Home > AMLogic, Android, Hardware, Testing > Beelink GT1 4K TV Box Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown

Beelink GT1 4K TV Box Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown

September 9th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

Beelink GT1 is among the cheapest Amlogic S912 TV boxes available today, selling for around $56, but despite the inexpensive price tag, its specifications are not too bad with Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi, 2GB RAM, 16GB flash, and 4K H.265 & VP9 video capabilities. The company sent me a sample for review, and as usual, I’ll start by posting photos, and having a look at the hardware design, before reviewing the firmware in more details in a the second part of the review.

My package appears to have had a rough trip, but apart from the edges of the black retail package nothing was damaged.

beelink-gt1-package
The main specifications are shown on the bottom of the package together with CE and FCC certifications, and the type of power adapter inside the package.

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GT1 ships with a simple IR remote control, a shortish HDMI cable (~1 meter), a small 5V/2A power adapter, and a user’s manual in English just showing how to connect the TV box to your TV. It feels one of the way they’ve kept the price low is by selecting inexpensive accessories.

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The box is rather small too, which looks cute, and reduce the cost of shipping.

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Click to Enlarge

We’ll find a USB 2.0 port and a micro SD slot on one side, and the rest of the connector on the rear panel with the power jack, one more USB port, HDMI 2.0 output, Gigabit Ethernet, and optical S/PDIF.

There aren’t any screws on the bottom of the case, so you’ll need to gently work your way around to pop-up the bottom plastic cover.

beelink-gt1-case-bottom-640pxOnce it’s done, you’ll find a heavy metal plate attached to the bottom cover, and some paste connecting it to a shield covering the processor and RAM chips. Since the paste feels dry, my box teardown may have a negative impact on thermal performance… so we’ll have to see.

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Click to Enlarge

The shield can easily be taken out. It comes with a pink thermal pad to cover Amlogic S912 SoC. Two Samsung K4B4G1646E-BCMA DDR3 SDRAM chips (1GB RAM) are paired with a 16GB FORESEE NCEMBSF9-16G eMMC flash. Wired connectivity is achieved via Realtek RTL8211F Gigabit Ethernet transceiver and H2403N transformer, while 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0 are done with Aigale AW-CM273SM. It’s the first time I see this module, but it appears to be a compatible replacement of Ampak AP6335 according to one Chinese website.

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Click to Enlarge

We’ll also find the serial console on the bottom left of the picture, close to the FORESEE flash. The board is actually called GT_V20, not GT1. Loosening three screws will allow us to completely remove the board from the case, and check out the bottom of the board.

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Click to Enlarge

There’s also a shield with a thermal pad covering two more memory modules bringing the total memory to 2GB.

Beelink provided the GT1 for review, and if you plan to purchase in quantities you may contact the company to do so. Beelink GT1 can also be purchased on Amazon US for $66.97, GearBest for $55.99 with GBGT1 coupon, and from several sellers on Aliexpress for $59.99 and up.

[Update: The second part of the review is now up @ Beelink GT1 TV Box Review – Part 2: Android Marshmallow Firmware]

  1. maredsous10
    September 9th, 2016 at 23:18 | #1

    Cool to see a teardown on the same day I received my GT1.

  2. GanjaBear
    September 10th, 2016 at 00:10 | #2

    Cool to see a teardown on the same day three days ago I received my GT1.

  3. BM
    September 10th, 2016 at 01:05 | #3

    Do we have a Libreelec / Openelec Port already for S912 box ?
    can you post the links or can you port it for these Boxes if you can ?

  4. adem nacakli
    September 10th, 2016 at 15:20 | #4

    i got my one couple of days ago and i have to say i really like it is very snappy and it just works very good kodi work other apps work its all good.

  5. Theguyuk
    September 10th, 2016 at 18:07 | #5

    The thermal paste comment brought a old memory of mine back of things you should not do but oddly caused no harm.

    Back then I put my own PC together from parts and friends I knew who did the same where doing a Physics and engineering degree.

    Anyway a Lad was using his Nvidia card when the heatsink/combined fan broke. He had no spares or real experience. It was weekend, he wanted to play his FPS games.

    So he removed the faulty parts cleaned the nvidia chip top and super glued a CPU heatsink and fan he had lying around on !

