MXQ 4K Rockchip RK3229 Android TV Box Unboxing and Teardown

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MXQ 4K TV box list of features is rather impressive, as the 4K media player packs support for high bitrate (200 Mbps+) 10-bit H.265 and H.264, as well as VP9 at 4K resolution, 4 USB ports, Ethernet, and HDMI 2.0 for just $30. That price includes shipping. We just don’t know how it performs, but we’ll soon find out as GeekBuying sent me a sample for review. I’ll start by checking out the hardware, before testing it over a few days, and write a complete review.

MXQ 4K Unboxing

The retail package shows MXQ-4K  “OTT TV Box” and some of the key selling points like Kodi support, 4K, HEVC/H.265, and son on. You’ll also find the Android 4.4 Kitkat logo since strangely Rockchip did not provide an Android 5.x SDK for their low cost processor.

MXQ-4K_OTT_TV_BOXThe device ships with an IR remote control, a 5V/2A power supply, an HDMI cable, and a user’s manual in English.

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

The enclosure is a standard looking black rectangular box with an SD card slot, and three USB port on one side, as well as several ports on the rear with one USB 4 port, two 3.5mm jacks for coaxial S/PDIF and AV (composite + stereo audio), the HDMI 2.0 port, a Fast Ethernet port, and the power jack.

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

MXQ 4K Teardown

It will be quite interesting to open it to better understand how they could keep the price that low. I had to peel off four sticky rubber pads, and loosen four screws to take the device apart. Pretty straightforward.

MXQ-4K_Bottom_CaseThere’s also a sticker with a MAC address starting with 72:F1:6D on the case, which looks up to … nothing. So either the company only recently registered, or they just made up some MAC addresses by themselves to save on registration costs…MXQ_4K_Board_Bottom

This is what the board looks after opening the case, and there’s a single chip: SanDisk X505260971 NAND flash with 8GB capacity.
MXQ_4K_Sandisk_flash

Taking out the board completely explains why the device is quite cheap, as many features are integrated into Rockchip RK3229 processor, including the Ethernet PHY and audio codec, and the four USB ports has not using a USB hub chip either.

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

There’s only RK3229 with a heatsink, two NANYA NT5CB256M16CP-D1 RAM chips, Pulse H1102NL magnetics for 10/100M Ethernet, and Espressif ESP8089 Wi-Fi chip, probably one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest WiFi IC on the market for this type of device.
MXQ-4K_ESP8089_WiFiYou’ll also have noticed two push buttons right behind the 3.5mm jack. The user’s manual explain the one behind the AV port is for firmware upgrade, and but I’m not sure what the one behind the S/PDIF port is for entering bootloader mode. There is also an unpopulated 3-pin header on the bottom right which should be for the serial console, and the board is named T066-V1.

As mentioned in the introduction, GeekBuying kindly provided the sample for review, and you can purchase the device for $29.99 shipped from them if you are interested. Other shopping options include GearBest, Banggood, and Aliexpress.

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Tim B
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Tim B

I have this exact model. One thing I didn’t notice until after purchase, which is quite annoying, is the lack of an OTG or other easy ADB access method. Looks like the only way to do debug access would be via console, enabling ADB over network (which in my case is both tedious and counter-productive).

CGarces
Guest

S/PDIF port button it’s for enter into bootloader mode.

@Tim B You can use ADB with an USB A-A cable.

Member

It is common on Rockchip boxes for the OTG port to have a USB A socket instead of the OTG one. Those USB A-A cables do the trick.

Member

These RK3229 boxes are on 1688.com for less than $20. That is a wholesale site and it is hard to order single units. Those prices do not include shipping either. But if you need 1,000 boxes, that’s where to go.

I see some people shipping RK3229 boxes with Android Lolipop so it must be available. It has been available on the RK3128 for a long time. Don’t know why these OEMs continue shipping Kitkat.

DiogoR
Guest
DiogoR

My major with this box are the splited partitions, less than 900mb for the internal storage and the lack of root.

Now and looking for an tutorial to resize the partition to a single 6144mb internal storage and already found Carlos Garces blog on how to root and install twrp.

CGarces
Guest

@DiogoR
I need to update the blog.
I haven’t test this steps but must work and is more easy the the manual ADB scripts.
1º install CWM (I haven’t ported TWRP)
http://cgarces.github.io/2016/02/26/Recovery-MXQ-4K-RK3229/
2º Root using the superSU at script from recovery published at http://crewrktablets.arctablet.com/?p=4776

f_s
Guest
f_s

I also got this box a few days ago, and managed to root it using kingoroot (after garces’ method gave me a bunch of errors I didn’t feel like looking into). For ADB connectivity I used rk3288 x64 driver (it may not be 100% compatible, but it did the trick), connected the box to the PC and enabled ‘connect to computer’ tickbox.
I’ve read some negative reviews of this box (rk3229 being slow, buggy, not properly decoding 4k streams, lack of firmware development, android 4.4 etc). Well, I haven’t encountered any of these (or any other) issues. For the amount of cash paid, this is probably the best android box available.

