• REVIEW: HiMedia A5 based on the Amlogic S912 Octa core SoC

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    HiMedia A5 is the HiMedia TV-Box that we will see today in our review, a very well crafted product that has a solid metal box. This device integrate the Amlogic S912 Octa Core SoC, in this model we have 2 GB of DDR3 RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, dual band AC Wifi with external antenna, Bluetooth 4.0 and Gigabit Ethernet among other features. This model supports decoding of all types of H.265 and VP9 files with support for HDR and can reach resolutions up to 4K@60fps. Let’s see if this is an interesting product and how performs respect to its direct competence in the sector.

    SPECIFICATIONS

    ModelHimedia A5
    CPUAmlogic S912 Octa core Cortex-A53 1.51 GHz
    GPUMali-T820MP3
    OSAndroid 6.0 (32bit)
    RAM2 GB DDR3
    Storage16 GB eMMc
    WiFiWiFi ac – 2.4/5 GHz
    Bluetooth4.0
    Ports3x USB 3.0
    SD reader
    Ethernet Gigabit
    SPDIF optical
    HDMI 2.0a
    AV Composite
    DC-IN
     OthersStatus Led
    Reset button
     ContentIR Remote
    HDMI cable
    5V 2A DC adapter (10W)
    Manual
    Measures: 3,66 x 3,66 x 0,59 inches
    Weight: 3.6 oz

    CONTENT DESCRIPTION

    Package content

    The TV-Box HiMedia A5 is presented in a cardboard box with an image of the model on top. Inside the box we find the main device in an upper compartment, the rest of the accessories we have in a lower area, we have a IR remote control, HDMI cable, manual in English and a 5V / 2A adapter.

    Product Details

    The box of the HiMedia A5 is made of aluminum and have shiny metal edges, on the front we have a status LED and an IR receiver on one side that has good reception.

    In one of its sides we have two USB 2.0 ports at a suitable distance to connect devices without bothering.

    On the other side we have another USB 2.0 port and a full-size SD card reader.

    In the back we find the other connectors and the external wifi antenna, we have SPDIF audio output, video and composite audio connectors, HDMI 2.0 video output, Gigabit Ethernet connector, reset and power connector.

    At the bottom of the HiMedia A5 we have four rubber feet that raise the set and we can see several holes to ventilate the internal hardware, the metal box as we will see perfectly fulfills its function of dissipation.

    CONNECTING THE DEVICE

    Connection and desktops

    When connecting the Himedia A5 to the current and this boots directly, we have a launcher based on squares where we have access to Google Play, Kodi, browser, settings and different subcategories. In the lower part we have a row where we can add optional shortcuts with our apps. We can change the default launcher by installing another. 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: 23 seconds

    As we have seen, we have a navigation bar that hides automatically, although we do not have a notification bar, which is practical if we want to use a mouse to manage the system, for example.

    In the installed applications by default we found the classics, we have Miracast that allows us to share the screen of our mobile, Kodi, Chrome, File Manager, OTA to update, Facebook, Netflix, One-touch for the control and Youtube in Android TV version.

    The MediaCenter app allows us to explore different multimedia contents that we have connected either from the network, NFS system, SD card or USB external unit.

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

    User Experience

    The TV-Box HiMedia A5 is a model that allows us to run the most common apps correctly, the Amlogic S912 Octa core SoC moves without problems the most demanding apps and the Android environment with native 1080p resolution. In this model we have 2 GB of RAM which is the minimum to move apps correctly, from the shortcuts bar we have the multitasking function that allows us to easily change between running apps.

    Android Settings

    Installed in the HiMedia A5 we have a version of basic system settings with large icons that allows us to configure the multimedia aspects of the device easily.

    If we click on More Settings 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 by default in the Himedia A5 we have the Android 6.0 64bit, still a fairly modern system. The kernel as we see is the version 3.14.29 and the compilation is dated 06-30-2017. With this version we have made the review that you can read in the following pages.

    Brand Support

    The web of the Himedia brand has a download section where we can download the updates of the system, although we lack the IMG files to recover the TV-Box from a PC in case of problem.

    Storage and RAM

    The TV-Box Himedia A5 includes 16 GB of eMMc storage memory, from this storage memory we have actually available about 10 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.

    In the memory aspect we have 2 GB of DDR3 RAM that behave normally, of this amount we are still available about 1.1 GB at boot, we can load several apps without noticing slowdowns in the system.

