Ugoos AM6 Review – An Android 9.0 TV Box with Plenty of Options

Ugoos AM6 Review
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Karl here….With another review. Today we look at the AM6 from Ugoos. Ugoos has been around for quite some time. I recently did a review of the Beelink GT-King with the same S922X processor and I will do some comparisons with that. I have to say with everything except the UI, I like this box much better (You can read my rant in the Beelink article about Android on the TV). The AM6 is built well. It is solid with a metal enclosure and just feels good when you pick it up. I know weight doesn’t really matter but it feels substantial. Like I stated I don’t really like UI but Ugoos ticks quite a few boxes that appeal to my nerdiness. I will go more into that later.

Below are the specs per Ugoos Website. I highlighted the interesting ones.

Hardware Specs:

  • Operation System – Android 9.0
  • Language – English, Chinese …Multi-Language support
  • CPU – Amlogic S922X with 12nn  2.0GHz, quad-core Arm Cortex-A73 and dual-core Arm Cortex-A53 CPU
  • GPU – Arm Mali-G52 MP6(6ppc)
  • SDRAM – DDR4 2GB (for OEM orders 3GB-4GB)
  • Storage Capacity (Flash) –  16GB (eMMC)(compatibility 8GB-32GB)
  • WIFI – 2.4G+5G SISO Receiver. The wireless module complies with IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO standard and it can achieve up to a speed of 867Mbps with dual stream in 802.11n to connect the wireless LAN
  • WIFI Module – AmPack 6398S
  • Bluetooth – Bluetooth 5.0 with LE technology
  • Extended Storage – TF Card, up to 32GB (SD2.X,SD3.X,SD4.X, eMMC ver5.0)
  • Power Supply – DC 12V/2A
  • HDR support
  • Interfaces:
    • HDMI Output – HDMI (2.1 and 2.0 ) to support maximum [email protected] output(HDCP2.2)
    • USB Port – 1*USB 3.0 Fast Speed, 3*USB 2.0 Host
    • Network – 1*RJ45 1000M (1000M Ethernet Integrated IEEE 802.3 10/100/1000M Ethernet MAC with RGMII interface)
  • Media Parameters:
    • Audio ContainerMP3,AAC,WMA,RM,FLAC,OGG
    • Audio Output& Input
      • 7.1/5.1 down-mixing I2S audio interface supporting 2-channel input and 8-channel (7.1) output
      • Built-in serial digital audio SPDIF/IEC958 output and PCM input/output
      • Built-in stereo audio DAC
      • Stereo digital microphone PDM input
      • Support concurrent dual audio stereo channel output with combination of analog+PCM or I2S+PCM
    • Video CODEC – VP9 Profile-2 up to 4Kx2K @ 60fps H.265 HEVCMP-10 @ L5.1 up to 4K*2K @ 60fps, H.264 AVC HP @ L5.1 up to 4K*2K @ 60fps, H.264 MVC up to 1080p @ 60fps, MPEG-4 ASP @ L5 up to 1080p @ 60fps (ISO-14496), WMV/VC-1 5P/MP/AP up to 1080P @ 60fps,AVS-P16(AVS+)/AVS-P2 jiZhun Profile up to 1080P @ 60fps, MPEG-2 MP/HL up to 1080P @ 60fps (ISO-13818), MPEG-1 MP/HL up to 1080p @ 60fps (ISO-11172), Realvideo 8/9/10 up to 1080p, WebM up to VGA
    • Multiple language and multiple format sub-title video support
    • MJPEG and JPEG unlimited pixe resolution decoding(ISO/IEC-10918)
    • Supports JPEG thumbnail, scaling, rotation and transition effects
    • Support *.mkv,*.wmv,*.mpg,*.mpeg,*.dat,*.avi,*.mov,*.iso,*.mp4,*.rm and *.jpg file formats
  • Software Extension
    • Support Google Play & APK install
    • DLNA, Miracast Protocol
    • IM Software – Support Skype/QQ/MSN/GTALK (Depends on APK )
    • Office Software – WORD/EXCEL/PDF(Depends on APK install)
  • Remote Control
  • Other Parameters:
    • Operation Temperature -0~60℃
    • Storage Temperature – -10~60℃
    • Humidity Environment -5%-90%(No condensation)
    • Certificate – CE, FCC
  • Package:
    • Dimensions 117*117*18.5mm
    • Net Weight – 300g
    • Gift Box Size – 162*162*80mm

