REVIEW: MINIX NEO U22-XJ the new flagship of MINIX

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MINIX NEO U22-XJ is a new flagship TV-Box from the MINIX brand, of which we present today its analysis or review, a device that this time integrates the powerful Amlogic S922X-J SoC, a chip that includes four ARM Cortex-A73 CPU cores  and two A55. This smart box has the Android 9 Pie system installed by default, it also integrates hardware with very complete specifications for use in any domestic environment or in professional sectors such as digital signage. Let’s see in our review how this device behaves and how it defends itself against its rivals.

PRODUCT DETAILS

ModelMINIX NEO U22-XJ
Basic SpecsSoC: Amlogic S922X-J Hexa Core 4x Cortex-A73 + 2x A53 @ 1.8GHz (64bit) / GPU Mali-G52 MP4 / 12nm
System: Android 9 Pie (32bit)
Memorias, red y encendido:
– 4GB RAM DDR4 + 32GB eMMc 5.1 / Wifi ac 2×2 MIMO + BT 4.1 (AP6356S) / Ethernet Gigabit / MCU
Ports: HDMI 2.1 4K@75fps / Jack audio / SPDIF / 3x USB 3.0 / 1x USB 3.0 Type-C / MicroSD / Reset
Extras: IR remote / HDMI cable / USB Type-C cable / Manual / Wifi antenna / DC 5V 3A adapter
Materials and measures: Plastic / Frontal LED / 126 x 126 x 30 mm / 250 gr.

Unboxing

The model MINIX NEO U22-XJ we are presented with a box made of plastic with the classic lines of MINIX, at the top we have the brand’s logo in relief. This box includes an HDMI 2.0 cable, USB Type-C cable to update and a simple IR remote that allows us to control apps like KODI but that is limited in other more complex ones.

Description

This Android TV-Box MINIX NEO U22-XJ is made in plastic in the front we have a small LED light that indicates the status of the TV-Box, on the sides and in the back we have all the connectors. They highlight its SD card reader, three USB 3.0 Type-A ports and another USB 3.0 Type-C port, next to the antenna we have the update button and on the same side the Kensington lock. We also have HDMI 2.1, SPDIF, Gigabit Ethernet, configurable audio jack and power connector.

On the motherboard we can see the Wifi ac 2×2 MIMO + BT 4.1 (AP6356S) chip that has two wifi antennas, one internal and one external. The cooling system mounts a fairly generous aluminum plate in contact with the SoC and the memories, which as we will see does its job.

  • Remote Control: Basic IR Remote we can choose other alternatives.
  • Alternate control: Have its own control app / We can try Cetusplay in our smartphone.

MINIX NEO A3

As an ideal complement to the MINIX NEO U22-XJ we have the MINIX NEO A3 remote. This is a double-sided Flymouse control with keyboard and multimedia controller that also integrates a microphone to give commands by Google Assistant. The remote is connected with a USB adapter to a port of the TV-Box, it also has an infrared system to turn our Box on and off. This remote has backlit keys to control it in the dark, it uses two AAA batteries to operate.

SYSTEM AND PERFORMANCE

Environment and Android system

We connect the MINIX NEO U22-XJ and it does NOT start automatically although we can change this in the MCU settings of the box. When starting, we have the option of selecting two launchers, one of them simple like a tablet and the other designed by MINIX for TV-Box. The first is more flexible for use with a mouse and the second is perfect for use with the included remote control. This second launcher has a lower row that we can customize with the icons of the apps that we want. The performance of Android 9 is very good at the desktop level or with heavy apps, it works stable and without forced closings in the apps.

  • Launcher: We can install other alternative launchers in Google Play / Android UI rendering at 1080p.
  • Multitasking and access: Multitasking ONLY available in lower bar / YES lower and upper Android bars.
  • Languages and Google Play: All the international Android classics / Google Play installed.

At the level of system settings we must highlight the MCU controls for automatic, programmable or network boot we also have Root selector and screen rotation control ideal for digital signage among other options. Miracast, X-Plore, FOTA Update and KODI stand out in the installed apps without installed add-ons.

