Home > AMLogic, Android, Hardware, Testing, Video > M12N Amlogic S912 Octa-core TV Box Review – Part 2: Android 6.0 Firmware

M12N Amlogic S912 Octa-core TV Box Review – Part 2: Android 6.0 Firmware

Shenzhen Shiningworth MXQ Plus M12N is one of the first TV box powered by Amlogic S912 octa-core processor also bringing a faster GPU, VP9 and HDR support compared to the earlier Amlogic S905 processor. I’ve already shown the device, its accesories, and its internal degisn in the first part of MXQ Plus M12N review, so today I’ll spend time reporting my finding testing features and performance with Android 6.0 firmware.

MXQ_Plus_M12N_TV-Box_HDD_Onkyo_AV_Receiver

Setup Wizard and First Impressions

Since there are only two USB ports, I connected my USB hard drive to one, and used a USB hub to connect input devices including two RF dongles for an air mouse, and a gamepad, as well as a USB keyboard to take screenshots. I also added Ethernet and  HDMI cable, and finally connected the power supply to boot it up.

M12N_Setup_Wizard_LetterboxBut as you can see from the picture the very first boot was not quite as expected, as all I can see what a mini version of the user interface in the top left corner of my TV (please ignore the vertical line(s) in my pictures, as it is a problem with my LG 4K TV). I contacted the Shenzhen Shiningworth about this issue, and they told me to try to reboot the device… To my surprise, the issue was gone, and I’ve never been able to reproduce it.

MXQ-Plus-M12N-Setup_Wizard

The very first screen will be a welcome from the setup wizard. Select/Click on Next to select the language.M12N_Wizard_Language_Settings

You’ll only have four choices at this stage: English, simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, or Japanese. M12N_Wizard_Overscan_Settings

The Next window is for overscan compensation in case you have black zones on the edges of your TV.M12N_Wizard_Network_SettingsThe final settings in the wizard is for Network. If you have connected an Ethernet cable just click Next, but if you want to use WiFi instead set Wireless from close to open, select your access point, and enter its password. Both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz (802.11ac) networks are supported.

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Once everything done you get to the main launcher with icons for Google Play, Kodi, YouTube, Netflix, “Local” apps, All apps, a Game app (KO GameBox), and a links to Settings. There’s also a customizable bar at the bottom for favorite apps. Boot is normally achieved in less than 30 seconds.

M12N_Android_AppsThe pre-installed app are mostly pretty common, except some IPTV apps – BangTV, Mobdro, and Show Box – which I’m not familiar, and check out later in the review.

MXQ-PLus_M12N_SettingsThere are 6 main menus in the settings:

  • Networks – Wireless, Ethernet, Broadband (PPPoE), and wireless hotspot
  • Device – BlueTooth, Keyboard, HDMI CEC control, Sound settings (PCM, SPDIF passthrough, or HDMI passthrough)
  • General – Device Name (default: MXQ Plus), Date & Time, Language, and More settings (Android 6.0 settings)
  • Security – Security redirecting to Android 6.0 Security Settings, Add Account
  • Display – Adjustment, Resolution, Wallpaper, Screensaver
  • MXQ About – Device Name, System Info, Developer mode, ROM update, and Restore factory status

About_MXQ_PlusI haven’t had any problems with neither WiFi or Ethernet connectivity, and I could setup HDMI output up to [email protected] Hz, however the system would almost always revert to 1080p60 after a reboot. The mow usual annoyance that I can’t turn off my AV receiver while it’s connected to the device still occur, even if I disable HDMI CEC. I could not find any HDR options in the settings.

While we have the most useful option in Settings app,  you can still access Android 6.0 settings via General->More settings, and set other parameter like accessibility, printing, developer options, Languages and Input (with many languages), and so on.

Like most new devices to the market, the TV box has a unified partition for apps and data with 11.87 GB storage, and at the end of the review I had only used 2.99 GB with all installed apps and some files copied to the download directory. So there will be enough space for the requirements of most people.

Going to About MediaBox section shows MXQ Plus running Android 6.0.1 on top of Linux 3.14.29. The firmware is not rooted. The company told me that OTA firmware is supported, but it won’t work through UPDATE&BACKUP app, which reports OTA failure connecting to server, and instead you’d have to go to Settings->MXQ About->ROM update. I have not been able to confirm whether it works since the company has not release a new firmware since I’ve received the device. [Update: The company has now pushed a new firmware on their OTA server, and I’ve tested it. See section below]

While I used MINIX NEO A2 Lite air mouse for most of the review, I’ve also quickly tested the infrared remote control, and it works with a range up to 10 meters.  Google Play store worked well, except for BLE (Bluetooth LE) app such as Mi Fit or Vidonn Smartband, which I had to side-loaded. I had no problem installing the free version of Riptide GP2 through Amazon Underground.

