The advertised blurb for this is “Aodin Smart TV Box with Android 5.1 Lollipoo Kodi 16.1 Quad Core -Miracast for Android Devices -Build-in Dual Wifi & Bluetooth -Support 4k Media Stream Display” which I’ve included so it’s easy to find but I’m SURE they mean Lollipop and NOT Lollipoo unless there’s a tongue-in-cheek (urgh!) Android update I’m not aware of.
This is the first time I’m getting hands-on with an Android box so I will be reviewing it from the point of view of someone who uses other means of streaming video and playing games on a TV screen.
I have a ‘past its best laptop’ with a wireless air mouse and easy links to streaming film and TV sites set up on the desktop. Connected to an old TV, it has a hard disk full of music and video and is an adequate (or so I thought) media centre which these days could be described as overkill – you don’t need a full Windows machine do this kind of easy stuff. And why does the fan need to go at full pelt just to watch video? As far as games go, Steam runs on it as do the simplest of games that platform provides but I have to connect a wired gamepad so I rarely bother. Besides which, few Steam games are of the casual kind you’d want to play in between watching TV.
So I was I very keen to try an Android box with Kodi as I’d heard good things from people who paid much more than the price of this (£35.99 currently).
Specwise, I tried the lesser model the 1GB / 8GB RAM and though internal storage was cramped, the micro SD and USB ports easily take up the slack here. Some files though need to placed in the internal memory such as ROMs for certain emulators though these can be launched from external storage via the File Explorer. The lower working RAM figure didn’t hamper anything I asked of it – I suspect only top-end games would and to be fair, that’s the domain of your shiny new phone really, not a workhorse like this.
I hooked up internet access via Gigabit ethernet and found the first few tasks a doddle with the supplied remote. I find the cursor key control method of handling these things much more accurate and time-saving. You can add more input devices via Bluetooth very easily, as I did (a keyboard and a gamepad) and the system stops you removing the supplied control accidentally. That remote control is very responsive and will get 90% of what you need done though something with mouse control will be needed for some tasks.
Kodi 16.1 is pre-installed with dozens of add-ons so straight away I tried to watch a movie. With no previous experience of Kodi I was watching one of the latest films in decent quality within minutes. I found plenty of TV series I’d forgotten about as well as ones I’d fallen behind on, all queued up to watch during my spare moments. No fiddling around and no expensive Sky boxes needed. Though some found no sources upon playing, the most well-known had plenty.
One of the biggest ‘wow’ moments was switching the box on the morning and with a few clicks watching highlights of last night’s football – definitely the most useful feature for me!
I’ve tried some of the Google Play games though for that and for YouTube some sort of mouse control is needed. I use a Bebencool gamepad which has mouse mode. This allows me to drag and click then switch mode to use as a proper gamepad. I also connected a Bluetooth keyboard and this worked perfectly but soon discarded it as the mouse mode triggers the onscreen keyboard anyway. The few games I tried all ran fullscreen, 1080p very smoothly.
I measured the power usage during various activities. The range was 5.6W to 6.9W, topping out during 3D gameplay. The smallest draw was playing media files and browsing, this thing is a real miser when it comes to electricity. I recall that my first generation PS3 used 220W at peak draw (!)
One issue I experienced was that a few times, upon starting Kodi (not the box, just Kodi) it went through a first time install process taking a couple of minutes and losing my favourites. This was not before I’d started the box with an external HDD connected and hasn’t done it since I disconnected it so perhaps it is related.
Caveats about Kodi:
* You cannot rely on anything to be live when you need it to barring perhaps the FilmOn TV channels and YouTube.
* Also you may need to check the legality of watching certain streams in certain countries especially things you don’t already own or license. I cannot comment on this aspect of it and obviously don’t condone using it for anything illegal.
That said, you will have a LOT of fun with this box and my mind still cannot grasp how cheap something this useful is.
I have used this for 9 days straight now for several hours a day so have seen much of what this has to offer though have yet to go through a Kodi update. I held off getting a Kodi box for so long and to anyone who has done likewise – treat yourself right away – and get a gamepad too!
Note: I tested the UK version of this box so your wattage rating may vary, it DID come with a local plug.