  • On/Off Controls: If we keep press the power button we have reset and power off option / Configurable in settings.
  • System version and root: Android 9 Pie (32 bit) / NO root by default / YES root menu / Build 2020-04-30 V003 / Model Galilei.
  • Support: MINIX have a site and forum for support / Firmware available / Custom firmware not available yet.

Network, storage, RAM and ports

The TV-Box MINIX NEO U22-XJ has eMMC 5.1 for internal storage + DDR4 RAM, it has two USB 3.0 port and SD card reader. In the network section it has a wireless adapter Wifi ac 2×2 MIMO + BT 4.1 (AP6356S) and Ethernet Gigabit port. As we can see in the tests the results are good, the wifi reaches decent speeds and the range is normal for a model with two antennas.

  • Storage: Total 32GB  – Free 29GB / NTFS + exFAT compatible / Expandable with a USB or SD external memory.
  • RAM: Total 4GB – Free 3GB / DDR4.
  • Network: Good speed with two antennas, internal + external / Range 38dBm, fine. / 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 / Write23/18 MB/s82/37 MB/s21/19 MB/s

Power and performance

At level of performance the MINIX NEO U22-XJ you can run any Android app or game thanks to its Amlogic S922X-J Hexa Core SoC with ARM Cortex-A73 + A53 processors and in the graphic section its Mali-G52 MP4 GPU is in the mid / high range. This SoC is made of 12nm, has a fairly low consumption. Temperatures are very low in normal use, the processor manages the speeds correctly so as not to overheat although in prolonged use with synthetic tests it goes into protection mode, something very usual.

  • Thermals: Min. 39ºC / Working  53ºC / Max. 65ºC / Maintains performance up to 85% / Heat zone on the top / Noise 0db
  • Consumption: Off 0.6W / Min 2.8W / Working 4.3W / Max. 12W
  • Games and emulators: IS possible to play titles such as PUBG with low settings / Emulators up to Wii / NO Vulkan support.
  • Controls: Compatible with Gamepads by cable or bluetooth.

VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

Video playback test

We tested this TV-Box on its video playback aspect, the MINIX NEO U22-XJ has excellent performance as the Amlogic S922X-J SoC integrates an Advanced Video Engine Gen10 VPU compatible with most modern video formats like h.265 and VP9 with native 4K@60 HDR resolution support.

We can use players like KODI or PLEX without the slightest problem and the system comes with a version of KODI full of addons that we recommend to uninstall. At the audio level we can reproduce DD and DTS sound up to 5.1 through the HDMI or SPDIF port if we have an AV receiver. See our Amlogic S922X SoC Comparison for more Audio / Video details on this SoC.

Video results

FormatsResult
h.264 / 1080i / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)Little frameskip (SW)
h.265 / 1080p / 8bitOK
h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)OK
h.265 / 4K@24fps / 8bitOK
h.265 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P1 / 4K@24fps / 8bitOK
VP9 P2 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P2 / 8K@60fps / 10bit HDRNo compatible
AV1 / 4K@24fps / 10bitNo compatible, more info about AV1
Max. Bitrate100 Mbps = 12,5 MB/s.
  • The maximum bitrate depends on the port used to connect or the limitations of SAMBA Networks.
  • SW = does not have hardware acceleration and may have have some frameskip in very heavy files.

Audio test results

FormatsDD / DTS 5.1DD+ / DTS MADD True / DTS HRDD Atmos / DTS X
HDMIOK / OKCoreCoreCore*
OpticalOK / OKCoreCoreCore*
  • 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

Passing our usual tests with streaming services we check how the most popular services work. The MINIX NEO U22-XJ has a configuration with DRM certificates but is limited in quality in paid streaming services, although luckily it is compatible with most services although they are in their most basic quality of SD video. In this TV-Box we can see Disney+ with sound thanks to the Dolby certificate that it includes.

