AssassinHTPC

www.assassinhtpcblog.com

©Copyright by Assassin HTPC. All rights reserved.
This guide and its contents are copyrighted by Assassin HTPC

This may be used for personal use by the purchaser only; users are forbidden to reproduce, republish, redistribute or resell and material from this guide without the permission of Assassin HTPC.


Android Box Comparison

We get asked many times for suggestions on what inexpensive Android box people should use for streaming their stored content or internet content to various (we call them secondary) locations.

Before continuing understand that there are known issues with these low priced android systems.  Some you might not notice, some you may never experience, and others you might not really even care about.

Overall, I can tell you from personal experience, for a main viewing area HTPC these systems still have a good amount of way to go but for bedrooms, kitchens, tv rooms, etc. these make very affordable and good extenders.

Some of them are:

  • Lip-sync issues with 3D ISO’s (H.264/MVC) & VC-1;
  • Occasional crash if you try to skip ahead in VC-1 video
  • 23.976, rendering (most do 24.00)
  • Some macroblocking & pixellation
  • Random, but nasty crackles & pops in HD audio (my poor speakers)
  • 3D ISO stutters (due to bandwidth or headroom likely) & microstutters (due to improper framerate)
  • Both have some ghosting with 3D
  • Increased microstuttering during excessively long playback times.
  • Microstuttering due to heat issues during stressed periods

There are many different boxes available on the market at tons of price points.  Most of these are actually manufactured by only a couple companies and then re-branded by dozens of different Chinese export firms who then ship and sell them in the US and sell via Amazon and Ebay.  Most Chinese factories will let you re-brand anything if you buy their minimum quantities they ask.  So while some might claim they are “the best” most are exactly the same with just some re-branding done.

We tested a dozen different streaming devices of various specifications and have some results and our suggestions below:

What this Comparison Guide is:  A VERY basic overview of some of the different Android boxes available on the market.  This is not a detailed technical overview of each of the boxes.  More of a guideline based on general user experience.  We’ve linked detailed reviews of several of the boxes below where applicable as well.

Assassin Words of Wisdom: “Don’t pay too much attention to the speed of the processors in the android systems.  There are some throttling concerns caused by heat issues with the S905 which gives it some microstuttering issues and the RK is 8 cores as opposed to S905 Quad core so it all about equals out in the end (although I’m always partial to more cores).

Comparison

MXQ

K1 Plus

EM95

Z4

Element Ti4

Zidoo X6

HiMedia H8

Chipset

Amlogic S805

Amlogic S905 Amlogic S905 Rockchip RK3368 Amlogic s812 Rockchip RK3368 Rockchip RK3368
Speed

1.5 GHZ

2.0 GHz 2.0 GHz 1.5 GHz 2.0 GHz 1.5 GHz 1.5 GHz
CPU Cores

4

4 4 8 4 8

8

GPU Cores

4 5 5 8 8 8

8

FLASH

8 GB

8 GB 8 GB 16 GB 16 GB 16 GB

16GB

RAM

1 GB 1 GB 1 GB

2 GB

2 GB 2 GB

2 GB

OS

4.4 5.1 5.1 5.1 4.4 5.1

5.1

3D

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes

USB

3x

4x 3x 2x 3x 2x

2x

HD Audio

Yes

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes

4K

No

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes

Remote

Basic Basic Basic Basic Basic Basic / App

Advanced

Wireless

Single Band Single Band Single Band Dual Band Dual Band Dual Band

Dual Band

LAN

Yes

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes

Bluetooth

No No No Yes Yes Yes

Yes

Optical Out

No

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes

Other

OTG Inputs

USA Based Company Phone Control App

Aluminum Chassis, Component Out

Price

$35.88 $45.99 $69.99 $79.99 $109.99 $109.99

$109.99

Similar Systems:

Mifanstech
Yuntab
Anewish Raynic Redsun idroidnation Mifanstech

Wangang

Library Lag:

Yes

Yes Yes Yes Yes Some

None

Assassins Thoughts:

For $35 it is well worth it. Little better performance than a stick.

Felt Cheap and Light. Very Light. I would pass. Good Unit under $75.  Performance a little better than cheaper ones and newer OS. Great Price for 8 Core option. Great Customer Support Performed well when pushed.

Has Some extra bells & whistles.

