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Kangaroo Mobile Desktop review: A palm-sized PC for just $99

If you need for a secondary Windows 10 PC at home, you should take a look at the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop. It fits in your hand and can handle essential tasks at just $99.

You can rely on the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop for entertainment, web browsing and other PC needs, but don't expect to breeze through big websites and multiple apps. It's not a powerful machine, but it can get the job done.

Should you buy the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop? At just $99, the answer may surprise you. Read on for the review.

Hardware

The Kangaroo Mobile Desktop has a black aluminum finish and feels very solid. The main module is attached to the dock when you get it out of the box. Combined, they measure 80.5 x 157.7 x 12.9 mm and weigh just 209 grams. The specifications include:

  • Intel Atom x5-Z8500 1.44 GHz Processor 
  • 2GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • 32GB eMMC internal storage
  • Integrated Intel HD Graphics
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac (Dual Band) / Bluetooth 4.0

Kangaroo mobile desktop

There's currently only one upgrade option, which is the Kangaroo Plus Mobile (opens in new tab). It has similar specifications, but with twice the RAM and storage. It costs $169.99.

The Kangaroo's design isn't complicated. Up front, you see company's logo and on the left, there's a microUSB port for charging and microSD slot for extra storage. On the right side, there's a power button, fingerprint reader, and an Action switch, which allows you to use Virtual Network Computing (VNC) software to control the Mobile Desktop from another device.

Attached to the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop is the Dock, which includes ports for HDMI, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and power adapter. It's included in the packaging, but you can purchase additional Docks for $39 each to make it easier when switching locations.

Kangaroo mobile desktop

Setting up the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop is very straightforward. Attach the AC adapter, connect it to a display with an HDMI cable, and then insert your USB keyboard and mouse to the Kangaroo Dock. Press the power button to turn it on, and you're all set.

Software

The Kangaroo Mobile Desktop comes with a clean installation of Windows 10 Home. We didn't find any bloatware or any unusual pre-installed apps from Kangaroo. You can take advantage all the things that Windows 10 has to offer like the Windows Store, Cortana, Office, Microsoft Edge, and more.

Kangaroo mobile desktop

Mini PC

At its very low price point, we didn't expect much from Kangaroo Mobile Desktop. However, we were surprised at a few things. We connected it to a 4K display, and we were shocked to see that the Kangaroo supports 4K output at 30 frames per second. You can set it to 1080p 60 frames per second if you don't have a 4K display.

The Kangaroo supports 4K output at 30 frames per second.

Another surprising feature on the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop is that it has a battery inside, so it doesn't always have to be plugged in like the $99 Lenovo Ideacentre PC Stick we recently reviewed. It took about 3 hours of usage before needing to charge the device — so it's not substantial, but it'll do for a quick trip away from the AC adapter. On the other hand, the battery meter in the taskbar doesn't let you know how long until the battery dies or how long it takes to fully charge. Laptops running Windows 10 usually provide that information. You can also use the Micro-USB port for slower charging, but that won't provide enough power to actually run the Kangaroo.

When it comes to performance, the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop is certainly capable of simple tasks such as browsing the web, checking email, and watching Netflix, but we notice some slowdowns when scrolling down big web pages, switching between apps, and opening multiple windows. You can blame the limited 2GB RAM for that. If you're looking for numbers, the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop scored 942 for single core and 2,203 for multi-core in Geekbench 3. You can also take a look at the numbers from CrystalDiskMark below.

Kangaroo Mobile Desktop

The Mobile Desktop doesn't have any fans, so you won't hear any buzzing noise coming out of the device. With that said, it can get warm. After 20 minutes of playing Major Mayhem (opens in new tab) from the Windows Store, the temperature on the Mobile Desktop reached about 105 degrees. It might be uncomfortable to touch for some people, but on the other hand, we didn't notice any crashes due to it being warm.

Kangaroo mobile desktop

One cool factor to the Kangaroo is its built-in fingerprint scanner on the side. You can set it up for Windows Hello authentication by going to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options and clicking the Set up button under Fingerprint. Just place your finger on the scanner next time you need to log in. It works really well!

Verdict

If you are looking to get an affordable second PC at home, the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop is an excellent choice. Having a battery and including more than one USB port also make it a better choice than PC sticks in the same price range. The Kangaroo Mobile Desktop can also be ideal for travelers who don't want to carry a laptop, but of course, they'd still have to hook it up to a TV or monitor at their destination.

Kangaroo mobile desktop

The major downside is performance. The small amount of RAM can get you through simple tasks, but you'll notice lag when opening long web pages or multiple apps.

