• REVIEW: RKM V3 a TV-Stick with RK3328 Quad Core SoC and Ethernet port

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    Thanks to the collaboration of the RKM brand we present today the review of the new TV-Stick RKM V3, a model in which we find the Rockchip RK3328 SoC that as we know is working very well in the low cost sector. This small mini computer with Android has 2 GB of DDR3 RAM and 8 GB of internal storage expandable by microSD card. A SoC that behaves well in media player functions in next generation formats with HDR and 10 bit color encoded using h.265. Let’s see what this little TV-Stick brings us and how it is bought in the detailed tests of our classic review.

    • RKM V3 can be purchased at the RKM official store on Aliexpress.com  only for $64 with shipping cost included

    SPECIFICATIONS

    ModelRKM V3
    CPURockchip RK3328 Quad Core Cortex-A53 1,5GHz
    GPUMali-450mp2
    OSAndroid 7.1.2
    RAM2 GB DDR3
    Storage8 GB eMMc
    WiFiWiFi b/g/n
    Bluetooth4.0
    Ports1x USB 2.0
    1x USB 3.0
    microSD reader
    HDMI 2.0b
    10/100 Ethernet
     OthersRecovery button
     ContentHDMI extension cable
    5V 2.5A DC adapter
    Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.8 x 0.86 inches
    Weight: 11.4 oz

    CONTENT DESCRIPTION

    Package content

    The TV-Stick RKM V3 is presented in a cardboard box of reduced dimensions, in a first level we find the TV-Stick, down in a compartment we have the HDMI extension cable and a power adapter 5 V 2.5 A (12, 5 W). We have the manual of the device in a QR code printed on the box itself that takes us to the brand’s website.

    Product Details

    The TV-Stick RKM V3 is made of plastic and as we can see you have very small dimensions, specifically it measures 4.3 x 1.8 x 0.86 inches
    and it weighs only 11.4 oz, so we can put it anywhere.

    In one of its sides we have a USB 2.0 port, the SD card reader and in one of the ventilation slots access to the button to activate the update mode.

    In the rear area we have a 10/100 Ethernet port, USB 3.0 port and round connector for power input.

    On the opposite side we only have the ventilation slots.

    In the lower part of the RKM V3 we only have a sticker with the model number and its basic data.

    CONNECTING THE DEVICE

    Connection and desktops

    We plug the power adapter into the RKM V3 and it turns on directly reaching the launcher by default, it is 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. If we want we can change the launcher for any other that we install from Google Play. The Android system as we check in the internal settings of the system is rendered only at 720p and this makes the menus look a bit low in resolution, it also affects some streaming apps.

    • Boot time: 19 seconds

    By default in installed applications we find few, Chrome standard, iPerf, Netflix, Explorer to manage files, Google Play store, WiFiDisplay for Miracast, music player, online updater and YouTube in Android TV version.

    Entering large boxes of the launcher can be customized by adding apps of each category by clicking on the + icon.

    The system after making several updates by OTA we see that it has Android shortcuts bar and top notification curtain, something useful to use for example with a mouse.

    Within the system settings we see that we can change the language, we also have the usual list with all the languages of the Android system by default.

    User Experience

    On the performance side the RKM V3 works correctly thanks to the Rockchip RK3328 SoC, with its 2 GB of RAM we can load a good number of applications in multitasking without being closed, to use this system we have to connect a mouse and press the icon of the Android bar square. In general a stable and relatively fast system that has not given us many problems running the most common apps.

    Android Settings

    By default on the RKM V3 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.

    If we press on 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 TV-Stick RKM V3 we have Android 7.1.2 as operating system, an interesting point since we are to the last in compatibility. The kernel is 3.10.104 and the compilation is dated 12-12-2016, with this version of firmware we have done the review.

    Brand Support

    All models of the RKM brand, as we have been able to verify over these years, have good support and we hope that the RKM V3 will continue with this line, on the website of the brand we can obtain the firmware that we also publish on our website.

    Storage and RAM

    Welded to the board of the RKM V3 we have a total of 8 GB of eMMc storage memory, of this storage memory we have really available about 4 GB, a figure that allows us to install some apps. The system has a single partition in the storage memory which facilitates the management of our files.

    In the TV-Stick we have 2 GB of DDR3 RAM that behave normally, of this amount we are available about 1.3 GB in a usual way which allows us to open several 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 that gives us some pretty good figures in both reading and writing something that makes the system fluid by luck.

    Consumption and temperatures

    In terms of power consumption, the RKM V3 with the RK3328 SoC shows results within the range of other devices, even putting the SoC to the brim with games with 3D graphics only 5,1 W peak are reached in consumption. The temperature of the stick is correct but on the surface face the heat of the processor is noted although it does not seem to affect the system performance.

