Mecool KIII Pro Hybrid Android STB Review – Part 1: Specs, Unboxing and Teardown
K1 Plus T2 S2 review has been a popular post on CNX Software, as many people tried to improve their experience with the device. VideoStrong has just send an updated version of their DVB-T2 + DVB-S2 TV box with Mecool KIII Pro octa-core Hybrid STB powered by an Amlogic S912 processor combined with 3 GB RAM and 16GB storage, and the same dual tuner configuration. I’ve started the review by posting some pictures of the hardware, inside out, before reporting my experience with Android, especially the DTV part, in a few weeks.
- SoC – Amlogic S912 octa core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz with Mali-T820MP3 GPU
- System Memory – 3 GB DDR3
- Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot up to 32GB
- Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60Hz with support for HDR10 and HLG, and 3.5mm AV
(composite video) jack
- Audio Output – HDMI, AV (stereo audio), optical S/PDIF
- Video Codecs – 10-bit H.265, and VP9 up to 4K60, H.264 up to 4K30, AVS+ up to 1080p60
- Tuner – Combo DVB-T/T2 and DVB-S/S2 with two connectors
- Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
- USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
- Misc – Power button and LED, IR receiver
- Power Supply – DC 12V/12A
- Dimensions – 130 x 120 x 32 mm
- Weight – ~190 grams
The box runs Android 6.0 with Kodi 17 pre-installed.
I received the device in a white retail package marked “KIII Pro Octa-core Hybrid STB” and “OTT TV BOX”.
The enclosure is very similar to K1 Plus with the edges “smoothed” out.
The power bottom can conveniently be found on the top cover, one side has four USB 2.0 host ports, a micro SD, and the rear panel features a DVB-T2 coaxial connector, a DVB-S2 F connector, CVBS/LR composite + stereo audio 3.5mm jack, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a HDMI 2.0a port, optical S/PDIF, and the power jack.
Let’s open the thing. We’ll have to start with the bottom cover. First we’ll notice a D0:76:58 MAC address which is not registered with IEEE, but the company previously explained that it was for “localized network, and it is the only ID for empowering applications to activate, specially IPTV applications”. Then, the box can be wall-mounted via two “hooks”, which can be convenient in some use cases. Finally, there’s a recovery pinhole on the right of the sticker in order to reinstall firmware if your box does not boot anymore.
We don’t need to remove all rubber pads, as there are two just screws holding the case together. One under the bottom left rubber pad, and one under the QC sticker, which you need to pierce through. Once we’ve removed those two screws, the box comes apart easily.
We’ll find two SpecTek DDR3 SDRAM chips: PE029-125 (512 MB) and another chip market “512X16DDR3” (1 GB) for a total of 1.5 GB RAM on this side of the board. The flash is covered by a sticker, which I have not removed, so we’ll see how storage performs in benchmarks. Gigabit Ethernet is done using Realtek RTL8211F transceiver, and Pulse H5900L transformer, while AC WiFi and Bluetooth LE is implemented via a module marked “KM63351412” which could be equivalent to AP6335 module found in some other devices. Other chips include GL852G USB hub, and DIO2133 audio driver. If you want to hack the board, the serial console should be available via an unpopulated 4-pin header on the bottom left of the photo above.
The other side of the CPU board comes with a micro SD card slot, and 1.5 GB extra RAM to bring the total to 3GB. We can also see extra cooling with a thick metal plate, covered by a black sheet, itself covered by a thin plastic transparent sheet on the bottom of the enclosure.
S2&T2_R848_REV1.2 tuner board looks very similar to KI Plus tuner board, but just upgraded from Revision 1.0 to Revision 1.2, and featuring the same Availink AVL6862TA DVB-C/T/T2 + DVB-S/S2 demodulator, but they changed Rafael Micro R848 tuner chip to R912 model, which is not documentation on Rafael Micro website yet.
If you are interested in purchasing KIII Pro in quantities, you may inquire Videostrong via their Alibaba page. Mecool KIII Pro can also be purchased online on sites such as GearBest ($117.99), which by the way currently has promotions for their 3rd anniversary, as well as several shops on Aliexpress ($141 and up) and Banggood ($133.99).
[Update: Part 2 of the review is up @ Mecool KIII Pro Hybrid STB Review – Part 2: Android Firmware, TV Center, and DVB-T2 & DVB-S2 App]