Power handling is OK with a short press on the power button of the remote control making the device go into standby, and a long press, popping up a window to power it off cleanly. I could also use the remote control to power it back on.

I measured power consumption in 6 different configurations:

  • Power off – 0.4 watt
  • Standby – 0.4 watt
  • Idle – 3.0 to 3.4 watts
  • Power off + USB HDD – 0.4 watt
  • Standby + USB HDD – 1.0 watt (HDD LED was turned off)
  • Idle + USB HDD – 4.2 watts

All good numbers, and behaviors. Unless you consider the 30+ watts consumed by my A/V receiver which I can’t power off while connected to MXQ Plus M12N…

Thermal design as seen in the teardown post with two thick thermal pad connecting the processor to the metal case, was not very convincing, but during use the case does not get very hot. After Antutu 6.x, top and bottom temperatures were both 41°C max, and after playing Riptide GP2 for about 15 minutes, the temperatures only went up to 43°C and 45°C respectively. The game frame rate was also constant during the whole duration of the game.

Considering Amlogic S912 is a brand new processor, and putting aside the very first boot letterbox issue. my first impressions were quite good with MXQ Plus M12N with the stable and responsive firmware most of the time. Other small annoyances and bugs included the lack of status and notification bars, the device preventing me from turning off my A/V receiver, and in two or three occurrences having the system ask whether I wanted to close or wait for an unresponsive app.

A Quick Look at IPTV apps

As previously mentioned 3 IPTV apps are installed.

BangTV plays Chinese TV stations in Mandarin, but also some in foreign languages (Russian, French, Arabic…) in SD resolution.

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Mobdro app categorizes live video feeds by Channels, News, Shows, Movies, Sports, and Music, and more.

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Once you enter a category, you will be presented by a list of channels with logo and descriptions.

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I could play Sky Sports F1 from the list in SD resolution, and it worked well, except the quality was rather low. Watching sports on TV is often a paying endeavors, so I assume this may not be legal everywhere…

Finally Show Box app starts in the News section, which you can navigate to access various entertainment news about movies and TV shows.

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But you can also select Movies and TV shows in the left sidebar, which brings you to a list of movies.

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I selected one, and it looks like it’s pointing to stream or download the movie through bittorrent.

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I’ve checked Tarzan for two minutes and it could stream fine at 720p (with somewhat low quality)… Again it may not be fully legal in all locales…

OTA Firmware Update

Note: this section had been added after the review since the company only pushed the new firmware one day later.

So soon after starting the device, I got a pop-up window prompting for an Update together with a short changelog.

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I clicked “Yes” and then… nothing. I asked the company if this was normal, and was informed that download occurs in the background, and a down arrow is shown during the process.

Amlogic_S912_Firmware_Update_Icon

So I minded my own business doing other things for a few minutes, and finally I got another pop-up asking me to applying the update.MXQ_Plus_M12N_Firmware_Download_CompleteI clicked “Yes”, the system rebooted, applied the update, and then complete the installation for a reboot. Around 5 minutes later everything was completed, and I still had my files and apps. So no problem and it went smoothly.

Video and Audio Playback with Kodi, Antutu Video Tester, and DRM information

I’ll switch to local video playback. The first time you start Kodi, you’ll be asked whether you want to install Add-ons. I selected “Not install” myself, since I don’t need it for review.

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Kodi 16.1 is installed, probably a custom version built on July 4, 2016.

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I’ll play all videos from a SAMBA share over an 100Mbps Ethernet connectivity, unless otherwise stated (HDD = played from USB hard drive).

I’ve started with some Linaro media samples, and Elecard H.265 videos:

  • H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny) – 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • MPEG2 codec / MPG container –  480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • MPEG4 codec, AVI container 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • VC1 codec (WMV) – 1080p – 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • Real Media (RMVB), 720p / 5Mbps – OK (software decode)
  • WebM / VP8 – 480p/720p – OK (ff-vp8 software decode), 1080p – some frames are skipped
  • H.265 codec / MPEG TS container  – OK

I enabled automatic refresh rate in Kodi, but this did not work well.

