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Over the past few days, we’ve been testing out some of the best Android TV boxes. As always, our goal is to share with you the highest-ranking and top-performing entries. We are pleased to report that our expectations were far surpassed.
The latest and greatest units are cutting-edge excellence. We have compiled our reviews into this guide so that you’ll have an easier time finding the right one to fit your needs. And once you have finished reading our thoughts on each box, you’ll find some handy buyer’s information immediately afterward.
But first, we’d like to show you a couple of our favorites. These entries stole the show with their ease-of-use and stellar performance.
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Our top pick for the best box overall went to NVIDIA’s Shield TV. This unique unit is packed with user-friendly features that make browsing a breeze. Programs look incredible thanks to AI upscaling and the inclusion of Dolby Vision. Streaming is faster than ever, too. And you can even play games using GeForce Now.
With the Roku Ultra, watching movies and TV shows has never been so easy. Roku eliminates any techno-fright you might have with one of the most straightforward Android boxes we’ve ever seen. The remote has been improved, and you even get a pair of slick JBL earbuds to maximize your media.
We have 8 more enviable entries to go, with each one impressing in its own unique way. Even better, a vast majority of our entries are budget-friendly. So you can enjoy streaming without taking a big bite out of your bank account.
NVIDIA gets mostly everything right with the Shield. This amazing little unit is loaded with goodies that serve to give you an enjoyable user experience. And with groundbreaking AI-enhanced upscaling, video quality is on a whole new level.
The ‘box’ is only slightly bigger than the remote. You wouldn’t think NVIDIA could pack in so many awesome features. But once you fire it up and start surfing, it becomes evident that the Shield is one powerful gadget.
It’s as if they’ve taken all the best parts of a high-end smart TV and crammed them all into the tiny black cylinder that is the NVIDIA Shield. It’s truly a technological feat like no other. And when you factor in the improved remote, this robust device upgrades almost any TV to the latest model.
While the Shield is the best box overall, it’s also the best for gaming. Just grab a compatible game controller to turn the Shield into your own central gaming hub using the built-in GeForce Now.
The remote works like a dream and is very responsive. It makes all the difference in the performance of the Shield.
The interface is streamlined and highly-accessible, as well. It’s easy to get accustomed to, with loads of content that’s neatly organized for an entertaining user experience.
Streaming devices such as these are relatively new to most folks. And like anything new, there’s going to be a learning curve until they become the norm. Roku’s new Ultra streaming media player makes the curve as easy as possible, with an interface that’s a breeze to master.
Unlike most Android boxes, Roku uses its own proprietary system. It takes all the great features you’ll find in those popular streaming devices and compiles them into a concise user experience.
We like the huge selection of free media that you get with the Ultra. It lets you easily browse a vast catalog of movies and TV shows with a straightforward, no-nonsense remote. Anyone can pick it up and start surfing.
Roku also gives you access to their mobile app. From here, you can manage your programming to better fit your needs. It’s a well-polished setup that works wonders in giving you what you want, when you want it.
Our only real complaint with the Roku Ultra is its lack of storage space. This, however, can be remedied thanks to both microSD and USB ports.
Roku makes setup a breeze. It’s straightforward, with the Quick Start Guide making it clear what you need to do in order to proceed. Just follow a few prompts and you’ll be good to go.
The EVANPO T95Z is a techie’s dream come true. This amazing bundle packs in everything you need for a complete media meltdown. It’s like having a PC, gaming console, and smart TV all in one handy package.
Performance is blistering-fast thanks to an octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM. There are lots of connectivity options, too. So you can connect your own mouse and keyboard if you want a full-featured experience.
But when you consider what you’re getting, you really don’t need either. The included game controller has a built-in touchpad and full QWERTY keyboard. You can type, swipe, and control your way to endless entertainment.
There’s even 3D graphics capabilities onboard, allowing you to enjoy 3D movies and games right out of the box. When you factor in all that you’re getting with the T95Z, there isn’t a better value out there.
The only issue we ran into during testing was with the keyboard/controller. We couldn’t type in titles of shows in certain apps, like Netflix. It seems to have limited compatibility, but it’s otherwise an excellent device.
The remote with a full QWERTY keyboard makes searching faster. The interface is very user-friendly. There’s a small learning-curve, but once you get it down, you’ll feel right at home.
Kingbox’s K3 is an affordable option that performs well across the board. It comes packed with Android 7.1 and is powered by Kodi.
Behind the lightning-fast performance of the K3 is an octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM. We were blown away by how responsive this unit is. Operations and commands race along at a nice clip, without any stuttering or bogging down.
Multiple tasks are handled with ease, and there are loads of connectivity options at your disposal. Streaming is also greatly improved. There’s a lot less buffering, even with high-definition programs.
The included remote, while plain, works really well and didn’t disappoint. You won’t find any fancy 3D graphics capabilities or gaming solutions. But with such a budget-friendly price, their exclusion is understandable.
