REVIEW: Mecool M8S MAX a TV-Box with integrated fan

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Mecool M8S MAX is an Android TV model of which we present today its analysis or review, a Smart Box that has the powerful Amlogic S912 SoC and is identical to the Mecool M8S Pro L although in this case it surprises us with the inclusion of a fan. This TV-Box has 3GB of DDR3 RAM integrated in board, 32GB of internal storage, an WiFi ac  + BT 4.1 adapter and as operating system has Android 7.1.2. Let’s see in our review how this device behaves and how it defends itself regarding direct competition.
  • Mecool M8S MAX can be purchased in Gearbest.com only for $59,99 (50€) with shipping cost included

PRODUCT DETAILS

ModelMecool M8S MAX
Basic SpecsSoC: Amlogic S912 Octa Core Cortex A-53 (64bit) / GPU Mali-T820 MP3 / 8x ARM-A53 @ 1.3GHz / 28nm
System: Android 7.1.2 (32bit)
Ram and storage: 3GB DDR3 – 32GB eMMC
Network: Wifi ac Dual band (CDtech 2010230) + Bluetooth 4.1 – Ethernet 10/100
Ports: HDMI 2.0a 4K@60fps / Jack AV / 2x USB 2.0 / MicroSD
Extras: IR remote control / HDMI cable / Manual / DC 5V 2A adapter

Description

The Mecool M8S MAX TV-Box is presented in a basic cardboard box, inside we have the TV-Box, remote control, HDMI 2.0a cable, small first steps manual and 5V 2A power adapter with its adapter if necessary. The IR remote is a very basic model, it has a key to move the pointer on the screen using the crosshead also has a key copy function.

  • Remote Control: Only basic IR remote for basic functionalities. We can choose other alternatives.
  • Voice control: Not available by default, see previous alternatives.
  • Alternate control: We can control remotely using the app  Cetusplay / Don’t have its own remote control app.

The M8S MAX has as we see a grid on the top that lets out the air from the installed fan, has two status LEDs that light up when connected, one on the fan and one on the front. We have an HDMI 2.0 connector up to 4K@60fps, two USB 2.0 ports, AV jack, microSD reader and power connector.

  • Materials and measures: Plastic / 100 x 100 x 20 mm / 180 gr.
  • Package contents: Manual / Adapter DC 5V 2A / HDMI cable / IR remote (2x AAA batteries not included).
  • Interfaces: HDMI 2.0 4K@60fps / Jack AV / 2x USB 2.0 / MicroSD
  • Leds and panel: Frontal LED.

When opening the TV-Box we can see the Wifi aC Dual Band + Bluetooth 4.1 (CDtech 2010230) chip that mounts an internal antenna attached to the box. The cooling system consists of a simple metal heatsink attached to the SoC and then has a fan in the box that expels the air from inside, it is not quite silent but it is not annoying. This model does NOT have an update button, you must make a bridge on the board where we indicate.

SYSTEM AND PERFORMANCE

Environment and Android system

We connect the Mecool M8S MAX to the DC adapter, it boots automatically with an animation and the frontal led lights up. We arrived at the launcher by default based on pictures, we can customize the lower area by adding icons of direct access to the apps we want, little more customizable. The system does have a lower and upper navigation bar can be activated from the settings menu, something that increases the functionalities to the environment. This device have ok performance level of desktop or with basic apps, the Android 7.1.2 system works well without forced closed apps and we are surprised to find a manual in digital format more extensive than normal

  • Launcher: Android 7.1.2 Launcher / YES we can change launcher but only Pixel launcher works 100% / Android UI rendering at 1080p.
  • Multitasking and access: YES lowe nava bar and notification area / NO multitasking available.
  • Installed apps: Google play, Netflix, Youtube, Miracast, Settings, AirPin, Manual, MX Player, Airpin and TV CENTER (KODI)
  • Languages: All the international Android classics.
  • On/Off Controls: If we keep press the power button we have reset and power off option / Configurable in settings.

We check the system data within the Android settings and through analysis software, we can see the details of the system installed by default, in this case in Android 7.1.2 with support for 64bit apps, the system IS Root.

  • System version: Android 7.1.2 (64 bit) / Kernel 3.14.29 / Build 2019-05-22 / Reference S912.
  • App store: Google Play with all the apps available for the Android system.
  • Settings and root: Lateral Android settings / The system IS root by default / NO menu to deactivate it in settings.
  • Support: MEcool don’t have website for direct support / Firmware  available / Custom firmware available, same as M8S Pro L.

Power and performance

As for power the Mecool M8S MAX has quite good results, moves the system fast, we can run the classic apps and powerful games quite fluently. At the power level it has correct results in its range, the Amlogic S912 Octa Core SoC with ARM Cortex-A53 and Mali-T820 MP3 GPU processors make a good combo. As we see the Governor of the SoC is defined as Interactive, we can change it to Performance with FK Kernel manager and get more performance thanks to the fan.

This SoC is manufactured in 28nm has a somewhat high consumption when required, temperatures are kept very low thanks to the installed fan, of course this carries some noise, although it is not very high with this fan. It can be a suitable TV-Box to play long sessions or to have it in very hot places.

  • Consumption: Off 2.3W / Standby 3W / Basic use 4W / Maximum 7W
  • Thermals: Minimum 50ºC / Maximum 56ºC / Maintains performance up to 100% / Heat zone on the top / Noise 25db

Observing the performance tests we can see how the Amlogic S912 SoC is slightly above the recent Amlogic S905X SoC of the current generation. In general, it is below other SoCs with Cortex-A73 cores or with better GPUs such as the RK3399 and the recent S922X of the Beelink GT-King.