    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 Himedia A5 gives very good results as we can see, it shows in the agility of the system.

    Consumption and temperatures

    In the terms of power consumption the Himedia A5 with the S912 SoC shows results within the range of other devices, even putting the SoC to the brim with games with 3D graphics only 6.6 W peak is reached.

    We pass a performance test where we can see how we never get thermal throttling, the metallic box of this TV-Box perfectly dissipates the processor temperature, ideal for use with powerful apps or games like PUBG.

    The temperature of the box is very low and we have not noticed any loss of performance running intensive applications, normally the CPU works at maximum of 1.51 GHz.

    Google Play and Amazon App Store

    We enter the Google Play store where we have no problems installing the most common apps and download them automatically into the internal memory, we can use Amazon appstore as a alternative.

    Root

    We checked that the Himedia A5 system checked that we do not have root, something that allows us certain options but it will not affect us services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video as we will see in our analysis in the corresponding section.

    Power Off / Standby / Power On

    When pressing the power off button the HiMedia A5 the device turns off direct form and keeps with 1.1W consumption, we do not have a menu of off to change options.

    TEST BENCH

    Video and audio connections.

    Integrated into the HiMedia A5, we have the Amlogic S912 SoC, a product that supports HDMI 2.0a video output, which allows maximum resolution up to 4K@60fps and also supports 10bit color and HDR content. We can change the size of the mouse pointer and the captions of several streaming services following our turorial.

    In this system, there is no automatic refresh rate option, which would be interesting since it avoids reproducing content with the annoying Judder effect. Within the settings menus we can activate, deactivate or set the HDR mode to automatic.

    Within the classic screen settings we find control of brightness, contrast and sharpness, if we notice the dark scenes in our TV models we can fix it with this tutorial.

    DLNA and Miracast

    Installed in the Himedia A5 system we have the apps called Airplay and Miracast that allow us to play content with a LG G6 Smartphone, an app that gives us correct results but can be variable depending on the device.

    We can use the DLNA service to 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 the TV-Box for videoconferencing with the Himedia A5 we use the simple webcam Logitech C170, the system is works normally and we have a correct image quality on the screen.

    NETWORK CONNECTIONS

    Wi-Fi and Ethernet

    Installed in the Himedia A5 we have a ac Wireless Wi-Fi Adapter and Gigabit Ethernet chip, with which we have connected with an ASUS RT-AC1200G+ Router, a mid range device. We test the network using streaming using the iPerf measurement tool with which we have the maximum connection speed in each adapter. Connected by Wifi 2.4Ghz we have achieved a speed of about 35 Mbps, through the 5GHz Wifi network we reach up to 55 Mbps. This model has a Gigabit Ethernet connector with which we use a Category 6 network cable to guarantee speed, using this connection we reach about 875 mbps. Some pretty good results to see any type of streaming, we must say that Netflix in 4K only consumes a maximum of 20 Mbps.

    The results have correct values as we see in the following table using the SAMBA protocol a very inefficient network on Android. The final performance of these tests may vary depending on our internet provider, the speed contracted, the distance of our Wi-Fi network, Ethernet wiring and other factors.

    During 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 44 dBm a low result, don’t go far away from the router.

    CONTROL SYSTEMS
    Remote control

    By default with the TV-Box HiMedia A5 we have a basic IR remote control that is powered by two AAA batteries, we have the classic crosshead functions, shortcuts of Android commands, volume and mouse button to move with the cursors. In the upper part we have several copying keys with which to use functions of another remote. In this firmware we do not have options for HDMI CEC so we will not be able to use that function.

    With the One-touch app we can assign applications to the numeric keys of the remote control, a very useful function to quickly start up the most common applications for us.

    Remote control app

    By default in the Himedia A5 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

    You can play games on the Himedia A5 connecting a Gamepad with cable or bluetooth that work without problems, we can use this control in the games with this type of support, in general we will not have problems with conventional PC control. We can use them in games with this type of support, in general we will not have problems with conventional PC controls. With the Mali-T820MP3 GPU that incorporates this SoC we have good performance, we can play titles like PUBG Mobile without problems and the box temperature is always low.

