REVIEW: Mecool M8S PRO+ a Chinese Low Cost TV-Box with NETFLIX HD

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We get from the Chinese store Gearbest.com  a new TV-Box for its review called Mecool M8S PRO+ motorized with the Quad Core Amlogic S905X SoC capable of playing 4K videos without problems. This device comes with 2GB of RAM,16GB of storage memory and has the Android 7.1 Operating System, as we will see surprisingly this model supports NETFLIX HD if we install a specific firmware. Let’s see how this device behaves in our review without further ado and what opinion it deserves.

  • Buy the Mecool M8S PRO+ on the online shop Gearbest.com only for $50.93 with free shipping

SPECIFICATIONS

ModelMecool M8S PRO+
CPUAmlogic S905X Cortex-A53 Quad Core 1.6GHz
GPUMali-450mp5
OSAndroid 7.1
RAM2GB DDR3
Storage16GB eMMc
WiFiWiFi b/g/n
BluetoothNo
PortsA/V
2x USB 2.0
HDMI 2.0a
microSD reader
Ethernet 10/100
 OthersRecovery button
 ContentIR Remote
HDMI Cable
5V/2A DC adapter
Manual

CONTENT DESCRIPTION

Package content

The Mecool M8S PRO+ TV-Box comes in a neutral cardboard box. Inside you will find the TV-Box and the rest of the accessories that accompany it, an HDMI cable, IR remote control, 5V/2A power adapter and an English manual, come on the typical.

Product Details

The small box of the Mecool M8S PRO+ is entirely made of plastic and features the typical quadrangular design with the connectors on the sides. We have the name of the device printed on the top and a small LED on the front that illuminates when the device is turned on. The grating of the device stands out which is quite abundant, something that is always interesting in a passive device, by the way the reset button is located in the front to the right of the status led inside a ventilation slot.

 

On the sides of the Mecool M8S PRO+ we find the connectors, on one side we have, 2 USB 2.0 ports and a microSD card reader.

On the back we find and AV output. 10/00 network port, an HDMI 2.0 and the power connector. The Wi-Fi antenna on this TV-Box is internal so it is not at sight.

At the bottom we find a good grille vent with 4 small rubber feet.

CONNECTING THE DEVICE

Connection and desktops

The Mecool M8S PRO+ TV-Box is connected to the main power supply via its included power adapter and it is automatically switched on since the box lacks a power button.

  • Start up time: 23 seconds

The launcher by default is typical from this brand, it is based on large icons and is intended to be used with the included IR remote, although we can change it from any other we download from Google Play. A simple and basic launcher that can serve us without many complications. This launcher has navigation bars and notification tabs from Android, the inferior bar can be enabled or disabled from Android’s settings.

In the Mecool M8S PRO+ we found some apps installed as standard, nothing exaggerated. Naturally in this TV-Box we have Kodi installed with a lot of plugins of all sorts, under the name of TV CENTER and we have the Netflix app too.

The system settings appear on the side with a few small icons. In this device also access the classic Android settings, we can access from the settings icon of the upper status bar.

User experience

The Mecool M8S PRO+ has similar performance to other devices with the S905X SoC that we have been able to test. The experience using this Box is good, the device runs smoothly and the applications load quickly thanks to the fast storage memory that comes with this device. This TV-Box also includes 2GB of RAM that always help favorably when running the OS.

Android System

The Mecool M8S PRO+ TV-Box has Android OS 7.1, with 3.14.29 kernel and the compilation dates to 29-06-2017. It is with this version that we have done the review you are reading. This firmware has performed very well during our tests, the system runs smoothly all the time.

Brand Support

Mecool does NOT have an official website where you can download firmware nor access a minimum of support. The device counts with an App for updates via OTA, although we have not received any updates during the review. At the moment no support for this TV-Box.

Storage and RAM

The Mecool M8S PRO+ TV-Box has 2GB of DDR3 RAM on the board and 16 GB of eMMc storage memory, although from this storage memory we have actually about 10 GB available, the rest is occupied by system files. Being a device with AMLogic SOC this has a single partition in the storage memory, which facilitates the management of our files.