    NO ONE SHOULD USE SUPER GLUE !!!!!

    Much was said, we all said you will break the graphics card, burn the chip!, even the degree student were saying this.

    Two years later until he changed the card, to update, and the super glue fix was still working! The CPU heatsink he used was hardly bigger than the true Nvidia heat sink. All I know is against advice and the perceived odds it work!

  6. September 13th, 2016 at 02:43 | #6

    adem nacakli :
    i got my one couple of days ago and i have to say i really like it is very snappy and it just works very good kodi work other apps work its all good.

    Hello
    Could You Let me Know if The Real World wifi speeds on this box are any good?

  7. Feelgood
    September 13th, 2016 at 13:35 | #7

    Unpacked mine yesterday, plugged it in and did OTA update, started Kodi and found that screen resolution in Kodi is fixed to 1920×1080 , no settings to change that. Output in Android settings set to 4K60hz and my TV is reporting 3860×2160 signal. I set up my live TV feed from own Tvheadend server and found that video was choppy and picture quality was not as good as with my HTPC or the older S905. Updated Kodi via Google Play and restarted the unit. Same bad result with live TV feed, choppy video on all streams and somewhat lower picture quality.
    Why can’t i set Kodi to 4K output, same as from the box? Is Kodi tweaked for GT1? I tried disabling acceleration but that did not make any difference. Will test some 4K files later today.
    Have not tested wireless, mine is connected on gigabit LAN. Bluetooth works fine.
    Will see if i can delete Kodi with all settings file and make fresh installation from Google Play.
    Btw, memory usage on front screen is always above 55%, even if i kill all apps, what could be going on in the background?

  8. September 13th, 2016 at 14:24 | #8

    @Feelgood
    The user interface / framebuffer resoluition is different from the video output or “video hardware buffer” resolution. So usually we have a 1920×1080 user interface and 4K video output and playback support, meaning your video will be shown @ 4K resolution. More is explained @ http://www.cnx-software.com/2014/09/26/test-your-4k-device-true-resolution-with-a-4k-uhd-2160p-video-test-pattern/

    Updating Kodi via Google Play may cause troubles, since those boxes often run Kodi forks with some optimizations or fixes.

    I’ve never really looking into memory usage, but the operating system, launcher, some background services, and maybe some buffers are obviously take a chunk of the memory.

  9. Feelgood
    September 13th, 2016 at 14:47 | #9

    @cnxsoft
    Thx, the link for 4K_video_test_pattern.mkv is not working any more. I’ll test with the 4K test images from Dan Car.

    Regardless of the actual video output setting, i tried 1080/60hz, 4K/60hz and 4K/smpte, the tvheadend Live TV feed was choppy both before and after Kodi upgrade from Google Play, unfortunately i did OTA update before i started testing so i’m on latest firmware now. On my older S905 Live TV works perfect with same version of Kodi 16.1 so the feed is correct.
    I’ll change the HDMI cable and do a factory reset when i’m back home later today. If that does not work will delete all Kodi files and do a clean install of Kodi …

  10. Michael
    September 13th, 2016 at 15:17 | #10

    Does anyone know if this box supports Miracast source (i.e playing this TV box onto a TV over wireless)?

    Think this should be: settings -> display -> cast screen and then enable the option “enable wireless display”

  11. Feelgood
    September 15th, 2016 at 19:19 | #11

    Is part 2 waiting for all problems to be fixed 🙂 ? http://www.bee-link.com/Beelink-forum-88-1.html
    Seems that are plenty of users, me included that have all possible issues with this box. Would be good to hear from cnxsoft how it’s working for you.
    Nice package but crappy hardware/firmware seems to be consistent for Amlogic boxes …

  12. September 15th, 2016 at 19:31 | #12

    @Feelgood
    No, part 2 is waiting for me to go through my other devices queued for review… I plan to connect GT1 around October 15.

  13. hdastt
    September 19th, 2016 at 16:03 | #13

    @Michael
    It can be found on an app icon, if haven’t, you can brush your device by: http://www.bee-link.com/forum.php?mod=redirect&tid=395&goto=lastpost#lastpost

  14. hdastt
    September 19th, 2016 at 16:28 | #14

    @Feelgood
    If your monitor doesn’t support 4k, it won’t show 4k option on your screen, you can test with a 4k monitor.
    Clear storage it can use a square icon on bottom menu.

