John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Beelink Mini MX TV Box mini review

There are a plethora of media players out there at stupid low prices. My bud Lance decided to plunge into the quagmire and choose one or two to buy and let me play before I have to buy. Right now I have an Amazon Fire TV first generation as well as a Asus ASRock running Kodi/Ubuntu as my two media players in the house. These become the benchmark for me. What am I looking for in these devise? Well they have to work as well as my current devices otherwise why would I bother. Silent and low power (including power management) are a must. As close to instant on as possible. And a good, easy to use remote that resembles a good ole VCR remote. I have a couple people in the house that are less techy so having to use a keyboard/mouse just ain’t gonna fly. It will just end up with me getting a WTF call to figure out how to use the darn thing with a frustrated end user on the other end of the phone. Exactly what I do not need in my day.

On with this mini review. Here is the link to ever buying for it. A Beelink Mini MX TV Box Amlogic S905 Android 5.1 Quad-core 2.4GHz. I did not spend a lot of time with this device so the review is at best cursory. The device is small, and very closely resembles my Amazon Kindle Fire TV first gen. They say being copied is the best form of flattery and that seems to be the case here. The back is exactly like the fire TV and has a wired Ethernet, optical out, HDMI barrel power charger, and USB port and that’s it. Hiding on the side is a second USB port, and a micro SD slot. On the front is an over sized LED that shines blue when on and red when in suspend. The device happily comes out of suspend from the remote and comes on quickly. Sadly the device does not seem to go into suspend automatically. This is a big problem for me. If the media player does not go into suspend, then the HDMI receiver does not go into suspend, and of course that means neither does the TV. So in the end it is a power mess. I have not found a setting that can change that, but do remember my time with this device is limited. For me this alone would be a drop dead and I would not buy this device.
Update: Turns out it’s in the setting, display, day dreamer?

It came with a remote (more on that in a bit, a micro USB 5v 2A charger and an HDMI cable. A surprise given the price.

The device is small, and completely silent (no fan).

The player runs on Android 5.1.1 and includes the Google playstore, which is excellent. Kodi is preloaded including the a raft of add ons. Kodi are actually all over devices like this for making it look like Kodi themselves have produced these devices as well as blurring the line between what this vendor chose to add on and what is actually part of Kodi. A real and present threat/danger to Kodi’s reputation and future.

Having the playstore makes it easy to add any Android app you want. Plex for example can easily be added.

The remote has one HUGE oops. They didn’t add a play pause. Oops. They did include volume control, a toggleable air mouse and Android settings button all of which work perfectly with Kodi. The remote is small, light and works well with lots of feedback when you press buttons. The remote itself is infra red so line of sight to media player is needed. It does open up the possibility that you could use universal remote like the logitechs.

They have put a menuing system in front of Android that as a whole is easy to navigate with the remote (without a keyboard or mouse). The interface while functional is amateur hour by comparison to more polished devices like the Fire TV.

Overall navigation within Android is responsive. From within Kodi, over WIFI it is a little noticeably laggy compared to my other devices. Playback within Kodi is also a little more laggy but both of these comments are being super picky.

There is a miracast app loaded but I could not get it to connect no matter what I tried and eventually gave up. The Fire TVs for example works MUCH better. Well it actually works.

Plex loaded and ran fine (but my media player is Kodi so I didn’t do a whole lot).

Overall this is a thoroughly adequate device. It would never displace either of my current incumbents. Is it worth the money? It’s really hard to compare, the price is super cheap at $53, but for me I would pay more for a better experience.

April 3, 2016 - Posted by | Mutlimedia

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