We performed the tests of the memory and internal storage that integrate this device, we used the SD bench app. The results of the Mecool M8S PRO+ are normal within its range although it emphasizes the reading speed of its storage memory that makes opening apps, for example, quite fast while the system runs smoothly.

Consumption and temperatures

The consumption values of the Mecool M8S PRO+ with its S905X SoC are very low, even putting the SoC to the brim with 3D Graphics games it reaches the 6W of consumption in only one moment. We do not notice an excessive heating of the device even after our battery tests that put the device to the maximum for a long time, in addition the device counts with a good grating in its box.

Google Play and Amazon App Store

Google Play work without any problems, we only had some punctual incompatibility in some apps we wanted to download. With Amazon’s App Store we had the same result, no major issues with this TV-Box, it seems this aspect is under control.

Root

This Mecool M8S PRO+  TV-Box model does NOT have root access enabled in this firmware.

Power Off / Standby / Power On

The Mecool M8S PRO+ has a power off button on the IR control that you can configure from Android’s settings to turn off/reboot/put on standby the device. We also have Android’s bottom bar with a virtual power off button.

TEST BENCH

Video and audio connections.

The Mecool M8S PRO+ features the Amlogic S905X SoC which includes a Mali-450MP5 GPU, which is a GPU that supports video output over HDMI 2.0a. In the screen settings menu we find all the usual modes for 4K resolutions and 1080p 24Hz mode, the resolution list varies depending on the connected screen. As usual in most Chinese firmware, we lack control of brightness, contrast and saturation, nor do we have in this TV-Box, normally on the other hand, auto-refreshing options, which is necessary to avoid the Judder effect. The video quality is correct considering the price of this TV-Box in the market, if we want more quality and video options we will have to go for a higher price SoC TV-Box with better video features.

Within screen settings we can activate the RGB mode, which may be necessary on some older TV models that have incompatibility issues with the current color modes.

DLNA and Miracast

In the Mecool M8S PRO+ we have installed the usual DLNA app found in the TV-Box with Amlogic SoC although we can also install one from Google Play. With the serial app we had no problems using DLNA. Nor do we have problems to us Miracast in the system, we have a ready mirroring within a few seconds and without too much lag.

Webcam

We test the Hangouts app on the Mecool M8S PRO+ TV-Box and we have diverse problems with the image on the TV-Box that prevent us from doing it successfully. We have been able to make video-conferences without any remarkable problems with Skype using a simple Logitech C170 webcam, a model that is very compatible with Android.

NETWORK CONNECTIONS

Wi-Fi and Ethernet

In the communications section in the Mecool M8S PRO+ we have a wireless Wi-Fi b/g/n adapter and also an Ethernet 10/100 port, with them we have connected with an ASUS RT-AC1200G+ Router, a mid-range device. We transferred files over a SAMBA network and connected through a 2,4Ghz Wi-Fi we achieved a speed of about 27 mbps. This model has a 10/100 network connector with which we used a Category 6 network cable to guarantee the speed, using this connection we reach about 95 mbps. Correct results for a TV-Box of this price range and with internal antenna as standard.

To testing the network adapters performance playing streaming services we use 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, Ethernet cabling and other factors. The results are correct with both the Wi-Fi adapter and the Ethernet port.

Bluetooth

The Mecool M8S PRO+ does NOT include Bluetooth connectivity.

CONTROL SYSTEMS
Remote control

Along with the Mecool M8S PRO+ we have an infrared remote control fed by a pair of AAA batteries. This remote gives us access to the basic functions of the TV-Box, we can easily control the default launcher and apps like KODI. It also has the key cloning option, although the enabled buttons are only 4. We also have the CEC control option enabled in Android’s settings, although this time it did not work correctly on a Thomson TV.

Remote control app

The Mecool M8S PRO+ does not have this service installed as default, we assume it is because it includes Android 7.1.1 although we can use the alternative CetusPlay to control it from our mobile.