The Kodi software can take a little getting used to if you’re new to it. But it is very robust once you’ve learned all of its nuances.
Amazon’s Fire TV Cube reigns supreme when it comes to convenience. Using Alexa to control everything with your voice is a feature you can’t do without once you’ve tried it. Having this kind of versatility adds a whole new layer to television viewing.
And with all of the included apps, you can easily check the weather, browse listings, or play music – all with your voice.
And this is what separates the Fire TV Cube from its competitors. Alexa turns watching television into an immersive and user-friendly experience like no other.
Software-wise, Amazon’s Prime Video has a lot to offer. And when you combine that with other mainstays, like Netflix and Hulu, you’re getting an endless amount of viewing options.
The only real downside to the Fire TV Cube is that you have to be an Amazon Prime member in order to get the full benefits of this box. But if you aren’t one, there’s still a whole slew of apps that are worthy of your attention.
The Fire TV Cube is easy to set up, and operating it is even more so. Alexa makes all the difference here. Using voice commands is a feature you won’t quickly become bored with. And there’s so much to keep you entertained, making this box worth the price of admission.
The Pendoo X6 Pro is another fairly affordable entry that has a lot to offer. It comes loaded with Android 9.0 and is powered by Kodi. You won’t find any preloaded add-ons, but you can download any you like to your heart’s content.
We like the speed and versatility that the X6 Pro delivers. Streaming is fast and hiccup-free, with high-definition programs coming through without a hitch. The built-in dual-band Wi-Fi plays a big role in ensuring that you get seamless viewing.
You’ll also find a lot of connectivity options at the ready. Whether through an external hard drive, USB, or microSD, Pendoo’s little black box supports a litany of hardware. There’s plenty already onboard, but you can expand if you like.
The included remote works just fine, although certain apps will have you wanting to get something a bit more robust. This is especially true if you’re an avid Netflix or YouTube viewer. A remote with a full QWERTY keyboard makes all the difference.
Thanks to buffer-free streaming, you’ll find the X6 Pro to be a highly-capable performer. Kodi can take some getting used to, but the level of customization lets you fine-tune it to your liking.
We’re not sure exactly how they did it, but Vankyo delivers an impressive performer at an incredibly low price. If you’re on a tight budget, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the finer things in life.
Enter, the MatrixBox. It costs only a fraction of what many of its competitors are charging. And yet this Android TV device provides much of the same features and functionality that you find in premium models.
We were quite pleased with how responsive and well-executed the MatrixBox was. We had a blast putting it through its paces, with apps and programs loading quickly and without buffering. Everything is snappy, delivering an outstanding viewing experience.
We would have liked it if there were a bit more connectivity options. What you get certainly works well, but an optical out, for example, would have been nice.
The remote leaves a little to be desired, but it is adequate enough. Getting set up is relatively painless, although Kodi can take some practice if you’re new to it.
Xiaomi makes the grade with the Mi Box S. This handy little device comes ready to entertain, with plenty of flexibility at your fingertips. We like that it supports Google Chromecast and Assistant.
Streaming content is effortless. And having the ability to use your voice to control the unit is always nice to see. Operations are fairly responsive. Although the quad-core processor does cause some stuttering from time to time.
This is only a minor quibble, however. The majority of browsing and viewing is delivered flawlessly. The included remote looks to be rather plain. But it is actually quite robust and makes searching a cinch.
You won’t find quite the same level of versatility that you see in other Android TV boxes. But that’s what makes this unit so great for those who are new to the scene. You certainly won’t feel overwhelmed, as the Mi Box S simplifies its presentation for a user-friendly experience.
Getting up and running is fairly painless. Once you get Google Assistant going, things really start to take off. Using your voice to control your TV enhances your viewing experience.
It’s worth noting that the Mi Box S is pretty limited in terms of customization. Other boxes allow you to do a lot more, so you may want to look elsewhere if that’s a deal-breaker.
As the most expensive Android TV box we reviewed, the SkyStream Two is also the best one for beginners. It comes preloaded with everything you could possibly want for an easy streaming experience.
Why is it so expensive? Because it’s so easy to operate and it runs like a top. Navigating the interface is made as simple and straightforward as possible. If convoluted menus only serve to confound you, the SkyStream Two eliminates all the hassle for truly enjoyable TV viewing.
You might want to get a keyboard to help with searching, but it’s certainly not required. It’s easy to add apps from the Google Play Store if you wish to expand your tastes. But there are so many that are already installed, you’ll likely not want for anything else.
Operations and processes zip along without missing a beat. The SkyStream Two is quick and responsive, and there are loads of connectivity options at your disposal.
Further adding to the SkyStream Two’s beginner-friendly design is the setup process. It’s an absolute breeze to get up and running. You’ll soon find yourself exploring the many apps and features that come ready to use right out of the box.
