The new TV Box Mecool KM9 as we see is a plastic box with a renewed design compared to the previous international version and identical to the Xiaomi Mi Box 4 that we saw in a review months ago. This new model is more square, it seems that it improves the internal thermals and also has a new bluetooth remote control with slight changes but that maintains its original philosophy.
- Materials and measures: Plastic / 100 x 100 x 17 mm / 420 gr.
- Package content: Remote control BT+IR+microphone / Manual / Adapter DC 5V 2A / HDMI cable
- Interfaces: HDMI 2.1 4K@75fps / AV Jack 3.5mm / 1x USB 2.0 / 1x USB 2.0 / microSD / Ethernet 10/100
- Leds and panel: Frontal RGB led
- Remote control: The Bluetooth remote has a shortcut key for voice functions such as Google search or Google Assistant, does not have direct access to multi task functions to quickly change the app.
- Alternative remote control: We can control remotely from our mobile or Android TV-Box the system using the app Android TV Remote Control, Cetusplay or connect a flymouse, mouse or keyboard.
On one side we have the main connectors, we have a microSD card reader, a USB 3.0 port and another 2.0, on the back the HDMI 2.1 video output, AV jack (with internal flash button), 10/100 Ethernet port and connector of energy. In the lower part we have ventilation slots and four small rubber feet.
Environment and user experience
We start up the Mecool KM9 by connecting it to the dc adapter, it turns on automatically and the front LED lights up. Installed by default we have Android TV 8 with the classic environment of customizable rows and content streaming services that are displayed in their own rows. We do not have a multitasking button on the remote, something that is annoying to switch between apps. The system moves very fluid and fast between the apps,thanks to the performance of the new Amlogic S905x2 and the 4GB of RAM we have available.
- Launcher: Launcher Android TV 8 / We CAN’T change launcher / Android UI rendering at 1080p.
- Multitasking and access: Multitasking only from the UI icon / Android notifications in top icon.
- Installed apps: Google play, Sideload launcher, Fine manager, AptoideTV, AirPin, StbEmu and Youtube.
- Languages: All the international Android classics.
- On/Off Controls: Pressing the power off button brings up a Restart menu, can be adjusted in settings.
System, support and store apps
As for the settings the Mecool KM9 has the typical side menu we have on Android TV and a special section of Advance Settings with special settings for the TV-Box. The system installed by default is Android TV 8.1 (32bit) with kernel 4.9.86 that is quite stable in our tests.
- System version: Android TV 8.1.0 (32 bit) / Kernel 4.9.76 (20-11-2018).
- App store: Google Play certified and with all the apps available for the Android TV system.
- Brand support: The Mecool models do not have a specific support website, if we found a firmware we publish it.
- Root and scene: The system IS rooted, no unroot menu / NO custom firmwares for this TV-Box / NOT compatible with LibreELEC.
Storage and RAM Memory
We perform our usual memory tests and internal storage in the Mecool KM9 using the SD bench app. The internal storage speed is fast, which makes the system show fluid. We also have as a novelty with a USB 3.0 port that allows us much higher reading speeds than the classic USB 2.0 although the writing does not reach the maximum of this type of ports
- Storage: Total 32GB – Free 24GB. / Is expandable with a USB or SD drive.
- RAM: Total 4GB – Free 3GB / DDR4.
- Compatible formats: NTFS compatible / exFAT compatible
|USB 2.0||USB 3.0||microSD||SATA|
|Read / Write||22/21 MB/s||148/23 MB/s||22/21 MB/s||–|
WIFI and Bluetooth
At Wifi connection level the Mecool KM9 TV-Box has a Wifi bgn 2.4/5GHz with Bluetooth 4.2 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 signal.
- Wifi range: At a distance of 5 meters with a wall we have a signal of 42 dBm, correct values.
- Bluetooth: We can connect compatible devices without problems.
- 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 Mecool KM9 TV-box using the SoC Amlogic S905X2 has correct has good results in terms of efficiency. This new SoC is manufactured in 12nm and has a maximum consumption of only 3.5W, we have tried to take it up to 5W that seems the maximum of the SoC but it is impossible even with demanding apps.
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 Mecool KM9 does have ventilation slots in the lower area, the heat sink system works perfectly.
