If you’re one of those people wondering what an Android TV box is, it’s a simple TV box that runs the Android OS. This TV box is like all the other brands and makes of TV boxes out there, but the Android ones run on the Android OS. This is the same OS that runs on your smartphones, tablets, and millions of other devices such as Chromebox and Chromebook.
Usually, an Android box runs a slightly older Android version like Android Lollipop or KitKat, but if you know how to use your smartphone or tablet, you’ll be able to run the Android TV box easily and figure out most of the apps on these devices.
Android TV Box vs. Roku vs. Apple TV vs. Mini-PC
What Is an Android TV Box?
Android TV vs. Android TV Box
How Does Android TV Box Work?
Top 10 Best Android TV Boxes
If you’re looking for a TV box only to stream video content to your TV, then Kodi/XBMC is the best software to use for that purpose. The software not only lets you stream videos and music files, but it also includes various plugins that let you stream from many of the major streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon Prime.
|TV Device||Android Version||Ram||Special Features|
|NVIDIA Shield TV Editor's Pick||Android nougat||3GB||Voice search, game streaming||Price|
|MINIX NEO U1||5.1.1 OS Lollipop||2GB||Kodi optimized||Price|
|Mini MX Quad Core||5.1 OS Lollipop||2GB||3D HD streaming||Price|
|Amazon Fire TV 2||5.1 OS Lollipop||1GB||Voice search, multi-search||Price|
|GooBang Doo||4.4 KitKat||2GB||4K playing||Price|
|Q-Box 4K||5.1 OS Lollipop||2GB||3D games, 5 GHz Wi-Fi connection||Price|
|Matricom G-Box Q2||5 Lollipop||2GB||Kodi optimized, external storage||Price|
|Leelbox Q2||6.0 Marshmallow||2GB||Supports dual channel Wi-Fi, Kodi optimized||Price|
|Razer Forge TV||5.0 Lollipop||2GB||Remote App with voice search||Price|
|NexBox A95X||5.1 OS Lollipop||1GB||4K HD video,||Price|
The only downside (if you actually want to call it that) is that Kodi itself doesn’t make a box for its own software unless you count the branded Raspberry Pi. However, it presents you with the opportunity to install Kodi on a wide array of options.
These are the best Android TV boxes that you can pick from to cut the cable and enter the world of media streaming on demand. Before picking any, make sure you read the Android TV box review of that product.
It’s fair to say that it’s not even a fair fight with the NVIDIA Shield TV. The graphics powerhouse behind the most powerful and best-performing PC gaming systems, NVIDIA took the TV box scene by storm in May 2015 by launching the Shield Android TV Box.
Shield TV has been redesigned for this year and it’s now aimed at the audience wanting more storage and power from their Android TV box than a Fire TV or Roku can give but don’t want to go into the high-end streaming devices such as Naim ND5 or Cyrus Stream. It features the high-end Tegra X1 CPU, 3GB RAM and a GPU with an impressive number of 256 cores.
Shield TV features the slickest interface yet, featuring the official Android TV interface from Google running on Android 7 Nougat. It’s also the only device on the list using Android’s latest version.
Android TV interface from Google running on Android 7 Nougat
It’s one of the very few devices offering YouTube and Amazon Prime streaming as well as Netflix in 4K.
The controller and remote fit comfortably, while both have the voice search feature using Google Now.
The only drawback is that it isn’t cheap, but you’ll not regret spending on this Android TV box. While the 16GB version is available for $199, chip in an extra $100 and you can get the 500GB model.
MINIX has been among the best TV box manufacturers for quite a while now, and the MINIX NEO U1 keeps up that record as the AmLogic S905 device does extremely well and performs much better than the more expensive NEO X8-H in many areas.
Featuring a 5-core GPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, it’s a great TV box with the custom MINIX interface.
NEO U1, like other MINIX TV boxes, features the brilliant custom interface which offers features such as folders that let you drop your favorite apps in it for quick access.
It runs the full Android version so that you can download any of the apps from Google Play Store, but not all these apps are designed for TV boxes so some of them may get stuck in portrait mode.
Another notable feature is the 5.1 audio passthrough in the custom XBMC media center of MINIX. All these features make MINIX NEO U1 one of the best boxes for XBMC.
MINIX comes with a custom version of XBMC or Kodi that has been optimized for all MINIX boxes.
You can also download the latest Kodi version if you want, but it hasn’t been preloaded, and the performance may also be affected.
The 16GB storage isn’t quite enough if you plan on storing your media files in this box.
You can stream from various channels such as Netflix, thanks to its Quad Core 64BITS CP. Setting it up will not be a problem as well since it is super easy and the design of the product is relatively simple.
You will have the ability to increase your media library as much as you want and the device will keep auto-updating itself, so just sit back and relax as the box takes care of it all. Though the size of the gadget is small, it is quite powerful and will be able to give you hours of entertainment.
Comes with a warranty
The media player streaming is of the next generation
Comes equipped with 1080p and 3D HD streaming
Installing the device may be troublesome for beginners, but once you go over the instructions, you will be good to go.
Amazon Fire TV 2 is on the list mainly because it is the easiest TV box ever to set up. If you have the Amazon Prime subscription and want the best quality, this is the one to get as it’s the only one streaming Amazon Prime Video in HD other than the Fire TV Stick.
