REVIEW: Mecool KIII PRO, dual tuner, 3GB RAM and SoC Amlogic S912 Octa

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Today thanks to the collaboration of Videostrong we present the review of the Mecool KIII PRO TV-Box that includes a DVB-S / S2 and DVB-T / T2 dual tuner. This new device incorporates interesting features respect from the previous model KII PRO, in its central core we now have the powerful AMLogic S912 Octa SoC, it expands the memory until 3GB of DDR3 RAM and we have Gigabit Ethernet port. Let’s see how this device behaves in our review with all the tests that we perform on it.

SPECIFICATIONS

ModelMecool KIII Pro
CPUAMLogic S912 Cortex-A53 Octa Core
GPUMali-T820MP3
OSAndroid 6.0.1
RAM3 GB DDR3
Storage16 GB eMMc
WiFiWiFi ac
Bluetooth4.0
Ports4x USB 2.0
HDMI 2.0a
microSD reader
DVB-T2
DVB-S2
Ethernet Gigabit
SPDIF audio port
AV connector
 OthersRecovery button
Power Button
 ContentIR Remote
HDMI Cable
12/1A DC adapter

CONTENT DESCRIPTION

Package content

The Mecool KIII PRO case is quite large and has a magnetic front cover. In the upper part we have the brand logo, if we open it in a first term we have the TV-Box, in a lower section we find the IR remote control, HDMI cable, English manual and 12V-1A power adaptor.

Product Details

The design of the Mecool KIII PRO is based on a plastic box, in the upper area we have the logo of the model, on one of the sides we can see the power button that we can press and changes the color from red to blue depending on the state.

On the side where we have the power button, four USB 2.0 ports that are somewhat near between them and we also have a microSD card reader.

In the back of the Mecool KIII PRO we have the DVB T/T2 connector, DVB S/S2 connector, audio jack and cvbs video, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0 video output, SPDIF audio output and power connector.

Under the Mecool KIII PRO we have four rubber feet that raise the device a little, one of them hides a screw to remove the cover, we also have a small hole to press the recovery button in case it is necessary to update from a PC.

If we remove the cover we can see the motherboard with the module of the antenna adaptor, on the S912 SoC we have a small aluminium heatsink that fulfills its function.

CONNECTING THE DEVICE

Connection and desktops

We connect the Mecool KIII PRO to the power source and the system starts automatically, the default launcher is exactly the same as we have seen in previous models.  When you start the system by default we have an animation with pretty scandalous music, to turn off it we can go to Settings> More settings> Display> Show Boot video>  OFF

  • Boot time: 20 seconds

In this launcher we are shown in a series of large icons to launch the applications, the bar on the middle zone can be customized easily with the app with the want we want to launch. The “TV Center” app launches KODI, the app for the tuner is called DTV.

  • To make TV Center work, go to Applications> Run TV Center> Install.

This TV Box DOES have a navigation bar and in the upper area we have upper notification tab with quick Android settings, something that is useful if we use a mouse for example. To activate the bottom bar we have to go inside Settings> Screen> Status Bar, there is no icon to hide it manually and we can not remove it with the usual drag from down zone gesture.

In the list of applications installed by default we find few apps, we have KODI, Netflix, a cleaning app, UPDATE app, AirPin for streaming from iOS and a alternative market app.

As default in this generation of devices based on the latest SoC from AMLogic we also have the classic Android settings that allow us to further refine our configuration.

User Experience

The Mecool KIII Pro can launch the most commons apps with no problem thanks to the 3GB of DDR4 RAM installed on the motherboard, we can launch the most commons apps without problems and don’t have force closed messages. The performance of the hardware is fair enough to run all the apps on Android, play games and play movies or view streamings.

Android System

Installed in Mecool KIII PRO we have Android 6.0.1 Operative System. The kernel is 3.14.29 and the compilation is dated 2017-03-08, with this version we have done the review that you can read on the following pages.

Brand Support

With the Mecool KIII PRO we assume that we will have the same type of support as with previous models, The brand will publish several firmware correcting problems detected during a time. These models also often have long-term firmware versions made by the scene.

Storage and RAM

Built in the Mecool KIII PRO we have a total of 16GB eMMc storage memory, from this storage memory we have actually available about 11.5 GB, a figure that allows us to install quite a few apps. In AMLogic SoC models we have a single partition in the storage memory which facilitates the management of our files. In this hardware we also have 3 GB of DDR4 RAM that behave normally, of this amount we have available about 2.2 GB usually.

