REVIEW: H96 Mini Plus a low-cost with S905W SoC and 2GB of RAM

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H96 Mini Plus is the Android TV-Box which we present today in our review. A low-cost device that has the popular Amlogic S905W Quad Core SoC, a TV-Box with basic specifications to use it as a multimedia player and load the Android apps correctly. At the level of specifications this TV-Box has 2GB of RAM and has 16GB of eMMC storage, in the network section we only have Wifi b / g / n. This model is announced as compatible with Netflix HD but as we will see is not true. Let’s see in our review how this hardware behaves and how it is regarding the competition in its sector.

PRODUCT DETAILS

ModelH96 Mini+
Basic SpecsSoC: Amlogic S905W Quad Core Cortex A-53 / GPU Mali-450MP5 / 4x ARM-A53 @ 1.3GHz
System: Android 7.1.2 (64bit)
RAM and storage: 2 GB DDR3 – 16 GB eMMC
Network: Wifi b/g/n 2.4/5GHz – Ethernet 10/100
Ports: HDMI 2.0a 4K@60fps / AV Jack 3.5mm / 2x USB 2.0 / microSD
Extras: Remote Control IR / Manual / Adapter DC 5V 2A / English Manual
Check full specifications

Description

The TV Box H96 Mini Plus has a box made of plastic similar to others we have seen in several products, a box that has a blue status LED on the front and has an internal wifi antenna.

  • Materials and measures: Plastic / 3.8 x 3.8 x 1.2 inches (98 x 98 x 26 mm / 0.5 lb (190 gr).
  • Package content: IR remote  / Manual / HMDI cable / DC adapter 5V 2A / English manual.
  • Interfaces: HDMI 2.0a 4K@60fps / AV Jack 3.5mm (reset inside) / 2x USB 2.0 / microSD
  • Leds and panel: Frontal led
  • Remote control: The IR command is very simple and has a option to come other remote keys. We can control remotely from our mobile or Android TV-Box the system using the Cetusplay app or connect a flymouse, mouse or keyboard.

In the lower part we have ventilation grilles that are the only ones we find in this device, in two of the sides of the box we have the audio, video and data connectors that we have listed in the specifications.

ANDROID SYSTEM

Environment and user experience

We power on the H96 Mini Plus, it starts automatically boots with a scandalous animation and the blue front LED lights up. Installed by default we have a simple launcher based on the classic squares that we can control with the IR remote control in a basic way. We can customize the lower bar of shortcuts in this launcher, by pressing OK on the remote it is possible to modify the active shortcuts. We can run any app without problems thanks to the Quad Core S905W SoC and the 2 GB of RAM, we must bear in mind that some leading games such as PUBG are not available for this SoC, the classic apps run normally and the user experience in a basic use it is correct but not excellent.

  • Launcher: Launcher based on squares, customizable lower row / We CAN change the launcher / Android UI rendered at 720p.
  • Multitasking and access: Multi task only with the lower icon / We HAVE bar access and Android notifications.
  • Installed apps: Apps for streaming, Google play, Netflix, Miracast, KDMC and Youtube.
  • Languages: All the international Android classics.
  • On/Off Controls: Pressing the button to turn off the remote gives us a menu of Shutdown or Restart.

System, support and store apps

In the section of settings of the H96 Mini Plus we have the classic side menu with all the usual settings, we also have a special section called Advance Settings with specific settings for the TV-Box. The system is Android 7.1.2 Oreo (32bit) with kernel 3.14.29 that seems quite stable in our tests.

  • System version: Android 7.1.2 (32 bit) with Kernel 3.14.29 (31-08-2018).
  • Apps store: Google Play working with all the apps available for the Android system.
  • Brand support: H96 does not have any official support website, we publish the firmware we found.
  • Root and scene: The system IS root / There are no custom firmwares for this TV-Box. / LibreELEC compatible*
  • * Tutorial: LibreELEC installation guide for the TV-Boxes with Android

HARDWARE TESTS

Storage and RAM Memory

We perform our usual memory tests and internal storage in the H96 Mini Plus using the SD bench app. The results are correct for a low-cost Android TV-Box, they are quite good for a low-cost TV-Box. Storage can be expanded using the microSD card reader or USB, there is no option in the system.