Unboxing & Teardown

Ugoos AM6 Specifications
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Ethernet USB HDMI SPDIF

AV Out, AV In, TF Card, USB

Antennas, Power

TV Box Maskrom Recovery pinhole
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Ugoos AM6 Teardown
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Ugoos AM6 PCBA
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Various Screenshots

 

Android-Storage
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YouTube-App-Resolutions
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No 4K option in the YouTube app.

 

ugoos custom settings hardware monitor
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Ugoos Custom Settings Root/Unroot init.d etc I really like this customization. You can see these turned on in quite a few screenshots.

status-bar-on-off

Nerding out with settings for the status & navigation bars.

TV box samba server

SAMBA server, NFS & SAMBA client opions.

tv box root & unroot

Root and Unroot!

tv-box-lack-security
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Sadly old security.

Ugoos AM6 OTA firmware update
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OTA updates!

But no Netflix… not even available.

ugoos am6 4k
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ugoos am6 PiP

The screenshot above shows a black screen but videos do play in real-life… One advantage of Android… YouTube plays and you can do something else at the same time when you press the home button.

This also shows the launcher that comes with it. Very basic launcher. I like it.

Benchmarks

Ugoos AM6 Antutu 7
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Antutut 7.x: Beelink 109,071 vs Ugoos 129,773. very surprised 14% faster

3DMark Sling Shot
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3Dmark Sling Shot: Beelink 1477 vs Ugoos 1624 10% improvement

Ice Storm Extreme
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3Dmark Ice Storm Extreme. Both Max.

wired ethernet speedtest

Wired network maxes my Internet.wifi speedtest

Wireless…I hate to show this. I don’t have very good wifi and can’t really test this. Take with a grain of salt.

I was surprised by the difference in performance between identical processors in these benchmarks. In the past, it seemed like most boxes performed similarly.

Linux & LibreELEC

As of right now, there is no official Linux for the AM6 but an Armbian image is available here by balbes150. Initial login is root with password 1234. The AM6 would make a very nice server for home use and you could host some home automation software…maybe a whole home ad blocker..maybe a plex server as long as no transcoding is required but that might be pushing it. Tvheadend. The list goes on and on. The fantastic thing is that to make this work all you need to do is burn the image to an SD card for dual boot. Booting from SD/USB is baked into the official firmware. How cool is that? You can backup Android and move to internal storage. I only briefly tested desktop and audio doesn’t work. There is a script that has to run at every boot in order to fix audio as of the time of this writing with version 5.97. I only tested basic functionality. I only wanted to check the booting from SD from factory firmware.

Libreelec is available but it looks like it doesn’t appear to be mature yet. I went straight to the hardest ones. I tried a few 4k vp9 and it locked up and rebooted.

If you would like me to look into Linux and benchmark some more let me know in the comments.

Kodi/Plex

I am really surprised with Kodi and these S922x boxes. Video playback is exceptional compared to back in the day. I had no issues with any video that I threw at it except H.264 60fps which it is specd to decode. Audio passthrough works well after setting up. It did take a little tinkering because of the hardware that I have. My setup is AM6 > TV > Yamaha HTR-5540 over S/PDIF. After about an hour of tinkering, I found that the best solution for me was to go into Kodi settings and only enable AC3 and turn on transcoding. I was able to play any audio format after this. My receiver is capable of decoding DTS but not DTS-HD apparently. In Kodi, they are treated the same so I just disabled DTS and only enable AC3 and relied on transcoding. For me, this works well. All channels appear to work properly with surround-sound goodness. The Plex app is not as good for audio and I could not enable passthrough or else the video would hitch and not play smoothly.