We performed our memory and storage tests on the Mecool KIII PRO using the SD bench app which gives us correct figures but slightly lower than the KII PRO model, the results follow the line of this product range. The memory maintains a performance as in other similar devices with DDR3.

Consumption and temperatures

As for the electrical consumption the Mecool KIII PRO using the S912 SoC gives us results within the range for this type of devices, if we put the SoC to the limit with 3D games, we reach 7, 7 W peak consumption in punctual moments.

The system stays fresh on a light use, the SoC scaling the speed on demand and we only have some heat in the upper area of the box when is used on long time periods, some users performs some drills on the upper area to evacuate the heat.

Google Play and Amazon App Store

Using the Google play store we have no problem finding and downloading the most common apps to the internal memory. With the Amazon App Store same result, a good alternative to Google.

Root

In Mecool KIII PRO we have root by default, something that does not affect services like Netflix as we will see in our review. An interesting point if we plan to install for example an adblocker, but beware of what we touch on the system.

Power Off / Standby / Power On

The Mecool KIII PRO only has an option to turn it off, if you press once the off button on the top or the button on the remote it turns off completely with a consumption of 2.2 W, we will have to press them again to turn it on.

TEST BENCH

Video and audio connections.

In this Mecool KIII PRO TV-Box we have an AMLogic S912 SoC that has video output support for HDMI 2.0a which gives us a maximum resolution of 4K @ 60MHz with 10 bit color and is compatible with HDR if we have a compatible TV.

In the list of resolutions we have 720p, 1080p and we can get up to 4K resolution, among these modes are 24p to synchronise with the cinema mode. As usual in this type of SoC brightness, contrast and gamma controls are missing.

By default on the Mecool KIII PRO system we have an automatic refresh adjustment option but it does NOT work, we will have to change the resolution and system refresh manually to avoid the Judder effect.

In this TV-Box we have support to change the RGB mode something that is necessary in some old TV models that have incompatibility with the current color modes.

DLNA and Miracast

By default in the system installed with the Mecool KIII PRO we have the usual DLNA app that in this case is called MediaCenter. With this system 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 the Windows file explorer.

We can share the screen using the Miracast app with which we had no problems using a LG G5 Smartphone, as we know this type of connections depends on many factors.

It is also possible to connect Mac devices using the AirPin Pro app that work quite well for us, we have been able to do AirPlay with YouTube without any problem.

Webcam

We tested the videoconferencing capabilities on the Mecool KIII PRO using the Hangouts and Skype apps with a simple Logitech C170 webcam, overall good results with these apps that are installed from Google Play directly.

NETWORK CONNECTIONS

Wi-Fi and Ethernet

In the Mecool KIII PRO we have a Wireless Dual Band AC Wi-Fi  (BCM4335) adapter and Gigabit Ethernet port, with them we have connected with an ASUS RT-AC1200G+ Router, a mid range device. We transferred files over a SAMBA network connected through 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi and achieved a speed of about 22 mbps, with the 5Ghz Wi-Fi network we reached about 33 mbps a value much higher than the previous one. This model has a Gigabit network connector with which we used a Category 6 network cable to guarantee the speed, using this connection we reach about 50 mbps a low result. Correct speeds on all adapters but as we see it can be improved.

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 god for this kind of hardware.

We checked the Wi-Fi coverage with the device located at a distance of about 5m as always and with a wall in between we verified that we have connection without it stopping, the signal reaches a good level of about 48 dBm, a correct result although we will not be able to move far away the TV-Box from the router.

Bluetooth

Integrated with the WiFi adapter of the Mecool KIII PRO we also have 4.0 Bluetooth connectivity with which we have no major problems when it comes to detecting other devices in general although it has resisted at a BT headset, sure to be corrected in future brand firmware.

CONTROL SYSTEMS
Remote control

Along with the Mecool KIII PRO we have a fairly large standard control, this control is important as it has shortcuts to functions of the tuner cannot be used by from other method. We have TV / SAT controls and classic Android shortcuts.

Remote control app

To control the Mecool KIII Pro remotely with the service that is integrated to be used with the AMLogic control app, with it we can handle our TV-Box remotely from a Smartphone or tablet if they are in the same Wi-Fi network. It is only necessary to enable the remote control option in the settings of the TV-Stick and install the app on the device that we want to use to control it. If have problems with this method we can use the alternative CetusPlay to control it from our mobile or tablet.