  15. Michael
    September 20th, 2016 at 19:43 | #15

    @hdastt
    I mean to cast from GT1 to a TV. Not to cast from a device to the GT1. Is this really using an app and not under Android settings?

  16. James
    October 14th, 2016 at 14:49 | #16

    I really want to get a S912 tv box, but I have read many reviews about these boxes having problems with some green screen flickering, is there any S912 model that doesn’t have this problem?

    As far as I know many people has found this issue in this Beelink GT1 model and Sunvell T95Z, so I am wondering if it is a general issue with the S912 models or just few brands.

  17. October 14th, 2016 at 14:54 | #17

    @James
    I have not tried it yet, but I’ve read people have language and green screens issue all related to HDMI CEC. So if you can disabled HDMI CEC in your TV, then many of this type of problems should be resolved.

  18. October 24th, 2016 at 19:29 | #18

    Wifi modile uses QCA9377 chip which is Qualcomm solution and I’m pretty sure it’s not ampak compatble… 🙂 It was introduced with first ‘official’ Amlogic SDK for S912 (20160701) if I remember correctly.

  19. October 24th, 2016 at 19:33 | #19

    @Stane1983
    Could it be pin-to-pin compatible if it’s not software compatible?
    That’s the sentence in Chinese:

    AW-CM273SM 海華模塊代理 完全替代 Ap6335

    Google translation:

    AW-CM273SM Haihua module agent completely replace the Ap6335

  20. October 24th, 2016 at 20:07 | #20

    @cnxsoft
    If you’re going that way, it can replace all ampak modules because it uses standard SDIO interface, so yes, that can be it.

  21. Bob Snelgrove
    November 17th, 2016 at 00:01 | #21

    Are these s912 boxws really better than the S812’s?

  22. November 17th, 2016 at 09:32 | #22

    @Bob Snelgrove
    If you’re not interested in 4K videos, then S912 won’t bring much improvements apart for a more recent Android OS.

  23. jet
    February 2nd, 2017 at 22:12 | #23

    does anyone know how to mod this to ad an external antenna or aerial

  24. February 4th, 2017 at 09:46 | #24

    @jet
    If you look at the top left corner of the top of board, you’ll need two through holes with the text “ANT”. You might be able to solder a WiFi antenna here.

  25. February 4th, 2017 at 09:49 | #25

    @cnxsoft
    Actually there are two pogopins on the bottom of the board in that locatin, which should connect to the antenna on the bottom of the enclosure. But anyway, that’s where you should look in case you want to use an external antenna for longer range.

  26. Cristian Szabo
    March 14th, 2017 at 14:01 | #26

    Hello,
    I have received yesterday my BeeLink GT1 ordered from GearBest.
    Problem is that the device won’t start. After plugging in the supply, LED lights up with a blueish colour, but pressing the remote control buttons doesn’t start the device. Any idea?
    Thank you,
    Cristian, RO

  27. March 14th, 2017 at 14:14 | #27

    @Cristian Szabo
    Beelink GT1 will start automatically, so I assume it starts, but you may have an issue with the connection with your TV. Can you can another HDMI cable and ports on your TV? If it does not work, could you check with another TV too?

  28. Cristian Szabo
    March 14th, 2017 at 14:21 | #28

    OK, thank you. I will try it today with another TV. Regards, Cristian

  29. Cristian Szabo
    March 15th, 2017 at 02:15 | #29

    @cnxsoft
    Hi,
    I have tried it with a different cable and a different TV set. It is still not working. When connecting a mouse to one of the USB ports, the mouse doesn’t get power…
    Can I reset the device somehow, I read on some forum that there is a switch underneath the device and if you are using a paper clip you could do a reset…
    Regards,
    Cristian

  30. March 15th, 2017 at 09:13 | #30

    @Cristian Szabo
    It does not look. Your box may be broken.
    But yes, you can enter recovery mode to re-flash the firmware, but considering you don’t have USB working that will probably not work.

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