REVIEW: MECOOL KM8 a TV-Box with Android TV Oreo Certified

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Mecool KM8 is the Android TV-Box of which we present today its analysis or review, a new model that includes the well-known Amlogic S905X Quad Core SoC, also have Android TV Certified system which opens the doors to support certain official streaming services and the ability to use your integrated Chromecast. A device with a fairly basic hardware but as we will see it defends itself to play streaming services or content through KODI without problems in 4K quality. In the review you can see how we perform all kinds of tests on this hardware to see how far it can go.

PRODUCT DETAILS

ModelMecool KM8 
Basic SpecsSoC: Amlogic S905X Quad Core Cortex A-53 / GPU Mali-450MP5 / 4x ARM-A53 @ 1.51GHz
System: Android TV 8.0 (32bit)
RAM and Storage: 2 GB DDR3 / 16 GB eMMC
Network: Wifi b/g/n 2.4GHz / BT 4.0 / Ethernet 10/100
Ports: HDMI 2.0 4K@60fps / AV Jack 3.5mm / 2x USB 2.0 / microSD
Controller: BT remote with voice
Check full specifications

Description

The TV-Box Mecool KM8 is made of plastic and the box is quite conventional, on the top it has the Android TV logo, on one of its sides and on the back we have the available connectors. A fairly closed design without ventilation slots that does not help much to keep the temperatures of the box low, the rear antenna can not be flat.

  • Materials and measures: Plastic / 3.86 x 3.86 x 1.02 inches  (98 x 98 x 26 mm) / 0.2 lb (120 gr).
  • Package content: Manual, 5V 2A DC adapter, HDMI cable, BT remote (2x AAA batteries not included)
  • Interfaces: 2x USB 2.0, microSD, SPDIF, AV jack, Fast Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, power and flash button.
  • Leds and panel: Front with status LED / On / off button.
  • Remote control: The Bluetooth remote control is very simple and has a button for Google Assistant. 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 some ventilation slots and access to the flash button through a hole in the front. If we open the box we can see the conventionally designed motherboard, it has a tiny dissipator and the memory is of the Foresee brand. The antenna has a pretty peculiar welding so we can see.

ANDROID SYSTEM

Environment and user experience

We turn on the Mecool KM8, starts up automatically and the first thing is to configure the system with the Android TV assistant. Once configured we have a fairly clean environment without any custom layer and the system moves with agility. It is possible to use any app without problems thanks to the Quad Core Amlogic S905X SoC  and 2GB of RAM, some powerfull games such as PUBG are not available for this SoC. From the remote control we can use Google Assistant to perform global searchs, but we can not use the remote to enter words in the search boxes, a very uncomfortable problem.

  • Launcher: Original Android TV Oreo launcher. Sidelauncher to launch Android apps installed by default.
  • Multitasking and access: Change by pressing the home button in command. There are notifications icon.
  • Installed apps: Only the basic ones, highlight Google play, Google Play Movies and Youtube.
  • Languages: All the international Android languages.

System, support and store apps

If we enter the settings of the Mecool KM8 have the classic side menu with all the classic settings, we also have a special section called Advance Settings with specific settings for the TV-Box. The system is Android TV 8.0 Oreo (32bit) with kernel 4.9.61 which is quite problematic but necessary for Oreo for what we have been able to see.

  • System version: Android 8.0 (32 bit) with Kernel 3.14.29 (05-27-2018).
  • App store: Google Play certified and with all the apps available for the Android TV system.
  • Brand support: Videostrong is the responsible brand but does not have support on the web, just a contact email.
  • Root and scene: The system is NOT root. / There are still no custom firmwares for this TV-Box.

HARDWARE TESTS

Storage and RAM Memory

We perform our usual memory tests and internal storage in the Mecool KM8 using the SD bench app.The results of the Foresee brand memory are quite discreet. We can expand the internal storage using the included microSD card reader if we format it as internal storage.

  • Storage: Total 16GB – Free 8GB.
  • RAM: Total 2GB – Free 1GB / DDR3L.
  • USB: NTFS and exFAT not compatible, only FAT32.
  • microSD: 22/18 MBs read/write.

Power consumption and temperature

The Mecool KM8 TV-box using the SoC Amlogic S905X has correct results in terms of consumption but as it is logical to be a model with tuners when we use them it raises the consumption enough compared to use only Android.

