Ares T1) with no delay – just bear in mind that Android requires some adjustments when used as a desktop. There’s no right button mouse click and pressing the Enter key doesn’t work as you’d expect.
Booting into the operating system is a fairly straightforward endeavour. You’re welcomed by an uninspiring home page that lists, amongst other options, an Internet Explorer web logo (that launches Chrome) and a TV centre button (that goes nowhere). You can, of course, add others via Google Play and there are a number of further apps pre-installed.
Its TV roots are clearly highlighted by the fact that it comes with a physical remote control, a media centre app, Netflix, Movieplayer and MX Player. Browsing is done through the default browser, Chrome, rather than a Chinese effort, and navigating around remained surprisingly fluid even at 4K resolution.
We didn’t test any games or try the TV functionality but expect the M8S to ace through this sort of entertainment usage as long as you can live with its biggest weakness – the fact that it has only 16GB of on-board storage. It has enough raw power under its hood to deliver better than baseline performance.
Mecool should look into producing business versions of these Android TV boxes, as the corporate backlash against Kodi means that interest in these from a consumer perspective is likely to cool down because of the legal implications.
Android is a known quantity for consumers and the learning curve to port it from mobile to a thin client use case is very shallow. Google has been working on an operating system that will bring together mobile and desktop (Project Fuschia) but we’re not there yet.
All in all, the M8S Pro represents an excellent opportunity for willing small and medium businesses to switch from Windows to Android and benefit from some serious efficiency boosts. But that said, do note that there are a number of questions which remain unanswered including the state of aftersales support and future Android updates.
At this budget price, though, companies might as well buy a few extras to eliminate business downtime, as setting one up should only take a couple of minutes. Given their sub-£50 price tag, these computers are essentially quasi-disposable assets.
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