- Loss of performance: The system maintains a maximum constant performance, there is no loss of performance.
- Temperature: The upper part heats up a little but does not affect the general use of the TV-Box.
- Noise: Fanless system, 0db.
At the performance level the Mecool KM9 has good results, a usual behaviour with the new Amlogic S905X2 Quad Core SoC with ARM Cortex-A53 processors and Mali-G31 MP2 GPU in a very good position. Observing the results we can see how it is almost on par with the most powerful Amlogic SoC from the last generation the S912, in general section is below from a powerful SoC like the Rockchip RK3399 that already has ARM Cortex-A73 cores, in general a excellent product with ridiculous power consumption.
Games and gamepads
In the gaming aspect the Mecool KM9 have the Amlogic S905X2 SoC that integrates a Mali-G31 MP2 GPU, this model allows us to correctly move most Android titles without performance problems and good compatibility. The titles with a lot of 3D load also move quite well and this GPU allows us to play them correctly in low or medium settings.
- Compatibility: Is NO possible to play in Android TV some games like PUBG.
- Controls: Compatible with Gamepads by cable or bluetooth.
VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST
Video and audio connections
In terms of multimedia playback, the Mecool KM9 behaves perfectly using the new S905X2 SoC, a product that supports HDMI 2.1 video output that theoretically allows maximum resolution up to 4K@75fps with HDR information. We also have a AV jack for old stereo or TV audio and video signals.
As a novelty in this SoC we verify that we have image quality settings with brightness, contrast and saturation, and several preconfigured, also has DNR “Digital Noise Reduction” that effects a smoothing effect of the image with results that depend on personal tastes,a ll of these settings do not seem to work because of some problem in the Amlogic SDK that could fixed soon. We also have specific settings to activate Dolby Vision if we have a compatible TV.
- Automatic refresh rate change: Not available, the settings exist but it does not work. *
- Audio passthrough: Available in audio settings. *
- Image adjustments: No Image quality settings / RGB mode / HDR <> SDR modes. *
- Media sharing: Chromecast NO / Miracast NO / DLNA with BlubblePnP / YES with AirPin app.
- HDMI CEC: Available in settings, but don’t work.
- * Tutorials: Judder effect and how to avoid it / Multi-channel audio guide / Correct dark screen when playing video on Android.
Video playback test
Performing our video playback tests on the Android TV-Box Mecool KM9 and the device don’t have any problem, with the integrated S905X2 SoC and a VPU compatible with most modern video formats the results are ok as we see in the video tests. We can use players like MX Player or install KODI from Google Play, we can uninstall the pre installed without problems. This model is NOT compatible with LibreELEC.
With the VPU called TruLife Gen8 gives us a pretty good image quality, we have more defined colors than in the S905X models where video processing is basic. We must also highlight the best compatibility with VP9 P2 video in 4K resolution, plus we notice improvements in the playback of Anime HVEC but still charge the CPU although it is a very specific niche format.
- Compatibility: HEVC with good performance at 10 bit color or HDR / VP9 correct with P2, not compatible with 8K
- Tutorials: Install Addons in KODI in a simple way / LibreELEC installation guide for the TV-Boxes with Android
|H.264 / VC-1||Result|
|BBB – H.264 8bit – Simple@L1 – 1080p@25fps – 7 Mbps||Correct|
|Samsung Oceanic Life – H.264 8bit – High@L5.1 – 1080p@30fps – 40 Mbps||Correct|
|Timelapse – H.264 8bit – High@L5.1 – 4K@24fps – 43 Mbps||Correct|
|Anime – H.264 10bit – High 10@L5.1 – 1080p@24fps – 10 Mbps||Correct|
|MKV – VC-1 – Advance@L3 – 1080p@24fps – 17 Mbps||Correct|
|H.265 / VP9 SDR|
|Tears of steel – HVEC 8bit – Main@L6.2@Main – 1080p@24fps – 17 Mbps||Correct|
|Samsung UHD Dubai – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.2@Main – 4K@24fps – 51 Mbps||Correct|
|Anime – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L4@Main – 1080p@24fps – 21 Mbps||Correct|
|Eye of the Storm – VP9 – 4K@24fps – 14 Mbps||Correct|
|H.265 / VP9 HDR|
|Life of Pi HDR10 – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.1@High – 4K@24fps – 45 Mbps||Correct|
|LG Demo – Dolby Vision – HVEC 12bit – Main 10@L5@Main – 4K@24fps – 30 Mbps||Correct|
|Planet Earth II – HDR HLG 10bit – Main 10@L5@High – 4K@25fps – 31 Mbps||Correct|
|The world in HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 4K@60fps – 20 Mbps||Correct|
|Peru 8K HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 8K@60fps – 20 Mbps||Frameskip|
|Jellyfish – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L6.1@High – 4K@30fps – Test up to 400 Mbps||100 Mbps = 12,5 MB/s|
- * The maximum bitrate depends on the internal storage, usb port, Ethernet adapter or wifi used, we have used the fastest available, see Hardware tests section of this same review to have more information and have consider the limitations of SAMBA Networks.