Videos with various bitrates were next:

  • ED_HD.avi (H.264 / 10 Mbps) – Not 100% smooth (software decode)
  • big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi (1080p H.264 – 12 Mbps) – OK
  • h264_1080p_hp_4.1_40mbps_birds.mkv (40 Mbps) – OK
  • hddvd_demo_17.5Mbps_1080p_VC1.mkv (17.5Mbps) – Audio only, stays in UI
  • Jellyfish-120-Mbps.mkv (120 Mbps video without audio) – HDD: OK

The worry here is that the system can’t play some videos with software decode that could be played without issues in Amlogic S905X devices like MINI M8S II, so it could be the CPU is throttling under load.

I also tested PCM output (stereo downsampling) via Kodi and MX Player/MoviePlayer app using my TV’s speakers, and HDMI pass-through in both using Onkyo TX-NR636 receiver for advanced audio codecs.

Audio Codec in Video PCM 2.0 Output
(Kodi 16.1)
PCM 2.0 Output
(MoviePlayer or Video Player)
HDMI Pass-through
(Kodi 16.1)
HDMI Pass-through
(MoviePlayer or Video Player)
AC3 / Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio OK but video not smooth No audio Dolby D 5.1 detected, but audio starts with noises, video not smooth OK
E-AC-3 / Dolby Digital+ 5.1 OK No audio Dolby D 5.1, but with 3 audio cuts OK
Dolby Digital+ 7.1 OK No audio no audio Video plays in slow motion without audio
TrueHD 5.1 OK No audio no audio TrueHD 5.1
TrueHD 7.1 OK No audio no audio TrueHD 7.1
Dolby Atmos 7.1 OK No audio PCM 2.0 Dolby D 5.1continuous beep
DTS HD Master OK No audio DTS 5.1 with 2 audio cuts DTS 5.1
DTS HD High Resolution OK No audio DTS 5.1 with 1 audio cut DTS 5.1
DTS:X OK No audio DTS 5.1 DTS 5.1

No audio with PCM output using apps other than Kodi is expected since the processor is Amlogic S912, and not Amlogic S912-H with the proper Dolby and DTS licenses. HDMI pass-through is still in a sorry state, especially in Kodi. It’s still usable in other apps, as long as you are satisfied with 5.1 audio.

4K video playback is pretty good however, at least for supported HW codecs:

  • HD.Club-4K-Chimei-inn-60mbps.mp4 – OK
  • sintel-2010-4k.mkv – OK
  • Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) –  OK
  • Bosphorus_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – OK
  • Jockey_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_TS.ts (H.265) – OK
  • MHD_2013_2160p_ShowReel_R_9000f_24fps_RMN_QP23_10b.mkv (10-bit HEVC) – OK
  • phfx_4KHD_VP9TestFootage.webm (VP9) – OK
  • BT.2020.20140602.ts (Rec.2020 compliant video; 36 Mbps) – OK.
  • big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_30fps.mp4 – OK
  • big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_60fps.mp4 – Not smooth, and audio delay (as expected since hardware is not supposed to support it)
  • Fifa_WorldCup2014_Uruguay-Colombia_4K-x265.mp4 (4K, H.265, 60 fps) – OK
  • Samsung_UHD_Dubai_10-bit_HEVC_51.4Mbps.ts (10-bit HEVC / MPEG-4 AAC) – OK
  • Astra-11479_V_22000-Canal+ UHD Demo 42.6 Mbps bitrate.ts (10-bit H.265 from DVB-S2 stream) –  OK
  • 暗流涌动-4K.mp4 (10-bit H.264; 120 Mbps) – HDD: Slow motion, and many artifacts (Not supported by S912 VPU, software decode)
  • Ducks Take Off [2160p a 243 Mbps].mkv (4K H.264 @ 30 fps; 243 Mbps; no audio) – HDD: Not perfectly smooth for either NTFS or exFAT partitions
  • tara-no9-vp9.webm (4K VP9 YouTube video) – OK
  • The.Curvature.of.Earth.4K.60FPS-YT-UceRgEyfSsc.VP9.3840×2160.OPUS.160K.webm (4K VP9 @ 60 fps + opus audio) – OK watchable but not 100% perfectly smooth.

I had already written about 4K video playback on Amlogic S912 SoC, and if you haven’;t seen it already you can watch some of the videos above playing in M12N in the embedded video below.