It runs a proprietary Android 5.1 version that has been designed for streaming media players. It features the familiar up/down menu system with main categories placed on the left side of the screen.
Not only is the setup simple, but it’s closest to the Plug n Play interface that you can get at this time. While the Amazon App Store isn’t half bad, it doesn’t offer the same comfort and familiarity that comes with the Google Play Store.
It gives Full HD streaming for Prime Video, YouTube, and Netflix as well as 4K streaming when it’s available.
It comes with a great voice search feature.
Google Play Store is missing, though it does come with an Amazon App Store.
Kodi is not downloadable unless you side-load it.
The operating system of this device is the recent 6.0 Marshmallow, which makes the device so desirable. Its CPU comes in 64 bits and S905X quad core. You will also be provided with a 2.0 HDMI output and a card reader.
There are a few USB ports included in the device as well so that you can insert a USB HDD or a USB Disk. The device comes with an original 8GB EMMC.
It comes with a bunch of different supports
The adapter has a power magnet for easy use and placement
It supports 4K playing
It will need a good and strong internet connection if you want to stream movies with it.
While it’s not guaranteed that the Q-Box 4K comes with the build quality of NVIDIA, Amazon, or MINIX, this device does offer 4K video streaming, 2GB RAM, quad-core processor, 16GB of internal storage, compatibility with external storage and optical audio output.
It’s the most affordable and feature-packed Kodi device available, but it doesn’t come from a major industry player. To sweeten the pot, it does come with preloaded Kodi, Netflix, and YouTube, while you can also add new Kodi builds very easily.
4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi connection that makes sure you have a stable, uninterrupted connection
Supports USB HDD and USB Disk, both of which allow good connections
It can smoothly run 3D games with its Mali 450MP 5Core GPU
It weighs about 1.1 pound, though it looks a lot lighter than that; looks can be deceiving.
It may not be pre-loaded with Kodi, but seeing as it was built with the Kodi software in mind, Matricom has made extremely easy for users to transfer content and install Kodi using external storage compatibility.
It’s affordable, but it comes equipped with enough power to dish out 4K video content. 16GB of internal storage may not let you store all your content, but you can easily plug a USB 3.0 storage in or expand your storage with a microSD card.
Easy to set up and use
You can plug in external storage as well
Does not come pre-loaded with Kodi
The device comes with a 2GB memory and the best part is that it will stream your videos quite smoothly. This box is equipped with Android 6.0 and has a 2 GB RAM and an 8 GB ROM. The box supports both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and has an Amlogic S905X Quad Core chip.
The dual channel Wi-Fi supported includes 2.4 and 5.0 GHz. It has a powerful supply cord and the box that it comes in includes a few different accessories. It also has an internal storage of 8 GB.
You will not witness any problems in the buffering process
It comes with a warranty
It supports dual channel Wi-Fi
Installing the product can be a longer process than expected.
Razer is another company with an extensive background in developing gaming hardware, just like NVIDIA. So it’s not surprising at all that Razer Forge TV features 2.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor.
Priced above the $100 mark, it’s a pricey device with a very powerful core. Razer Forge TV is ideal for Kodi enthusiasts as installing Kodi on the TV box is extremely easy.
However, the only drawback is that it doesn’t offer 4K streaming support, so if you want a future-proof device, it’s better to consider a more expensive box.
It is easy to set up and the usage is just as simple as well
It comes with a warranty
You will encounter smooth streaming sessions and a stable internet connection with it.
It is a little pricey than the others you will find
Does not include 4K streaming support
It comes with an 8 GB NANF Flash ROM and a 1GB DDR3. The chipset of the device includes Amlogic s905X Quad Core and it has a GPU of Penta Core Mali-450 megapixel at more than 750 MHz. It supports an operating system of Android 6.0 and also has 3D graphics acceleration hardware.
Can support many different picture, video, decoder and music formats
There are various network functions added to the device
You will be able to find and download various Android applications and it also comes with free internet searching
You can play games with it as well
It is reasonably priced
Replacing the power cords can cost quite a lot
Our views about Android Tv
There’s a strong case to be made for Android TV boxes especially when pitted against the likes of media players such as Apple TV, Roku, and Fire TV. While these media players may be extremely easy to use (yes, your 8-year-old kid and your 80-year-old mom can use it), they don’t offer what you’ll get with the NVIDIA Shield. They can’t give you the same level of performance as your Shield TV or run every app like your MINIX TV can.
In short, Android TV boxes give you the flexibility that you can’t get with devices like GooBang and Fire TV. When using these boxes, you’ll have to live in their ecosystem and survive on their apps. If you want to download choice apps from Google Play, you simply can’t. But with Android TV boxes, you get access to all the apps on the Android OS, thereby making your TV box more than just a TV box.
Android TV boxes may take some time to set up and they do require some tweaking as new updates roll out, but at the end, they’re worth the trouble.
To conclude, Android TV boxes are to Apple TV, Roku, and other players what smartphones are to iPhones and Windows Phones. If you love having access to almost all the apps and enjoy tweaking your system to your liking, then you shouldn’t think twice about getting an Android TV box.