CGarces
Guest

@f_s
Fully agree. 0 problems with this device, except the lack of physical power on/off button.

CGarces
Guest

@cnxsoft
I have tested this videos
http://www.libde265.org/downloads-videos/

With the KODI installed in the stock ROM (15 rc1?) and also with ZDMC, the modified version from ZIDDO.
http://forum.zidoo.tv/index.php?threads/zdmc-base-on-kodi-16-0-final-release.1133/

I recommend use ZDMC

Member

@cnxsoft

4K needs a lot of performance form the storage device. Your storage devices may not be able to retrieve the video fast enough. 4K is really cutting edge right now. Maybe try network streaming from a PC server with lots of IO capacity.

CGarces
Guest

@cnxsoft
So it’s a overheating problem? change the heatskink should help?

Ivan
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Ivan

hi friends. i received the same one. but after few days of using it doesnt work. Blue light in On when i connect power, but screen stay black, no signal. i think i need reset it or update firmware. how can i do it and where find firmware?

Ivan
Guest
Ivan

@cnxsoft
i downloaded ota, unpacked it, put to sd card.
inserted card to box and turn on it. right? nothing happened, the same blue light and this is all.

what u can say to do?

Member

If you can’t get to adb, check and make sure Android has developer mode enabled and that you have turned on USB access.

Ivan
Guest
Ivan

@cnxsoft
why? i make at this link
http://blog.geekbuying.com/index.php/2016/02/20/mxq-4k-rk3229-smart-tv-box-firmware-update/

Copy the firmware to SD Card root directory, plug into the SD slot of your device, press Recover, connect to power, turn on the device(long press till the robot image turns out; if there is not On/Off button, just connect to power).

Ivan
Guest
Ivan

@cnxsoft
hi friend. pls see. PC cannot recognize it. so i can do nothing?
https://youtu.be/svPH-5gQisU

DiogoR
Guest
DiogoR

@cnxsoft
Thanks for your great tutorial on how to resize the partitions MXQ 4k, it worked perfectly.
I used your image and then follow the tutorial to change the internal storage to almost 5gb.
😀

DiogoR
Guest
DiogoR

@CGarces
Thanks for your tutorials.

I haven’t manage yet to root the device, either via ADB or via CWM recovery but i still haven’t give up.

I’m missing something, probably a stupid thing.

Via ADB it runs all the steps until SuperSU appears but it says it can’t root.

Via CWM it still haven’t found a way to flash the recovery ( fastboot flash recovery … doesn’t work) and i tried to replace the stock recovery with the CWM on tutorial on how to resize the partitions but it didn’t work.

Will try again.

CGarces
Guest

@DiogoR
I haven’t test by myself but…
-Get the recovery from
http://cgarces.github.io/2016/02/26/Recovery-MXQ-4K-RK3229/
an install the mod version of CWM.

Unzip the file from http://crewrktablets.arctablet.com/?p=4776 and try to install SuperSU.

Unitron
Guest
Unitron

Well on freaktab someone received his box from gearbest with a newer firmware. Testkey is from March.

@cnxsoft

Could your ask your friends from geekbuying to upload the new firmware on their blog?

Unitron
Guest
Unitron

Hmmm…. I misread the other post, it is from geekbuying instead of gearbest.

frederic
Guest
frederic

hello, after flash update firmware
wifi wont work ?
how to repair this problem ?

xander
Guest
xander

No problem flashing new firmware, but this one isn’t rooted either. Is there any that are already rooted or a process for rooting this one?

CGarces
Guest

@xander
Change the recovery and install the superSu using adb sideload.
http://cgarces.github.io/2016/03/22/Actualizar-firmware-MXQ-4K-RK3229/

MB078
Guest
MB078

People,

I used a 12V adapter instead of the original 5V adapter. The mediaplayer is not working anymore.. What can I do?

Greetings

Deepak Tulsani
Guest
Deepak Tulsani

I am trying to use these RK3229 MXQ-4K Android TV devices for my Digital Signage platform, but unfortunately these devices don’t support PORTRAIT mode. Is there any FW available that supports portrait mode?

Mohammed Barhoumeh
Guest

Hi,

I have the same device and I mistakenly used a 12V Power Supply and the Power ic is damaged.

Can you tell me the serial number of the Power ic that I can buy one to fix it.

Thank you.

Ionut Dobre
Guest
Ionut Dobre

I have big problem with my mxq 4k I’ve managed to brick it(hard brick ) so let’s go forward I’ve used the trick with shorting the the band pins but from there,I’m stuck rock chip is telling me that the test device has failed so I just can’t do anything (I mention that I used 3 ropes of USB cables,nothing works for the moment also 2 PC one with win 10 and one with win 7 ) can somebody help me ?

DJTony
Guest
DJTony

Any updated ROM for this exact device including the wifi driver 8089? ive been searching for days but im unable to look for a rom that has the ESP8089 drivers. Kodi keeps on crashing on android 5.1.1 and 4.4.4. I have tried the nougat version from Leelbox and works great but no wifi drivers Please help.