X96 Air Amlogic S905X3 Android 9.0 TV Box Sells for $30 and Up

Amlogic S905X3 is the first Arm Cortex-A55 processor from the company, and we’ve seen it does not differ that much from the previous generation in our S905X3 vs S905X2 comparison. The Cortex-A55 cores have similar performance compared to Cortex-A53 cores., but S905X3 SoC does provide support for DDR4 memory up to 3200 MHz which may improve 4K HDR video playback and 3D gaming, as well a 1.2 TOPS NPU for AI workloads such as voice recognition.

The first Amlogic S905X3 TV box launch we covered was Beelink GT2 Mini with price starting at just under $50 for the 2GB/16GB version and $70 with 4GB and 64GB RAM. Prices have now somewhat come down, but if you’re looking for a cheaper model X96 Air is now offered on Aliexpress for $29.39 including shipping with 2GB RAM, 16GB flash, while the 4GB/32GB variant is sold for $38.01, and up to $40.95 with 64GB storage. You can also spend a bit more if you want a wireless keyboard or voice remote control.

X96 Air

X96 Air TV box specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S905X3 quad-core Arm Cortex-A55 processor @ 1.9 GHz with Arm Mali-G31MP2 GPU
  • System Memory, Storage & Networking configurations:
    • 2GB DDR4 / 16 GB eMMC flash + microSD card slot + 2.4 GHz WiFi (no Bluetooth), 10/100M Ethernet
    • 4GB DDR4 / 32 GB eMMC flash + microSD card slot + dual-band 802.11ac WiFi 5,  Bluetooth 4.1, 10/100M Ethernet
    • 4GB DDR4 / 64 GB eMMC flash + microSD card slot + dual-band 802.11ac WiFi 5,  Bluetooth 4.1, 10/100M Ethernet
  • Video & Audio Output
    • HDMI 2.1 up to 4K @ 60 Hz with HDCP, CEC, HDR
    • 3.5mm AV jack for composite video (480i/576i) and stereo audio
    • Optical S/PDIF
  • Video Playback
    • 10-bit H.265 up to 4K @ 60fps, VP9 Profile-2 up to 4K @ 60fps, AVS2-P2 up to 4K @ 60fps,  H.264/AVC  up to 4K @ 30fps,  H.264 MVC up to 1080p60,  MPEG-4 ASP up to 1080p60 (ISO-14496), etc..
    • HDR – Dolby Vision optional, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG, and Technicolor PRIME HDR processing
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Misc – LED display on front panel, IR receiver, power LED
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions & weight – TBD

X96 Air SpecificationsX96 Air runs Android 9.0 and supports OTA firmware upgrades. The marketing materials on Aliexpress also claim the box plays YouTube 4K, but I would not count on it unless a review proves otherwise.

The device ships with an IR remote control, a power supply, an HDMI cable, and a user manual. The wireless backlit keyboard is optional with a choice of English & French, English & Spanish, English & Russian or English only. The voice remote control, also optional, comes with a gyro function, so that’s actually an air mouse.

Via AndroidPC.es

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willy
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willy

It’s tempting for the price to get one to test the A55, but I really don’t want to waste my time reversing such a device likely running off a BSP to get Linux to boot on it, better wait for the VIM3L.

tonny
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tonny

You know the price for VIM3L, right?

willy
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willy

Yes, around the same price as one hour of work, i.e. 50 times less than what it would take me to try to put Linux on this stuff if I want to test an A55 just by curiosity, and still relying on an unfixable BSP kernel.

willy
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willy

Plus the board will be reusable. Not this device.

dgp
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dgp

I get your point but all of these boards are the same reference designs with the components re-arranged chucked into an autorouter. If the VIM3L works it’s likely that it won’t be a huge amount of trouble getting something with the same SoC going. If anything you’ll hit that same issues on both i.e. ethernet missing in mainline or needing just the right combination of blobs to get any sort of display and you’ll be reduced to using the same shitty BSP stuff either way.

Willy
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Willy

That was my thought as well when I got the H96max long before RK3399 was affordable (i.e. available in something cheaper than t-firefly). But there are always some subtle differences like memory speed and width requiring different blobs, or difficulties trying to flash the device and figuring that it didn’t use the usb-c connector but required an A-to-A cable, etc. And the “fun” stuff is to discover that u-boot is built with boot_wait=0 and that it’s patched enough so that the one you’re trying to replace it with doesn’t work well if at all… I’m not willing to go through this pain again just to save $30.

Pelican
Guest

10/100 ethernet in 2019?

Marius Cirsta
Member

It’s the one integrated into the SOC. For gigabit an extra part is needed ( PHY ) and at this price level every dollar counts.

RK
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RK

4K @ 60fps is well under 40mbps so 10/100 is plenty.

Wolfgan
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Wolfgan

My thoughts exactly…

dgp
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dgp

These SoCs are targeted towards TV boxes and not SoHo networking hence they don’t need gigabit and you don’t get gigabyte. If anything decent wifi connectivity is much more important.

Shippy
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Shippy

Does anyone know if x96 guys are still using some deprecated SSV6051P version for WiFi? The driver is old and seemingly cannot support WiFi AP mode under Libreelec?

Redneckerz
Guest
Redneckerz

Good to see these prices drop, too bad its just a generic OEM box and not an actual branded box, so updates are less than to be expected.

That said, i am curious how these things perform with modern titles. By comparison: Call of Duty Mobile released today and on my low-end phone (Basically an Allwinner H6) one can expect 60 fps at 720p.

I know CNX does not like to cover TV boxes lately much more considering they are all so similar, but playtesting on modern titles (And not racing games) or how they function as a PC replacement could be worthwhile.

At the very least there is not enough info available regarding that niche, i’d say.

theguyuk
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theguyuk

The generic A95X F2 has had three OTA so far.

Gareth
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Gareth

Can I cast my phone to it?

Klaas Klaafstra
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Klaas Klaafstra

Depends on your phone. If you have an analogue 80’s landline phone probably not. I guess a Nokia 3310 style phone also doesn’t work. I am quite sure that a recent Android or IOS phone should work.

eFfeM
Guest
eFfeM

If you have an android phone: probably yes. The device runs Android 9, so unless they seriously hacked it (unlikely) it will support Chromecast. For apple: no idea.