Sintek-4k.iso & amat.iso (non encrypted) Blu-Ray ISOs, and two MPEG2 1080i videos could all play without an issues. I was expecting Amlogic S912 to handle 1080p 10-bit H.264 video software decoding thanks to its 8 cores @ 2.0 GHz, but while a 720p Hi10p would play perfectly with audio, video and subtitles, the 1080p Hi10p video was not perfectly smooth, and even suffered from artifacts and audio cuts from time to time. The culprit could be M12N specific thermal design, so the issue will have to be confirmed or disproved with some other S912 models.

My TV does not support 3D videos, but I normally still checked if the TV box can decode the videos, and Onkyo TX-NR636 A/V receiver is capable of detecting 3D content (shows 3D icon) for MVC videos as shown in  Zidoo X1 II review, so I check whether the 3D icon is lit up:

  • bbb_sunflower_1080p_60fps_stereo_abl.mp4 (1080p Over/Under) – OK
  • bbb_sunflower_2160p_60fps_stereo_abl.mp4 (2160p Over/Under) – Audio only, stays in UI.
  • Turbo_Film-DreamWorks_trailer_VO_3D.mp4 (1080p SBS) – OK
  • 3D-full-MVC.mkv (Full-frame packed MVC 3D MKV) – 2D only, 3D icon not shown on Onkyo receiver
  • ISO-full3D-sample.iso (Full-frame packed MVC 3D ISO) – 2D only, 3D icon not shown on Onkyo receiver

I completed Kodi videos testing by playing various VOB/IFO, MKV, AVI, MP4, XViD/DViX, and MKV 720p and 1080p videos from my library and all could play fine. I also played one complete video for 2 hours without issues.

I’ve also run Antutu Video Tester 3.0 benchmark, and MXQ Plus got 865 points, which is quite similar to the 909 points achieved on MINI M8S II. The best devices normally get over 1,000 points.

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DRM info shows only Widewine Level 3 is supported. No surprise here.

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YouTube works fine, but is limited to 1080p max.

Video samples used in Kodi for this review can be downloaded via links in the comments section of my video sample post.

Network Performance

I copied a 278MB file between a SAMBA share and the internal storage test WiFi performance, both using 802.11n @ 2.4 GHz, and 802.11ac @ 433 Mbps.

M12N_802.11ac_WiFiResults are below average, and during the 802.11n test, I even got a stalled and failed transfer. Performance is also asymmetric with “downloads” (SAMBA-> flash) faster than uploads (flash to SAMBA). 802.11n achieved 1.6 MB/s on average, while the file was transfered @ 1.9 MB/s over 802.11ac on average.

Throughput in MB/s - Click to Enlarge

Throughput in MB/s – Click to Enlarge

For Fast Ethernet, I instead ran iperf -t 60 -c server_ip -d to test full duplex transfer, a worse case scenario, and performance is good:

Miscellaneous Tests

Bluetooth

After pairing my Android smartphone with “MXQ Plus” I could transfer a couple of photos over Bluetooth. I side-loaded Mi Fit, and it recognized and sync data with Xiaomi Mi Band 2 fitness band, however the app was displayed in portrait mode.

Xiaomi_Mi-Fit_Portrait

I skipped Sixaxis app test with my PS3 Bluetooth game controller clone since the firmware is not rooted, and for some reasons the TV box completely failed to detect my Bluetooth headset.

Storage

My Seagate USB hard drive with 4 partitions got NTFS and exFAT partions recognized and mounted  and a FAT32 micro SD could also be moutned in read/write mode.

File System Read Write
NTFS OK OK
EXT-4 Not mounted Not mounted
exFAT OK OK
BTRFS Not mounted Not mounted
FAT32 OK OK

Once I tried to copy a file from NTFS to exFAT in ES File Explorer but it failed due to permissions issues. I had not such issues with File Manager app. A1SD bench app shows fast sequential read speed in both partitions with 30MB/s (NTFS) and 33.86MB/s (exFAT), but write speeds are on the low side at respectively 6.42MB/s (NTFS) and 23.83MB/s (exFAT). I checked the NTFS partition with ntfsfix in my PC, and repeated the benchmark but the write speed was still very low.

Read and Write Speeds in MB/s

Read and Write Speeds in MB/s

I repeated the test for M12N Samsung eMMC flash, and the results were excellent with 99.00 MB/s read speed and 69.40 MB/s write speed, which really makes me wonder why the box are the “unresponsive” app issue.

Read and Write Speeds in MB/s

Read and Write Speeds in MB/s

Gaming

I’ve already written a specific post about Gaming on Amlogic S912 TV box, and performance is clearly better than on Amlogic S905 TV boxes. The included retro gaming app “KO Gamebox” is also interesting. You can see the performance in several games in the video below.

