REVIEW: RKM MK39 with Hexa Core RK3399 SoC, 4GB of DDR4 and Android 7.1

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Thanks to the collaboration of the brand RKM today we present the analysis of the new TV-Box RKM MK39, a device that integrates the powerful Rockchip RK3399 SoC a Hexa Core model with Cortex-A72 cores and a very powerful Mali-T860mp4 GPU. In this model we have the classic configuration that accompanies this SoC, it has 4 GB of DDR4 RAM, 32GB of internal storage, Wifi AC, Gigabit Ethernet and even a USB 3.0 Type-C port. A configuration as we see very tempting but as we have seen in other reviews has some poor results at a practical level in TV-Box, where highlights this SoC is with the Samsung Chromebook Plus with ChromeOS that left us very good results, as seems that is the real scope for which it is designed. Let’s see how this new TV-Box behaves and if it has improved somewhat compared to other similar models.

  • Buy the RKM MK39 at the official store of RKM in Aliexpress only for $137,9 with shipping cost

SPECIFICATIONS

ModelRKM MK39
CPURockchip RK3399 Hexa core 2x Cortex-A72 + 4x Cortex-A53
GPUMali-T860MP4
OSAndroid 7.1.2 (64bit)
RAM4 GB DDR4
Storage32 GB eMMc
WiFiWiFi ac, external antenna
Bluetooth4.1
Ports2x USB 2.0
1x USB 3.0
1x USB 3.0 Type-C
microSD reader
HDMI 2.0b
Jack audio / AV video
SPDIF
Ethernet Gigabit
 OthersRecovery button
 ContentIR Remote
HDMI Cable
12V/2A DC adapter
Manual
Dimensions: 5.7 x 6.2 x 1.7 inches
Weight: 1.1 lb

CONTENT DESCRIPTION

Package content

The model RKM MK39 is presented in a rectangular cardboard box with picture of the product and the logo. Inside we have the device and the rest of the accessories that accompany this model that are located in the bottom under a cardboard cover, we found an HDMI cable, IR remote and a 12V 2A (24W) power supply.

Product Details

The TV-Box RKM MK39 is completely made of plastic, one of the corners is chamfered, on top we have the logo of the brand with the acronym RKM, on the front we have a blue status LED that changes from red to blue.

On one of its sides we have two USB 2.0 ports, USB 3.0 Type-C connector and a microSD card reader.

In the rear of the RKM MK39 we find the other connectors, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 Type-A, HDMI 2.0b that allows resolutions up to 4K@60fps, audio and AV jack, SPDIF audio output, round power connector and antenna external wifi.

In the lower part of the RKM MK39 we have four rubber feet and a fully perforated area to improve the thermals, this SoC is quite hot but the cooling system seems to work properly.

CONNECTING THE DEVICE

Connection and desktops

We connect to the current the RKM MK39 and it is turned on directly reaching the launcher installed by default, we are facing the classic environment of this brand with a panel of boxes that we can not customize. In the lower part we have an area where it is possible to include the app that we want to have on the first screen. Interestingly, we can not change the launcher since the three that we have tried when executing them are automatically closed.

  • Boot time: 19 seconds

In the list of installed applications by default we find few things, Chrome standard, iPerf to measure network speeds, Explorer to manage files, Google Play store, WiFiDisplay for Miracast, a version of Netflix, online updater and YouTube in Android TV version.

The large boxes of the launcher can be customized by adding apps of each category using the + icon.

The system as we see has a bar of Android shortcuts and top curtain for notifications, something useful to use for example with a mouse and keyboard.

Within the system settings we see that we can change the language to any other without problems, we also have the usual list with all the languages of the Android system by default.

User Experience

The performance of the RKM MK39 very good thanks to the power of SoC Rockchip RK3399, has a generous 4 GB of DDR4 RAM we can load a good number of applications in multitasking without being closed, we also have a memory of 32 GB eMMC 5.1 that It has an excellent reading speed. On the other hand some apps have given us forced closure at some time and it seems that the firmware still needs some adjustments, as we will see in general this SoC has several limitations in the multimedia area.

Android Settings

Installed in this TV-Box RKM MK39 we have the Android 7.1.2 system and as usual in this environment we have a side menu where the settings are displayed while we have the desktop in the background.

Accessing from the menu “More settings” we also have the classic settings of Android that allow us to further refine our configuration, within this section the different categories of options are distributed in the conventional way.

Android System

In the hardware of the RKM MK39 we have installed Android 7.1.2 64bit, a fairly modern system. The kernel as we see is quite modern, specifically the 4.4.83 and the compilation has date of 2017-12-12. With this version we have made the review that you can read in the following pages.

Brand Support

All the models of the RKM brand, as we have been able to verify throughout these years, have good support and we hope that the RKM MK39 will continue with this line because it needs it, on the website of the brand we can obtain the firmware that we also publish on our website. . It is almost mandatory to install at least the 12-12-2017 update because the serial firmware is quite disastrous.

