Every now and then we discover a product that redefines the category of its price range. The brand new Tanix TX3 Max is such a case. It is a really cheap Android based TV Box with a newly designed user interface and top performance as far as video files are concerned.
Packaging – Specifications
There is nothing special to write about. Just like in the majority of cheap TV Boxes, Tanix TX3 arrived in a small, black carton box.
Inside you will find the media box itself, an HDMI cable, the remote, the power adaptor and quick start documentation. You will have to buy batteries for the remote (2x AAA) by yourself.
Specifications are similar to any other S905W SoC based TV Box.
Amlogic’s new quad-core SoC sports lower frequency clocks that the S905X and there is an HDMI out limitation to 4K@30hz. HDR is supported. 1080p resolution goes up to 60hz like any other player out there. Mali 450 still handles all the graphic intensive tasks. 2GB of RAM and 16GB of ROM are the best that we could hope for at this price range (35$).
Connectivity is better than most similar SoC based players since this one includes an optical out besides the usual 2 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x Headphone jack, 1 x HDMI 2.0 out (with 4K and HDR support) and 1 x microSD slot.
Network connectivity is still better than the competition (using the same System On Chip) since a BT module is installed accompanying the usual wireless Draft N protocol.
Android 7.1 is once again the selected operating system.
Media Player – Remote
Tanix TX3 Max is a very small, black, rectangular plastic box. We didn’t expect any better but we are just fine with the fact that it does not intrigue our aesthetics and can be “disappeared” easily at the installed position. There is also a small display on the front showing only the time.
All of its connections are located to the right and back sides with all the storage ports (USB, microSD) being located on the right. Cable management should be easy only if you serve your media via network.
The IR remote is very basic and extra effort will be required for precise targeting to the main unit. A numeric keypad is omitted but at least you will be able to mesmerize the basic keys easier. As expected, it is made of plastic and there is no backlit option.
Menus – Settings
The user interface is a key selling point for the Tanix TX3 Max. There is a lot of promotion towards the so called “Alice” UI. To be honest, it is a very nice and simple user interface that stands out from the competition. There are actually three screen modes, the main screen, the settings screen and the application drawer. All three of them are easily selectable from the left side of the screen/UI. Shortcuts of your favorite applications can be added to both main and settings screens.
Although the more user friendly stock Android 7 settings menu system exists, Tanix chose to use a custom one for basic settings like Display, Network and Bluetooth. It works well but since at some point you will need to access the extra Android settings, the extra navigation steps could be avoided.
An OTA update system is included and during our tests we received one. That is a good sign of the box receiving good support (for now).
Tanix TX3 Max continued to impress with its performance.
As expected, playback of all popular stereo audio files (mp3/FLAC) was an easy task for the powerful 8-core processor.
The pre-installed fork of 17.4 version of KODI (re-named as TV Center) showed very capable video performance. UHD HEVC video files had very good playback, even the ones with high bitrate. Just note that high bit-rate HEVC files showed buffering issues due to Mbit LAN restriction. It is better to playback these files via USB. HDR was enabled and HDR-SDR conversion also worked like a charm in cases the display was not HDR compatible. Keep in mind the 4K@30hz restriction for your documentaries and home videos.
Full HD playback was also stellar with Blu Ray backup files and home videos. KODI add-on streaming services also showed very good performance.
The biggest surprise was the auto refresh rate switching option that worked flawlessly! We have seen this before, but never at this price segment.
Once more, Android 7’s audio enhancements helped towards full HD Audio bit-stream. Including all latest codecs like DTS X and Dolby ATMOS. Down-mixing to stereo was also handled perfectly so still good news if you intend to connect the media box directly to your TV set.
Wi-Fi performance was good for a draft N module. HD video streaming was possible, just make sure that your access point is up to the task. Wired performance was good with the majority of BLU RAY backup files having buffering-free playback.
Gamers should stick to casual 2D and light 3D titles. At least the BT connectivity can allow additional gamepads to be connected for better experience.
Benchmarks were typical for a S905W device. ROM read and write speeds (especially the later) were a bit disappointing. Still, we can’t complain given the overall video playback performance mentioned earlier.
Android 7 (Nougat) is the new trend and that’s also the case with this one. The user interface is very responsive, and a navigation bar at the bottom will make things easier. Play Store is pre-installed so that you can install any application you want from Google’s never-ending catalog.
1080p You-Tube works perfectly with no buffering issues. Fans of video streaming service like Netflix and Amazon Video will be a bit disappointed since the official apps can support playback only up to 480p.
Hardcore users will be happy to see that the device arrives pre-rooted with Super user not installed (you can install it manually in no time).
After the first boot you will find ~12GB of free space which should suffice for the installation of many programs and games.
The Tanix TX3 Max managed to impress us with its superb performance combined with its extremely low price. The auto frame rate switching option makes it stand out from the heavily crowded below 40$ TV Box category. The simple but elegant user interface helps too.
If you are on a tight budget or seeking a backup but capable TV Box, then the Tanix TX3 should be your main choice. As an alternative, we can only think of the Mecool M8S Pro W model with the tradeoff between auto frame rate switching and HD Netflix. Both are great for the price.
You can find the Tanix TX3 on Gearbest web stores only (for the moment). The TV Box was our purchase and not sent for a review.
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