Mini M8S II TV Box (Amlogic S905X) Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown

Amlogic S905X powered TV boxes have now hit the market, and compared to existing Amlogic S905 devices add VP9, and provided your TV can handle it, HDR (High Dynamic Range) support. GearBest sent me one of the cheapest S905X TV Box with Mini M8S II, and in the first part of the review, I’ll take some picture of the device, and tear it down, while the second part will be posted later, and focus on testing the firmware.

MINI M8S II Unboxing

The package was slightly damaged, but nothing to bad. The top reads “Mini TV Box” with some icons describing the main feaures like 4K & H.265/HEVC support, WiFi, and so on.
MINI_TV_Box_Package

I’ve recently realized that logos and trademarks may cause problems with customs in some countries, and the package does have several potentially problematic trademarks like HBO and Netflix, as well as logos for Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo…. In most cases, it should not be an issue, but it’s something to have in mind, especially if you order several in one order.

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

The TV box ships with a 5V/2A power supply, a HDMI cable, a user’s manual, and an IR remote control taking two AAA batteries.

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

The device is rather thin (1.75 cm), and one side features a microSD slot, and USB 2.0 port, while the rear panel comes with optical S/PDIF output, an Ethernet port, HDMI 2.0 output, another USB 2.0 port, and the DC jack.

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

You can watch the unboxing video if that’s your thing…

MINI M8S II Teardown

The two pieces of the case are held together with plastic clips, so you’ll need some sharp plastic tool to open the case.

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

The bottom of the board have two RAM chips, the recovery button (top right), and some silkscreen showing he name of the board: MINIM8S_II. Let’s loosen four screen to take out of the board.
MINI_M8S_II_Heatsink
Cooling is achieving with a metal plate connected to Amlogic S905X processor via a thermal pad.

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

If we check out the board a little closer, we can see Amlogic S905X processor, two more Samsung K4B4G1646E BCMA DDR3 SDRAM chips bringing the total to 2GB RAM, and an 8GB FORESEE NCEMASD9-08G eMMC flash. Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity is achieved through Ampak AP6212 module, and Ethernet connectivity using S905X’ built-in 10/100M PHY and an external H1601N magnetic transformer. The serial console can probably be accessed through the 4-pin found on the right of the micro SD card.

I did disconnect the WiFI antenna when trying to reassemble the device, so I’ll have some soldering to do…

I’d like to thank GearBest for providing MINI M8S II, and if you are interested, you could consider buying the device for $36.99 using GBM8SII coupon. Other shopping options include Banggood, Aliexpress, and Fasttech, but they are roughly $10 more expensive at this time.

Update: You can now check out Mini M8S II TV Box (Amlogic S905X) Review – Part 2: Android 6.0 Firmware.

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TC
Guest
TC

“Enjoying Fantastic Life”!

Meth
Guest
Meth

Is this box 1.5 or 2.0 GHz. Some sites seem to suggest S905X has a max speed of 1.5 and some 2.0 … Would be nice to know what speed THIS box runs at

Ed
Guest
Ed

Could you do a Linux test with it?

blackie
Guest
blackie

Great intro, looking forward to more details about this device. Hope that the full review will be published soon.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Is it a good idea to buy this tv-box to start with Android programming?

Maybe an Odroid C2 would be better?

If not which device would be interesting?

Thanks

mdel
Guest
mdel

Okay this is a better kind of cooling.
I couldn’t find that emmc specs, i suspect it’s the same low performance as the samsung one in my A95X.

I’ve ordered one, probably the last new soc i’ll get this year.

RobBrownNZ
Guest
RobBrownNZ

@Alex
Do you mean making apps for Android, or working on the code of Android itself?

For making apps, these boxes/boards etc aren’t the best choice because they require an external screen and input devices. It would be much more convenient to work with an emulator or a smartphone/tablet.

For working on Android code, get a C2. The source code is all available and there’s a good community of people working on it. I don’t know if you’ll ever get a decent source code drop for the Mini M8S II.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Thanks @RobBrownNZ

jqpabc123
Guest
jqpabc123

I’ve recently realized that logos and trademarks may cause problems with customs

All it takes is one simple sentence in small print to correct the problem:

“Logos are trademarks of their respective holders”

cbm80
Guest
cbm80

Currenly there are issues with advanced h265 profiles. 4k videos which worked well on regular S905 here are played by sw decoder. So it is better to stay with regular S905 box now at least until amlogic fix it.

jumperout
Guest
jumperout

Only one trademark here that will hurt them in customs, Google’s – they have it clear that even in their partnership program you “CANNOT” show logos on your unit. It has caused a headache over here at Rippl-TV – so we had to change things up and for the better part not bother with Google as they are officially pushing Xiaomi as their partnered licensed GMS go guy. They have been now contacting other android TV (not mobile like this product) about it but not actually accepting anyone at all into the new GMS program for 6.0 android. We have been on the waiting list for over 5 months – only to conclude they are fully riding Xiaomi.

