M8S Pro is the new S912 based media box from Mecool. Although it features similar hardware with other S912 boxes we reviewed in the past, it is the first one that arrives with Google’s Android 7.0 (Nougat). It also appears to be aggressively priced since it costs less than $60.
Let’s see what Nougat has to offer.
Packaging – Specifications
The unit arrived in a very small white box.
On the inside, you can find the media box itself, an HDMI cable, the remote, the power adaptor and basic documentation.
Specifications are typical for a S912 powered with 16GB of ROM media box with the exception of the fast 3GB DDr4 RAM.
So besides the aforementioned S912 8-core Amlogic CPU and the Mali t820 GPU, I/Os feature 2x USB 2.0 , 1x HDMI 2.0 (4K and HDR support), 1x SD slot and 1x a/v out. No S/PDIF out this time so pay attention if you own a receiver with no HDMI ports.
For networking, the Mbit LAN, the Dual Band Wi-Fi and 4.1BT will be more than enough for the average user. Although we usually have good performance with Mbit ports, we would just prefer to see the Gigabit equivalent installed instead.
Android 7.1 is the operating system of choice.
Media Player – Remote
Mecool M8S Pro is quite small. It actually fits in the palm of your hand and that makes it very easy to carry it with you.
Color is black and its design is relatively unique since it is full of openings/grilles on most sides and bottom. Although it provides an aesthetically pleasing result, it also helps with heat dissipation a lot. That was evident during our tests since the unit did not show any signs of stutters or lags due to overheating.
The majority of I/Os are located at the back and right side. USB ports and SD slot are located in the side, while the basic connections (power, HDMI, RJ45) are at the back for easier cable management.
The remote (IR) is exactly the same as the one we found in BB2 Pro model from the same company. The grip is good and the numeric keys always come in handy. The feel when pressing the buttons could be smoother but we don’t have major complains.
As in most of all the modern media players, the user has option to control the media player via web interface for as long as its smartphone is connected to the same network.
Menus – Settings
Booting into the main menu will not take long (less than a minute) and it is accompanied by a short animation (with sound,so check the volume of your TV/Receiver).
The menu is simple and exactly like the one we found at BB2 Pro model from the same company.
You will find one main screen, only featuring the basic options (KODI, File manager, Settings, Web Browser and apps) with the possibility to add shortcuts. It is clean and simple, with a useful clock widget in the middle. We expected to see a new GUI accompanying the new Nougat version but Mecool decided to use the existing one (again no complains, it is fast and responsive).
At least the settings menu is the 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 more refined experience while browsing the settings.
Mecool M8S Pro performs as expected for a S912 based device.
As usual, playback of mp3/flac files was hassle free.
Regarding video playback, performance was very good using the pre-installed fork of KODI (TV CENTER).
4K video files (10bit HEVC included) had perfect hardware accelerated playback and you will not find easily an unsupported popular 4K encoding.
Full HD video files had also perfect playback, even high bit-rate BLU RAY backups.
Motion at 23.976 appears to be good with no evident hiccups every now and then.
Auto frame rate switching is not supported but that is the case with the majority of media boxes.
Miracast is also supported.
With HD Audio passthrough, M8S Pro provides an important upgrade compared to most S912 players we tested until now since DTS HD Master Audio and TrueHD are finally supported. We will have to thank Nougat for that. Downmixing also works great for those who will connect the M8S Pro directly to their TV set.
Network performance is good. Streaming 1080p content via wired and dual band Wi-Fi was good. Only very high bitrate files could cause some light buffering via wired connection.
Gaming performance is also good and you will be able to play almost (heavy 3d games aside) any modern game from the Play Store with minimum stutters and lags.
Internal storage and RAM benchmarks are considered typical for the price range.
Overall good and snappy performance, just as expected from the popular SoC although we have experienced better performance in benchmarks from other S912 based media boxes.
It is the first time we tested a Nougat (7.1) based media box (other than the Android TV certified NVidia Shield) and we definitely saw improvements. Performance while browsing was faster and snappier and the new settings menu added some nice points.
We encountered only a few bugs with the most noticeable one being the reset of the main screen settings (for example, the shortcuts we added disappeared) after rebooting.
As expected, Play Store is here and you can choose any application and game from Google’s huge catalogue.
You will find some 3rd party applications and add-ons pre-installed.
The device is not rooted, and there are OTA update options. We had the latest version pre-installed.
Mecool M8S Pro is a capable media box. It sports good and fast hardware with corresponding performance both in video playback (HD Audio passthrough included) and in applications (and games).
It also features the latest software version of Google’s Android providing snappier performance, advanced safety options and extra settings.
The price is extremely good for the performance (and selection of hardware) and should be on the top of your list if you are out looking for a budget friendly media box without sacrificing performance.
We would like to thank www.gearbest.com for sending the player in exchange of an unbiased presentation.
- If this review helped you towards making your decision, we would appreciate if you made your order through the previous affiliate link(s). This way we will be able to review more products in the future.