MXQ Plus M12N Benchmarks

I’ll refer to you to the post entitled M12N Amlogic S912 TV Box Benchmarks for details, but let’s say results are disappointing, and I was expecting a larger performance jump compared to Amlogic S905 platforms.

Antutu_6_Amlogic-S912_M12N

Conclusion

MXQ Plus M12N works reasonably well with a stable and responsive firmware, good 4K video playback in Kodi, and decent gaming performance, however it feels like the device does not fully leverage Amlogic S912 processor performance based on benchmark results and video software decoding performance, and it still has some bugs like lack of HDMI audio pass-through in Kodi, and no automatic frame rate switching, problem with remembering HDMI resolution, slow WiFi, and so on.

PROS

  • Recent, stable, responsive (most of the time) Android 6.0 firmware
  • Good 4K videos playvack for VP9, H.265 and H.264 in Kodi
  • HDMI audio pass-through for Dolby 5.1, DTS 5.1, and TrueHD 5.1 and 7.1 in Video Player/MoviePlayer
  • One of the fastest internal storage I’ve seen in any TV boxes leading to reasonably fast boot (< 30 seconds)
  • Good 3D gaming performance
  • Proper power handling, and low power off, standby, and idle power consumption
  • OTA firmware update support
  • exFAT, NTFS, and FAT32 file system support for external storage
  • IR remote control working up to at least 10 meters
  • Bluetooth file transfer and BLE are working

CONS

  • HDMI audio pass-through and automatic frame rate switching not working properly in Kodi. Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD 7.1 not supported in other apps
  • Disappointing performance compared to Amlogic S905 TV boxes (only ~ +10/15% boost in many benchmarks), and some videos (10-bit h.264) are not playing as well as in Amlogic S905X devices using software decode. Possibly a thermal design issue
  • User set HDMI output mode is not always remember, often falling back to 1080p60 after a reboot, even if I set it to 4K 60Hz previously.
  • “App not responding” issue appearing from time to time (not too often, but still noticeable)
  • Poor WiFi performance
  • Likely HDMI CEC issue as the device will not let me turn off my A/V receiver even after disabling HDMI CEC or automatic HDMI output
  • Bluetooth audio may not be working
  • Lack of status and notifications bars
  • DRM: Only supports Widevine Level 3
  • Dolby & DTS licenses not included (Only a problem for apps other than Kodi, for people not using HDMI or S/PDIF audio pass-through)

The manufacturer, Shenzhen Shiningworth, provided the sample for review, and wholesalers and distributors can contact the company to purchase in quantities. They also sell the MXQ Plus M12N to individuals on Aliexpress for $69.90. Alternatively you can buy their customers’ design, with a slightly different firmware, such as Acemax M12N for $65 on GearBest, or $69.99 on Aliexpress, as well as ENYBOX X2 sold on GeekBuying for $79.99.

  1. August 25th, 2016 at 14:38 | #1

    Updated post with OTA firmware update section, since I could test it successfully today.

  2. GunterO
    August 25th, 2016 at 15:30 | #2

    I can’t remember seeing them, but are there any “Chinese” boxes, based on the S905(x)/S912 line which are capable of automatic frame rate swithing and (HD) audio over HDMI in Android & Kodi?
    I usually wait for Open/LibreELEC support (thanks Alex!) on these devices before they are “usable” for me, but I wish I could have the same experience and stability when using Kodi on Android.

    • Bennett83
      September 21st, 2016 at 03:03 | #3

      The only way to get these cheap boxes to work properly is install openelec/libreelec.ive bought lots of different ones and none of the auto refresh or pass through with the standard android firmware

  3. August 25th, 2016 at 16:55 | #4

    @GunterO
    MINIX NEO U1 -> http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/12/14/review-of-minix-neo-u1-media-hub/
    Zidoo X5 -> http://www.cnx-software.com/2016/03/06/zidoo-x5-tv-box-review/
    HDMI audio pass-through was not perfect during my reviews several months ago, but they have probably fixed most issues. Double check on their respective forums.

    WeTek Hub should also be OK, but I have not posted review since mine had serious issues.