In all – these trademark logos are fine, but anything Google related (youtube) could cause some issues distributing or reselling on Amazon. Kind regards!!

jqpabc123
Guest
jqpabc123

@cbm80

Is there *any* available box that doesn’t have multiple issues?

w0rm
Guest
w0rm

@jumperout
Sounds quite interesting.

I only see WeTek and Geniatech with STB devices (not including mainstream brands) in the android supported devices list, but with some old models https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/1727131?hl=en

Reading the requirements for the CTS:
“Note that the video playback capabilities of the device under test will be checked via the android.media.CamcorderProfile APIs for earlier versions of Android and the android.media.MediaCodecInfo.CodecCapabilities APIs from Android 5.0.”

Amlogic devices should fail because of the “broken” support for MediaCodec API.

Now based on the statement that you are waiting for 5 months, I have to assume that you have a device which should work fine with the current Kodi v17.

w0rm
Guest
w0rm

@jqpabc123
the least ammount of issues = nVidia Siheld TV

Marcel
Guest
Marcel

I just received this box and it can’t play any 10bit content ? EVERYTHING IS GREEN when it tries!!!! Any ideas cnxsoft? Wow what a let down. (My previous NEXBOX MXQ PRO TV Box with Android 5 plays 10 bit content without any issues).

choory
Guest
choory

Possible run openelec?

ex) m8s openelec file

Help me plz

Marcel
Guest
Marcel

@cnxsoft

I have confirmed that x265 10 bit content does not work for any player on this box.

Movieplayer and MxPlayer all try to play in software even with hardware acceleration enabled resulting in choppy playback. SPMC, Kodi, VLC, and Archos all play the videos in green.

In its current form s905x is a step back .. As I mentioned this all works on my normal s905 box .. They should have never shipped these boxes without proper x265 10 bit Android 6.0 support.

Also the wireless on this box is terrible compared to my NEXBOX MXQ PRO. Really too bad 🙁

Meth
Guest
Meth

Anyone know the real MAX Sdcard size it can support? 128Gb? 64Gb ?

David Gal swissa
Guest
David Gal swissa

Hi Marcel
do you think , they will solve the problems in future sw upgrades ?
shuld i buy this or the old s905 model ?
Tnx

Marcel
Guest
Marcel

David Gal swissa :
Hi Marcel
do you think , they will solve the problems in future sw upgrades ?
shuld i buy this or the old s905 model ?
Tnx

I wouldn’t buy this box because the wireless speed is so bad (I don’t think that that’s going to be fixable with a firmware update). Also I would probably wait and see if the other boxes have these same x265 10 bit issues.

The only good thing I can say about MINI M8S II is that they are doing OTA firmware updates with is great. Most others at this price aren’t providing the same upgrade experience.

Also Nexbox A95X is on pre-sale at geekbuying (the wireless can’t be as bad as it is on this): http://www.geekbuying.com/item/Nexbox-A95X-Amlogic-S905X-4K-KODI-Android-6-0-2G-8G-TV-BOX-369027.html

mdel
Guest
mdel

@David Gal swissa
well there’s a good chance that no brand box won’t have an ota (online) update service so you’ll probably have to find an app that works on that android.

Even if they don’t provide updates, they may fix their firmware in a following batch of boxes and you could try to find that on a forum and flash your box with it.

But for the time being you’d much better wait for a proper s905x box or buy a cheap s905 that already works fine.

The s905x seems to only has VP9 decoder (for youtube only?) and HDR (requires a tv with hdr) more than a s905.
So if you don’t need that then go for a s905.

And I just found out that the s905x actually doesn’t have the h265 encoder (s912 only), so i bought that box for nothing, nice..

A final word, you should really never get exited to get one of those new android boxes, they usually don’t work well when first shipped, so you will be much better off getting a 6 month old one with a good number of available images for it.

mdel
Guest
mdel

@cnxsoft
i believe you misunderstood me, i was talking about the h265 encoder not the decoder.

On your specifications pages the h265 encoder is not listed for the s905x, but for the s912, and i must have forgot about that when i ordered that s905x box.

I’m currently trying to migrate a small project taking advantage of the h264 encoder, it already works on rpi but i’d like to have a more powerful soc and better bandwidth performance with h265 1080p.

And i’m not interested in vp9 (should i ?) or hdr so the 905x has very little to offer in my opinion, compared to some massively cheap s905 boxes.

mdel
Guest
mdel

@Marcel
well if they are actually doing ota updates on the MINI M8S II, they will probably try to fix that problem when they realize it.

And it would also support the idea that they tried to be the first to ship an s905x box, even if the firmware was broken, and fix that at a later time.

As for the Nexbox A95X s905 (not X) boxes i have here, although they do work great with h265 according to reviews, they don’t seem to have OTA updates so i’m not sure it’s wiser to buy a nexbox A95x s905x..