Storage and RAM

The RKM MK39 includes 32GB of eMMc 5.1 storage memory, from this storage memory we have actually available about 26 GB, a generous figure to install a good number of apps. As a device with AMLogic SoC this has a single partition in the storage memory which facilitates the management of our files.

As we have seen we also have 4 GB of DDR4 RAM and 3.3 GB that are free after a long navigation through the system, in a habitual way what allows us a good number of apps or tabs of our internet browser.

We check the memory and internal storage testing the hardware that is integrated in this device, we used the SD bench app that gives us excellent figures in both reading and writing, as we see have mounted a very good memory that makes everything run smoothly. In the USB 3.0 rear port we have a fairly low performance but the USB 3.0 Type-C connector if it gives us a performance according to the 5Gbps of that protocol and we can use it normally.

Consumption and temperatures

At the level of electrical consumption, the RKM MK39 using the Rockchip RK3399 SoC gives us correct results in the line of these powerful models, in maximum performance the SoC reaches the 10.8 W peak consumption. The temperature of the box remains low and we have not noticed any loss of performance when executing intensive applications, we only noticed some heat in the upper area

Google Play and Amazon App Store

Using Google play we had no problem finding the most common apps in our tests except we only had some inconvenience with specific apps, we can always download the APK’s we are interested in and install them manually. With the Amazon App Store equal result, no problem noticeable with this new TV-Box.

Root

If we check the RKM MK39 system we check that we have root by default, something that offers us more options and apparently does not affect services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video as we will see in our analysis in the corresponding section

Power Off / Standby / Power On

By default, once you press the power button on the IR control of the RKM MK39, the system only closes the HDMI signal, if you leave the power off button pressed if a power down menu is displayed, the minimum consumption in this state is 0.5 W.

TEST BENCH

Video and audio connections.

As we know in the RKM MK39 we have the new Rockchip RK3399 SoC a product that has support for video output by HDMI 2.0b which gives us the option to see content with a maximum resolution of 4K@60MHz with 10 bit of color, in theory this system is compatible with HDR but we have not seen any option in the settings. In this system we do not have automatic refresh option, something very interesting since it avoids us to reproduce content with the annoying Judder effect. We also do not have image quality controls like brightness, contrast or gamma.

In the settings at Android development level we have support to change the RGB mode something that is necessary in some old TV models that have incompatibility with the current color modes.

As a positive point in the HDMI settings we have several controls to fine tune the image quality, we have brightness, contrast, saturation and tone, something that helps improve the overall image quality

DLNA and Miracast

Installed in the RKM MK39 we can share the screen using the WifiDisplay app and we have NO problem using a Smartphone LG G3, as we know this type of connections depends on many factors. With this system we can access the multimedia content that we have in our device easily using an app like BubbleUPnP from an Android mobile or from a PC with Windows’ file explorer.

Webcam

We ran several videoconferencing tests with the RKM MK39, with Skype we have been able to video conference without any notable problems using a simple webcam Logitech C170, a model very compatible with Android.

NETWORK CONNECTIONS

Wi-Fi and Ethernet

By default in the RKM MK39 we have a Dual Band Wireless Wi-Fi Adapter and Gigabit Ethernet chip, with which we have connected with an ASUS RT-AC1200G+ Router, a mid range device. We transferred files over a SAMBA network connected through 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi and achieved a speed of about 32 mbps. This model has a Gigabit network connector with which we used a Category 6 network cable to guarantee the speed, using this connection we reach about 130 mbps which is a fairly good transfer speed.

We also ran tests on the network adapters for streaming using 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 and other factors. The results are correct for this kind of hardware, if is possible we recommend to use the Ethernet port.

During the Wi-Fi coverage tests with the device located at a distance of about 16 ft as always and with a wall in between we verified that we have connection without cuts, the signal reaches a level of about 40 dBm a figure that indicates we have a good range.

Bluetooth

In the WiFi adapter of the RKM MK39 we have integrated Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity with which we have no major problems in detecting other devices.

CONTROL SYSTEMS
Remote control

Included with the RKM MK39 TV-Box we have a default IR remote control powered by two AAA batteries, giving us access to all the functions of the TV Box. The keys are correctly mapped for use with KODI and other similar apps. We have not detected the option to activate CEC controls to control the TV-Box from our TV remote.

Remote control app

To control the RKM MK39 we can use the alternative CetusPlay to control it from our mobile or tablet, we only need to install the server in our TV-Box and the client app in or desired device.

Gamepad and games

To control games on the RKM MK39 we can connect a Xbox 360 Gamepad and the device recognizes it without problems, it also works correctly the Xiaomi Bluetooth Gamepad. We can use them in games with this type of support, in general we will not have problems with conventional PC controls. As for power the Mali-T860MP4 GPU that is incorporated in this Rockchip RK3399 SoC runs any Android game without problems at the highest level.

