MINIX NEO X8-H Plus is an update to the popular NEO X8-H, replacing Amlogic S802 by Amlogic S812 processor, which adds HEVC/H.265 hardware video decoding up to 4K UHD (2160p), as well as Gigabit Ethernet. The new version also supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi. GearBest agreed to send me one sample for review. First. I’ll post picture of the device, and the board, before writing a full review in a few days.
The company sent me the box by DHL, and which I got within a few days together with a document reading “Inbound Charges Invoice” in order to pay import taxes to my local government, and the courier’s service charge.
Th device comes in the usual black, gray and green package from MINIX, customize with NEO X8-H Plus module, and highlighting support for H.265/HEVC 2160p, and Dolby Digital Plus.
The media player, or like MINIX likes to call it, the media hub comes with lots of accessories: a micro USB to USB cable, an HDMI cable, a USB OTG adapter, a 5V/3A power supply, a Wi-Fi antenna, an infrared remote control, as well as a product brochure, and a multi-language setup guide in English, German, Chinese, and Russian. GearBest, as most other sellers do, also provided MINIX NEO M1 air mouse in the package, together with its RF USB dongle, and a reference card / small user manual.
All devices from the company look alike, as people prefer discreet and functional devices, rather than fancy designs. One side features the Wi-Fi antenna connector, while the other comes with the power button, headphone and microphone jacks, a USB 2.0 port, an SD card slot, and a micro USB OTG port. The rear panel gets a recovery button for firmware updates (in case OTA does not work), HDMI output, optical S/PDIF, 2x USB ports, a Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45) port, and the power jack. It must be the first time I see a separate microphone jack on an Android TV box.
Based on my experience with MINIX NEO X6, I was not very confident I would be able to open the device. There are four sticky rubber pad on the bottom of the enclosure. Just leave them alone, as there aren’t any screws under… I could just use my little green tool to separate the bottom and top part of the enclosure, by popping out the bottom part, which came out very easily.
There’s not much to be seen on the back of the board except FCC/CE compliance markings. There are four screws hoding the board to the case, three came off with some efforts, but the last one, the one with a small white mark under, stayed put whatever technique I tried to untighen it, just like with MINIX NEO X6. I don’t know what the factory does (glue?), but I suppose they don’t want people to tear down their devices. I could have a little peak inside, and I notice a metallic plate on the top to keep the device cool. Somebody told me all MINIX devices have an RTC clock, which I’ve never seen in other devices. So I was curious, but it’s not something I can check visually, so I’ll have to tried to boot the media player without connecting the network to find out.
[Update: The guys at hwswbits blog managed to open MINIX NEO X8 (version with Amlogic S802), and take a picture of the board, which should be very similar, except for the AP6330 wireless module, replaced by AP6335, and a different Ethernet transceiver
GearBest provided the sample, and they sells it for about $160 including shipping [Update: use Coupon MX8HPCN to get it for $149.99]. Since MINIX has strict business conditions, the price between vendors are about the same, and you can also find it on Amazon US, DealExtreme, TinyDeals, GeekBuying, and many others.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.