  • Storage: Total 16GB – Free 10GB. / Is expandable
  • RAM: Total 2GB – Free 1GB / DDR3L.
  • Compatible formats: NTFS compatible / exFAT compatible
USB 2.0USB 3.0microSDSATA
Read / Write23/21 MB/s72/30 MB/s25/15 MB/s

WIFI and Bluetooth

In Wi-Fi connections, the H96 Mini Plus TV-Box has a Wifi b/g/n 2.4/5GHz without Bluetooth with which we connect to an ASUS RT-AC1200G+ Router, a mid-range device. We perform tests on the use of streaming using the iPerf measurement tool to see the maximum performance of each network adapter.

  • Wifi speed results: Correct speed for this wifi adapter, quite stable.
  • Wifi range: At a distance of 5 meters with a wall we have a signal of 48 dBm, correct values.
  • Bluetooth: Not installed.
  • We recommend reading our Tutorial SAMBA on Android networks if we are going to use files from our network PC.

Power consumption, temperature and noise

The H96 Mini Plus TV-box using the SoC Amlogic S905W has correct results in terms of consumption. We are in front of a SoC of low consumption and these do not shoot much when using it with classic apps like Youtube or browsers.

We check the performance of the TV-Box in scenarios of maximum sustained performance and in its usual use, we use a stress app for fifteen minutes and thermal camera to detect hot areas.As we have seen the TV-Box has few ventilation slots but in a basic use it seems to work correctly.

  • Loss of performance: the system maintains a maximum performance of 81%, havelow lost of performance.
  • Temperature: The upper part heats up although it does not affect the general use of the TV-Box.
  • Noise: Fanless system, 0db.

PERFORMANCE TEST

SOC

At the power level the H96 Mini Plus has acceptable results in the line of Amlogic S905W Quad Core Cortex-A53 SoC, in the graphical section the power of the Mali-450 MP5 GPU is enough to move most games or Android apps , where it suffers is in the high load 3D titles. If we compare the results we can see how it falls below the powerful SoC Amlogic S912 and Amlogic RK3399 and is close to the RK3328, in general, correct results for this type of processor.

Benchmarks

Games and gamepads

Integrated in this Android TV-Box H96 Mini Plus we have the Amlogic S905W SoC that integrates a Mali-450MP5 GPU, this model allows us to correctly move most Android titles without performance problems and good compatibility. The games with a lot of 3D load are the ones that have frames drops in this GPU, so it is better to limit yourself to basic titles with little 3D load.

VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

Video and audio connections

In the mediaplayer aspect the H96 Mini Plus we have the Amlogic S905W SoC a product that has support for video output by HDMI 2.0a which allows maximum resolution up to 4K@60fps with HDR information. We do not have SPDIF optical audio output only AV stereo jack with video output for 480p TV’s.

Video playback test

We pass our video playback tests on the Android TV-Box H96 Mini Plus, a model that has the S905W SoC that integrates a VPU compatible with most modern video formats as we can see in the results. By default this TV-Box brings KODI in KDMC version infested with streamings plugins, we recommend installing the latest official version from Google Play, we can uninstall the pre installed without problems. This models is a algo compatible with LibreELEC.

