REVIEW: Alfawise H96 mini a TV-Box with the new Amlogic T962E SoC and HDMI IN

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Today thanks to the collaboration of the Gearbest store we present the review of the small TV-Box Alfawise H96 mini, this is the first model that we test with the new Amlogic T962E Quad core SoC focused on the Smart TV sector that we now see in a TV- Box. In this model we have 2 GB of DDR3 RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, Wifi ac, BT 4.1, Ethernet 10/100 and a HDMI input port that allows us to connect an external device and see it on the screen. This model supports decoding of all types of H.265 and VP9 files with support for HDR up to 4K@60fps. Let’s see if we are facing an interesting or mediocre product in our usual review.

  • Buy the Alfawise H96 mini in the store Gearbest.com for only $69 with free shipping

SPECIFICATIONS

ModelAlfawise H96 mini
CPUAmlogic T962E Quad Core Cortex-A53 1,5GHz
GPUMali-450MP
OSAndroid 7.1.2 (32bit)
RAM2 GB DDR3
Storage16 GB eMMc
WiFiWiFi ac 2,4/5GHz
Bluetooth4.1
Ports2x USB 2.0
microSD reader
HDMI 2.0 OUT
HDMI 2.0 IN
AV jack
SPDIF
Ethernet 10/100
 OthersRecovery button (inside AV jack)
 ContentIR Remote
HDMI cable
5V 2A (10W) DC adapter
Manual
Measures: 3.9 x 3.9 x 0.67 inches
Weight: 5,9 oz

CONTENT DESCRIPTION

Package content

The Alfawise H96 mini model comes in a cardboard box without any logo, inside the box we find the TV-Box in an upper compartment, the rest of the accessories we have in a lower area, we have an IR control as standard , HDMI cable, English manual and a small 5V / 2A adapter.

Product Details

The small box of the Alfawise H96 mini is made of plastic and have a transparent glass frame that cuts a little, on the front we have a blue led strip and an IR receiver hidden behind the black plastic.

In one of the sides we have a microSD card reader with self-extracting mechanism, AV jack with the internal reset button and two USB 2.0 ports, the first one is used to perform the updates from PC.

On the back we find the other ports, DC connector, optical audio output, HDMI 2.0 input and output connector that support 4K@60fps resolutions and a 10/100 Ethernet port.

In the lower area of the Alfawise H96 mini we have the sticker that identifies the model and a few ventilation slots.

To enter recovery mode, a short between these two small points must be made while connecting the USB cable to the PC, use this firmware

CONNECTING THE DEVICE

Connection and desktops

Connecting the DC adapter to the Alfawise H96 mini turns on directly, soon we arrive at the classic launcher based on pictures, we have direct access to Netflix, YouTube, access to Google Play, browser, settings and different subcategories. In the lower part we have a row where we can add optional shortcuts with our apps. We can not change the launcher since it always gives us forced closure, something quite annoying. The resolution of the system is 1080p and it is something that can be seen in the image quality of the Android environment and streaming apps.

  • Boot time: 19 seconds

As we have verified we have navigation bar and notification bar something that is appreciated if we want to use a mouse to manage the system for example.

Within the categories of video, music and favorites we can also customize the app to launch, you just have to click on the + icon.

The installed applications by default are the classic, we have Miracast that allows us to share the screen of our mobile, an appInstaller, Chrome, File browser, media player, Netflix app, KDMC (Kodi), app to update, Youtube for tablets, Teamviewer and the TVApp app that is to watch the HDMI input.

Within the language settings we have all the classic Android languages, we can change to another language without problems.

User Experience

For the usual use the Alfawise H96 mini allows us to do the basic functions correctly, the Amlogic T962E processor moves the system well rendering the Android environment at 1080p resolution. In this model we have 2 GB of RAM which is the minimum to move apps correctly, from the task bar we can access the multi task system but from the remote control we have not seen how to do it. In general enough hardware to run any app without performance problems.

Android Settings

Installed in the Alfawise H96 mini we have three different settings screens, the first one created by Amlogic with the basic settings of the system, although as we see we do not have for example the screen settings.

If whe enter in the Droid Settings we have other settings where we can see the screen settings, HDMI CEC, automatic refresh setting, sound, shutdown control and access to classic Android settings.

Entering in the More Settings option we get to the Classic Settings of Android we have some options more than in the previous settings but they are quite limited and it seems that some menus have been cut that would have allowed us to fine-tune the system.