  4. BobN
    August 25th, 2016 at 17:09 | #5

    I’m looking to move from my Windows based Kodi set up to a tv box type set up and am primarily being directed by the information published on this web site. However I still can’t decide which box would best meet my requirements. Low power standby consumption (resumable using a remote control) is one of my requirements so the 0.4w of this M12N Amlogic box is attractive. (Are these figures typical of AMlogic based devices?) Good media (video and audio) playback is important from the perspective of it should just work for a wide range of formats rather than delivering the ultimate quality. (I’m not an audio/video-phile.) What would be the cnx community’s recommendations for a box that would meet these fairly basic requirements?

    Also, for those boxes with a T2 and/or S2 receivers (e.g. the just reviewed Xtreamer mxV), can they be used as Digital Video Recorders (i.e. record scheduled tv shows) and if so what is the mode / power consumption that the box sits in whilst waiting for the next recording to take place?

    Finally, is there a better place to pose such general questions on this excellent web site rather than just append it to a specific product’s comment thread as I have done here?

    Thanks.

  5. GunterO
    August 25th, 2016 at 17:10 | #6

    @cnxsoft
    Thanks for the overview. The MiniX looks very nice, but good software comes with a price tag. Which is quite obvious of course.

  6. August 25th, 2016 at 17:18 | #7

    @BobN
    I’ve written some recommendations while selecting an Android TV box @ http://www.cnx-software.com/2016/04/25/whats-the-best-android-tv-box/

    Most devices will match your requirements, except sometimes power off / standby power consumption, so check the reviews before purchase.

    DVB TV box can record to external hard drive. I have not tested scheduling from standby mode however. I just let the box run when I tested it. That’s something I should improve in my future review…

    There aren’t any forums on CNX Software, so I recommend to also check out http://forum.kodi.tv/ and/or http://freaktab.com/ communities, where knowledgeable people (including Kodi developers) will be able to answer your specific questions.

  7. BobN
    August 25th, 2016 at 17:23 | #8

    @cnxsoft
    Thanks. I’m familiar with the Kodi web site but I’ll add freaktab to the list. Are you planning on keeping your “whats-the-best-android-tv-box” page updated as better devices arrive on your review desk?

  8. August 25th, 2016 at 17:27 | #9

    @BobN
    I’ll likely update it once a year. Very good devices don’t come that often to my desk…

  9. Feelgood
    August 25th, 2016 at 18:01 | #10

    @BobN
    Hi BobN, i’m in similar situtaion, having the HTPC today looking for a neeter replacment.
    Tried the S905 some 6 months ago and it did not match my needs for all formats and HD-DTS audio. Use it today as replacment for my RPi.
    Have my hopes set to RK3399 which should be released soon, hopefully will outmatch the S912 with both speed and variance.
    About the recording, i beleive Kodi can do that to a local disk for all streams?
    Freaktab is another good forum for discussions

    / Feelgood

  10. BobN
    August 25th, 2016 at 19:11 | #11

    @Feelgood
    Hi Feelgood, I’ve been monitoring mostly S905(x) devices but perhaps I should branch out further to include Rockchips. I am pretty confident I could find a device that would record tv programmes if left fully powered-up but it’s the ability for the device to resume from a low power state, record and then revert to the lower power state which is what I am after.

  11. theguyuk
    August 25th, 2016 at 19:40 | #12

    Are there two speed versions of the S912 ? Some sellers say it is 1.5 ghz, example T95x bundle on geekbuying.
    Customers are going to get well confused!

  12. August 25th, 2016 at 20:22 | #13

    @theguyuk
    Amlogic S912 has two clusters of four ARM Cortex A53 cores. In M12N the max freqs are as follows:

    That means 4 cores @ up to 2.016 GHz, and 4 cores @ up to 1.0 GHz. During 3DMark however, I noticed the CPU freq maxed out at around 1.5 GHz.

  13. theguyuk
    August 25th, 2016 at 20:42 | #14

    @cnxsoft
    Thanks for the quick reply.

  14. GunterO
    August 25th, 2016 at 21:35 | #15

    theguyuk :
    Are there two speed versions of the S912 ? Some sellers say it is 1.5 ghz, example T95x bundle on geekbuying.
    Customers are going to get well confused!

    Maybe they limit the frequency because of improper cooling with some low end devices?

  15. SergV
    August 26th, 2016 at 12:05 | #16

    Thank you for very good reviews.
    Can you add some tests to your set of testing for TV box?
    1) SPDIF test. It will be enough to say: work – yes or no.
    2) Gigabit Ethernet test. I can recommend very useful and obvious program “WIFI speed test” (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pzolee.android.localwifispeedtester). As I remember, some TV box had poor Ethernet quality in you reviews. Graph of throughput from this program is better then text information from iperf. You can use cheap gigabit switch and laptop to test Ethernet quality.