Gamepad and games

We connected the Mecool M8S PRO+ to an Xbox 360 Gamepad through an USB port and the device does NOT recognize it, something that has already happened to us in many TV-Boxes with the S905X SoC. We have to look for other alternatives to play with physical controls, for example a mouse, although we will surely have to ROOT the device. We will not have any problems to play most of the catalog of the Google Play Store with the GPU that comes with this SoC, most of the titles would have to run with the best graphic configuration without any problems.

PERFORMANCE TEST

SOC

The Mecool M8S PRO+ TV-Box integrates the AMLogic S905X SoC which includes four ARM Cortex-A53 processors with support for 64bits instructions and a Mali-450mp5 GPU. This AMLogic SoC operates between 100 Mhz and 1,51 GHz depending on the performance needs of the system and incorporates hardware decoding support for the H.265, 10-bit H.265 video codec and also supports VP9 codec. It is capable of supporting video output at 4K@60fps thanks to the included HDMI 2.0a conector.

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 video playback tests the Mecool M8S PRO+ gives us correct results in general, In the line of other Amlogic S905X SoC models. It is possible to play the most common files without major problems and we can watch videos at resolutions to 1080P or also in 4K format encoded with the h.265 codec. This SoC also supports HDR modes with 10 bit color, an option that we can activate in its settings if we have a TV compatible with this mode.y.

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 MbpsCorrectCorrect
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 M8S PRO+ we have the Amlogic S905X 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 we verified that we have audio pass through available for DD 7.1 and DTS 5.1, the results are variable depending on the software that we use although we recommend to use the default player or to buy a licensed device if we want to use pass through without any problems.

Test results

Formato audioPCM*HDMIOptical
Dolby Digital 5.1CorrectCorrectCorrect
Dolby Digital Plus 7.1CorrectCorrectCore
Dolby True HD 7.1CorrectCorrectCore
Dolby Atmos 7.1CorrectCorrect *Core
DTS 5.1CorrectCorrectCorrect
DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1CorrectCorrect**Core
DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1CorrectCorrect**Core
DTS-X 7.1CorrectCorrect *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 well
  • ** Depends on the player, with native player only DTS 5.1, with KODI we get to DTS 7.1

WEB NAVIGATION AND STREAMING

Navigation

For our performance tests with the Mecool M8S PRO + we use the standard browser where we have no problems opening a good number of tabs thanks to its 2 GB of DDR4 RAM. The contents that are played in HTML5 do not have major problems with the included default browser which has a good general compatibility, we can install the browser we like the most if this one does not convince us from the Play Store.

DRM

At the level of the necessary DRM certificates for some payed Streaming apps we count only with Google Widevine L1, something usual in this kind of models.

Youtube and streaming apps

From Google Play we installed some of the most common Streaming apps to watch TV online that we downloaded from the Play Store like Clan TV, Mitele and similar, we don’t have problems. This TV-Box can play Youtube up to 1080p without any problems with the version that comes installed as standard.

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
Amazon Prime VideoSD (480p)StereoCorrect
HBODon’t work
  •  * Only works with FullHD resolution installing a Android TV custom firmware  which is not very stable yet.
  • 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.

CONCLUSIONS

Mecool M8S Pro+

5.9

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

6.0/10

HARDWARE

5.5/10

SOFTWARE

7.0/10

SUPPORT

5.0/10

PRICE/QUALITY

6.0/10

Pros

  • Android 7.1
  • Correct hardware performance
  • Netflix HD with custom firmware

Cons

  • Basic firmware with bugs
  • Lack of support

Opinion

As you can see in our review the Mecool M8S PRO+ is the typical low price Chinese product with basic hardware but correct within its range. Generally, the device behaves quite well thanks to its 2GB of RAM and can run apps like Kodi smoothly and stably. As in other TV-Boxes with Amlogic S905X SoC there is no problem when playing videos at 1080p and 4K with a basic image quality, as always the weak point of these devices is the base firmware, not really well-tuned and need some work to correct the little bugs. In short it is a basic but acceptable device to use as a media player and it can be a cheap alternative if we look for a player for NETFLIX HD, although we have to install an alternative firmware in beta status.

Where to buy

  • Buy the Mecool M8S PRO+ on the online shop Gearbest.com only for $50.93 with free shipping

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