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 mounts a quite small cooler although if we change it for one of more quality we can improve the thermal values.

  • Loss of performance: the system maintains a maximum performance of 81%, there is loss but it is not critical.
  • Temperature: The upper part heats up in an area although it does not affect the use of the TV-Box with video apps.

WIFI and Bluetooth

In Wi-Fi connections, the Mecool KM8 TV-Box has a Wifi b/g/n 2.4GHz wireless adapter 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: Low speed and some network dropping.
  • Wifi range: At a distance of 5 meters with a wall we have a signal of 45 dBm, correct but not excellent.
  • Bluetooth: Works correctly and connects without problems.
  • We recommend reading our Tutorial SAMBA on Android networks if we are going to use files from our network PC

PERFORMANCE TEST

SOC

In terms of performance the Mecool KM8 has correct results in the line of Amlogic S905X SoC, the power of the GPU Mali-450MP5 is enough to move most games or Android apps. If we compare the results we can see how it falls below the powerful SoC Amlogic S912 and Rockchip RK3399, generally correct results for this SoC.

Benchmarks

Games and gamepads

In the Android TV-Box Mecool KM8 we have the Amlogic S905X SoC that integrates a Mali-450MP5 GPU, this model allows us to correctly move most single titles of Google Play without performance problems and good compatibility. The games with a high 3D load are those that do have low frame rate in this GPU so it is better to limit yourself to basic titles.

VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

Video and audio connections

As the engine of the Mecool KM8 we have the Amlogic S905X 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 old format 480p.

Video playback test

We performed our video playback tests on the Android TV-Box Mecool KM8, a model with the Amlogic S905X SoC that has a VPU compatible with most modern video formats as we see in the results.

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 MbpsCorrect
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 MbpsLow Frameskip
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
Peru 8K HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 8K@60fps – 20 MbpsFrameskip

Audio playback test

Testing the Mecool KM8 using a Yamaha RXV-577 AV receiver we check that they support DD and DTS 5.1 pass through sound. Remember that you have to indicate the connector to use in audio settings so that it sends the signal to the decoder.

  • Ports: HDMI up to 7.1 / Audio jack stereo
  • Certification: Dolby Digital

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
HDMIOKOKCorePCM*OKCoreCoreCore*
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 we have Widevine L1 that allows us through a modified Netflix app to see this service in FullHD quality, we can also play content in services such as Google Play Movies in HD quality with 5.1 sound. With the Playready certificate we have the possibility to see Amazon Prime Video in FullHD quality.

  • DRM: Google Widevine L1 / Microsoft Playready / HDCP 2.2
  • 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
Youtube4K (2060p)5.1OK
Google Play MoviesFullHD (1080p)5.1OK
NetflixFullHD (1080p)5.1Ok, need a modded app
HBOFullHD (1080p)StereoOk, with Chromecast
Amazon Prime VideoFullHD (720p)5.1Ok, need sideload the Android TV app

CONCLUSIONS

Score

Mecool KM8 _

6.1

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

7.0/10

HARDWARE

5.0/10

SOFTWARE

6.5/10

SUPPORT

5.0/10

PRICE/QUALITY

7.0/10

Pros

  • Certified Android TV
  • Chromecast integrated
  • Streaming services in HD
  • BT remote with mic
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Bad Wifi

Opinion

The new Mecool KM8 is an interesting product as we have seen in our review, has somehow achieved certification from Google because it has Chromecast integrated officially. On the other hand we have to use a modified app for Netflix since the official app does not work and it gives us an error message, this means that it does not have direct permission from that company. However having DRM certificates such as Google Widevine L1, Microsoft Playready and Dolby Digital seal we have a TV-Box that can play other streaming services without problems such as Google Play Movies, Amazon Prime Video or YouTube in 4K.

The Mecool KM8 mounts a very basic hardware, as we have seen the internal memory is not the fastest in the world and the Wifi adapter does not get much speed despite the external antenna, we even had disconnections, it is a TV-Box to use by Ethernet basically The system in general moves well with Android TV 8 Oreo and we can run all the apps in a normal way, we also have a voice command for Google Assistant but we can not introduce terms in the search fields of the apps. In general, an interesting TV-Box to run streaming services if we connect it via Ethernet but with low-cost hardware.

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