In today’s busy world it can be difficult to set the time aside to research and concentrate what is the best Android TV Box to buy for your needs, with so many boxes available, so many sellers claiming their box is the best we understand peoples frustrations so hopefully this ultimate buyers guide will be helpful in understanding the market and what to look out for.
Know the Android box you are buying, Android Direct only supply boxes that are fit for purpose, built for speed and performance.
We are now in an age where speed is everything so this begs the question why are people still purchasing under performing boxes from amateur sellers posing as professionals.
We are the only company that benchmark our boxes and then post the results on our website, see our AnTuTu benchmark guide here.
Because we have benchmarked each box we sell we can honestly say no other box can come remotely close, what does this mean for you is you can now buy, confident in the knowledge that the device you choose is a genuine box from the manufacturer, which will always perform time after time.
AnTuTu is one of the most popular benchmark tools to test Android devices, the test uses many parts of the Android device and will attach an overall score. The higher the score the better the box, the better the processors, the graphics, the grade of chipset used, the performance and speed, it’s as simple as that, it is the definitive answer to the capabilities of the box.
For the “I know nothing about technology” people you don’t need to know, all you need to know is how to press a button and operate the box without getting frustrated with apps slow in loading because the chip-sets are of poor quality.
Without boring the pants off anyone lets delve into what exactly do the main specification of the boxes mean which will help in you in deciding what box will suit you best.
CPU (Central Processing Unit): Often referred to as the brains, simply carries out the instructions.
GPU (Graphic Processing Unit): Often referred to as the soul, provides the video images to the TV.
RAM (Random Access Memory): It allows information to be stored and retrieved on a box
Flash/Storage/Memory: The amount of storage available to download Kodi and Apps, usually most boxes will range from 8GB to 32GB, 16GB would be the most common.
Ethernet or LAN (Local Area Network): Ethernet will always have a faster connection than WiFi so if possible always connect this way, 100Mbps (Megabits Per Second) this is the speed the box can support, 1000Mbps (Gigabit) this is the speed the box can support, broadband speeds will keep on increasing all the time. Please note most apps will run on 6 to 7 Meg download speed.
Single band WiFi 2.4Ghz
Dual band WiFi 2.4Ghz/5Ghz
The difference between the two bands is range, 2.4Ghz will have a long range and will be capable for transmission through walls but lots of other devices use the 2.4Ghz band so you may experience slower speeds/ The 5Ghz is less used by other devices so you will get a better connection and higher speeds, it has a shorter range so it is less likely to go through walls.
If connecting through WiFi is your only option due to the location of your broadband router/modum, we would recommend range extenders also called home plugs, they use your internal wiring in your house to act as an Ethernet cable. How they work is one will plug in to the electrical socket at your router/modum, then a short Ethernet cable from the plug to your router/modum, do the same where you place your Android TV Box, short Ethernet cable from the plug to the box and presto you have a direct connection.
One important thing using home plugs is the plugs themselves must be plugged directly into the electrical sockets, not extension leads, if you are short on electrical sockets as most houses are we recommend get the home plugs that act as an adaptor as well. Bluetooth: The box can act as a hub for the ever increasing smart devices to run your home, you may want to play your music loud, just connect your Bluetooth headset.
Android Platform: This means the current Android platform the box will be running, not exactly a deal breaker in choosing a box, we would much prefer a box running an older Android Lollipop platform with good specifications than a box running the latest Android Nouget with poor specifications.
So now you have a better idea what the specifications mean let us now boldly state that all chip-sets in the box specifications are not created equal, what do we mean by that is the grade of chip-set the manufactures uses, while the processor might be the same the chip-sets might not be A graded, but B and C graded, good box manufacturers will use the best chip-sets, that is why it is important to purchase a box confident in the knowledge it is made by a reputable manufacturer. That is why we benchmark all the boxes we sell, click here, bench marking is the only true indication of how well a box is built and how well the box will run.
This leads us to where the Android boxes are manufactured in the first place. Shenzhen in China is the home for most electrical items we purchase today including Android TV Boxes; there are literally thousands of factories situated in Shenzhen. In 1979 when pope John Paul visited Ireland, Shenzhen was a small fishing port with a population of approx 30,000, in less than 40 years the population is about 14 million, why is that fact important in your purchase of a box, it is extremely important because with thousands of factories in Shenzhen do you know where your potential box was manufactured.
The majority of boxes sold by re-sellers in Ireland today would be MXQ Pro, X96 Mini, T95N, T95Z, X92, H96, you can see the benchmark test for some of these here, now this is the BIG question, what factory manufactures those boxes?.
They are boxes that are manufactured by hundreds of different factories so you will never really know which factory will actually make the box.
So how do they start their life cycle, the moldings for the case for the box are made in one factory, and then hundreds of different factories will buy the molded case, they then put their chip-sets in so in reality the components will be different from factory to factory, the outside of the box is the same, the inside will be different.
This then begs the question:
Why would someone buy a box not knowing what factory manufactured it?
What quality controls are adhered to?
So you as the buyer are putting all your trust in the re-seller of the box to know where he is buying from. Unless the reseller has visited the factories firsthand they will not know, if they have made contact through Alibaba only, they will have no idea if they are dealing with a factory or not, they may be only dealing with a middleman claiming to be a factory, everyone in Shenzhen owns a factory.
I can’t imagine small websites, the local handyman double jobbing as an Android expert who will meet you at the Tesco car park to complete the sale, guys selling to colleagues in work or from Facebook ever visiting Shenzhen, in fact most of these guys disappear when Revenue contact them regarding the items they have imported and have they declared the extra income in their tax returns, for the above re-sellers just ask two questions to them before you commit to purchase, what factory manufactured the box, then Goggle the factory to see if it exists, second question what is the Antutu benchmark result, if you don’t you may end up with a under-performing or a cloned box.
If you do not know the market place but you might have heard the phase Cloned Box what exactly does this mean. A cloned box is a box made up with mish-mash parts, parts that have failed quality control otherwise called “seconds” or lower grade chips sets or even second hand parts from returned boxes.
The box will never have the correct EU approvals as they will fail quality control, the official approvals for Europe are called CE approved, the sticker on the box might say it, but they will be fake.
The box will look good on the outside, the packaging will look great, the price will be lower which will catch the eye, the box may work for a while but it will usually be slow to respond to any command and will stop over time.
If you want to save your sanity avoid these boxes, the only way to avoid is to make sure you know what you’re buying.
You may wish to purchase a branded box directly from a seller in China, just keep in mind it may take up to a month to arrive using Free Post, you usually will have a bill from customs when the package arrives, is the price difference really worth the hassle.
So why buy a good brand Android TV Box, for lots of different reasons, here are just a few:
- 1. Usage hours
- 2. Quality manufactured box
- 3. Official CE Approvals
- 4. Firmware Updates
- 5. WiFi strength
- 5. Picture quality
To wrap up, we hope you have found our guide useful, just think, life is short, while it is good to save a few Euro, it is also important to make the most of the experiences a good branded box will give, it is also about the time you spend after the purchase using the box, make sure the box you purchase is the best in class, after all do you know the average time we spend in front of our TV is 24 hours a week so stream comfortable in the knowledge that the box is doing all the work and you are sitting back enjoying the endless content.