Streaming serviceVideo / AudioResultManual
YoutubeHD HDR (720p) / StereoOK
Google Play MoviesHD (720p) / StereoOK
NetflixSD+ (540p) / StereoOK, installing the apk with mouseNetflix on Android
HBOFullHD (1080p) / StereoOK, with mouseHBO on Android
Amazon Prime VideoSD (480p) / StereoOK, with mouseAmazon Prime video on Android
Disney+HD (720p) / StereoOK (Sound too), with mouseDisney+ on Android
DAZNHD (720p) / StereoOK, with mouse
IPTVFullHD (1080p) / StereoOK

CONCLUSIONS AND BUY LINKS

Score

MINIX NEO U22-XJ

0.00
8

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

8.0/10

HARDWARE

8.5/10

SOFTWARE

8.0/10

SUPPORT

8.5/10

PRICE/QUALITY

7.0/10

Pros

  • Android 9 fast and stable
  • Design and components
  • Dolby for Disney+
  • MCU and screen rotation
  • Fast Wifi and Ethernet

Cons

  • Several audio formats remain to be activated
  • Vulkan and SAMBA not activated yet

Opinion

Once reviewed the MINIX NEO U22-XJ we can say that we are facing a very complete and interesting Android TV-Box. In this model we have the powerful Amlogic S922X-J SoC that has more than enough power to move any app, powerful games like PUBG, emulators up to 16bit, apps for IPTV or using KODI where we can play 4K@60fps video without performance problems . It is also compatible with all the streaming apps that we have tested such as Netflix, Disney+ (with sound), Amazon Prime Video or HBO, although some are limited do SD image quality due to the absence of certificates.

The MINIX NEO U22-XJ stands out for its Wifi aC 2×2 MIMO Dual Band adapter with good speeds and also for its Gigabit Ethernet port. It also has a programmable MCU boot chip and screen rotation control settings something very sought after for use in digital signage. This new TV-Box does not overheat with video playback or with games as we have verified. As a system we have Android 9 Pie, in general is very stable and moves very smoothly, includes Android navigation bars and a root selector that allows us, for example, to activate the video automatic frame rate refresh.

After testing it we can say that the MINIX NEO U22-XJ is a very complete and powerful TV-Box, it stands out above the rest for the build quality and all the extra details that we find in its firmware that has plans to improve even more.

Where to buy

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14 Comments
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G B

I find the split-screen feature in Android very useful, eg. I can be streaming a news program while simultaneously surfing the net, but the cheaper boxes struggle to process this. So I bought Beelink GT-King with the S922 to handle this but the GT-King has a crippled version of Android 9 with many problems including the fact that it doesn’t have the split-screen feature. Can somebody tell me whether the U22 has the split-screen feature so I can throw the GT-King in the waste bin where it belongs?

G B

Thanks, Kim.

Ugoos have also confirmed that the Android 9 on their AM6 box also lacks this feature.

It seems that all the Android 9 boxes, from the cheapest up to the higher end, have a crippled version running. I will stay with boxes running 7.1 or 8.1 in future.

There are some boxes being announced with Android 10 – I wonder how ‘real’ these versions are? I would be grateful if your future reviews could comment more on the version of Android installed.

Many thanks.

GB

G B

I have just received this explanation from Ugoos:

“It depends on Amlogic, we are waiting Amlgoic to give us a new SDK with OS updated.”

Now I understand.

la_monda

So it is so powerful as beelink king but with better wifi and case? Can you find other advantages because is more expensive. Thanks

Bizzob

Seems the Ugoos AM6 Plus is the more powerful box for now. I was expecting the U22 to be at least equal to it, but it’s running underpowered.
Seems like the Minix U22 is equal to the Beelink GT King Pro at the moment in terms of speed, but more expensive than most boxes out today.

Bizzob

So this isn’t as powerful as the Ugoos AM6 Plus that recently came out? I see both boxes are almost the same specs and running the same S922X-J chip but the Minix U22 seems to be underclocked?

ceebee

‘…Other points are more crucial to take a decision….’
For example? Maybe a recommendation from you?
Thank you.

Tom

In New update fw003 the clock speed is set max to 2.2

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