Android TV Box



            Android TV boxes are exactly what you need to make your smart TV the best entertainment platform. There are hundreds of apps to bring on your big screen with this little box. These smart TV boxes are simply great for streaming content, making your TV more enjoyable and versatile. You can access your favorite music or movies almost instantly while sitting comfortably on your sofa.

            The purpose of this article is to help you find out more about the most popular devices on the market, sparing you of hours of research. We not only reviewed the best streaming boxes but we also compared them for you. Choosing one will be very easy once you know the main advantages and disadvantages of each of them.

Top Android TV Boxes Comparison

1. NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro 2. SkyStream TWO Streaming Media Player 3. Amazon Fire TV 4. MINIX Neo U1 5. GooBang Doo XB-III
BEST MODEL
OUR CHOICE
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Specifications

Design
Dimensions (in.) 3.858 x 6.26 x 1.02 5 x 5 x 1.25 2.6 x 2.6 x 0.6 4.99 x 4.99 x 0.86 4.7 x 4.7 x 0.7
Weight (lbs.) 0.55 1 0.19 0.61 1.29
Color Black Black Black Black Black

Specifications

Hardware
CPU NVIDIA Tegra X1 Amlogic Octa Core S912 2.0 GHz 64-Bit ARM Cortex Quad Core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU Up to 1.5GHz. Supports 32-bit Apps Quad Core Cortex A53 (64-Bit) Amlogic Quad Core Cortex A53 2.0GHz 64bit
GPU 256-Core Mali-T820MP3 GPU up to 750MHz Mali450 MP3 Penta-Core Mali-450 Penta-Core Mali-450MP GPU at 750MHz
DRAM 3GB 3GB DDR4 2GB  2GB DDR3 2GB DDR3
Flash Memory 500BG 32GB 8GB N/A 16GB
Software
Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat Android 7.1.2 Nougat Android 7.1 Android Lollipop 5.1.1 Android: 7.1.2
Wi-Fi Connectivity 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 802.11 b/g/n/ac Dual Band WiFi 2.4 & 5 GHz 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11ac 2 x 2 MIMO Dual-Bnad Wi-Fi 2.4GHz/ 5.0GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n at 2.4GHz
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.1/BLEt Yes Bluetooth 4.2 + LE Bluetooth 4.1 Bluetooth 4.0
Video Resolution
Up to 1080p at 60 FPS, 4K at 60FPS Up to 4k x 2k, 3D-HD (1080Px2), 1080P, 720P, 480P Up to 4K Ultra HD at 60FPS//2160p, 1080p, and 720p up to 60FPS 480p, 720p and 1080p (24FPS, 30FPS, 60FPS) and 4K (60FPS) 1080P at 60FPS, 4K at 30FPS
Ports
Ethernet, HDMI, Micro-USB, 2 USB 3.0 Ports RJ-45 10/100/1000 GigaPort Ethernet, 4 x External Ports (2.0), External Port (SD/SDHC/MMC), HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 & Widevine L1, Dolby Digital via HDMI & SPDIF HDMI Output, Micro USB 2.0 for Power Only USB 2.0 Port x 3, Micro SD Card Reader, Kensington Lock Ready, OTG Port, Microphone Jack, Headphone Jack, HDMI 2.0, Optical SPDIF, RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet, DC Ethernet 10/100M Standard RJ-45, SPDIF, AV, HDMI, DC5V, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Micro-USB

Included Accesories

Controller Remote Remote Wifi Antenna Remote Controller
Remote HDMI Cable USB Cable IR Remote Wirless Mini Keyboard
Power Adapter Power Adapter Power Adapter Power Adapter Power Adapter
2 AAA Batteries HDMI Cable HDMI Cable
USB OTG Cable
USB to Micro USB Cable

Warranty&Support

Warranty 1-Year Warranty 1-Year Warranty 1-Year Limited Warranty 1-Year Warranty 1-Year Warranty
User Manual
Customer Support
Online Support

Android TV Boxes Reviews


1. NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro

One of the best models in the market is our top choice too. This smart TV box is small and elegant, being at the same time very lightweight. If you are willing to pay some extra money, you can buy the aluminum stand to position the box upright. The device comes with a controller that features a sleek design and a mic for voice search. You can even control your environment or your home with the Google Assistant.

The class-leading performance is what distinguishes this console from the many others available. This means high-speed for games, music, videos and so on. For the ultimate visual experience, Nvidia added 4K HDR quality and Dolby Atmos. Furthermore, you can transfer media from your phone or other device as the device comes with built-in Bluetooth. We won’t enumerate the multiple streaming services you can access as the list is long we will only list some of them: Netflix, YouTube, Vudu, Kodi, Pandora, Apple ITunes Music, and so on. The streaming works flawlessly every time you want to relax in the comfort of your own home.

