I wonder just how long ‘Fully Loaded’ Android TV Boxes such as this will be available? Several lawsuits are already underway in the UK courts as Sky TV and the rest of the Mainstream Media are all out to get them banned and the UK Government is in full agreement.
Before then however, the bar is being raised by TV Boxes such as this and the formerly high end specs on offer here are increasingly becoming the norm. Android 6, 2G/16G, dual wifi and Gigabit LAN together with faster processors are becoming the minimum to look for. For this streamer all the boxes are ticked and although I have seen boxes offering 3GB of RAM I doubt the difference would be noticeable. The only real difference between most of these similarly equipped boxes – and I have seen identically specced boxes several times -is biox design,the price and at the time of writing this is just £53.99 and the cheapest I have yet seen for a device at this level.
Along with the unit itself inside the fairly generic box 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 is 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, switch to full screen and pause as needed to read it.
This is a well made and well equipped box with a reasonable but not over generous range of ports. It has two USB, AV, SPDIF, Ethernet, HDMI, Power. There are a load of high end features to be found such as an Amlogic S912 Octa Core chipset, Android 6 , 4K support, 2 GB RAM, Gigabit LAN, 16Gb storage, dual band 802.11 Wifi. It boasts a small LED display on the front seems to do little more than display the time. I can think of no hardware feature that it lacks except that of 802.11ac which a few high end rivals are now starting to support. Two more USB ports would have been nice.
Setting the streamer up and running was pretty easy with all the essential apps pre installed. The only real task is to connect to your home network and this streamer has both dual band 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 you should then login to your Google account, that way apps can be easily installed from the Google Play store, Gmail and YouTube will be auto configured at the same time.
Thanks to the USB ports – and it is a pity only two are available – third party memory sticks, remote 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 will suffice for most users. It does have Bluetooth (we are not told which version) and so suitably equipped keyboards and mice can be connected wirelessly and without occupying a USB port. Many TV boxes in this price range now come with a separate USB remote keypad but not so here.
This 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 and this device comes with the latest 16.1 version. You may find that everything you need can be done through KODI app. Kodi is an immensely powerful and, for novices, worryingly complicated media portal, with a host of plug-ins and remote repositories available. 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, both double the previous norm for these units. It supports both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wifi but for superior results it is always best to go for an Ethernet cable connection and this one has high speed Gigabit LAN .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 nicely and is slick and speedy between aps and streams KODI exceptionally well.
This Is one of the best specified Android TV Box I have used and all almost the boxes are ticked. The only drawbacks are the very basic User Guide, lack of ac wifi and the minor limitation of just two USB ports. How much of a difference in performance there is from lesser boxes is more subjective, it is certainly very fast and snappy in use but most TV boxes are fine once KODI is running. One thing is for sure, you will not be disappointed in buying this box.
Good build quality
Dual band wifi
Poor User Guide
Only two USB ports
No ac wifi
Can be complicated to configure for non Android users
Kodi can be challenging for new users
No handset batteries supplied
No remote keypad
No SD card slot