Final Words

If I had to choose between the Beelink and the AM6 and had to get a box I would definitely go with the Ugoos over the Beelink. I still stand by my opinion that this needs to be Android TV if you want to use it in the living room. You can find the Ugoos AM6 at these retailers Geekbuying Gearbest for about $120. If you have no care to run Linux a better bet might be the Nvidia Shield for a few dollars more. On a side note…Something has to give with Android TV. There are really only 2 options in the US right now for external boxes. A new Shield I have read is on the horizon but that will still only leave 2 options.

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Cyk
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Cyk

I won’t buy an Android TV box again. They all suffer from the same problems,: the firmware outdates quickly, updates come spotty, if ever, you’ll depend on the hacker scene to get Kodi going with all codecs and features, DRM problems with Netflix and Amazon, limited support of external hardware, missing drivers, etc.

For the same money that a half decent TV box costs, I can also get a passively cooled Mini-ITX board and a fancy case, and that opens the way to every OS and every hardware extension you can imagine.

TLS
Guest
TLS

The issue isn’t the Android TV boxes, but rather most of the manufacturers, as they don’t care, once you’ve spent your money. This is the same with many Android phones as well. I’ve been really impressed with Nokia, as they have monthly updates for their phones and guarantee two years of OS updates. What we need, is someone like that in the Android TV box market place, but unfortunately I don’t see it happening. That said, Nvidia seems to be doing quite regular updates on their Shield box, but I guess that’s not just an Android TV box, but it seems to be the only product worth getting. The only thing similar would be Amazon’s Fire TV products, as they’re actually updated fairly regularly. The other decent company is Roku, but it’s obviously not Android.
Considering I’ve had one update from Samsung in the lifetime of the product for my “smart” TV, it’s not just the smaller players that sucks at doing software updates. In the same sentiment as you’re mentioning here, I won’t be buying another smart TV from Samsung.

Karl Johnson
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Karl Johnson

Please see other post about defining “Android TV”

Phan Dinh
Guest
Phan Dinh

Buy Xiaomi Mibox 4k S It’s a good choice for Andoid Youtube Kodi and Netflix. If you have enough money buy nVidia Shield TV

theguyuk
Guest
theguyuk

There is a Netflix compatible box. Jetstream 4K / Engel EN1015K is a new model of Android TV of the Ematic / Engel brand.

jqpabc123
Guest
jqpabc123

Welcome to the club! I learned this lesson years ago thanks to a WeTek Play II professional model dust catcher. Just try to find any mention of it on the vendor’s web site.

Since then, I’ve been using a fanless Intel Z8350 box with external ATSC tuner, camera and gyro mouse/remote. $100US with the same form factor as this Android TV box. On the software side, I also abandoned Kodi for DVB Viewer and have never looked back.

Like it or not, Money = Power and control.

Open source software cedes all control over the computing ecosystem to hardware vendors and advertisers/privacy invaders. And surprise, surprise — loss of privacy and unsupported, disposable hardware is the result.

Erbas Andrade
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Erbas Andrade

Tell details of your mini PC! Details and important; Please
Can you run LibreELEC perfectly?

Postman Pat
Guest
Postman Pat

Just run CoreELEC OS & Kodi Leia on the Play 2 and use the free TvHeadend server Addon and viewing client.
It all works just fine then.

It’s AMLogic Android SDK support for these cheap chipsets that has been the ongoing problem. They simply do not get the upgrade OS support.

This is what I’m talking about:
http://openlinux.amlogic.com/Android/Mbox

Looks like planed obsolescence to me to generate further AMLogic chipset sales.

Redneckerz
Guest
Redneckerz

On the other side of the spectrum, though they may not get updated, Android apps do have a long compatiblity longevity. We only just now moved away from Android 4.4!!! as the lowest common denominator for apps.

Meaning any TV box running at Android 4.4 still has a wealth of programs at their disposal.

