We have another Android TV based unit for a review. The Mecool KM3 is the latest offering from the Chinese brand and is based on the latest SoC from Amlogic.
Packaging – Specifications
This one arrived in a colorful package, strongly promoting the certification of the Android TV operating system (OS).
Inside you will find the main unit, its voice remote, an HDMI cable, the power adaptor and basic documentation. Unfortunately, you will have to buy the batteries for the remote since none were included.
Just like with the majority of new TV Boxes, this one is also equipped with Amlogic’s latest (well, S922x units will start shipping soon) S905X2 system on chip (SoC) and 4GB of DDR4 RAM. The combination of SoC and RAM is amo9ng the best anyone can find in a TV Box right now. Modern features like 4K and HDR are supported. Our unit arrived with 64GB of storage, which should suffice for installation of many programs and games.
Network connectivity is good with a fast wireless dual band 2T2R Wi-Fi and a Bluetooth module that uses the still relevant 4.1 protocol. We only wish the wired LAN connection was Gigabit, instead of a Mbit one.
Connectivity is adequate with 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB3.0, 1x Micro SD slot, 1x HDMI 2.0 and an A/V jack.
Mecool KM3 is probably the only unit aside from NVidia Shield and Xiaomi Mi Box (S) that comes with Android TV 9.0, Google’s latest and greatest operating system for TV Boxes.
Media Player – Remote
The KM3 main unit is as compact as it gets, measuring less than 100mm on each side. The plain design and dark color will also assist towards placing it almost anywhere you like. The glossy top is a fingerprint magnet but at least we are dealing with a good looking unit.
Inputs and outputs can be found on the right and back side. On the right you will get the USB (1x USB2.0 and 1x USB3.0) and SD ports, while on the back the rest of the basic connections (HDMI, power, headphone, wired LAN).
On the front, there is a LED strip (Mecool names it “breathing light”) that changes color depending from the use. You get a red light during sleep, blue when network is connected, RGB when a USB stick is inserted and we are sure we are missing more combinations.
The remote is very nice, compact with just the basic keys for proper operation. The layout is easy to remember and we only missed a dedicated button for multitasking. The unit is not backlit (it is normal at this price point) but at least uses the Bluetooth protocol which guarantees better reception and hassle free use since no direct targeting is required.
Menus – Settings
No one can ask for anything better than the latest Android TV OS. Mecool KM3 is equipped with the latest Android Pie (9.0) variant that is now even more interactive than before.
You still get rows of icons. The top one shows the installed applications, while the ones following provide (mostly) interactive information and news for popular applications. Even better, you can customize each row and application shortcuts to your liking. For example, you can have Netflix, You-Tube and Spotify in the first rows and leave Google Movies last, or dynamically change the order, delete or add new ones. You also get live tiles with videos for applications that support such function, like Netflix and You-Tube.
Nothing changed in the settings menu. It would be unwise to change something that works great anyway. Settings menu occupies the right part of the screen and all the settings you will ever need are at your disposal for better compatibility with your setup. In case you are not familiar with some of them, it is better to leave the default setting.
We experienced no unpleasant surprises here. The now standard, Amlogic S905X2 SoC can guarantee fast performance and great compatibility with almost everything you throw at it.
Starting from the audio part, all stereo FLAC and .MP3 files had perfect. Spotify also performed admirably with no lags and buffering issues.
The video department was also stellar, with proper 23.976 playback (no auto frame rate function is supported) and HDR support from your local content. Handling high bit-rate 4K files was no hassle for the KM3 unit with the only restriction being the playback via Ethernet due to the 100bit connection. In such case, you will be fine with playback from any USB port. High bit-rate 1080p files had no issue as well (also via Ethernet), and compatibility with all modern codecs was excellent.
Audio down-mixing to stereo for direct connection to the TV was proper and via HDMI pass-through, Dolby Digital and DTS was also available.
Gaming performance was perfect with almost all modern titles. You will be better with casual 2D and light 3D titles, but even more demanding ones will run fine even at lower settings (low or medium, depending from the title).
Internal storage was excellent, with both read and write performance being greater than 110Mb/sec in all cases. This helped a lot during application launching, Google Play Store updates and overall performance.
Wireless performance was very good (Dual Band mode), with better than average range and reception. We were able to stream medium to high bit-rate files (12GB .MKV ones) with no buffering and minimum buffering during chapter skips. Note, that you should have an equally capable access point in order to do so.
Overall, the Mecool KM3 showed great and stable performance.
The KM3 unit arrived with a fast SoC, 4GB of RAM, super-fast internal storage and the latest Android TV version. This is a killer combination that boosts the overall user experience. Indeed, the overall system response was almost lag free and application launching was comparable to the fastest (and way more expensive) overall NVidia Shield.
Google Play was pre-installed in its TV variant for better use of large screens. You may miss some applications (that are not TV compliant) but you can always side load them. This is the case for all TV Boxes with an Android TV operating system.
DRM Level 1 is supported and You-Tube supported resolutions up to glorious 4K. Unfortunately that was not the case with other video streaming services like Netflix, which were stuck at standard definition (due to lack of additional licensing). Chromecast function, although mentioned on the packaging, appeared to be broken. You can always try 3rd party casting applications, but the ease of use will not be equivalent to Google’s solution.
Voice search worked like a charmed via the provided BT remote. We only wish there was an app switching button for better multitasking.
The Mecool KM3 model is one of the best performing TV Boxes based on the latest Amlogic SoC. It proved to be extremely fast in all key areas and added some usability points as well that you don’t easily find at this price range (Bluetooth remote supporting voice control, very fast internal storage and latest Android TV operating system). Users in favor of KODI will be pleased with its performance, both from local, as well as from streamed content. Its only downsides are the lack of DRM video playback in HD quality and the broken Chromecast function.
IT is a solid purchase, even more if you can get it on discount.