Mele M9 Android Set-top Box Powered by AllWinner A31

After Mele A1000G Quad, Mele has just launched another model called M9, still based on AllWinner A31 quad core processor, with an external Wi-Fi antenna, but no SATA support.

Mele_M9

Mele M9 specifications:

  • SoC – AllWinner A31 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.5GHz + PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage
    • 16GB NAND Flash
    • SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4
  • Audio I/O – HDMI + S/PDIF optical out + Audio jack output
  • Video Playback – Up to 2160p @ 60 Mbps
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x mini USB 2.0 OTG port
  • Connectivity
    • Ethernet – 10/100Mbps
    • Wi-Fi – 802.11 b/g/n
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A

The device runs Android 4.1 with a customized “Windows 8” user interface, and comes with a 5V/2A power adapter, an IR remote control (show below), an HDMI cable, a user’s manual, and a warranty card.

Mele_M9_Remote
The remote above as a mouse button, to allow you to move the cursor with the arrow keys. Personally, I can’t use this feature on an IR remote without going insane (I tried with 2 different devices), so you may really to get an Air Mouse as well, if you plan to use Android.

Mele sells it on their Aliexpress Store for a whopping $188.88 including shipping, and other Aliexpress sellers seem to offer the set-top box for similar or even higher prices. Considering you can get the Mele A1000G Quad for less than $140 on their store that seems very steep price for just an external antenna, and a RK3188 based set-top box with similar features is available for less than $100. So I went to check on Taobao, and the price is much different:

  • 699 RMB (~ $114) for the “Standard version” as above.
  • 899 RMB (~ $147) for the “Extreme version” including Mele F10 Pro Air mouse.

It’s normal the price is cheaper in China, since shipping overseas adds to cost, but the price should just be $15 to $20 more expensive, not over $70. I’ve been told the Chinese and International versions have completely different firmware and APK, but I find it hard to justify the price difference, and there must be some other reasons Chinese readers might find out. There’s also another seller that sells a Mele STB, with similar specs, for $132.50 including shipping, which strangely features VGA and composite outputs. The seller confirmed it was not the Mele M9, and just told me it was model A7 (which does not exist)….

Even though RK3188 have a better overall performance, AllWinner A31 is better than Rockchip RK3188 when it comes to gaming, and supports 4K2K video playback (currently) downscaled to 720p or 1080p depending on your output resolution, as there aren’t any A31 based devices with 2160p HDMI output yet according to AllWinner. Mele STBs also do not come with built-in Bluetooth, which may be problematic if you want to use a Bluetooth game controller to play games. Some people have reported Mele A1000G Quad firmware is unstable, and I had problems with CS868 mini PC firmware, so firmware for devices based on AllWinner A31 may not be very stable just yet.

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