Android System

Installed as operating system in the Alfawise H96 mini we have Android 7.1.2, a fairly modern system today. The kernel as we see is specifically version 3.14.29 and the compilation has date of 07-12-2017. With this version we have made the review that you can read in the following pages.

Brand Support

As for support we can not wait long in an Alfawise model, we have a firmware available to download on our web that will at least allow us to recover the TV-Box if something happens, we do not expect much more support for the future.

Storage and RAM

By default the Alfawise H96 mini includes 16 GB of eMMc storage memory, from this storage memory we have actually available about 11 GB, a figure enough to install a good number of apps. As a device with AMLogic SoC this has a single partition in the storage memory which facilitates the management of our files.

Installed on the hardware we also have 2 GB of DDR4 RAM and 1.3 GB that are free after a long navigation through the system, so it allows us to correctly open several tabs in a browser.

We check the memory and internal storage testing the hardware that is integrated in this device, we used the SD bench app as usual. The results of the Alfawise H96 mini give correct good results for this kind of product.

Consumption and temperatures

In terms of power consumption, the Alfawise H96 mini with the T962E SoC shows results within the range of other devices, even putting the SoC to the brim with games with 3D graphics only 5.8 W peak are reached in consumption, the temperatures are low even in hard use.

Google Play and Amazon App Store

Searching for apps on the Google play we had no problem finding the most common apps in our tests except we only had some inconvenience with specific apps, we can always download the APK’s we are interested in and install them manually. With the Amazon App Store equal result, no problem noticeable with this new TV-Box.

Root

As we see the firmware installed in the Alfawise H96 mini is rooted by default, something that despite everything will not affect us in services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video as we will see in our analysis in the corresponding section.

Power Off / Standby / Power On

The Alfawise H96 mini it offers us a menu with which we can completely turn off the device, if we want to change this behavior in the settings of the TV-Box we have a menu with two options in this area.

TEST BENCH

Video and audio connections.

Installed in the Alfawise H96 mini we have the new SoC Amlogic T962E a product that has support for video output by HDMI 2.0a but is limited to a maximum resolution of 4K@30fps, this is a product designed to play 1080p60fps content. We also do not have image quality controls like brightness, contrast or gamma.

In this system there is NO automatic refresh rate option for the video playback, the menu we have in the settings for this purpose does not work, something that would be interesting since it avoids us to play content with the annoying Judder effect.

Inside the advanced settings of HDMI we find control to choose the format and depth of color in detail, something that we will do well to adjust with respect to our TV, for example we can put RGB mode for old screens.

HDMI IN

In the rear HDMI IN port we can connect any device with video input signal 4K@60fps or lower, to see it we run the TVapp app that has a menu to adjust different aspects of Video and Audio. The system works well but does not allow recording, a point that would have been interesting but limits us. We can use only this port to have an external device connected as a console or similar.

DLNA and Miracast

By default installed in the Alfawise H96 mini we can share the screen using the Miracast app and we have NO problem using a Smartphone LG G5, as we know this type of connections depends on many factors.

We can use the app MediaCenter we can access the multimedia content that we have in our device easily using an app like BubbleUPnP from an Android mobile or from a PC with Windows’ file explorer.

Webcam

We test several videoconferencing apps with the Alfawise H96 mini, with Skype we have been able to video conference without any notable problems using a simple webcam Logitech C170, a model very compatible with Android.

NETWORK CONNECTIONS

Wi-Fi and Ethernet

Inside the Alfawise H96 mini we have a ac Wireless Wi-Fi Adapter and 10/100 Ethernet chip, with which we have connected with an ASUS RT-AC1200G+ Router, a mid range device. We transferred files over a SAMBA network connected through 2.4 Ghz Wi-Fi and achieved a speed of about 30 mbps, with the 5 GHz Wifi band we have 50 mbps. This model has a Gigabit 10/100 connector with which we used a Category 6 network cable to guarantee the max speed, using this connection we reach about 58 mbps which is a normal transfer speed.

We also ran tests on the network adapters for streaming using the iPerf measurement tool with which we have the maximum connection speed in each type of network. With this figure we have how far we can reach using the available connections, the final performance will depend on our internet provider, the contracted speed, the distance of our Wi-Fi network and other factors. The results are ok for this kind of hardware, if is possible we recommend to use the Ethernet port to use streaming services for 4K contents.