Audio playback test
Testing the Mecool KM9 using a Yamaha RXV-577 AV receiver we check that they supports DD and DTS pass through sound. We can only listen to the multi-channel audio up to 5.1, if we do not have an AV receiver and we have problems to listen to files with AC3 or multichannel sound we must configure the system to listen to configure the system to listen to multichannel AC3 videos in stereo on any TV.
- Ports: HDMI up to 5.1 / stereo audio jack
- Certification: DD y DTS 5.1.
- Chomecast Audio: We can use the Mi Box as an audio player using the app Google Home.
Audio test results
|Formats||DD / DTS 5.1||DD+ / DTS MA||DD True / DTS HR||DD Atmos / DTS X|
|HDMI||OK||OK / Core||Core||PCM / Core*|
- 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
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. The Mecool KM9 is a peculiar model, has Widevine L1 certification but has no Netflix certification that has also blocked all the Mecool TV-Box recently, so this certificate only works for YouTube 4K. On the other hand we have an Android TV system and not have Playready DRM certificate, this give us more problems with streaming apps, at the end this TV-Box would be better with Android classic OS.
- DRM: Google Widevine L1 / HDCP 1.x
- Certification: TNO.
|Streaming service||Video / Audio||Result||Manual|
|Youtube||4K (2160p) / Stereo||OK||–|
|Google Play Movies||FullHD (1080p) / Stereo||OK||–|
|Netflix||SD+ (580p) / Stereo||Using the V6 Android apk, needs a mouse||Netflix on Android|
|HBO Nordic||–||No compatible||–|
|Amazon Prime Video||–||No compatible||Amazon Prime video on Android|
The new Mecool KM9 has an interesting configuration based on the new Amlogic S905X2 SoC that now incorporates USB 3.0, also has improvements in video playback and excellent consumption, as we see has very low temperatures. The performance of the Wifi adapter is correct as well as its coverage despite the internal antenna, a pity that the Ethernet adapter is only 10/100. The remote control included is correct and allows us to use Google Assistant with the integrated microphone or perform voice searches, but lacks for a key to the multitasking function.
This Mecool KM9 TV-Box moves smoothly thanks to its 4GB of RAM and a fairly fast internal storage. A Box that is suitable as a video player for example with KODI and all kinds of common Android TV apps. The firmware is stable but as we see we have the classic limitations of an Android TV environment, this model would be interesting if you had the permission of Netflix to see that service in HD quality or Playready for Amazon and HBO. The included Widevine L1 certification only give us the option to see YouTube in 4K.
In general a correct model with remote voice control but that suffers from limitations with the Android TV system and not have certificates to take advantage of it, you can compare with our recommended models to see other alternatives.
WHERE TO BUY AND ADD-ONS
Hiyaz: Can someone tell me how to clear background apps on the KM9? Aside from just killiing the apps. Thank you kindly!
Does the voice control working in various program or only with few?
Can U describe how to phisicly connect OPTICAL digital audio output to the receiver ?
Ports: HDMI up to 5.1 / stereo audio jack + optical multichannel by mini TOSLINK up to 5.1.
As far as I know in AV port we can find reset button but NOT optical connection.
Thank U for your answer.
This box only have stereo jack, copy paste error in this line, fixed.
All the other text, specs and test don’t talk about optical.
Can it really manage Dolby Vision output? Can you try it with some compatible LG/Panasonic/Sony TV Model? For example Nvidia Shield still doesn’t support Dolby Vision.