*ASSASSIN RECOMMENDED*

(see notes below)

Review Review Review Review Review Review Review

Assassin Quick Reviews:

MXQ:

For $35 this little guy was pretty good.  There was a lot of library drag when trying to scroll through a 500 movie library.  But it was pretty reactive and performed and played everything when asked.  Its Single band wireless will hurt its performance some if trying to do this wirelessly and had a very basic remote.  This is a good one to benchmark the rest from.  Playback choked a bit on some larger files and it didn’t like it much when you did too much (like skip ahead a lot or try to do a couple different things at once).  It was very basic.  But at $35 it does what its asked.

K1 PLUS:

This thing was light.  Very light.  My iPhone was heavier than this.  It might just of been me but it felt cheap and low quality because of how light it was.  And my HDMI cable got stuck in the back of it and ripped off the connector (but I was using the cheap HMDI cables that came with these devices so that might not have been 100% its fault).  It performed ok. Nothing exceptional and not much cheaper than the $35 MXQ option. I didn’t notice much performance difference with the extra GPU core or the 905 vs. the 805.  Does have 4x USB’s however which is the most of any unit tested.  It did lag its cover art when scrolling through a 500 movie library.

EM95:

The EM95 performed fairly similar to the the MXQ and K1 but has a nice little LCD display on the front that gives it a feel of being a little higher end.  It reacted pretty quick to commands and adding movies to the library and streaming videos.  A good unit but with a single band wifi might limit some applications.  It did lag its cover art when scrolling through a 500 movie library.

Z4:

With double the Flash Storage (16 GB) and double the RAM (2GB) the Z4 is the cheapest option to get you into what the 8 core processor or what we call the sweetspot of the 16/2/8 setup for the android boxes.  At only $80 its our second place finisher due to its price and a great option.  It did lag its cover art when scrolling through a 500 movie library but performed well.

Element Ti4:

The Element Ti4 is from a USA based company that has proven good technical support.  It doesn’t have an 8 core CPU but the performance difference notice is minimal (if at all) but still has 16GB of Flash and 2GB of RAM which helps its keep up its performance.  If you are worried about getting a dud or being left out to dry and like the idea of a company with American roots then this is a good option.  It did lag its cover art when scrolling through a 500 movie library but performed well.

Zidoo X6:

Our third place option.  Has some good bells and whistles like a phone remote control app and some special options with its apps and menu settings.  However, its performance was similar to the Z4 and for and at $30 more we don’t think the bells and whistles are worth it.

HiMedia H8:

The H8 impressed us from the very beginning.  With an aluminum chassis it had a better feel to it and a much better remote (one that didn’t feel cheap and actually felt like a remote).  Everything about this little box felt higher end and all the performance was a little quicker and sharper.  If you have never played with a dozen other android boxes you might not been able to feel the difference.  But after testing the rest of the field, this one outperformed them all hands down.  Everything felt sluggish and old after testing this.  And when we used this the first time after some of the others it felt like an i5 was pushing it.  When a 500 library was loaded and scrolled through it kept up with the cover art and responded beautifully to everything we asked it to.  If you are on a tight budget you should get the performance you want from some of the others but if you want something that just plain works, and works well…then get this.

Android CPU/GPU Comparison

Amlogic S905

Rockchip RK3368

Winner
CPU

Quad core Cortex A53
@ 2.02 GHz

Octa core Cortex A53
@ 1.2GHz

GPU

ARM Mali-450MP

PowerVR G6110

Antutu 5.x
Overall

28,027

34,171

RK3368

Multitask

4,260

4,041

S905

Runtime

2,721

2,949

RK3368

RAM Ops

1,960

2,346

RK3368

RAM Speed

2,420

2,601

RK3368

CPU Integer (multi-thread)

2,310

2,973

RK3368

CPU float-point (multi-thread)

2,483

2,930

RK3368

CPU Integer (single thread)

1,587

1,536

S905

CPU float-point (single thread)

1,510

1,492

S905

2D Graphics(1920×1080)

1,374

1,617

RK3368

3D Graphics (1920×1080)

6,126

10,115

RK3368

Vellamo 3.x
Metal

763

773 RK3368
Multicore

1,572

1,288

S905

Browser

2,002 1,796

S905

3DMark – Ice Storm Extreme

Total Score

4,304 4,248 S905

Graphics score

3,684 4,361

RK3368

Physics score

10,468 3,893

S905

Read more about the comparison here:

Assassin-Ben

www.AssassinHTPC.com

error: Content is protected !!