As we seen the Wi-Fi coverage tests with the device located at a distance of about 16 ft as always and with a wall in between we verified that we have connection without cuts, the signal reaches a level of about 48 dBm a figure that indicates we have a basic range.

Bluetooth

The Alfawise H96 mini has Bluetooth 4.1 adapter with which we had no problems when connecting any peripheral.

CONTROL SYSTEMS
Remote control

By default with the TV-Box Alfawise H96 mini we have a basic IR remote control that is powered by two AAA batteries, we have the classic cross head functions, shortcuts of Android commands, volume, mouse to move with the cursors and several keys to copy the commands of another remote control that we want to clone.

Within the settings menus we also have the possibility to activate HDMI CEC to be able to use the control of our TV with the TV-Box itself, a system that gives varied results depending on our TV models.

Remote control app

To control the Alfawise H96 mini we can use the alternative CetusPlay to control it from our mobile or tablet, we only need to install the server in our TV-Box and the client app in or desired device.

Gamepad and games

To control games on the Alfawise H96 mini we can connect a Xbox 360 Gamepad and the device recognizes it without problems, it also works correctly the Xiaomi Bluetooth Gamepad. We can use them in games with this type of support, in general we will not have problems with conventional PC controls. As for power the Mali-450MP GPU that is incorporated in this Amlogic T962E SoC runs any Android game without problems at medium or low level with any great issue.

PERFORMANCE TEST

SOC

Installed in the Alfawise H96 mini we have the new Amlogic T962E SoC that includes four processors ARM Cortex-A53 of 64bits and the classic Mali-450mp GPU. In general this is a SoC almost identical to the S905x that works between 100 Mhz and 1.42 GHz depending on the performance needs of the system. This SoC incorporates hardware decoding support for the H.265 video codec, 10-bit H.265 with HDR and Dolby Vision support, it is capable of taking video signal at 4K @ 60fps. In the performance tests as we can see we have results almost nailed to those of other models with the SoC S905x logically.

Benchmarks

Antutu

With this famous test we get an idea of the general performance of the device and we can compare it with others. Since this tests changes a lot of scale we can not use it in our graphics.

Geekbench 4

A new benchmark in SoC testing that offers fairly reliable numbers of CPU’s working in a single core or multiple cores ate the same time, it also has a section of GPU computing that gives us an overall result of the processing capacity.

3Dmark

The graphical performance test par excellence with a fairly solid continuity in the results which helps us to compare the performance of GPU’s historically.

PCMark

This benchmark tests the device in various scenarios of image processing, web browsing and other everyday uses of our device, the results are useful to check if you defend well in these areas.

VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

Video format test

We passed our classic video playback tests in the Alfawise H96 mini, in this TV-Box we have the Amlogic T962E SoC that gives us positive results in general. As we have seen it is possible to reproduce the most common files without major problems in native resolution in a fluid way. We can watch videos at 4K@60fps resolutions encoded with the h.265 codec, this SoC also supports Dolby vision, HDR and 10 bit color files. An option seems to work in the native player and in KODI without problems. By default we are installed many streaming plugins, if we are not interested we can delete this installed Kodi and set up our own on our own.

Test results

H.264 formatDefault playerKODI
BBB – H.264 8bit – 1080p@25fps – 7 MbpsCorrectCorrect
Birds – H.264 8bit – 1080p@24fps – 40 MbpsCorrectCorrect
Samsung Oceanic Life – H.264  8bit– 1080p@30fps – 40 MbpsCorrectCorrect
Anime – H.264 10bit – 1080p@24fps – 10 MbpsArtifactsFrozen
Skyfall – H.264  8 bit – 4K@24fps – 10 MbpsCorrectCorrect
Timelapse – H.264 8bit – 4K@24fps – 43 MbpsCorrectCorrect
H.265 format
Tears of steel – HVEC 8bit – 1080p@24fps – 17 MbpsCorrectCorrect
Beauty – HVEC 8bit – 4K@120fps – 12 MbpsCorrectCorrect
Anime – HVEC 10bit – 1080p@24fps – 21 MbpsCorrectCorrect
Samsung UHD Dubai – HVEC 10bit – 4K@24fps – 51 MbpsCorrectCorrect
HDR format
Life of Pi HDR –  HVEC – 4K@24fps – 45 MbpsCorrectCorrect
TravelXP HDR HLG – HVEC – 4K@24fps – 20 MbpsIncompatibleIncompatible
Planet Earth II – HDR HLG – HVEC 10L5 – 4K@25fps – 31 MbpsCorrectCorrect
  • The MKV, Blu-ray ISO and BDRemux formats are only containers, inside we can have different codecs, resolutions, audio channels, chapters or subtitles. To play the Blu-ray format menus we need KODI or a compatible program.