If you hate suffering through a grueling setup process just to watch TV, you’ll love the TX6. This compact little box works wonders in allowing you to bypass aggravating startup procedures.
The Greatlizard is built tough and does a fantastic job of delivering easy-to-use streaming. It’s another great option for beginners thanks to its basic Kodi platform and limited settings. Sure, you’re missing some features. But if you’re looking for simplicity, the TX6 delivers.
The remote isn’t the greatest, and there were a few occasions where we ran into freeze-ups. But for the most part, you should find this box to be highly-accessible.
Thanks to its simplified approach to streaming, the TX6 is a winner for the beginner. Setup is a breeze, with the Greatlizard box doing all the hard work for you.
Android TV Boxes are popular streaming devices, which has lead to many manufacturers trying to grab a piece of the market. Obviously, plenty of manufacturers cut corners and release sub-par devices.
We have dedicated ourselves to researching Android TV boxes, so you don’t have to. We will teach you how to recognize high-quality products that will satisfy your needs.
The first thing you should do, when buying a new Android TV box, is to check out the product specifications. It might seem daunting at the start, but we will show you what you need to know.
When it comes to processors, there are three companies that create them for Android TV boxes. Allwinner, AmLogic, and RockChip. RockChip does have decent video quality, but it doesn’t support Kodi(media content streaming service). Many users have complained about RockChip processors due to its numerous flaws. Our advice is to avoid RockChip processors.
Last, but not least, are the AmLogic processors. Many Android TV box manufacturers have switched over to AmLogic processors. The reviews show that popularity is definitely warranted. If you take a look at the specs of the best Android TV boxes, then you will notice that most of them utilize the power of AmLogic processors. Our advice is that, if you can, then go for an AmLogic processor.
With memory, the saying “more is always better” holds true. But, you should know that there is a practical limit to the amount of RAM(Random Access Memory) an Android TV Box can use.
At this moment, the best TV Boxes come with two or 3 gigabytes of RAM. This doesn’t mean that a device with 1GB of RAM will not work well, on the contrary.
If you can afford it, then go for a model that comes with 3GB of RAM. But, if you can’t afford it, then there aren’t any noticeable downsides for opting in for a product with less than 3GB of RAM.
Storage space in an Android TV box isn’t as large as in smartphones. There is a good reason why it is that way – the price.
Most of the Android TV boxes come with 8GB or 16GB of storage space. There are some models that buck the trend and offer 32GB of storage. How much you will need depends on what you will be using the device for. Experience has shown us that most people don’t need more than 8GB, but our advice is to go for 16GB of storage. The extra wiggle room might come in handy in the future.
Some of the Android TV boxes support external storage. This means that you can use a microSD card to boost the storage to 64GB and more.
The most useful connection ports in an Android TV Box are the ones that connect the unit to other devices. Basically, the Internet ports and TV connection ports.
If you rely on the wired Internet, then look for an Ethernet port. This won’t be a huge problem, most of the Android TV boxes have it.
If your Internet connection is wireless, then you need Wi-Fi in your Android TV box. Make sure that the Wi-Fi included is at least 802.11 ac. Anything less might ruin your video-watching experience.
HDMI 2.0 is a must-have if you want to watch 4K videos at 60FPS(Frames Per Second). Older HDMI specs are not bad per se, but they limit you to 30FPS, and you might notice annoying jittering.
If you want a device that won’t disappoint you and is future-proof for a while, then you might want to consider the following features.
Android 5.x (Lollipop) or newer is what you need if you want your Android TV box to function properly. Try not to go under the 1080p resolution, leave 720p where it belongs – in the past. Don’t go for lower than USB 2.0, because USB 1.0 is 40 times slower than USB 2.0.
OTA(Over the Air) firmware updating is another useful feature that you should look for. If you want fluid motion and less jitter, then look for a device that supports Dynamic Refresh Rate switching.
These useful features are not a must-have, but they might boost your viewing experience. So, don’t avoid devices that don’t have all of the “other” features.
Yes, you can, but there is a caveat – the TV needs to have an HDMI(High-definition Multimedia Interface) port.
On the other hand, if you own an old TV, then you won’t be able to use a TV Box.
The answer depends on the definition of “fast Internet.” But, most areas of the USA have Internet speeds that are fast enough for an Android TV box.
If you want to make sure that your Internet speed is enough, you can test your speed on speedtest.net. The result should show at least 3Mbps(Megabits per second) of download speed. But, HD content requires at least 5Mbps of download speed.
If you want to use Netflix services, then you will have to pay for their services. But, there is no extra cost involved to stream content to your TV. Netflix isn’t the only option, there are many free alternatives out there. Popcornflix, Pluto TV, Viewster, and Snag Films are some of the alternatives.
Android TV boxes are great for movies, TV shows, cartoons, and more. But, that is not all! Your Android TV Box will allow you to do the following:
There are over 3.5 million apps on the Google Play Store. You can use them all! There are new apps added every day, so you might never run out of the things to do.