The Kangaroo Mobile Desktop offers great value at just $99. It does include a dock already, but we hope to see additional docks from Kangaroo that includes more ports, a bigger battery, and other options in the future. For now, the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop is definitely something to consider if you need or want another Windows 10 PC that won't hurt the wallet.

Where to buy Kangaroo Mobile Desktop

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

69 Comments
  • Awesome
  • Newegg price was like 170?
  • You're looking at the upgraded one. Link to the base model is at the bottom. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Ah ok thanks
  • Take the 170$.4GB RAM.
    P.s.
    I'm not sure about the windows 10 if they are pre-installed for the Kangaroo Pro
  • The Kangaroo Pro does not come preloaded with Windows 10. You must get a separate license.
  • No Win 10 isn't included with the pro version but then I downloaded the Win 10 upgrade and installed it I found that it was automatically activated. Sweet!
  • I regret ordering this week a cheap ass tablet with the z8300... This one would be perfect htpc.. Pppfff
  • Why not attach a display to it?
  • Wouldn't that be a laptop?
  • Probably more like a phone at that size.
  • Why do you need a display with the device. Attach it to your TV, projector in a conference room, TV set of your hotel. If it supports even 4K what else do you want. By having a screen the portability will go out of the window (no pun intended).
  • It's important to note the $170 "Plus" version does not come with Windows 10.           http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856659001&cm_re=ka...  
  • That is true but I installed Windows from the media creation tool and was just planning on using it deactivated. But was pleasantly surprise it activated. It's not pro so you can't remote desktop in to it but it activated.
  • Download the free version of TeamViewer. Works a treat.
  • Can it playback 4K videos at 4K30? or does it stutter or downgrade quality (on Netflix, for example)?
  • The one with upgraded ram looks totally sweet... Finger printer reader AND battery (good for moving between dock at home and work without powering down) for $170? Sign me up...
    I know the upgraded one has no OS but I'll stick it on preview and call it good... Lol
  • Daniel which runs faster? A lumia 950/950xl on continuum or the kangaroo pc?
  • The Snapdragon 810 on Lumia 950XL is faster than the intel Atom z8500, though they can't really be compared since the 950/950Xl continuum mode doesn't allow to run a real windows 10 desktop, like instead the Intel does
  • I have the 4 gig Kangaroo but can say that edge browsing is way, way faster on the Kangaroo then using continuum on my 950xl.
  • Of course since it has 4GB ram
  • Snapdragon 810 is quite a bit faster than an Atom z8500. However the Snapdragon is held back by the unpolished OS, which is Windows 10 mobile.
  • Ahem.......Surface Phone.
  • Has nothing to do with this.  
  • It could. Add a screen lte connectivity and you have the makings of a rough prototype. Would be cool to have a full system as a phone.
  • A whole Win10 PC on a USB stick. A whole Win10 PC in a phone factor. What you're looking at her is what Surface Phone will be. Win10 mobile.
  • Lol didn't MS already do that. UMPC
  • My guess?  He was indicating that the purpose behind owning such a device (intel proc, form factor, etc) minus an integrated display could also be met by the popular Surface Phone concept people are yammering for the past few years.
  • How well would this handle running an Oracle session? 
  • Oracle is pretty heavyweight -Thanks Java for that-
  • Add display, calling app 5000mAh battery and voila surface phone is born .-)
  • 5000 mAh battery will make it a brick, and now you see why we don't have a Surface phone yet.
  • Surface phone is going to come and ill be in line at the MS store on 5th Ave to get the thing.   We are going to see it as W10 Mobile in phone mode - with an over-riding desktop tile - kind of like in W8.1 on tablets, that allows you to switch interfaces while using the phone.  Hopefully they give you an on-screen cursor, and make it like using remote desktop on your phone (that would be awesome) - will probably be a disclaimer that desktop mode uses more battery, and for best results, plug in your device...........but the best use case, will be when you plug it into a dock (that charges), and it becomes a full PC - Continuum..........they are going to need liquid cooling, and vents on the thing, or its goign to get so hot you could fry an egg on it...........BUT IT WILL BE SO FREAKING AWESOME!  Just dont forget to give us pen support MS - it needs to support the Surface Pens, or else its not a true Surface Phone.
  • Oukitel k10000...Just DO IT
  • Does it need the dock to connect to any display, even if using battery power only? Or is the dock just for ease of connection at main use point after being portable?
  • The HDMI port is on the Dock, so yes, you'll need the dock.
  • Thanks.
  • Need to try it with a wireless display adapter. Then maybe you can get away without the dock, but you will be limited to the battery lifetime.
  • I'd go for the 4GB of RAM, they Atoms become much more useful at that range.
  • Watch the 170$(4GB RAM) don't have w10. It's free Dos
  • Someone said you can activate windows 10 on that device free of cost. try it
  • Not really its kinda like the Linux version of Intel's compute stick
