Most media center devices are thought of as a static, immovable shrines where to come relax with your favorite shows after a long day of work. Perhaps, this is why most devices tend to sacrifice compact sizes in favor of performance, but… what if you wanted to go exactly the opposite way? [Read: CuBox TV: performance to the cube power for your HTPC]
Well it turns out the makers of the CX-919 Android stick had exactly the same issue in mind, and came up with a great way to solve it. They created a device that looks and feels pretty much like an USB drive, only that instead of connecting to the USB port of your computer, it connects to the HDMI port on your TV. Add to this the fact that this small device runs Android 4.1.1 and you have a very interesting way to setup your HTPC.
What advantage does the CX-919 Android stick offer to me?
One word: mobility. Perhaps you have more than one TV set in your home, or perhaps you have more than one home. Or maybe you are going to travel. This device is small enough to fit within your pocket, and can be installed easily on any device equipped with an HDMI port. The Wi-Fi signal reception on this Android dongle is great, and the price is astonishingly cheap. A snappy device with a quad-core processor, this little Android TV stick does the same things as some of its more expensive counterparts, for a fraction of the price. And you can just take it anywhere.
There is an USB port and a micro USB port in this little device, besides the one used to power it up. This enables you to connect peripherals for better control of your applications. Through this USB port you might be able to connect a keyboard and mouse combo, for example. This device is, however, compatible with bluetooth as well, so you might go entirely wireless with it. [Read: 5 reasons to use INTEL NUC as your HTPC or Media Center]
This device is compatible with XBMC/Kodi for Android, and although you shouldn’t expect a 1080p flawless video with super audio quality from it, it gets the job done. I would say this device can stream flawlessly up to 720p, which is neat considering its price range: the device is listed on Amazon way below the $50 mark, at least up to until the moment when this article was written.
Should I buy the CX-919 Android stick?
As usual, it depends strongly on what you want from your setup. If you are just entering the world of HTPCs and want a device that entices you into turning your home TV into a computer capable of running Kodi and letting you stream videos, this would be a cheap and efficient way to do so. It would work also if you are a casual user, this is, if you don’t really care about top-notch video quality, but just want to relax and watch a show from time to time. Another possible good use of this device would be if you are planning on travelling or simply have more than one TV set in your home.
I would not recommend this device if you are seeking for the best content and quality experience. Bear in mind this is a very small device with a very low price tag. If you want more quality there are a wide range of Android TV boxes or HTPC builds that are more than capable of providing quality at a low –though not so low- price. But if you just want to get involved with HTPCs or want to set up a secondary configuration somewhere in your home, the CX-919 Android stick is an amazing option with a good price-value relationship.