Gamepad and games

To control games on the Mecool KIII Pro we connected an Xbox 360 Gamepad and the device recognize 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. At power level the Mali-T820MP3 GPU that is integrated in the AMLogic S912 SoC is enough to run any Android game without problems with good settings, as we will see in the performance tests this new GPU it has a performance far superior to the Mali-450 S905 SoC.

PERFORMANCE TEST

SOC

In the Mecool KIII PRO uses the AMLogic S912 SoC that includes eight ARM Cortex-A53 64 bit processors and a GPU Mali-820Tmp3. A very powerful SoC that as we see works between the 100 Mhz and the 2.02 GHz (limited to 1.5GHz) depending on the performance needs of the system. This SoC incorporates hardware decoding support for the H.265, 10-bit H.265 video codec and is capable of output video up to 4K@ 60fps thanks to the HDMI 2.0a video output connector. The system runs smoothly when opening applications, we had a couple of force close apps at the first time we ran them and then they did not happen again. In general we have no problem to use this hardware in a completely normal way for video, audio or games apps.

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 ran our usual video tests on the Mecool KIII Pro and it obtains the same results as other TV-Boxes with the AMLogic S912. We can reproduce all the usual files without major problems with resolutions to 1080P or also in 4K resolution coded with h.265 or VP9 codec. This SoC also supports HDR modes with 10 bit color, an option that we can activate in its settings.

  • If you install KODI from Google Play and it closes follow these steps: KODI-System> Settings> Video> Settings level change to “advanced“, go to “Acceleration” touch where there are 3 options with 3 round points. Deactivate “amcodec” leaving the other two active.

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 MbpsArtifactsFrame skip
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 MbpsFrame skipFrame skip
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 Mecool KIII Pro we have the Amlogic S912 SoC Octa 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 checked that the device has audio pass through for DD 7.1 and DTS 5.1, the results are variable depending on the software we use, we recommend using the default player.

Test results

Formato audioPCM*HDMIOptical
Dolby Digital 5.1CorrectCorrectCorrect
Dolby Digital Plus 7.1CorrectCorrectCore
Dolby True HD 7.1CorrectCorrectCore
Dolby Atmos 7.1CorrectCore *Core
DTS 5.1CorrectCorrectCorrect
DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1CorrectCoreCore
DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1CorrectCoreCore
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

In the TV-Box Mecool KIII PRO we used the default browser where we had no problems opening a good number of tabs thanks to its 3 GB of DDR4 RAM. The content that is reproduced in HTML5 does not have major problems with the included default Chrome browser that has a good general compatibility, we can install the browser that we like.

DRM

If we look at the DRM certificates needed for some paid Streaming apps, we only have Google Widevine L3, which is common in this type of models.

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 that comes installed by default.

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
NetflixFullHD (1080p)*StereoCorrect. * with custom firmware
Amazon Prime VideoSD (480p)StereoCorrect
HBOHD (720p)*StereoCorrect. * with custom firmware
  • 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.

TDT and Satellite HD Tuners

In the Mecool KIII PRO we have two tuners, one TDT and another HD quality (DVB-T2 and DVB-S2) 2n satellite. The two tuners share the DTV app and therefore we will have a similarly used environment. This app has undergone a redesign and now when we boot it we have the same environment for the two tuners. We can only use one tuner at a time, we can not watch some satellite content and record something from the DTT at the same time for example.

  • Installation, setup the TDT or SAT tunners
  • Channel Manager, to manage the channels of the two tuners at the same time
  • EPG, to watch the programming or program recordings of the two tuners
  • DTV preference, to change general TDT or SAT settings, recordings and others

General Settings

Within “DTV Preference” we have general settings for TDT or SAT, Parental controls, PVR recording settings, list of recordings and programming.

When we enter “General settings” we have to choose between DVB S/S2 or DVB T/T2, curiously the adjustments are changed of order and when we enter we see the ones of the opposite model.

Within the TDT settings we have different language settings for the broadcast audio, subtitles or the aspect ratio in the broadcast.

In the satellite settings we can define the Area of our zone, language for broadcast audio, subtitles or aspect ratio and other options.

In the list of countries by default as we see we have Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan. Although other countries are not availabe, the tuner is compatible with zones that support DVB S/S2 protocol.

