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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cooling is achieving with a metal plate connected to Amlogic S905X processor via a thermal pad.
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.
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.
52 Replies to “Mini M8S II TV Box (Amlogic S905X) Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown”
“Enjoying Fantastic Life”!
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
Could you do a Linux test with it?
Great intro, looking forward to more details about this device. Hope that the full review will be published soon.
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?
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.
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.
The plan is the first half of august
Maybe I’ll try Linux after the Android review if I don’t get too many devices or boards.
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”
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.
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!!
Is there *any* available box that doesn’t have multiple issues?
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.
the least ammount of issues = nVidia Siheld TV
All new boxes have some kind of issues, simply because it’s very difficult to test everything (especially interoperability with all sort of TVs, routers,….). So the best way to check which devices were released 6 months or one year ago from companies not practicing sell and forget… Names that come to are in no particular order are WeTek, Zidoo, MINIX, Ugoos, etc…
Even Nvidia Shield TV had problems at launch, and took a year to fix bugs, and implement some features. Since it’s running Android TV by default you also have limitations because of the OS… It can also be very expensive depending where you live.
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).
I have not started it yet. But try to use the internal player (e.g. Video Player), don’t use Kodi. Normally at the beginning Kodi is always problematic.
Possible run openelec?
ex) m8s openelec file
Help me plz
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 🙁
Anyone know the real MAX Sdcard size it can support? 128Gb? 64Gb ?
do you think , they will solve the problems in future sw upgrades ?
shuld i buy this or the old s905 model ?
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
@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.
That’s quite a big claim that S905X does not support H.265, as internal documents (released a few months ago) indicated that “H.265 HEVC MP-10@L5.1 up to 4Kx2K@60fps” is supported. Where did you get this information?
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.
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.
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.
Sorry, I’d just assumed you wrote encoder instead of decoder… Sadly no H.265 encoder on S905X.
which one do you recommend? S905 or S905X TV Box?
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?
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.
@David just take a look at the WIFI numbers on this box:
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.
I screwed up with the WiFi antenna, and re-soldered it, but just as I could, not as it should.
So I’m expecting WiFi to be very poor on my box (due my own fault).
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?
Did you install the firmware update? Dated 20160706? I tried to, but the box does not restart.
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.
I’ve got the same random crashes after the 20160706 firmware update…
How did you manage to reset it?
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.
is there a part 2 for the review??
Just an update that I flashed the latest firmware from below and it fixed the slow WIFI problems:
If the x265 10bit issues get fixed too then I highly recommend this device 🙂
Hello, I ordered the Nexbox a5, does anybody know if there are issues with this box? Hopefully a review soon.
I’ve connected the box now. I could go ahead with the OTA update after disconnecting my USB hard drive. Otherwise it failed. I had to do the update twice: Once to 2016-07-06 firmware, and then to 2016-07-19 firmware.
Part 2 of the review with Android 6.0 -> http://www.cnx-software.com/2016/07/30/mini-m8s-ii-tv-box-amlogic-s905x-review-part-2-android-6-0-firmware/
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
I don’t have a direct solution for the static IP issue in the box. However, when I want a fixed IP, I find it easier to set the router to bind the mac address to a particular IP address, so the device will always get the same IP via DHCP. In my TP-Link router the option is: DHCP->Address Reservation.
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
So the box is set to DHCP, and the router to DHCP, but for whatever reason it won’t get an IP at boot time?
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
That’s very odd. I’ve never had this problem. I can’t think of anything that may cause that issue, unless maybe there are two routers on the LAN, but then your other devices would have the same problem.
I have to try with the wi-fi … honestly I have not tried before … I used a WD – live TV and I have a nas with all multimedia files, including mkv to 4k … the wired network has never created me communication problems, try the wi fi although I prefer to wait maybe a fix for the problem … if only there was a website you could communicate the problem