Thursday, August 25, 2011

EfikaMX -- a great product

Today I upgraded my Efika Smart Top device with the latest image and, boy, I was amazed.

The Smart Top is a small, light device with one RJ-45 port, one HDMI port, one headphone, one microphone, two USB ports, one SD slot, built-in wireless chip, and a HD decoder.

I got this device for my mom. It hooked up perfectly to the big screen TV we had in the living room. Running Ubuntu with Firefox and Vietnamese language pack is perfect for my purpose.

The was a slight problem at first. My Efika MX came with old image (February, I think), which defaulted to 1080p resolution. Many modern TVs do not, or at least according to the device manufacturer Genesis, work right to the HDMI specs and cause trouble with the Smart Top. The fix is usually to Ctrl-F1 to get to the console and manually switch to 720p resolution.

The next disappointment was the Feb image did not have 2D accelerated X11 driver (Xv). Loading GUI screens were really slow. It may easily take 10 seconds to display Firefox GUI. Certainly, playing a movie at 1 frame every few seconds isn't in anyone's interest.

No more annoyances, though. With the latest July image, the Smart Top box is nearly at its max capacity. Beside the lack of HD decoding and Flash player, it is a sweet as honey. Movie is arguably playable.

For the price tag of 135 Euros, this is surely a good buy. My wish is it would come with two network interfaces instead of one. That will make it an ultimate Linux box!

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