I’d suggest David to wait a month or two if he wants a s905x box or get a s905 if he needs one right now.

theguyuk
Guest
theguyuk

These cheap s905 box makers should work with Amlogic and introduce a feedback option in the ROM. Would also help if Amlogic implemented a Soc user forum for customers/users, would give them a big lead on Rockchip, Allwinner, etc. Would advance product development and support with real use feadback.

alan
Guest

which one do you recommend? S905 or S905X TV Box?

David Gal swissa
Guest
David Gal swissa

Thanks for the advice ,
I think i will buy the S905 M8S (33$) or the Beelink mxiii 2G/16G (42$ Everbuying) becuase i need it now, I know beelink have better wifi and updates
What do you recomend?
David

mdel
Guest
mdel

@David
hard to tell really, do you have a specific use case in mind ?

Beelink do provide ota updates at least on the 1 box i have from them, but again don’t expect wide range of fixes or even customer support.

On the other hand if you don’t need android, those amlogic boxes are becoming easier and easier to mod with an openelec / librelec or linux desktop. Although i would not advertise the linux desktop as a full featured desktop as some basic features may not work as smooth as expected (2d acceleration, video decoding..).

Also some boxes have bluetooth and gigabit if it’s of any interest to you. I don’t think i’ve seen many boxes with 5GHz wifi (dual band) if you’re worried about that, but it’s always worth looking for extra features if your budget allows it.

If you’re looking for some very specific software feature, i’d suggest making sure you find a review that talks about it or ask the forums what you need to know.

My general recommendation would be to take the most popular box around, or at least make sure it’s well discussed on forums.

Marcel
Guest
Marcel

@David just take a look at the WIFI numbers on this box:
http://freaktab.com/forum/tv-player-support/amlogic-based-tv-players/s905/others-ac/582341-mini-m8s-ii-4k-smart-tv-box-amlogic-s905x-2-8gb-wifi-10-100-lan-bt/page6

Wifi is basically unusable on this box. Hopefully cnxsoft will release his own review of this box soon. Maybe he is waiting to see if they can fix all the issues before he slaps them hard with a poor review.

Marcel
Guest
Marcel

@cnxsoft
Its not your fault. I didn’t even open mine and the wireless is unusable (as others have stated). I’m still trying to figure out if its a software problem or a manufacturing issue. Is Ampak AP6212 really that bad or did they mess something up?

djot
Guest
djot

Did you install the firmware update? Dated 20160706? I tried to, but the box does not restart.

djot
Guest
djot

Finally, the update went ok. Had to(?) reset the box to manufactory set, cause WLAN completly broke down, system crashed every once and then, Bluetooth keyboard was not recognized anymore, etc.

As for now, I only updated the firmware, reconnected WLAN and Bluetooth keyboard and watched a video via Amazon Instant Video App … did work.

Anyway, I am not impressed about the responsiveness of the system – neither by remote control nor by really laggy mouse.

AB
Guest
AB

@djot

I’ve got the same random crashes after the 20160706 firmware update…
How did you manage to reset it?

djot
Guest
djot

Go to the “Settings”. Then “System”. There is something like System or System Info again. If you click that the option to reset should appear.

root8ble
Guest
root8ble

is there a part 2 for the review??

Marcel
Guest
Marcel

Just an update that I flashed the latest firmware from below and it fixed the slow WIFI problems:
http://freaktab.com/forum/tv-player-support/amlogic-based-tv-players/s905/others-ac/firmware-roms-tools-bj/586682-firmware-update-mini-m8s-ii-4k-smart-tv-box-amlogic-s905x-2-8gb-wifi-10-100-lan-bt

If the x265 10bit issues get fixed too then I highly recommend this device 🙂

Stircrazie
Guest
Stircrazie

Hello, I ordered the Nexbox a5, does anybody know if there are issues with this box? Hopefully a review soon.

Bigger
Guest
Bigger

ARRIVED! it surprised me ! I just have a problem, I will connect the network cable and the settings I put a static IP … every time I turn it on it says that it connected but actually it is not … every time I have to move on to dynamic ip and reset the static ip and immediately hand like lightning, and go that is a pleasure … if I can fix it would be perfect

Bigger
Guest
Bigger

@cnxsoft
Thank you !
The router is set as you say
The problem is that the box does not want to go on the net alone. The first thing I have to do is just turn to go in the network setup and change the way … if you shutdown a static ip dhcp automatic septum was then selected and the following restart’m going to change dhcp … I’m used the action just turn it on, for the rest I am very satisfied

Bigger
Guest
Bigger

@cnxsoft
Via DHCP or fixed IP does not take the box to the bot an IP address.
In practice, we should always give a different setting to save an IP address and everything works.
I to make fast I set a static IP address, every time I turn on simply changing the last number, the box and immediately saves all ok