Audio format test

In the Alfawise H96 mini we have the Amlogic T962E SoC Quad core that as we know it is NOT licensed for the use of audio pass through for DD and DTS. For the sound tests we use our Yamaha RXV-577 AV receiver and we check that audio pass through does not work on the device, we can only get stereo sound.

Test results

Formato audioPCM*HDMIOptical
Dolby Digital 5.1CorrectPCMPCM
Dolby Digital Plus 7.1CorrectPCMPCM
Dolby True HD 7.1CorrectPCMPCM
Dolby Atmos 7.1CorrectPCM *PCM
DTS 5.1CorrectPCMPCM
DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1CorrectPCMPCM
DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1CorrectPCMPCM
DTS-X 7.1CorrectPCM *PCM
  • PCM – Stereo downmix from DD or DTS
  • Core – Only the core of the format Dolby / DTS is played
  • * Our AV receiver does not support these native formats but we check that it does downmix fine

WEB NAVIGATION AND STREAMING

Navigation

With the TV Box Alfawise H96 mini we can navigate in a quite good way opening a good number of tabs, something normal since it includes 2GB of RAM DDR3 and manages them quite well. The contents that are reproduced in HTML5 do not have major problems with the included default browser which has a good general compatibility, we can install the browser that we like.

DRM

As for the DRM certificates needed for some paid Streaming apps we have Google Widevine L3 that gives us access to Google Video content, as a novelty we see that we have CENC ClearKey.

Youtube and streaming apps

In our test we installed some of the most common Streaming apps to watch TV online that we downloaded from the Play Store, we don’t have problems. This TV-Box can play Youtube up to 1080p without any problems with the version installed from Google Play.

Streaming services with subscription

We do our battery test as usual on the most popular streaming services to verified if can work correctly, the power of this device is more than enough to see any type of content on this services, although as we know we are limited on the streaming quality for the restrictions of each company.

  • NOTE: We remind that these TV-Box do not have official support for these streaming apps, the compatibility with these services can vary depends of any new limitations imposed for this companies. The tests are perform with the indicated firmware and the version of the streaming app at the date of the review.
Streaming serviceVideoAudioPerformance
NetflixSD (480p)*StereoCorrect
Amazon Prime VideoSD (480p)StereoCorrect
HBO nordicHD (720p)StereoCorrect
  • For more details consult our Guide for Netflix on Android, inside you can found a solution for Error 0013 and installation method on rooted devices or chinese TV-Boxes.

CONCLUSIONS

Alfawise H96 mini

6

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

7.0/10

HARDWARE

6.5/10

SOFTWARE

6.0/10

SUPPORT

5.0/10

PRICE

5.5/10

Pros

  • HDMI Input
  • Android 7.1 stable
  • Fast eMMC storage
  • Good on video playback

Cons

  • Nos pass trough audio
  • Unable to change the default launcher

Opinion

After carrying out the analysis of the Alfawise H96 mini model equipped with the new SoC Amlogic T962E we can say that this is a fairly conventional TV-Box despite having the new feature of the HDMI input. with this input as we have seen we are limited only to see contents from another external device but we can not record, something that we can do normally in models of their competence as the TV-Box with SoC Realtek.

At hardware level the Alfawise H96 mini behaves quite well as it mounts a fast internal memory, the network adapters work normally but the Wifi chip ac does not explode the potential of the 5GHz band, on the other hand the network connector is only 10/100 The firmware is quite good since it has Android bars but as a negative point we see that we can not change the default launcher. In general, a correct TV-Box, but that contributes little compared to any S905x without HDMI input.

Where to buy

  • Buy the Alfawise H96 mini in the store Gearbest.com for only $69 with free shipping

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Piotr Jandziak
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Piotr Jandziak

I tested TVLauncher from Awesome Development and it works contrary to the others

Julijus
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Julijus

How to boot into recovery mode? Thanks.

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