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We have another affordable Android TV based TV box in our hands for review. This time it is the Nexbox A95X Pro that will be checked in all basic aspects. There are many S905W SoC based options out there, so let’s see if this one stands out.
Packaging – Specifications
The A95X Pro arrived in a small, black cardboard box. There is no fancy layout inside, but everything will arrive adequately protected with no signs of bumps or scratches.
Inside the box we will find the main unit, the IR (via dongle) remote with voice support, the power adapter, one HDMI cable and basic documentation. You will need to buy the batteries for the remote, since none are included. The USB dongle for the remote is located inside the remote’s battery compartment.
Specifications are typical for a S905W SoC based unit.
The entry-level Amlogic Quad Core GPU is accompanied by the Mali 450 GPU responsible for 3D intensive tasks. 2GB of RAM and 16GB of ROM are enough for all major tasks and needs. The S905W has a resolution limitation to 4K@30hz. Of course lower resolutions can go up to 60 Hz. This shouldn’t annoy the majority of users but more on that later on in the performance section. HDR is still supported just like H.265 HEVC hardware decoding.
Connectivity is great for such a small unit, since besides the expected 2x USB2.0 ports, 1x HDMI out and micro SD slot, we can also find an A/V connector (in a mini jack form) and a SPDIF out.
For network connections, an RJ-45 with Mbit LAN and a Wi-Fi draft N module are typical for the price. A Bluetooth module is not installed.
Android 7.1, with Android TV license, is the selected operating system.
Media Player – Remote
The A95X Pro is a typical, cheap TV Box. Small, plastic and black in color. Both the white logo and the model on the top don’t have a negative effect on its aesthetics, so you should have no problem placing it anywhere you like.
All USB and micro SD ports are on the side so cable management will be difficult in case you connect wired storage devices. All the other connections (HDMI, A/V, power, SPDIF) are at the back as expected. During our tests the unit got slightly warm but never to a point that could affect its performance.
The remote is quite good considering the unit’s price and it’s IR type connectivity. It is very small with great grip and easily remembered layout. You will need to target with precision towards the main unit though. For it’s price and size, don’t expect backlit and numeric buttons. Its design is also very pleasing with the round shape and the faux –wood like- texture.
Overall, decent design and build quality for both the main unit and the remote.
Menus – Settings
It takes almost a minute to boot to the main menu. The now familiar Android TV interface appears with its interactive suggestions at the top row and the rows of application icons following. The best way to enjoy the Android TV interface is to log in with your Gmail account first in order to get the personalized suggestions.
You do have the option to add, remove or re-arrange the application icons according to your taste and ease.
The settings menu is the default Android 7 one, with a special sub-menu appearing on the right side while the rest of the screen remains blurred/faded out. All the options you will ever need are just one click away and setting up your TV box will take only a few minutes.
A95X Pro’s performance was typical for the price range, which is not bad at all.
As expected, stereo audio files (mp3/FLAC) proved to be an easy task with perfect playback and sound quality.
Video wise, performance was great with KODI (make sure you install the latest version from Play Store). Check SPMC as well).
Full HD video files have perfect playback, even the high bit-rate ones. 24p motion handling is good enough, but some may prefer 50/60 Hz selection and let the pull down conversion do all the work. If you seek better 24p performance, try using the Mx Player Pro instead of KODI.
4K/HEVC files are also hardware accelerated, for as long as their frame rate is no greater than 30 Hz. Since almost all releases are in 24p (23.976 Hz), then it is preferable to use an external player (Mx Player Pro) to avoid stuttering.
All latest HD Audio codecs like Dolby ATMOS and DTS X are properly supported, just like the stereo down mixing for all of you who prefer a connection directly to your TV set.
Network performance was the expected one. 4K high bit-rate files buffered a lot during demanding scenes, so the only option for proper playback was via the USB port. Wireless draft N performance was also typical, with 720p streaming being possible depending from the capabilities of your access point.
Benchmarking results were on par with the rest of S905W devices. The ~37Mb/sec internal ROM write performance is considered acceptable for the price range.
Gaming performance should be limited to 2D and light 3D titles only. Pay attention to the lack of a Blue tooth interface in case you want to connect a gamepad.
Android TV – Streaming Services
Android TV is a special version of Android. It is enhanced for TV/media streaming so all not compatible or not TV oriented apps are not shown in Play Store. You are free to side load the ones missing though, with the most important being web browsers.
Searching inside You-Tube or Play Store is a joy using voice control from the remote. Attention is required while using the remote since precise targeting will be required while you are inputting voice commands. It is a minor deal breaker as far as user experience is concerned, but still worth the effort.
Navigating through the menus is very easy using the cycle button on the remote and the adequate CPU alongside with the 2GB of DDR3 RAM makes sure that no major delays appear. The 720p GUI resolution helps even more for that matter.
The Widevine DRM L1 level of license is enough for the A95X Pro to have 4K YouTube and up to 1080p Netflix playback. Although we have experienced such performance before, here we also get the DD+ 5.1 Netflix audio option that will please owners of multi speaker sound systems.
The downside, of the otherwise excellent Netflix performance, is the appearance of a grey bar at the bottom of the video. We believed that the OTA update we received would fix it, but luck was not on our side. It should be a simple issue that could be easily resolved with a new update. UPDATE: The latest OTA update fixed the grey bar at the bottom during Netflix. As of now, the A95X Pro is the only S905W based TV Box with the ability to support both 1080p resolution and 5.1 audio out.
Oddly, using our smartphones (tested on both Samsung S7 Edge and Sony XZ1) we could not get Google Cast to work. Not even with You-Tube.
The Live TV Channel application worked great.
In the settings menu you will also find a root option, in case you want to fully utilize the capabilities of the Android platform. Be careful with your actions.
An OTA update system is included and we installed one during our tests.
The A95X Pro is a great little TV Box. Super small, really cheap ($40-45) and capable (4K, HD Audio, 4K You-Tube, 1080p / DD+ Netflix playback) while the build quality is above average with no heating issues. Voice search/control is also a nice addition that works well.
In a crowded market of cheap S905W TV boxes, this one stands out together with the Tanix TX3 Max and the Mecool M8S Pro W. Choose the one you like more based on design and performance (the Tanix adds auto frame rate switching but lacks DRM licensing).
If you are out for a cheap TV Box, keep the A95X Pro in your shortlist.
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