    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-Stick.

    Root

    In the RKM V3 TV-Stick we have root access in the firmware so we can have full access to the file system of this device.

    Power Off / Standby / Power On

    By default in the RKM V3 we only have the option of turning off with the icon of the Android bar although if we want to turn it on again we will have to reconnect it to the current, it is an unhelpful option.

    TEST BENCH

    Video and audio connections.

    Integrated on the RKM V3 we have the new Rockchip RK3328 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.

    Within the advanced settings of HDMI we have quality controls for Brightness, Contrast, Saturation and Tone, something that helps us fine tune the image quality with respect to our TV.

    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.

    DLNA and Miracast

    In the RKM V3 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 V3, with Skype we have no video image using a simple webcam Logitech C170, a model very compatible with Android.

    NETWORK CONNECTIONS

    Wi-Fi and Ethernet

    By default in the RKM V3 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 20 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 58 mbps, a correct results but that could be better.

    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 normal for this type of adapters but more power would be appreciated.

    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 48 dBm, a correct result but as always we do not recommend getting away much in a device of this type.

    Bluetooth

    In the WiFi adapter of the RKM V3 we have integrated Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity with which we have no major problems in detecting other devices.

    CONTROL SYSTEMS

    Remote control app

    To control the RKM V3 we can use the alternative CetusPlay to control it from our mobile or tablet, we only need to install the server in our TV-Stick and the client app in or desired device.

    Gamepad and games

    To play games on the RKM V3 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-450MP2 GPU that is incorporated in this Rockchip RK3328 SoC runs any Android game without problems at medium level.

    PERFORMANCE TEST

    SOC

    In the power section using the RKM V3 we have a Rockchip RK3328 SoC that includes four processors ARM Cortex-A53 64bit and a GPU Mali-450MP2. A fairly basic SoC that theoretically reaches up to 1.51 GHz although it is really limited to 1.3GHz. This SoC incorporates hardware decoding support for the H.265 video codec, VP9, 10-bit color and even HDR, it is capable of outputting video signal at 4K@60fps thanks to the HDMI 2.0a video output connector. We can use this hardware without problems to move most common Android apps.

    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 perform the video playback tests in the RKM V3, in this model we have the Rockchip RK3328 SoC and we obtain quite positive results. It is possible to reproduce the most common files without major problems in native resolution in a fluid way. We can watch videos at 1080P resolutions or also in 4K format encoded with the h.265 codec, this SoC also supports HDR modes and 10 bit color files, an option that we can not control from the system menus but it seems to work correctly in the native player. The Android system as we have seen is rendered at 720p but if we reproduce video files in KODI or the native player they reproduce at their native 1080p or 4K resolution.

    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 RKM V3 we have the Rockchip RK3328 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 receiver and we check that in the device we have audio pass through for DD and DTS 7.1 a positive point in this section.

    Test results

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

    With the RKM V3 we can navigate in a quite good way opening a good number of tabs, something normal since it includes 2GB DDR3 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 have Google Widevine L3 that gives us access to Google Video content, as a novelty we see that we have CENC ClearKey.

    Youtube and streaming apps

    As usual we check 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-Stick 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 (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-Stickes.

    CONCLUSIONS

    RKM V3

    RKM V3
    6.8

    DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

    6.5 /10

    HARDWARE

    6.0 /10

    SOFTWARE

    7.0 /10

    SUPPORT

    7.5 /10

    PRICE/QUALITY

    7.0 /10

    Pros

    • Compact
    • TV-Stick with Ethernet
    • Good in video playback
    • Fast internal memory
    • Adjusted Price

    Cons

    • Network adapters could be better

    Opinion

    As we can see in the data of our review the RKM V3 is a device that offers good performance in a really compact size, the TV-Stick format is not as widespread as before and if we really need a size like this it seems that It is a good alternative for the price. The temperatures are correct and do not seem to affect the general behavior of the device, something critical in this format, on the other hand as always we will find the classic limitations in the number of available ports.

    As for general performance the RKM V3 is quite fluid thanks to the speed of its internal storage that is fast and the 2 GB of RAM that are basic today to move the most common Android apps. On the other hand a more powerful wifi adapter or Gigagbit Ethernet would have been a good add, on the other hand we have USB 3.0 something that is appreciated. In general, a device that behaves correctly and if its adapts to our size needs can be the correct device.

    Where to buy

    • RKM V3 can be purchased at the RKM official store on Aliexpress.com  only for $64 with shipping cost included

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