  • On my Kangaroo, the battery indicator does show the level of charge.   One of the best features not mention in the article is the wifi direct switch. That lets you remote desktop in directly without an outside connection.  Needs Windows pro or other remote access software.  Having this and a 950xl in your pocket is like having the Surface phone.  ;)\f04a  You can use an Ipad as a monitor too.  I really like this PC.
  • I doubt it has enough power to work as a plex server but I've been considering getting one of these or a pi to run my automated torrent downloads (sonarr and deluge) and separate that from my media machine.
  • Server? really? The second or third iterations of it may not even do that. But it will come over time.
  • I saw this device earlier and thought its ability to plug into an iOS device is pretty handy as well.  Maybe this could make that iPad Pro a little more Pro. :)
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/oslinx-windows-monitor/id1038351231?mt=8...
  • Now we'er talking continuum! I like this idea.
  • Its time for you to switch away from iPad
  • Thats a compromise on so many levels - if thats what you want to do - just get yourself a Surface pro, and be done with it.
  • Got one... Love it. Great travel companion. If I don't have a screen, I use TeamViewer and my Galaxy Tab S2. Set in unattended mode I get instant access.
  • Awesome review, really like the effort Microsoft put into Windows 10 desktop OS, so it can fit on very small devices like this miniPC which is of the size of a phone. The specs of the device as the review show are about the same you get on 2016 laptop, there is no big difference between Atom X5-Z8500 and a Skylake Celeron 3955U CPU so you basically can do Office tasks, browse Internet and play games like Minecraft on medium settings This device is great example of the great potential of Windows 10 for Internet of Things.   
  • As others say - it should be noted that the Kangaroo Plus Mobile with twice the RAM and storage and costs $169.99 does not come with an Operating System - that is a separate purchase! also - they were on sale through the Microsoft Store.
  • But installing Win 10 upgrade automatically activated it. Didn't cost anything for the OS. FWIW, it doesn't run Win 7 or 8.
  • isnt it than an unlicensed pirated copy?  
  • If I had to guess 30 day trail(which can be extended)
  • Well, the info screen doesn't indicate that it is unlicensed or pirated. The product id ends in OEM. Not sure if that it coincidental or not. Here is a screen capture of it: http://1drv.ms/15uFrlF
  • yeah, its totally legit, fully activated. Mine did the same thing.    
  • How is the Windows 10 upgrade​​ legit without a license to upgrade from?  
  • I have one and it is a great item. However, It will not allow you to install another version of windows 10 clean. If you install 10 Pro, it will revert to the home from the embedded key. Your only option is to purchase the upgrade. The other problem is it crashes, A LOT. I have reinstalled the clean OS and have to deal with bluescreens often. Mostly when opening Chrome for some reason. Other than that it is a solid machine that should have come with Pro if one of the major selling points is remote access..
  • So MS brought back slic?
  • All I can say is have patience with this. This is the first of its kind. With time the processing prowess, battery back up etc. will improve. That is when you can use it like a full fleged laptop. For now, just treat it like a strictly entry level one.
  • No bloatware, no sale!    jk
  • Very cool! I travel and do presentations a lot, this would be great for just hooking up to a projector! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This is making W10M direction look very positive !!
  • This I believe is the future of computing. Now I am beging to see what Nadela's vision truly is. This device is among the first of its kind, so I am OK with it not have a lot of processing power. Having said that, the review sugggests it can do most basic tasks pretty easily. I assume it will even run basic office apps i.e. word, excel and powerpoint too without any fuss (unless those are pretty big files with lots of macros or formula). So it is a pretty impressive device for me. I was already planning of retiring my laptop, which I use for these purposes only. Now, whenver I do decide the retire it, I will simply by an impressive screen and such a device. It will not eat much space, consume less power and what is best is that whever I travel, my lappy will fit into my pocket. For mobility purposes I will have my phone with me anyway.  This is so cool. I think one day this category will eat up the traditional desktop/laptop category as the processing power, battery back and storage options increase. Who knows, in future it may have a projector of its own, so you won't even need a seperate screen. Any decent wall/surface or will do.
  • Satya Nadella has nothing to do with the Kangaroo Mobile PC, say thanks to OEMs which are taking advantage of the next generation Atom CPU that can be installed on a full motherboard using hardware of the size of a phone, this even supports 4K. Satya made a mistake in Mobile and I don't like the direction he is moving Microsoft on Mobile. His words of Mobile First were a lie.
  • nice one!
  • Any idea how this compares performance wise with the Lenovo Ideacentre Stick 300 or the Sumvision Cyclone Mini Micro. They both have Atom Z3735F processors. Is that a better processor or not?  
  • Unavailable everywhere in India.