MaaXBoard Single Board Computer + Accessories - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: MaaXBoard Single Board Computer + Accessories

Author: mrsander

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: Raspberry Pi Model 4

What were the biggest problems encountered?: No serious problems, some minor hiccups during setup.

Detailed Review:

Little late on the final review, apologies.






After receiving the unit, I did the normal installation.  I did like/appreciate the HDMI cable that came with the unit, as well as the micro SD disk.



On initial setup, I did discover that the unit apparently only supports HDMI 2.0.  I found this out, as I initially put it on a monitor that is HDMI 1.x and I could not get any screen display.  Other than fiddling with that for about 2 hours, it is not a major setback. However, it would have been nice if the box or other instructions had noted that.



With the minor points aside, I was able to bring up the system, and following the on-line instructions get it to both find my wired network and wireless, with relative ease.



Regarding the gui part of the OS, it also didn’t like me attaching my 43” tv to it.  It just couldn’t handle the resolution, and made everything so small in terms of readability, as to be not useful.  Therefore, besides the HDMI versioning, it didn’t appear that the drivers can handle 4K output either.  Again, not a major issue, just some time lost.



With all of the initial items complete, my real reason for wanting to test this unit could now start.  I am always on the lookout for a small, relatively inexpensive machine to be a gateway for IoT devices, as well as being able to do local processing.  With this unit, most of that was achieved.



Overall, this unit is decent, given what the market segment it is aiming for.  The board is small, yet has the requisite video, usb and network capabilities built in.  It does seem to run a bit hot, but since I didn’t have access to a thermal measurement system, I can’ really tell how hot the main chip is getting.  The hear sink provided seems very hefty, but even with that, one can feel it heating up.  I’m not sure how this would play out over time in the field, i.e. could we get system failure with just ambient airflow.



Technically, I was able to put both a camera on it, as well as use Bluetooth to talk to a small thermometer from Adafruit.  This test let me know that I can use I2C and the GPIO pins correctly. I also had the Bluetooth running in a continuous loop so to exercise the processor, while turning on the local camera.  In this limited performance test, it did well.



At the end, my only real complaint is the price.  Looking online, I saw this unit list for $85 (and not sure, that included the cable or the SD card).  This seems high, given that about 3 weeks ago the new Raspberry Pi came out that now has 8 GB of Ram, plus other upgrades, and it is still only about $75.  Therefore, there does seem to be a price/functionality disparity here.