    PERFORMANCE TEST

    SOC

    Integrated in the HiMedia A5 we have the powerful Amlogic S912 SoC that includes eight processors ARM Cortex-A53 of 64bits and a GPU Mali-T820MP3. A SoC that defends itself very well, this processor works between 100 MHz and 1.51 GHz (although theoretically it reaches 2 GHz) depending on the performance needs of the system. In the test performance as we can see we have quite good figures and we can run any demanding app without many problems, thanks to the aluminum box and the good heat dissipation system we have no loss of performance at any time.

    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

    In the video playback tests the HiMedia A5 defends perfectly with the Amlogic S912 SoC and their VPU, we have very positive results in general. It is possible to reproduce the most common files without major problems in native resolution in a fluid way. We can watch videos at 1080P resolutions or also in 4K@60fps format encoded with the h.265 or VP9 codec, this SoC also supports HDR modes and 10 bit color files an option seems to work in the native player and in KODI without problems .

    • This model is compatible with LibreELEC as we have checked using our LibreELEC a quick installation guide.
      All network adapters work perfectly and even the remote command is perfectly mapped.

    Test results

    H.264 FormatResult
    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 MbpsFrameskip
    H.265 Format
    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 MbpsCorrect
    HDR Format
    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 MbpsCorrect
    • 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 Himedia A5 we have the Amlogic S912 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 naturally check that in the device we have audio pass through for DTS  and DD5.1 although in some  7.1 formats we have noticed audio errors, although it is much better in this respect than other S912 that we had tested.

    Test results

    Formato audioPCM*HDMIOptical
    Dolby Digital 5.1CorrectCorrectCorrect
    Dolby Digital Plus 7.1CorrectCorrectCore
    Dolby True HD 7.1CorrectCutsCore
    Dolby Atmos 7.1CorrectPCM *PCM
    DTS 5.1CorrectCorrectCore
    DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1CorrectCorrectCore
    DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1CorrectCutsCore
    DTS-X 7.1CorrectCore *Core
    • 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

    We perform performance tests on the Himedia A5 using the default browser where we have no problems with multiple tabs open using the 42 GB of DDR3 RAM. The content that is reproduced in HTML5 does not have major problems installing a browser compatible with Android TV from its app store.

    DRM

    At the level of DRM certificates needed for some payment Streaming apps we have Google Widevine L1 installed by default, something that allows us to see Google Play Movies without problems but that we can’t use to see Netflix HD because the firmware is not ready. It seems that Himedia is getting the Netflix certificate and soon we will have news about a version using Android TV on this type of hardware.

    Youtube and streaming apps

    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, the Android TV app installed by default gives us problems it is better install the normal Android classic.

    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. In this model we have a basic support for streaming apps without certificates.

    • 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 nordicFullHD (1080p)StereoCorrect
    • You can consult our guides where we explain in detail all the most known streaming services, what are their limitations in each platform and how to configure them to see content in HD or 4K quality if possible.
    • Guide for Netflix on Android, inside you can found a solution for Error 0013 and installation method on rooted devices
    • Guide for Amazon Prime video on Android

    CONCLUSIONS

    Himedia A5

    Himedia A5
    8.3

    DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

    9.0 /10

    HARDWARE

    9.0 /10

    SOFTWARE

    7.5 /10

    SUPPORT

    8.5 /10

    PRICE/QUALITY

    7.5 /10

    Pros

    • Excellent box and thermals
    • Fast eMMC
    • Wifi ac and Ethernet Gigabit
    • Stable Firmware
    • DRM Google Widevine L1

    Cons

    • Only Android 6

    Opinion

    As we have seen in the review the Himedia A5 is a TV-Box that perfectly fulfills its basic functions, we must highlight the excellent heat dissipation system thanks to its aluminum box, a model that can go perfect for intensive use or play demanding games like PUBG for Android. A model that has a good number of connections and external Wifi antenna that always helps to improve the reception and be able to get away from our router.

    As we have seen the Himedia A5 has a very fast eMMC storage that streamlines the system in addition to Wifi ac and Gigabit Ethernet port, no doubt a very complete model. The only thing that can be attributed is that it does not have an update of Android 7 and it is a pity that we can not take advantage of the DRM Google Widevine L1 to be able to Netflix in HD quality, it is possible that in the future we have news about Himedia but for now we stay in Android 6. In general an excellent model in finishes and functions that we thought is one of the best options in the market for this sector.

    WHERE TO BUY

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