This model IS compatible with PUBG since its GPU has OpenGL ES 3.1 support necessary for this demanding title. A valid SoC to run games and emulators at a high level without reaching the top of details.

  • Games and emulators: IS possible to play demanding titles such as PUBG / Emulators up to Wii / NO Vulkan support.
  • Controls: Compatible with Gamepads by cable or bluetooth.

Network, storage, RAM and ports

In the TV-Box Mecool M8S MAX we have integrated eMMC memory as internal storage, USB 2.0 ports and SD card reader. In the network section we have a Wifi ac Dual band + Bluetooth 4.1 (CDtech 2010230) and Ethernet 10/100 port. The performance of the Wifi chip is basic and we do not have a satisfactory top speed as we can see in the results.

  • Storage: Total 32GB – Free 24GB eMMC / NTFS + exFAT compatible / YES expandable with USB or SD to expand
  • RAM: Total 3GB – Free 2GB / DDR3.
  • Network: Basic speed with one external wifi antenna / Range 52 dBm, correct. / Bluetooth ok.
  • We recommend reading our Tutorial SAMBA on Android networks if we are going to use files from our network PC.
USB 2.0USB 3.0microSDSATA
Read / Write21/18 MB/s20/19 MB/s

VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

Video playback test

Regarding the video playback section, the Mecool M8S MAX has the S912 SoC and a VPU compatible with most modern video formats such as h.265 and VP9 with native 4K resolution support. In this TV-Box we can use players like MX Player or install KODI from Google Play without the slightest problem, the system comes by default with a KODI version full of addons that we recommend to uninstall. This model has image quality settings with brightness, contrast and saturation, which can help us to fine-tune the result on the screen.

We passed several tests of multimedia playback with the Mecool M8S MAX we verified that it works efficiently using the new Amlogic S912 SoC, which has support of video output by HDMI 2.0 that allows maximum resolution up to 4K@60fps with HDR information and is also compatible with Dolby Vision .

Video results

FormatsResult
h.264 / 1080i / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)Frameskip
h.265 / 1080p / 8bitOK
h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)Frameskip
h.265 / 4K / 8bitOK
h.265 / 4K / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P1 / 4K / 8bitOK
VP9 P2 / 4K / 10bit HDRLow Frameskip
VP9 P2 / 8K / 10bit HDRFrameskip
  • The maximum bitrate depends on the port used to connect or the limitations of SAMBA Networks.

Audio playback test

For testing the audio in the Mecool M8S MAX we use a Yamaha 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 to listen the 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.

Audio test results

FormatsDD / DTS 5.1DD+ / DTS MADD True / DTS HRDD Atmos / DTS X
HDMIOK / OKCoreCorePCM / Core*
Optical-*
  • 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

In our classic tests with the streaming services we see how the most popular services work. The Mecool M8S MAX presents the classic configuration without certificates that limits us in quality in several streaming services, luckily it seems that if it is compatible with most services even if they are in their most basic SD quality

Streaming serviceVideo / AudioResultManual
YoutubeFullHD (1080p) / StereoOK
Google Play MoviesHD (720p) / StereoOK
NetflixSD+ (540p) / StereoOK, installing the apk and needs a mouseNetflix on Android
HBOFullHD (1080p) / StereoOK, needs a mouse
Amazon Prime VideoSD (480p) / StereoOK, needs a mouseAmazon Prime video on Android

CONCLUSIONS

Score

Mecool M8S MAX

0.00
6.4

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

7.0/10

HARDWARE

7.0/10

AUTONOMY

6.5/10

SUPPORT

5.0/10

PRICE/QUALITY

6.5/10

Pros

  • Fan to squeeze the S912
  • Good for gaming
  • Fast and powerful
  • OS stable with nav bars
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Audible fan in silent
  • Android 7

Opinion

After test the TV-Box Mecool M8S MAX we can say that we find the same model as the M8S Pro L but with a fan, luckily it is not very annoying but as a media player a fanless model is better. It has a fairly powerful hardware that thanks to the fan does not go into thermal throttle and can serve us to play PUBG or similar for hours. At the network level, the dual band Wifi aC adapter that integrates with its internal antenna gives us basic results and the 10/100 Ethernet port speed is correct but it could be Gigabit, some usual hardware cuts in products of this brand and price.

The Mecool M8S MAX has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, more than enough for normal use. This is a valid Box as a video player, for example with KODI or similar. The installed system is Android 7.1.2 is already something old, it does not contribute anything to highlight although at least we have navigation bars, it lacks the option of a root selector or other extra options that would add points in the global.

This TV-Box stands out for its fan and can be valid for intensive use with games like PUBG since multimedia is an annoying addition. Consult our recommended models to see other alternatives.

WHERE TO BUY AND ADD-ONS

  • Mecool M8S MAX can be purchased in Gearbest.com only for $59,99 (50€) with shipping cost included

Add-ons

Did you find apk for android? You can find new Free Android Games and apps.

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aiman04

Hi, thanks for all your detailed reviews, really help a lot.

I’m getting into Android media player for the first time. Been studying a lot in the last few days. However, all the model specs never mention supported USB disk size. I have a couple of 4TB USB harddisk (GPT), will all the brands/models able to read and play movies from them? Or only certain models, how to know?

I want to make sure before I purchase, thanks.

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