The bigger issue is ofcourse security, but in terms of compatibility, i do feel this should be raised.

A TV PC with Atom grade specs (Similar price range) is less powerful than most Android boxes when it comes to 3D performance, but TV PC’s are indeed more versatile.

mo123
Guest
mo123

Karl
Did you update to the latest ota update v0.2.1?
https://androidpctv.com/firmware-ugoos-am6-v021/
It adds HD Audio passthrough and has a whole bunch of fixes.

There is also AndroidTV firmware for the device on freaktab.

It is the only S922x device with fully working auto frame-rate switching and HD Audio support with Kodi in Android.
It even plays [email protected] VP9 Profile 2 HDR videos which is a problem on the Nvidia Shield.

Postman Pat
Guest
Postman Pat

I will be very surprised if HD audio passthrough works.

It’s may have been “added” to Android Kodi – but you see the same user selectable options in AMLogic Pie 9.0 Firmware and Kodi on a myriad of new AMLogic devices – and get complete silence when HD audio is used.

Simply use CoreELEC Kodi on these new AMLogic S905X2, S922X / A311D devices and the whole world will open up for HW decoding & HD audio, 4K HDR and auto switching everything.

BTW: I have auto Frame Rate Switching working fine on my rooted S922X device after following this guide:
https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=229310&pid=2891405#pid2891405

And that Frame Rate switching works nicely indeed for all Android Apps !

Peter
Guest
Peter

The outdated security update in the firmware serves as a warning of the lack of firmware and update support this device will receive. It is certainly not an Android TV device and has not been approved by Google so could probably join the myriad of junk android boxes already on the market.

Mi box s or a Windows htpc are the reliable way to go.

Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)
Admin

I’ve just noticed Ugoos AM6 benchmarks match the results for Khadas VIM3 – https://www.cnx-software.com/2019/08/04/amlogic-s912-vs-amlogic-a311d-s922x-b-benchmarks-comparison/

So it must be based on Amlogic S922X-B with the Cortex-A73 cores clocked at up to 2.2 GHz. (+Confirmed with Karl as tools show that frequency)

Redneckerz
Guest
Redneckerz

It should also be noted that Ugoos now also has the AM6 Pro available, which comes with 4 GB DDR4 by default, similar to Beelink’s GT-King. This might be helpful for those programs that simply require more than 2 GB RAM.

balbes150
Guest
balbes150

Addition. There is a bug in the latest versions of Ubuntu\Debian packages, so I had to disable automatic sound activation in Armbian for s922x for now. Armbian is a universal image that is used simultaneously on the entire AML s9xx platform and to work on other chips I had to disable automatic sound activation on S922X. 1. Remove pulseaudio (sudo apt remove pulseaudio). 2. Run (sudo /root/g12_sound.sh) after that, reboot the system. And sound works. Another important point. On the AM6, you can use any media to run external systems (SD or USB). It is very convenient to use any USB flash drives for quick tests. To write and work with a flash drive on a PC do not need card readers. When using USB 3.0 (such as an external USB 3.0 drive) , you get a significant acceleration of the system compared to the SD card and even with eMMC. For example, the time to create a full copy of the firmware eMMC from DDBR utility (which is the default in all armbian images) running from a fast USB 3.0 drive is about 5-7 minutes. For those who want to install Armbian or LE in eMMC, there are special options for easy installation of the system in eMMC (while maintaining the ability to run systems from external media and the ability to use USB Burn Tool to restore regular firmware.

p.s. It is very funny to read the arguments about the security of x86. It seems many do not know that these systems have long been stuffed with hardware Trojans that use all sorts of freaks to fully access all the user’s data in his local network and control these devices to use them in hacker attacks without the knowledge of the owner (and it does not matter what system or OS you use). 🙂

Postman Pat
Guest
Postman Pat

@Karl – you have not been keeping up Man, there are more than a “few” legit Google Certified Android TV OS options in the USA:
https://www.reddit.com/r/AndroidTV/comments/cguehm/androidtv_device_comparison_table/