PERFORMANCE TEST

SOC

In terms of performance in the RKM MK39 we have a Rockchip RK3399 Hexa core SoC has a cluster with two Cortex-A72 for high-performance tasks that reach 1.42 GHz and another cluster with four classic Cortex-A53 cores for more tasks common that reach up to 1.2 GHz, this CPUs give us enough power for any task or Android app. At a graphic level, this model defends perfectly with demanding 3D games as we have a Mali-T860MP4 GPU that, as we see in the tests, is far above its direct competitors.

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

We passed our usual video tests in the RKM MK39, in this TV-Box we have the Rockchip RK3399 SoC and we get somewhat better results than in other devices with this hardware but it is not its strong point. In this SoC we have support for h.265 codec and we can play content 4K@60fps in a correct way, where we have limitations is in 10bit color coded files that give us problems in several of its formats, in addition HDR videos always they give some kind of conflict and we have notorious frame breaks. We can use KODI in a normal way but as we see in the table there are several limitations regarding the formats that we are going to playback.

Test results

H.264 formatNative 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 MbpsNot compatibleNot compatible
HDR format
Life of Pi HDR –  HVEC – 4K@24fps – 45 MbpsFrameskipFrameskip
TravelXP HDR HLG – HVEC – 4K@24fps – 20 MbpsNot compatibleNot compatible
Planet Earth II – HDR HLG – HVEC 10L5 – 4K@25fps – 31 MbpsFrameskipFrameskip
  • 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.

Native player

As usual in this hardware we have the native Rockchip player that we find installed gives good results in specific formats, we have different screen formats, audio settings, repetition, audio tracks and 3D modes.

Within the options menu we have the ability to create index points, change playback mode, selection of subtitles and audio tracks among other features.

Audio format test

In the RKM MK39 we have the Rockchip RK3399 SoC Quad 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, we check that in the device we do not have audio pass through when activating this mode in the system settings we only have noise for the audio output, something that happens in all models that mount this SoC from Rockchip.

Test results

Formato audioPCM*HDMIOptical
Dolby Digital 5.1CorrectNoNo
Dolby Digital Plus 7.1CorrectNoNo
Dolby True HD 7.1CorrectNoNo
Dolby Atmos 7.1CorrectNoNo
DTS 5.1CorrectNoNo
DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1CorrectNoNo
DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1CorrectNoNo
DTS-X 7.1CorrectNoNo
  • 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 fine

WEB NAVIGATION AND STREAMING

Navigation

By default with the TV Box RKM MK39 we can navigate in a quite good way opening a good number of tabs, something normal since it includes 2GB DDR4 RAM and manages them quite well. The contents that are reproduced in HTML5 do not have major problems with the included default browser which has a good general compatibility, we can install the browser that we like.

DRM

As for the DRM certificates needed for some paid Streaming apps we don’t have any installed on the system, this can limit us on certain aspectos in this services.

Youtube and streaming apps

We installed some of the most common Streaming apps to watch TV online that we downloaded from the Play Store, we don’t have problems. This TV-Box can play Youtube up to 1080p without any problems with the version installed from Google Play.

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
NetflixSD (480p)*StereoCorrect
Amazon Prime VideoDon’t work
HBO nordicHD Nordic (720p)StereoCorrect (Since HBO v3)
  • 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

RKM MK39

7.2

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

8.0/10

HARDWARE

8.0/10

SOFTWARE

6.5/10

SUPPORT

7.5/10

PRICE/QUALITY

6.0/10

Pros

  • Powerful RK3399 SoC
  • Fast RAM and eMMC 5.1
  • USB 3.0 Type-C 5Gbps port
  • Android 7.1
  • External wifi antenna

Cons

  • Firmware need to improve
  • Limited video playback

Opinion

As we have seen in our review the RKM MK39 is undoubtedly one of the best TV-Box with SoC Rockchip RK3399 that we have tried but it is not that difficult either, since in general the rest were a total disaster. The power of this new SoC is high and moves any app without performance problems. Where it has limitations is in the playback of video where we find poor results in terms of compability, it is clear that this SoC has landed on the TV-Box scenario by chance becouse is not his best area, other solutions Rockchip RK3328 much more economic has better results in video.

In general, the RKM MK39 offers a TV-Box with high performance thanks to its 4GB of DDR4 RAM, the very fast internal storage eMMC 5.1, the USB 3.0 Type-C 5Gbps connector and network adapters that behave correctly, the firmware still requires some work because we have some force closures on apps. It is a product designed for those looking for something powerful to run demanding games and applications on Android. On the other hand if we are looking for a TV-Box for multimedia use, we can surely find other more interesting options for that specific purpose.

Where to buy

  • Buy the RKM MK39 at the official store of RKM in Aliexpress only for $137,9 with shipping cost

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Fose Flavio dos Santos Silva
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Fose Flavio dos Santos Silva

Does anyone know how to change the kernel of this TV Box? RKM left the processor working at minimum, the cortex A72 of 3.0mhz is with a.8mhz the cortex A53 that has 2.0 only this with 1416mhz

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