Review: Aodin Smart TV Box with Android 5.1 & Kodi 16.1

Fantastically versatile and agile Android box, movies, games and TV at your fingertips

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.

AODIN Android TV Box 5.1 Kodi 16.1 Home Screen Screenshot
AODIN Android TV Box 5.1 Kodi 16.1 Home Screen Screenshot

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.

AODIN Smart TV with Android 5.1 KODI 16.1 Overview
AODIN Smart TV with Android 5.1 KODI 16.1 Overview

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.

AODIN Smart TV with Android 5.1 KODI 16.1 Review Side Ports
AODIN Smart TV with Android 5.1 KODI 16.1 Review Side Ports

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.

AODIN Android TV Box 5.1 Kodi 16.1 Apps Screen Screenshot
AODIN Android TV Box 5.1 Kodi 16.1 Apps Screen Screenshot

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.

AODIN Android TV Box 5.1 Kodi 16.1 Running Sonic & Knuckles on SEGA Genesis Emulator
AODIN Android TV Box 5.1 Kodi 16.1 Running Sonic & Knuckles on SEGA Genesis Emulator

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.

AODIN Android TV Box 5.1 Kodi 16.1 Kodi Add-ons Screen Screenshot
AODIN Android TV Box 5.1 Kodi 16.1 Kodi Add-ons Screen Screenshot

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.

AODIN Smart TV with Android 5.1 KODI 16.1 Rear Ports
AODIN Smart TV with Android 5.1 KODI 16.1 Rear Ports

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.

Buy AODIN Smart TV Box in the USA or buy in the UK (buying via this link helps pay for this website’s hosting).

Review: Ragu RG-01 LED Projector 1280×768 resolution support 1080p review

This is the first projector I have tested that is LED based as opposed to the previous generation. I have seen many budget projectors on the market but when examining specs, it turns out they were little more than toys with awful resolution and no power. Therefore I was expecting a lot more from this, currently priced at £161.

It is a neat looking set up with build quality in line with a low-end printer, that is to say functional, quality of things like the plastic leg to change projecting angle seems a little flimsy. The ring to adjust lens focus too. However during my 20 hours of testing, none of my fears were founded. The benefit of this is that it is a LOT lighter than my previous projector, a Hitachi ED-X15.

To sum up the improvements over that generation of projectors:
*HDMI and component inputs
*Media support via two USB ports
*Firmware upgrade via the same
*Sharper picture
*Handles a 1080p input
*Much, much cheaper
*Stereo speakers
*Fully functional remote control

*Flimsier build quality
*Manual keystone control via a mechanical dial
*Power input via kettle lead does not sit neatly in the the socket, rather it has a few mm of play

A 1.5M HMDI and Red yellow white RCA leads are included. Setup is easy, the menu has no quirks with a simple up down left right, OK and back system.

Sound is OK. For my purposes I plugged an external stereo speaker into a pair of phono outputs. This didn’t cut out the internal audio so that will have to be muted or turned down if you want solely the audio out to your speakers or hifi.

I tested it projected at the minimum distance giving a diagonal image of 50″ at 16:9 ratio. At this close, focusing had to be exact. Adjusting the keystone at minimal distance meant that either the top or the bottom of the picture went ever so slightly out of focus. I overcame this by raising the projector to get a perpendicular image rather than a slanted projection. At longer distances for a larger image, this ceases to be a problem.

The last image I have added here is a blown up section of the pure light coming from the sensor. This is to show the LED pattern. As you may be able to see the reds, greens and blues are interleaved nicely, meaning less moire interference and less blockiness of the projected image.

I tested mostly with a set-top box via HDMI. This worked perfectly, once adjusted for colour temperature and sharpness. My preference is for a cooler image and high contrast. I also tried a SONY Playstation 3 running games at 720p. This worked very well and is how I mostly used my previous projector as I will this one.

Image is bright and clear in a darkened room and still visible and watchable even during a sunny day.

Lastly, the projector does support playing media via the USB ports. I tried all types of media which were handled well with the exception of an older MPG video which seemed to stutter every few seconds. All over major filetypes played without problems.

In conclusion:
The RAGU RG-01 is a capable mid-market LED projector which is energy efficient compared to older models meaning less heat and less noise. There are no major problems and once the price of this decreases with the Christmas rush (2016) becomes more and more attractive. It is what the Chinese do best which is to not settle for the cheapest components to get a sale, only for the product to fail but to leverage maximum functionality for a good price. I can recommend it for TV or for gaming.

Disclosure: I write reviews for press and websites, including national magazines and have done for years. The normal way this is done is an item is sent to a reviewer for their professional appraisal. No money changes hands and it is expected that the review will highlight both good and bad. In this case I paid a large chunk of the normal price and have reviewed the projector from the point of view of a paying customer.

Also, this is NOT made by the same people that make the pasta sauce. Which is probably a good thing.

Buy the RAGU RG-01 Projector on Amazon here (USA) or Buy the RAGU RG-01 Projector on Amazon here (UK).

All text, images, video and sound are © Tony Coleby 2016 or fair use for review purposes.