Gernanery Smart Mini M8S Android 6.0 TV Box

With the first prosecution currently under way it looks like the sale of KODi equipped TV boxes in the UK may soon be restricted if not banned altogether, so now might be the time to buy whilst you still can.

On offer at a shade under £60 at one time this would have been judged as a budget or mid range streamer but today with prices in freefall as specs rise it has to be viewed as a high end device.

Inside the box along with the unit itself was a UK power adaptor, medium sized remote control, HDMI cable, and a User Guide. The User Guide is better printed than most and easy to read but very basic and tells you how to connect the device up and that is about it.. I enclose a scanned copy of it on the end of my unboxing video.

This TV Box is essentially an Android phone without the mobile phone capabilities and optimised for use as a media player. The core of this and similar devices is the remarkable Kodi media playing application. This device comes with the latest version, KODI 16.1.

This is a well made and well equipped box with a reasonable but not great range of ports. It has two USB ports, SPDIF, SD card slot, HDMI, Ethernet, power ports.There are a load of high end features to be found such as an Amlogic S905X Quad-core Cortex A53 chipset, Android 6 , 4K support, 2 GB RAM, 16Gb storage. It is a pity it lacks both Gigabit LAN and dual band wifi features which are often found in high end boxes.

Configuring the device was pretty easy with all the essential apps pre installed. The only real task is to connect to your home network and it has both wifi and Ethernet options available. If you are familiar with Android then this is very simple, non Android users may find this more difficult. Once on the network to get the best from this device you should login to your Google account, that way apps can be easily installed via your computer from the Google Play website, Gmail and YouTube will be auto configured at the same time. Other apps such as BBC iPlayer are offered to easily download and others from the Google Play store.

One great thing about this device is thanks to the USB ports third party memory sticks, keyboards and mice can be used to make navigating the User Interface faster and easier, although the built in pop-up keyboard and full sized remote control with dedicated keys will suffice for most users. Many TV boxes in this price range now come with a separate remote keypad but that is not included here. It does have Bluetooth 4 and so suitably equipped keyboards and mice can be connected wirelessly and without occupying a USB port.

There are a variety of applications pre installed, some useful and some not, but with time you may discover that like me you find that everything want can be done from Kodi. Kod is an immensely powerful and, for novices, worryingly complicated media portal, with a host of plug-ins and remote repositories available. When correctly setup the user will have access to a host of live streaming channels, video repositories, radio stations, live networked TV. Without leaving Kodi I can view memory card files, files on all of my three NAS devices, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, live streaming TV including all the major UK channels. Kodi will also index and download subtitles, synopsis, song lyrics and images for all you home media files so when you browse your library this information is presented to you. A look on Youtube will find a host of guides to getting the best from KODI.

This unit comes with comes with a generous 2GB RAM and has 16GB storage, double the norm for these units. It supports only 2.4Ghz wifi but for superior results it is always best to go for an Ethernet cable connection if possible.I must also say that in use I have found very little difference between any TV boxes once KODI is installed and running. This one works very well, has an attractive onscreen menu system and seems stable and fast in use.

I don’t really look on this or any Kodi based device as a rival to easy access user friendly streamers like the Roku or the Amazon Fire TV. Kodi streamers offer so much more but at the price of being difficult to fully configure and more clunky and long winded to operate. Kodi uses plug-in type configurations which are volatile in nature and tend to cease working without notice and need to be replaced or updated, A look on Youtube will find a host of guides to getting the best from KODI.

This is an excellent high end device with a powerful and up to date processor with many high end features but with a few disappointing omissions . For the above average price you still get a lot for your money. The high spec sheet make this a 5 star buy despite some minor issues.

The Good
16GB Storage
Many essential apps pre installed
Bluetooth 4
Good build quality
Android 6
Optical audio port
SD card slot
KODI 16.1

The Bad
Poor User Guide
Can be complicated to configure for non Android users
Kodi can be challenging for new users
No handset batteries supplied
No remote keyboard