Vorke Z6

It has been a long time since we last reviewed a Vorke Android media box. The last one was Z1 (reviewed here), which had excellent performance in almost all categories.

Vorke Z6 is company’s new proposal which, in relation to the outgoing model, appears to be differentiated only in the housing and the Android version.


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Packaging – Specifications

Like all Vorke release, it comes in a brown-ish carton box. The box’s specifications are written on the back.

When you open the box you come face to face with the media box itself. Beneath it, you can locate the power adaptor, the remote, the HDMI cable and a quick start guide. Don’t expect to find any batteries for the remote though. (2x AAA)

Specifications list is quite good for its small size. It is equipped with 3GB (probably DDR3) RAM and 32GB eMMC 5.0 ROM , typical storage numbers for the category. A 64GB ROM model exists as well.

The Amlogic S912 8-core CPU with Mali T820 GPU ensures fast processing, 4K / HDR compatibility and good 3D gaming performance. HDR->SDR conversion is also supported for all of you owning older TV’s.

 I/Os feature 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x S/PDIF out (you will need a mini jack adaptor), 1x HDMI 2.0 out (with 4K and HDR support) and 1x microSD slot (up to 32GB).

For wired network connections an RJ45 with Gigabit LAN is the best available option and the same applies for wireless connections with dual band Wi-Fi AC and BT 4.1.

Android 7.1 is the selected operating system.


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Media Player – Remote

It is the first time we see a media player that is a clone of another. It seems that Vorke Z6 and Tanix TX92 used the same OEM manufacturer. Both of them are identical with the exception of the brand name. That is not bad since Vorke Z6 is still a good looker and ( like the TX92) better than most releases in the 50-70$ price range. The front display, the small lined up holes (for heat dissipation) all over its shell with the power button on top are of good taste and increase the unit’s aesthetics. The chassis is made of plastic, but the build is solid and you will have nothing to worry about in the end.

Luckily, all connections and I/Os are located at the back so cable management will be easy. The microSD slot is an exception, since it located on the left side, but no one will notice its existence.

The front display is not disturbingly bright so viewing should be hassle free. The time and the network status is all it shows.

The remote is a nice change from what we are used to. Quite similar in design with the ones found in NVidia Shield and Xiaomi Mi Box 4K but without the BT protocol so careful pointing will be required. Both grip and feel are very nice and the plastic build appears to be solid.

Overall, build quality and design for both media box and remote are way above average and stand out from their competitors.


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Menus – Settings

Once again, it seems that both Vorke and Tanix used the same user interface for their products since it is exactly the same. The UI is innovative for what we are used to, with the exception of Google’s Android TV launcher. Although there is one main screen, at the left there is a “circle” switching between “Main”, ”Apps” and ”Settings” sub menus. The overall UI is similar to Google’s material design but in grey eye pleasing theme. You are able to create your own shortcuts in all three sub menus at the bottom of the screen for your convenience.

Although the more user friendly stock Android 7 settings menu exists, there is also 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 the unit received one, with the most noticeable change being the upgrade of KODI to the 17.6 version.


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Testing

Vorke Z6 showed (obviously) the same performance with the Tanix equivalent.

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 17.6 (17.3 was the pre-installed one prior to the OTA upgrade) version of KODI (re-named as TV Center) showed perfect video performance. UHD HEVC video files had very good playback, even the ones with high bitrate. HDR was enabled and HDR-SDR conversion seemed to be working well. Cinematic 24p (23.976hz) motion was handled well and like in the majority of TV boxes, there is no automatic refresh rate switching mode.

Full HD playback was also stellar with Blu Ray backup files and home videos.

Audio bit-streaming was perfect with the support of Dolby ATMOS and DTS X. Down-mixing to stereo was also handled perfectly so good news if you intend to connect the media box directly to your TV set.

Wi-Fi performance was also acceptable with Wi-Fi AC being able to stream 1080p files. Just make sure that your access point is equally good or better. Wired performance was also great since streaming of BLU-RAY backups was issue free. 

Gaming performance was also very good with the majority of 3d games having very good performance. With the addition of a gamepad, Vorke Z6 can provide many hours of good gameplay. We noticed no heating issues after 2 hours of consistent gameplay.

The very fast (compared to competition) internal ROM (~110mb/sec read/write performance) is something we rarely find in below 150$ solutions and that will assist towards faster updating, applications launching and reducing of occasional lags.


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Android 

Android 7 (Nougat) is the new trend and that’s the case too 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.

4K YouTube is not licensed but 1080p works perfectly. 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 know that Vorke Z6 arrives pre-rooted.

After the first boot you will find ~25GB of free space which should suffice for the installation of most popular programs and games.


Summary

Vorke Z6 is the twin brother of Tanix TX92 but that is not a bad thing since it shares the same (very good) performance and build quality.

They both are very affordable and the only criteria between the two of them will be the price. You can buy the cheaper one so search well.

The market is filled with S912 SoC based but the Vorke Z6 stands out for its design and performance (typical S912 benches but with faster ROM type) while keeping a low price (you can find it online with less than 70$)

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

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