NATIONALMATER Amlogic S905 Android 5.1 Quad Core TV Box S905 A53

 

Well, it is looking like the fun might soon be over for KODI Box users as I read this week that a UK market trader has been prosecuted for selling TV Boxes with ‘fully loaded’ Kodi configured on them and that more prosecutions may follow. Now might be the time to stock up on these boxes while still available.

This new TV Box from NATIONALMATER, a company new to me, l arrived nicely presented in a simple but robust cardboard box. Aside from the device itself inside the box was a UK power adaptor with 1.5m cable, medium sized remote control, HDMI cable, and a User Guide. The build quality seems OK and this model is a like most boxes in this respect. Compared to the ones included with most TV boxes the User Guide is very well printed and is in colour and easy to read. Don’t expect it to tell you much about how to operate the KODI or other installed software as it basically shows you just how to connect the device to the internet. I enclose a scanned copy of the Guide on the end of my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause to read it.

Like most TV boxes, it is essentially an Android phone without the mobile phone capabilities and optimised for use with an HDMI TV as a media player for local and internet files.The core of this and similar devices is the remarkable Kodi application and currently this box has latest 16.1 version installed.

A reasonable range of ports are available for playing local files and additional equipment. It features the following ports: four USB, HDMI, Ethernet, power in, SPDIF, AV and an SD card slot. The included remote control is well made and is not just a standard rebadged unit with multiple redundant buttons but in fact has a button layout different to any other I have seen and is much more intuitive to use. It has the snappy Amlogic S905 chipset clocked at 2Ghz, which is perfectly powerful enough for a TV box. This box runs Android 5.1 which is a relatively new version of the operating system. Many budget boxes still run Android 4.4 although most run Android 5.1. Now Android 7 has just been launched I wonder when the first TV Boxes using it will appear?

The only real setting up task is to connect to your home network and it has both wifi and Ethernet options available to do this. 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..

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 remote control will suffice. The supplied handset is fine but some users may wish to invest in a USB dongle wireless keypad to give the full range of keys and a built in mini touchpad. This can also be done over Bluetooth but I find that a dedicated dongle/keypad works best.

This is a reasonably well specified Android TV box. It comes with 1GB of RAM , the usual size ,and the almost standard 8GB of storage. The box has standard speed Ethernet and 2.4Ghz wifi but misses out on the faster and less crowded 5Ghz band. That said, 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 colourfull, good looking and easy to navigate onscreen menu system which seems stable and reliable in use. As with all TV Boxes experienced users may prefer to reset KODI and install their own preferred options and plugins. The latest v16.1 of KODI is installed but can be updated when required.

I don’t really look on this device as a rival to easy access user friendly streamers like the Roku or the Amazon Fire TV as this device offers so much more but at the price of being difficult to fully configure as well as being more clunky and long winded to operate. The Kodi app 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 search on Youtube will find a host of guides to getting the best from KODI.

This is a decent quality entry level TV streamer but as with all Android TVs there is a learning curve to get the best from it. This is a cut above the average budget streamer. It comes with an dedicated rather than generic remote. Runs Android 5.1, has the latest KOIDI 16.1 pre installed..

Full Disclosure: I was received this product free or at a discount in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Good
Great price
Android 5.1
KODI 16.1
Many essential apps pre installed
Good build quality
All necessary cables supplied
SD card slot
Non generic remote control

The Bad
Can be complicated configure for non Android users
No handset batteries supplied
No 5Ghz wifi
No Gigabit LAN