PROS

CONS

Smart home ready if you want to experience home automation Not much improvement in comparison to the older version
Frequent software updated to enjoy the latest improvements
Comes with a Nvidia controller and remote for more convenience
Compatible with most HDTV’s
Quick connectivity for all your devices
Voice search for a more convenient operation

VERDICT

This is an excellent streaming box that won’t disappoint you. It is easy to setup and the controller and remote are highly responsive. You will love the versatility and innovation of this product, as there are many built-in features that work great. However, in comparison to the previous version, there are no significant hardware changes to explain the price of this model.

2. SkyStream TWO Streaming Media Player

Maybe it is not as impressive as the previous console, but SkyStream TWO Streaming Media Player still has what you need for unlimited entertainment. It is less compact and heavier than the other devices selected but this is just a minor drawback. The included remote control is nicely made and it allows you to control the box with ease. What’s impressive about the remote is the fact that if you don’t use it for a couple of minutes, it takes a nap to save battery life. Unfortunately, the remote doesn’t have a built-in voice search but with an air mouse package, you can make it work.

This box is equipped with great technology, so no wonder there are many people who appreciate it. You can watch movies in 4K and full 1080P HD quality, enjoying the home-theatre experience every time you want. You will have access to Kodi, Netflix, Google Play and so on, which means you will never get bored with this little box. The built-in Bluetooth allows you quick transfer between your personal devices while the Wi-Fi automatically connects to the Internet for no hassle setup. You can use this console with most HDTVs and enjoy the intuitive interface no matter what you want to do.

PROS

CONS

Great storage capacity Not the most compact and lightweight streaming box
Most of the updates are automatic
Friendly interface and easy to use remote
Impressive picture quality
Multiple ports for your devices

VERDICT

Undoubtedly this box is packed with almost everything you need for streaming content. You will be impressed by its performance and features and you will be able to enjoy it for many years. Of course, there are some minor drawbacks as the lack of the voice search or the bulky design. Also, keep in mind that this model is a little bit expensive, so make sure you purchase stands on solid arguments.

3. Fire TV

This device is made by Amazon and is slightly different than the other ones. To start with, it won’t work without Amazon Prime, so you need an account to get the most out of it. In comparison to all the other boxes, it is more compact and lightweight, which allows you to take it with you everywhere you want. It has a small HDMI cable attached to connect it to your TV. The included remote is easy to use and you can select your desired changes with Alexa voice search. You can even control your entire house as it is compatible with many smart home devices.

This is actually the third generation of the device and it comes with some improvements but also downgrades. Therefore, you will enjoy 4K resolution and HDR10 content. It features a stable connection and the app support is very nice. However, it has a slower processor so gaming performance may disappoint some people. Also, there aren’t any ports to plug things into the device but you can buy a special power adapter if you want.

PROS

CONS

Compact and stylish design It lacks Dolby vision support
Crystal-clear image quality No ports for your devices
Less expensive than most boxes The processor is less performant in comparison to the previous generations
Smart home integration
Alexa voice assistant

VERDICT

We recommend this device for those who are in the Amazon universe. It will be the perfect addition for their home. Even though it has some drawbacks, this little box is among the most popular ones out there. We like that fact that is affordable and easy to use being able at the same time to control the entire house with Alexa voice remote.

4. MINIX Neo U1

All Android boxes from Minix are specially made to enjoy the best performance and functionality. This model is among the most popular ones from Minix, so it totally deserves a place in our top. The box is less compact than the previous model but is lightweight and stylish. The included remote control works with infrared so you have to make sure you are in line-of-sight. The remote allows you to access the built-in features. It is powered by 2 AAA batteries that are not included. Additionally, it includes the GP800 wireless keyboard for a more enjoyable experience.
This device delivers solid performance and comes with many nice features that are meant to enhance your experience. What is great, it that it comes out of the box with full Google Play Store access. This means that without spending a fortune, you will be able to enjoy your favorite apps and movies every time you want to relax with your family or friends. It runs fast and it features its own launcher for a user-friendly navigation. You can customize the interface according to your preferences.

PROS

CONS

Sleep mode feature to save battery life The antenna is rather bulky
The menu is versatile and you can easily customize it Not very great for gaming
The best wirless connectivity on the market Android Lollipop is rather old so you may not be able to enjoy the latest app updates
Comes with Kodi
The firmware is regulalrly updated

VERDICT

This box is a nice choice but not if you’re into gaming. However, it works pretty well if you like to enjoy simple games that you usually play on your smartphone. It features an excellent picture quality and comes with a user-friendly interface. It looks nice and even though is a little bit more expensive, it worth the investment.