HD TDT Tuning

When we start the app we have the option to tune in to TDT or SAT. To tune the TDT channels we can perform an automatic search which has no greater secrecy, as on any TV. There is an option to restore them from a previous backup or create a copy of the current ones, something interesting to do at the time of updating the computer since we will not lose, for example, the order of the channels.

Satellite Tuning

To tune the satellite channels first we have to select the appropriate satellite to our area and then run the search. In this section we also have options to save or restore the user data of a previous installation.

In the list of preconfigured satellites we have a wide list where we can choose the ones that interest us most depending on our location and address of our satellite dish. The automatic search of channels does not give much problems in a few minutes we have a few hundred channels on the screen.

Within the satellite we can adjust more in detail the one we have selected but in theory by default it would have to work without problems if we have the antenna well placed.

If in the Installation menu we press 111111 on the remote control we will have access to a hidden menu from where you can configure external servers, we have verified that it works perfectly.

Managing channels

To manage our channels we can make a list of favorites or edit the channels, we cannot sort them in a classic way one by one, it is best to opt for the favorites.

From the option to edit channels we can add them to the favorites, block them, skip them or rename them. With the lock we can prevent adult channels from being available for example.

EPG and recordings

With the EPG option from we can record a program that interests us at the time we want although the device has to be always on.

The recording options are found in the PVR settings menu, where we can select the destination of the recording file (.ts) and configure the Timeshift option.  The quality of the recording system is in HD with 1280×720 pixels resolution, we need to connect an external memory to be able to do it, inside it will create a DTVRecordFiles folder with the recording in TS format, the ratio is 10Mb per minute.

Playback

We can say that the image quality of the system in general is very good and we do not notice cuts or failures in reception, inside each channel we have different audio options and subtitles as usual.

In the audio menu we have been able to select AC3 which plays correctly and we not only have silence, something that normally happens in these TV-Boxes.

CONCLUSIONS

Mecool KIII Pro

7.2

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

7.0/10

HARDWARE

8.0/10

SOFTWARE

7.0/10

SUPPORT

6.5/10

PRICE/QUALITY

7.5/10

Pros

  • TDT & SAT Tunners
  • Android 6
  • Solid firmware
  • Good network performance

Cons

  • Channel manager can be better
  • Hot on long run times

Opinion

As we have seen in the tests performed using the new Mecool KIII PRO the system behaves correctly, there is a performance improvement compared to the previous KII PRO and we have a much more powerful processor and 3GB of RAM. On the other hand the firmware still needs some small adjustments that surely will arrive from some firmware updates in the future.

As the receiver side the Mecool KIII PRO device continues in the line of the previous models with the difference that the TDT and SAT channels have been unified in the DTV app, something that is a little troublesome at the beginning but that facilitates the use since we do not have to enter and exit the app to switch the system. Overall a very interesting device if we want to have TDT & SAT receivers on a powerful Android TV-Box.

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Maik
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Maik

Thx for the test. I tried to use the CVBS to coennect the box to an old TV with composite input. A Raspberry Pi was showing a good picture on that screen but the KIII Pro was not able to deliver any picture to the screen. I tried other TVs and the analog input of my Car TV… NO Picture at all. Can you confirm that you did not try this output? If so, could you please check, if this is working at your place? I think this is a design flaw or a software problem. I had the same… Read more »

Brian
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Brian

I am having problems with DVB-T2 broadcasts (and Geekbuying.com), every thing else is okay apart from lock up in sleep mode and lock up sometimes when watching the TV.
DVB-T, DVB-S/S2 works fine, DVB-T2 is choppy and recordings show that there are frame drops, I live in the UK.

I have put a link to the problems in the website section, please let me know if you can’t access it.

Valerio
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Valerio

Hello. Very interesting review.
There is a way to stream from this devide to a PC the DVT channels (like enigma2 with vlc for example…)?
Thanks

Cris
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Cris

Hi, I have a Mecool Ki pro, I would like to display the status bar and the menu of the app in the event. I tried to look in the settings but I can not find anything. There is no screen, there is only display mode.
Why? is something about firmware or software?

mati
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mati

Hi. i bougth the device (kiii) with android 7.1.
The problem is there is strange google play app, (you can enter the regular google play via chrome), but when i tried to donload many tv app (that working on my old galaxy 3!!! phone) – it writes ”the app is not compatible with the device” and it not downloading them, althought these is familiar apps working perfect on many older and cheaper tv boxes.
What should i do about it?

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