    I had bad experience with “MXQ Pro+”, which was not bad from some reviews. (see – http://freaktab.com/forum/tv-player-support/amlogic-based-tv-players/s905/others-ac/568877-any-thoughts-on-this-box-mxq-pro?p=578405#post578405). I search for next TV box now and S912 TV box looks good.

  16. August 26th, 2016 at 14:24 | #17

    @SergV
    1) SPDIF is working
    2) That box does not support Gigabit Ethernet. I can have similar chart using Conky in my server.

  17. dommels
    August 26th, 2016 at 15:17 | #18

    Beelink Beelink GT1 with S912 now selling for $56 @Gearbest (Code GBGT1)
    http://www.gearbest.com/tv-box-mini-pc/pp_416057.html?wid=21

  18. theguyuk
    August 26th, 2016 at 15:52 | #19

    @ cnx software

    Your review buy chance inspired me to test Riptide GP2 on my mini m8s s905, 2gb ..

    My version of Riptide GP2 came off Amazon app store, underground and the free version, but looks the same. ( I came across the free game version by chance ).

    I only have a small Bluetooth wireless keyboard ( the type with volume rubber circle on left, mouse square in middle and rubber circle joystick pad on right ) so not a good, proper controller like yourself.

    In Riptide 2, I can set scene complexity to ultra, Shader complexity to medium, Physical wakes is selected but I can not unselect, also I cannot change or do anything with shadow detail.

    Resolution set to max.

    I have update my mini m8s s905 ROM/firmware from version 02 to 03 only three days ago. So still waiting to see if all fine.

    Anyway Riptide GP2 plays very well on my HD 1080, Samsunge TV. The game plays mostly fine although my controller is not the most precise. I have so far only tried milk run, to level 8.

    What would say you noticed most improved by the s912 in this game?

  19. August 26th, 2016 at 16:14 | #20

    @theguyuk
    Higher framerate.
    It’s possible graphics details are higher too, but I have not really focused on that. I’d probably need to check two monitors side-by-side, one with S905, one with S912, to notice it.

  20. Feelgood
    August 26th, 2016 at 16:26 | #21

    @dommels
    Thx,
    this review inspired me to buy one Beelink GT1 S912 also, have an S905 from before, many TVs in the house and cannot wait for RK3399. At the price of 56 USD it really seams like a bargain …
    As long as it’s better then the S905 i’ll be happy with it

  21. theguyuk
    August 26th, 2016 at 16:52 | #22

    @cnxsoft
    Thank you for a quick reply, do you remember what TV resolution the game plays at on your 4k TV , does it go above 1080 ?

    Watching your review video reminds my how annoying PC fans are, I would want to take a hammer to it! ( joke ), I have got so use to quiet Android TV boxes and my Roku 2 box. Sadly my Roku 2 sees less and less use now I have a 2gb s905 box. The AMLogic s802, s812 have a better 8 core GPU but I prefer Android 5.1.1 on s905 over the older Android on the AMLogic s802, s812.

  22. August 26th, 2016 at 16:53 | #23

    NEXBOX A3 is about the same price $55.98 -> http://www.banggood.com/NEXBOX-A3-Amlogic-S912-2GB-RAM-16GB-ROM-TV-BOX-p-1079100.html
    But it will only ship on September 10 or 11.
    I’m not sure which one is better between Beelink GT1 and NEXBOX A3.

  23. GunterO
    August 26th, 2016 at 16:57 | #24

    @Feelgood
    I’m tempted as well, but I’m going to wait until there is LibreELEC support for the S912 line.
    In my opinion, the Kodi experience still superior and stable than any Android based solution.

  24. August 26th, 2016 at 16:58 | #25

    @theguyuk
    Games are using 1920×1080, the framebuffer resolution.
    You can try it on your box. Change the video output to 720p, play a game, take a screenshot with USB keyboard or icon on status bar (if any), and when you open the pic, it should be 1920×1080 despite using a lower video output.

  25. dommels
    August 26th, 2016 at 17:05 | #26

    @cnxsoft
    Tempting prices! As far i can see the Beelink offers AC wifi compared to Nexbox (only A).
    I have a Beelink minimxIII atm running Minix Neo U1 firmware (quite excellent).

  26. August 26th, 2016 at 17:08 | #27

    @dommels
    You’d probably get only minor improvements with S912 over your current setup, especially for video playback, unless you have a TV with HDR maybe. I’m also pretty sure you’d lose some features due to the state of firmware.