5. GooBang Doo XB-III

This box is very well-made and features a nice design. The box is entirely made of metal, so it’s a solid investment for many years. It is heavier than the other models selected by us but it has a compact size. Besides the included standard remote control, it also comes with a wireless keyboard that fits great in your hands, helping with a lot with your searches. The keyboard features a trackpad on top to help you navigate with the mouse. This is great as not many boxes come with one, so you won’t have to buy it separately.

The antenna is located in the back for a better Wi-Fi reception. Once you finish the installation process, the main page looks like the typical Android interface. You can easily customize the interface for a more user-friendly interface experience. The overall perfomance is pretty impresive and you will have access to a lot of content. We like the picture quality as it moves fast and without buffering when streaming video.

PROS

CONS

Solid construction and compact design The keyboard batteries don’t hold the charge for long
Easy to set up and customize The remote control is not very responsive
It features an on-off button on the front of the panel Doesn’t support all the apps
Comes at an affordable price
You can expand the storage memory up to 64 GB

VERDICT

All in all, the box features a solid construction and is available at a budget-friendly price. The included wireless keyboard is very helpful although it seems rather cheap. Good quality image and easy to set up. It also works fast. There are some drawbacks but they don’t affect its overall performance.

Few Words About Our Ratings


            Now that we’ve reviewed the Android boxes, let’s find out more about how we ranked them. When talking about these devices is highly important to consider the CPU, GPU, video resolution, and so on. Even though there may be little differences between the devices, there may be a considerable discrepancy in terms of performance and image quality.

  • Design

  •             These days, no matter what product are we looking for, we put a high price on design. We tend to opt for simple and compact appliances or devices that easily fit into our home decor. Comparing the latest Android boxes to the first ones, we noticed that not only they are more performant but also more stylish. They look like little boxes. The most compact and lightweight model is Amazon Fire TV that measures 2.6 x 2.6 x 0.6 inches and weighs just 0.19 lbs. By contrast, SkyStream TWO Streaming Media Player is more bulky and heavy, although not the heaviest one. GooBang Doo XB-III is heavier than the other models, weighing 1.29 pounds.

  • CPU&GPU

  •             The central processing unit is the brain of the streaming box. Therefore, for enjoying amazing performance you need a fast processor. However, there are processors that even though they are less advanced, they may work better in certain situations. For example, some devices are better for gaming, like NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro. For a responsive graphic, your streaming box needs a powerful GPU. All our models render high-quality. The key for a top-performing streaming box is the combination between the CPU and GPU, being, in fact, the most important components of these devices.

  • Memory

  •             The more built-in memory, the better. In order to get the most out of your smart TV box, you need space to store the apps, games, and so on. The winner in this category is by far NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro with an internal memory of 500GB. It is quite impressive in comparison to the other models and this is one of the main reason why it is so popular. Next is SkyStream TWO Streaming Media Player with a memory of 32GB.

  • Operating System

  •             Many of the Android TV boxes come with the same operating system used by smartphones. This means you can download a wide range of apps, games, or just watch your favorite movies or listen to the music you love. Comparing the models in our chart we notice that most of them use the advanced Android versions. MINIX Neo U1 is using an older version of Android, Lollipop 5.1.1, so you may not be able to upgrade some apps.

  • Video Resolution

  •             The picture quality in a streaming box is highly important, especially if you’re a movie fan. Luckily, all our models can output videos at 4K resolution. This translates to exceptional high video quality. Unlike many other models that only promise to deliver ultra-high-definition content, these ones really do.

  • Warranty

  •             It seems that the standard warranty for these devices is 1 year. However, considering the fact that the first ranked models are more expensive, we would’ve expected at a longer warranty. Some manufacturers offer you the possibility to extend the period of warranty for 1 year or 2 years but this automatically means extra money.


       One thing we know for sure is that Android TV boxes will change your TV experience into something really great. Comparing the best models currently available, has helped us get to the conclusion that quality really matters. We strongly recommend NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro as it comes with exceptional storage capacity and great gaming experience. Also, you can use it to control your home and features advanced voice search. Nevertheless, you will have to pay more money for this model. If you want a cheaper alternative and you are a fan of Amazon smart home devices and systems, than you may consider Amazon Fire TV. You will love its design and ease of use, as well as the price. The other smart Tv boxes don’t come with the voice search feature but they are well-made and work pretty fast. All these boxes are easy to configure and feature impressive image quality, so no matter what your option is, you can be sure you will be very pleased with your purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions



?Do I Have to Pay a TV Subscription for Using the Device?
No, in order to use the Android TV box you don’t need to pay any TV subscription. You will pay only for the box.

?Does It Work Without an Internet Connection?
No, you can’t use the box without an internet connection. You have to connect it either via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, according to your preferences. However, using a cable will deliver faster connection.

?How Difficult Is to Install the Box?
The streaming box is very easy to set up. You just need to follow the provided instructions and you are all set.

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