Test results

H.264 / VC-1Resultado
BBB – H.264 8bit – Simple@L1 – 1080p@25fps – 7 MbpsCorrect
Samsung Oceanic Life – H.264  8bit – High@L5.1 – 1080p@30fps – 40 MbpsCorrect
Timelapse – H.264 8bit – High@L5.1 – 4K@24fps – 43 MbpsCorrect
Anime – H.264 10bit – High 10@L5.1 – 1080p@24fps – 10 MbpsCorrect
MKV – VC-1 – Advance@L3 – 1080p@24fps – 17 MbpsCorrect
H.265 / VP9 SDR
Tears of steel – HVEC 8bit – Main@L6.2@Main – 1080p@24fps – 17 MbpsCorrect
Samsung UHD Dubai – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.2@Main – 4K@24fps – 51 MbpsCorrect
Jellyfish – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L6.1@High – 4K@30fps – 392 MbpsFrameskip
Anime – HVEC 10bit –  Main 10@L4@Main – 1080p@24fps – 21 MbpsFrameskip
Eye of the Storm – VP9 – 4K@24fps – 14 MbpsCorrect
H.265 / VP9 HDR
Life of Pi HDR10 –  HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.1@High – 4K@24fps – 45 MbpsCorrect
LG Demo – Dolby Vision – HVEC 12bit – Main 10@L5@Main – 4K@24fps – 30 MbpsCorrect
Planet Earth II – HDR HLG 10bit  – Main 10@L5@High – 4K@25fps – 31 MbpsCorrect
The world in HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 4K@60fps – 20 MbpsFrameskip
Peru 8K HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 8K@60fps – 20 MbpsFrameskip


Audio playback test

Testing the H96 Mini Plus using a Yamaha RXV-577 AV receiver we check that they DO NOT support DD and DTS pass through sound. We can only listen to multi channel audio in stereo, for this we must configure the system to listen to multichannel AC3 videos in stereo on any TV.

  • Ports: HDMI stereo / Audio jack stereo
  • Certification: None.

Audio test results

FormatsDD 5.1DD+ 7.1DD True 7.1DD Atms 7.1DTS 5.1DTS MA 5.1DTS HR 7.1DTS X 7.1
HDMIPCMPCMPCMPCM*PCMPCMPCMPCM*
SPDIF
  • PCM – Stereo only doing downmix from DD or DTS
  • Core – Only the core of the format is played back with what we passed to the Dolby / DTS base system
    * Our AV receiver does not support these native formats but we verify that it is played back to 7.1

Streaming services

We pass the classic tests on streaming services to see how the most popular services work. In this model does not have certificates for these services, also the lack of Android bars makes the UI is incompatible with several apps that works on other devices. This model it does not have certificates for these services, on the other hand it is quite compatible and we can see all the services but only in SD quality. Advertising about Netflix HD is false, you can only see that service in SD, the same as with the H96 Max Plus.

  • DRM: None
  • NOTE: We remind this product 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 serviceVideo QualityAudio QualityResult
YoutubeHD (720p)StereoOK
Google Play MoviesSD (480p)StereoOK
NetflixSD (480p)StereoOK
HBOHD (720p)StereoOK
Amazon Prime VideoSD (480p)StereoOK

CONCLUSIONS

Score

H96 Mini Plus _

5

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

5.0/10

HARDWARE

4.5/10

AUTONOMY

4.0/10

SUPPORT

5.0/10

PRICE/QUALITY

6.5/10

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Compact
  • Supports LibreELEC

Cons

  • Netflix HD false AD
  • Lack of video and audio settings
  • Android UI 720p
  • No Bluetooth

Opinion

As we see the TV-Box H96 Mini Plus is a very basic model that also has not received much care in the system options. At the hardware level this model can work for a basic functions as a streaming player. use of KODI or LibreELEC, we have 2GB of memory and 16GB of storage not very fast, in addition we only have Wifi b / g / n without Bluetooth. The remote control is quite basic and only allows us to use it to control it in a simple way.

H96 Mini Plus as we see in some stores it is announced compatible with Netflix HD but it is false, we recommend to claim stores for this misleading advertising and to express our complaint. This model as we can see has deficiencies in the firmware since it lacks several menus for multichannel audio and basic video settings in any TV-Box. No doubt a model that has many cuts because the price is really low.

WHERE TO BUY

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