  27. theguyuk
    August 26th, 2016 at 18:29 | #28

    @cnxsoft
    Cheers ☺

  28. theguyuk
    August 26th, 2016 at 18:37 | #29

    @GunterO
    I am lucky, as I just use my s905 by HDMI straight to TV and while upgrading to newest spec is a fever that can infect us all, I would unscientifically use the rule of thumb ” let others be the guinea pigs and wait for more mature drivers and software. ” .

    I guess, assume, not experience based, that GPU and audio drivers need to mature ( developers need more experience of these soc )

  29. Pepe
    August 30th, 2016 at 04:54 | #31

    Horizon GO works?

  30. August 30th, 2016 at 09:12 | #32

    @Pepe
    If you are in Ireland maybe. Horizon GO is incompatible with all of my 40+ devices, probably because I’m in Asia.

  31. espri
    September 9th, 2016 at 19:51 | #33

    I got the Acemax version of this hardware but it comes with a different launcher, which I do not like. Does anyone know the name of the launcher included with the MXQ-branded box. It looks much more familiar to me coming from an older MXQ box. Thank you.

  32. October 4th, 2016 at 00:11 | #34

    Very Nice Article

  33. Len
    November 1st, 2016 at 22:21 | #35

    I see you list as a Pro:
    HDMI audio pass-through for Dolby 5.1, DTS 5.1, and TrueHD 5.1 and 7.1 in Video Player/MoviePlayer

    Does this mean with the S912 chip I can connect my Surround Sound system to the SPDIF output while the TV is connected to the HDMI output?

    I can currently do this on my S805 box, but 2 S905 boxes I tested failed – no Pass-through.

  34. November 2nd, 2016 at 14:17 | #36

    @Len
    I’ve tested it using HDMI pass-through only, but it should also work through S/PDIF. You need to select S/PDIF in Android Audio output settings.

  35. Spleen
    November 25th, 2016 at 16:27 | #37

    Hi, can you set resolution on 4K also for android games or just for Kodi and user interface, other video player?
    Thanks

  36. November 25th, 2016 at 16:30 | #38

    @Spleen
    Kodi user interface, games, and all app is fixed to 1920×1080. 4K is not supported as the GPU would struggle at this resolution.

    The only thing that supports 4K are video output and videos. All players will use hardware decoding for 4K videos and display them 4K resolution, except when playing one of the rare unsupported codec through software decoding.

  37. kyle
    December 4th, 2016 at 23:54 | #39

    But What about Netflix will it play higher then 720P???????????? With all this Widevine stuff and android 6. I think its the only thing you didnt test and the only thing I care about. Or is it still all these android boxes still will not play FULLHD.

  38. December 5th, 2016 at 16:13 | #40

    @kyle
    Widevine Level 3 means only SD resolution will be supported in Netflix. You need Level 1 to support full HD and 4K, plus Netflix certifications, although there appears to be a workaround for the latter -> http://www.cnx-software.com/2016/11/28/how-to-play-netflix-hd-on-any-android-device-with-widevine-level-1-drm/

    Anyway, M12N only supports L3, so no Netflix HD even with the hack above.

  39. mgrant
    December 14th, 2016 at 17:27 | #41

    Any luck rooting the MXQ Plus S912 box? I want to put some ad blocker like adaway on it and it requires root.

  40. theguyuk
    December 14th, 2016 at 17:51 | #42

    @cnxsoft
    You are the expert here CNX

    I notice that while my mxq nexbox says it is putting out 1080. Several screen size apps report available screen is 720 actually.

    I have even run the altered Widevine L1 app. The app runs, conects to Nerflix and plays fine. Just no download option on app I have and I have no widevine L1 so cannot test 1080 HD.

    Shame Google cannot build Widevine L1 straight into Chrome.

  41. mgrant
    December 15th, 2016 at 05:41 | #44

    @cnxsoft >

    Thanks, seems like I’m nearly there…

    But when I use ‘adb shell’ to get to a shell on the m12n, I am logged in as user ‘shell’ and there is no su or sudo binary.

    ‘adb root’ does not work, it returns an error:
    adbd cannot run as root in production builds

    How did you get a root shell on the device? I am connecting over wifi.

  42. December 15th, 2016 at 09:30 | #45

    @mgrant
    I just typed “su”… You must have a more recent firmware, and they may have removed it… So it’s going to be more difficult…

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