A95X R2

A95X R2 is a brand new Rockchip RK3328 SoC based Android media box. Although older RK based boxes had major video playback limitations in the past, this one promises better results with the assistance of Google’s latest OS version (Nougat).It is also very cheap (~35$) so it should be interesting too.

Packaging – Specifications

The unit arrived in a very small black box showing one photo of the unit and some major specs.

On the inside, you can find the media box itself, an HDMI cable, the remote, the power adapter and basic documentation. Same as always.

Quad core Cortect A53 Rockchip (RK) 3328 accompanied by Mali 450MP2 GPU will handle all the tasks.

1GB of RAM and 8GB of ROM are typical for the low end category but at least all major video playback features like 4K decoding, HDR and HD Audio are officially supported.

In terms of inputs/outputs, USB3.0 is a nice addition to a low-end model and we can also find 2x USB2.0 ports, 1x coaxial out in a mini jack form, 1x AV out, 1x HDMI 2.0a and an SD slot.

For network connections, the Mbit LAN with the draft N Wi-Fi module will get the job done although there are much better options available. BT connectivity is not supported.

Android 7.0 is the operating system of choice.

 

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Media Player – Remote

A95X R2 is made of plastic and for a low-end device it has a very god design and build quality.

It comes only in black with the textured top providing a very pleasant aesthetic result.

The majority of I/Os are located at the back and left side. USB ports and SD slot are located on the sides, while the basic connections (power, HDMI, RJ45, audio connections) are at the back for easier cable management.

The remote (IR) is exactly the same grey one we usually find in the majority of OEM media boxes. The grip and the range are more than decent, and there are also programmable keys for your convenience.

For a cheap device, these are all more than expected (USB3.0, Nougat, build quality)

 

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Menus – Settings

Booting into the main menu will take less than 30seconds, great performance for the category.

The menu is simple and exactly like the one we found at MXii G2 model reviewed here.

You will find one main screen, only featuring the basic options (Play Store, File manager, Settings, Web Browser and apps) with the possibility to add shortcuts at the bottom. It is clean and simple, with a clock widget at the top right corner.

The settings menu layout is the new Nougat based one appearing on the right side of the screen. It is similar with the one found in the official Android TV based boxes. It certainly adds a better experience while browsing the settings. Although HDR is supported from the SoC, there are no such options in the video sub-menu.

 

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Testing

A95X R2 performed better than expected for a 1GB RAM device, although not without some quirks.

As usual, playback of mp3/flac files was effortless.

Regarding video playback, it was very good using the pre-installed fork of KODI (TVMC).

4K video files had very good playback but make sure that you store them to a USB3.0 device since via the Mbit LAN the bandwidth was not enough. From the TVMC version, the HDR-SDR conversion was not good providing low contrast colors. Use the latest KODI version (or a KODI 18 nightly build) for better results.

Full HD video files had perfect playback, even high bit-rate BLU RAY backups. Although we didn’t experience any lags via wired network, it would be safer to once again playback high bit-rate files from a USB3.0 device to avoid possible lags on high bit-rate scenes.

Motion at 23.976 so good but with minor hiccups every now and then (most will not notice).

Auto frame rate switching is not supported but that is the case with the majority of media boxes.

Audio bit stream was perfect with hassle free HD Audio pass-through and proper down mix conversion. Definitely more than we expected for a cheap media box.

Network performance is good. Streaming low bit-rate 1080p content via wired and wireless network was good.

Gaming performance is okay although you will have to find non BT controllers for the job and avoid 3D demanding games due to 1GB of RAM.

Internal ROM performance is actually pretty low (less than 10mb/sec write speeds) but that will actually bother you only if you are doing tasks while you are copying (or installing apps) at the background. At least USB3.0 performance is among the best we have seen with write speeds averaging >70mb/sec.

Browsing the user interface proved to be very good for a 1GB RAM device. We experienced annoying lags only after we had many applications opened simultaneously.

 

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Android 

Android 7 (7.1) is installed and that is only good news for better performance and features (HD Audio and internal ROM expansion).

Although Play store is installed, the manufacturer chose an Android TV version that restarts once you select the search option! That is a bummer since you are (normally) only able to select only from the list of Google’s advertised apps.

That issue can be solved by searching the application you want from the web browser and clicking to the official play store link that appears. You can also use alternate .apk installers if you want or remove the existing Play Store app and install a compatible one. This is an easy task since the device arrives pre-rooted.

YouTube is actually limited to 720p.

If you want to bypass many of the limitations/quirks mentioned, then try to install a custom firmware like the one from superceleron (A95X-R2 SCV1-Beta Version). Of course at your own risk.

After the first boot, you will have ~5GB available for apps and games.

 

Summary

A95X R2 is very good for the price (~35$). It will handle all popular audio and video files, and adds some nice features like USB3.0 connection and HD Audio playback. The limited amount of RAM only shows were there many apps simultaneously opened and performs better than all the 1GB RAM media boxes we reviewed in the past.

If you need a basic media box at a very low price, then consider the A95X R2 box, it will serve you well with the only major drawback (that can be resolved) being the Play Store search issue.

 

We would like to thank www.gearbest.com for sending the player in exchange for an unbiased presentation.

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