Every now and then life gives you a pleasant surprise. Maybe it’s an extra candy bar from the vending machine, or making every green light on the way to work. The team at Ugoos brightened up my day by letting me play around with the UM2 stick PC and the UT2 Smart TV box. We have our UT2 Smart TV Box review as well, but for now, here’s our Ugoos UM2 review!
The Ugoos UM2 is a slightly older model, released last summer. Unlike the newer UM3 and UT2, which we’ll be reviewing later, this is an Android stick-PC rather than a full size streaming TV box. This allows the unit to be more compact, but at the expense of some additional connections. It is based on the RockChip RK3188 platform, which includes the Cortex-A9 quad-core CPU and the Mali 400 GPU. This is similar to the setup in the MK802IV and MK908 units we’ve reviewed previously.
“Wow, this is big.”
I’m not going to lie. That was my first thought when I took the Ugoos UM2 out of the box. At 5.6 inches long x 3.74 inches wide and .83 inches thick, this is one of the largest HDMI stick PCs I’ve reviewed. As you can see from the picture below, it dwarfs the MK808B and Google Chromecast. After some thought, I realized that the larger size isn’t a drawback at all. Stick around and I’ll explain.
The size does come with a few benefits, however. First, it gives more room to cool the internal components. Once you look beneath the powder blue case you’ll find a large aluminum heatsink which sucks heat away from the processor, which leads to longer life and more stability. Second, it allows for additional functionality. The UM2 includes a port for an IR Remote. This means not only do you have a controller right out of the box, but you have the option of adapting the UM2 to your TV or stereo’s learning remote. There are also two USB ports, a micro-SD card slot, a micro-USB for power, and a super-bright blue LED power indicator.
Included with the Ugoos UM2 are the remote control, power adapter, and IR sensor. It also comes with an HDMI extender. That’s useful if you have a tight fit at the back of your TV, or if you want to do a little wire-management to clean things up. The UM2 has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi built in, although there is no external antenna like the many of the newer models have.
Setup and Using the Ugoos UM2
Setting up the Ugoos UM2 is simple, as you’d expect. After the Ugoos splash screen, you are dropped in the basic Android 4.2 Jelly Bean desktop. It’s worth noting here that there is a firmware upgrade available for Android 4.4 on Ugoos web site, should you want the newer version of Android. Our unit was able to locate the router easily, even from two rooms away – around 30 feet.
The UM2 is designed to give good performance without too many frills. It installed XBMC and ran without issue. Video playback from a USB hard drive was sluggish, but streaming the same video over the network seemed to fix the issue. MKV, AVI and MP4 files all played flawlessly through XBMC, although there was lag when trying to play a video in 1080p.
I used CPU-Z to try to get a little more insight into the UM2. I’ve included the results below. I’d like to point out that the clock speed of the UM2 is rated at 1.6GHz on their web site. This one fluctuated, but maxed out at 1.42GHz. Not terribly far off, but I’d still consider that to be outside of the acceptable margin of error. An Antutu benchmark test of the UM2 rated it at 16321, in line with the Samsung Galaxy 3 and Note 2. It did lag behind its bigger brother the UT2 however. It seems there is a slight tradeoff between portability and performance.
The Ugoos UM2 is a fairly good example of a quad-core stick PC. It isn’t the screaming demon, but it’s no slouch either. Can you find faster versions? Sure, but you’re going to pay for that speed. If you’ve got an older 720p HDTV, or want a second unit to stream videos to the den or bedroom, then the Ugoos UM2 deserves a closer look. If you’re looking for a high performance player to run a large screen, 1080p HDTV, then you may want to look at their UT2 or UT3 instead.