In the first part of Khadas VIM4 review, I showed Amlogic A311D2 SBC and some accessories such as DIY enclosure and M2X expansion board to add M.2 SSD and modem and tried services OOWOW cloud to install Ubuntu 20.04 server.
I have now just had Fiber Internet at home, so it is much more convenient to test the system, and in the second part of the review, I installed Android 11 on the VIM4 board, checked the settings and information system, and ran some benchmarks. It will be more like a preview as Android 11 is not user-friendly at the moment and is designed more for people who want to build their own apps.
Installing Android 11 on Khadas VIM4 with OOWOW system
Last time I used the OOWOW system install in the board’s SPI flash to download and install the Ubuntu 20.04 server to the board’s eMMC flash. This time I did the same but with Android 11. If you have already installed an OS on the eMMC flash, it will start automatically, but you can keep pressing the Function button, press the Reset button, then release the reset button on the VIM4 board to re-enter OOWOW.
This time I was told there was a firmware update so I went back and the OOWOW system was updated in the SPI flash. After a reboot, I was able to select available OS images.
Note that Ubuntu 20.04 is gone and you will have the choice to install Android 11 32 bit or Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop or Server image. We’ll check out the desktop in part 3, so I continued with the Android 11 image.
Information such as URL, download size (406.6MB), etc. will be displayed. Simply select “Download” to download the image to RAM. The download was very quick, and I think it took less than a minute.
Then I could install it on the eMMC flash…
.. before selecting reboot.
Hit! I really like this kind of cloud install firmware because it only takes a few minutes and there’s no need to fiddle with MicroSD cards and flashing utilities to switch between operating systems.
Android 11 Settings
As mentioned in the introduction, this is not a consumer-oriented release, and as with the initial release The Android 9 version of Khadas VIM3, there is only the bare minimum to start with.
This is the original AOSP launcher. If you click on the screenshot above, you’ll see the resolution is 3840×2160, so that’s good news for people who want a 4K UI beyond just being able to play movies. 4K videos. So far, most Android systems/TV boxes come with UI resolution of 1920×1080.
There are only a few pre-installed apps with AM Player, APK installer, file browser and of course settings. No Google Play or Google services. It should be possible to sideload them, but I’m not sure how it’s done now, as it’s been a while since I’ve used Android on a single edge computer.
The settings are pretty standard, except Khadas settings with HDMI IN for the micro HDMI input port which I can’t test at the moment, Ethernet configuration, fan control, Wake-on-LAN, LED control , etc…
Display and sound comes with settings for brightness level, screen rotation, screen density, and additional settings like HDMI CEC (untested).
There is not much to learn from the About Device section with a VIM4 device running Android 11…
Using WiFi required me to disconnect Ethernet, and I was able to connect it to the “enhanced” Xiaomi AX6000 WiFi 6 router with no problem. The download link speed is 288 Mbps and the upload link speed is 864 Mbps. It works pretty well, but I haven’t compared it because I damaged one of the antennas during installation (and I’m waiting for a replacement), and I’m going to test this on Linux.
Khadas VIM4 benchmarks and system information
I installed APKpure to install the various apps I needed for testing. Before we get into the benchmarks, let’s see what CPU-Z is reporting.
Unsurprisingly, CPU-Z has never heard of the Amlogic A311D2 processor, but it correctly detects four Arm Cortex-A73 cores at 2.21 GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores at 2.02 GHz, plus a Mali GPU -G52. 7952MB of total RAM is reported, along with 25.70GB of internal storage, and the system is running Android 11 on Linux 5.4.125. The accelerometer is also detected and seems to work fine. I don’t know what the temperature of khadas_bat is, but 18.8°C is clearly impossible in a room with an ambient temperature of around 28°C.
I first tried 3DMark with Wild Life, the new recommended benchmark, plus Sling Shot Extreme for comparison with other platforms.
Amlogic A311D2 delivers a massive 67% increase in 3D graphics performance over Amlogic A311D (aka S922X-B) in the 3Dmark Sling Shot Extreme benchmark, thanks to an upgrade from an Arm Mali-G52 MP4 (6EE) to an Arm Mali-G52 MP8 (8EE) GPU, plus possibly a higher GPU frequency.
I then tried PCMark 10 Work 3.0, but it got stuck in the “Encoding and Multiplexing” part of the Video Editing benchmark. I tried three times and got the same results.
I then loaded Antutu 9, but again the benchmark crashed after a while in the Terracotta Vulkan benchmark reproducibly.
I tried installing Antutu 7.2.3 to get comparable results to what I got with Amlogic A311D and Rockchip RK3399, but unfortunately there still seemed to be a lag between the Antutu and Antutu 3Dbench versions, and the benchmark simply refused to run.
I finally managed to find a benchmark that worked with Passmark PerformanceTest 10 for Android.
I think this is my first time running it on Android, so I can’t compare it directly with other boards I’ve tested myself, but you’ll also get find results online. Note that the overall “System” score seems to be low (e.g. Khadas VIM2 scores 2,553 vs. VIM4’s 2,747), and I think that’s because disk tests weren’t factored in. caching reason (read speed of 3 GB/s may not be correct on a 32 GB eMMC flash…). It is therefore better to look at the individual scores, for example, the VIM2 Amlogic S912 card obtained 1235 points in CPU Mark: 1235 against 2042 for VIM4.
I compared the results of VIM4 with Raspberry Pi 4 (10 samples) and ODROID N2+ SBC (1 sample) with Amlogic S922X hexa-core processor clocked at 2.4 GHz. The Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 processor clocked at 1.5-2.0+ GHz can’t keep up with hexa-core and octa-core Cortex-A73 processors, so it’s no surprise. ODROID N2+ is a bit faster despite having two less Cortex-A53 cores, but the higher frequency helps. It might also be possible to overclock Khadas VIM4, but that should be tested.
ODROID-N2+ wins again with higher memory bandwidth.
Raspberry Pi 4 outperforms both Amlogic platforms for 2D graphics, but Khadas VIM4 really shines when it comes to 3D graphics with more than twice the performance of ODROID-N2+ and 6.4 times faster performance than Raspberry Pi 4. Thus Khadas VIM4 and the Amlogic A311D2 processor in general should be a pretty good platform for games or other applications that require fast 3D rendering capabilities.
That’ll be it for Android 11 on Khadas VIM4 SBC for now, I’ll have a bit more to test on Ubuntu 22.04 Desktop with WiFi 6 and GbE networking, storage performance, Linux benchmarks, GPU and VPU support, etc would like to thank Khadas for sending the board for review. Its launch is scheduled for May 10 and we will know the price at that time. You can register your interest on the Khadas website to be notified of availability.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 on a part-time basis, before stepping down as director of software engineering and starting writing daily news and reviews full-time later in 2011.