Mecool M8S Pro L is the minor upgrade to the non-L version we reviewed last year (you can read it here).
The previous model did really good so hopefully the new one should do too.
Let’s see what this “L” is all about…
Packaging – Specifications
No surprises from Mecool. All its products arrive in the same white-ish cardboard packaging.
Inside you will find the media box itself, an HDMI cable, the remote, the power adaptor and quick start documentation.
Basic specifications are exactly the same with the “older” model by sporting the now famous S912 8-core Amlogic CPU, Mali t820 GPU and 3GB of RAM. Out model arrived with 32GB of ROM but there are more options available.
Connectivity is good with 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.
Judging from the promotion of the L model, we assume that L stands for “license” since there is support for 4K You-Tube and HD Netflix. We will see below how it performs in these areas.
Android 7.1 is the operating system of choice.
Media Player – Remote
Once again there are no changes compared to the simple model. It is very small, rectangular and made of plastic. Color remained black with the curve lines/grilles providing a nice, casual look.
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 find in all models of 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. The top 5 buttons are programmable and the instructions on how to do that are at the back of the remote.
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
The menu is very simple and exactly like the one we find in all Mecool products.
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.
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.
Overall, the browsing experience is good but it is mandatory for Mecool to come up with a new, more polished launcher.
Mecool M8S Pro L has a typical S912 SoC based performance and that is a good thing.
As usual, playback of mp3/flac files was hassle free.
Video playback was good using the pre-installed fork of KODI (named as TV CENTER and filled with many famous pre-installed add-ons).
4K video files (10bit HEVC included) had 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.
23.976fps is oddly not supported both in 4k or full hd resolutions in KODI. The only valid option is to select a 60p resolution and let the pull down conversion do its magic. At least the result is totally acceptable this way (not for video purists though) and few will be able to notice the occasional minor stutter. You can always try MX Player for better performance, especially for cinematic 24p motion handling.
Auto frame rate switching is not supported but that is the case with the majority of media boxes, especially in the below 150$ segment.
Miracast is also supported.
With HD Audio pass-through, 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. Down mixing also works great for those who will connect the M8S Pro directly to their TV set.
Streaming average bit-rate 1080p content via dual band Wi-Fi was also good. You should avoid wireless playback of high bit-rate video files though. Make sure your access point is located somewhere near the media box for better performance results.
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. We have seen both better and far worse.
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.
Android 7 (Nougat) is the new trend and that’s the case too with this one. The, kind of dated, user interface is at least very responsive without any kind of lags and stutters. Play Store is pre-installed so that you can install any application you want from Google’s never-ending catalog.
4K YouTube although promoted did not appear to be possible. 1440p was the best we got and is definitely better than the 1080p playback we usually get from other media boxes.
Fans of Netflix will be happy to know that the default pre-installed application supports playback up to 1080p. Certainly better than most players out there.
Mecool M8s Pro L comes pre-rooted in case you want to max out its potential.
An OTA update option is included that works really well since during our tests we received one
After the first boot you will find ~25GB of free space that should suffice for the installation of many programs and games.
Mecool M8S Pro L is a minor upgrade of the non-L version release months ago. The basic difference is the root access alongside with the better You-Tube and Netflix playback due to better licensing.
Although the changes appear to be only few, the streaming performance and compatibility matters a great deal to many potential buyers out there.
All in all, Mecool M8S Pro L is a solid performer that is now more polished due to better licensing. It is not a reason to upgrade your existing M8S Pro, but is is certainly one of the best choices available at this price range (~70$).
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