Higole launches a kickstarter for a compact HDMI 2.1 Android mini-PC-tablet hybrid

WTF? ! Android-based miniature PCs have been around for a while, but Higole recently announced a strange example that straddles multiple device classes with impressive media output capabilities. If its Kickstarter campaign is successful, the GOLE 1 R could be a versatile compact hybrid system.

Shenzhen-based Higole recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for an Android 12 mini-PC that includes, among other things, a touchscreen and HDMI 2.1 output for Ultra HD media playback. With nearly a month to go, the company plans to offer the device for around $350 if the campaign is successful.

The 8K Ultra HD label above the GOLE 1 R’s 5.5-inch IPS touchscreen in Kickstarter page art is misleading, but the machine still boasts impressive multimedia capabilities. Higole didn’t reveal the screen resolution, but it’s not 8K.

Instead, the 8K media playback functionality the device has comes from its HDMI 2.1 output which allows it to decode and play up to 8K video on external displays. HDMI 2.1 is still relatively rare, especially for something less small than a smartphone.

The GOLE 1 R also includes an HDMI 1.4 input, allowing it to act as an external display for other devices. Higole plans to eventually offer versions of the hybrid tablet with 10.1, 15.6, 21, 27, and 32-inch screens. The Kickstarter campaign also lists a $300 GOLE 1 RN with no screen or battery for users who just want a mini PC.

Under the hood, the GOLE 1 R packs a 2.4GHz RK-3588 processor, 8GB LPDDR4 RAM, 128GB EMCC storage with MicroSD card reader, gigabit Ethernet port, speakers, microphone , Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The device’s five USB ports – one USB-C and four USB-A 3.0 – allow desktop use via a separate mouse and keyboard. On the software side, the machine comes with Android 12 but allows users to install RTLinux or Ubuntu.

Higole announces the GOLE 1 R as a versatile device. Users can connect it to professional-grade cameras, use it as a compact UHD home theater device, use its desktop functionality for software development, or play Android games. A video shows a user using touch controls to simultaneously play a game on the device while connected to a monitor. USB and Bluetooth also support traditional gamepads.