REVIEW: S95 with the Amlogic S905X2 SoC and 4GB RAM

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S95 is an Android TV-Box model that we present today its analysis or review, a TV-Box that includes the new SoC Amlogic S905X2, an updated chip compared to the previous S905X as we have seen in a special article. This new device can be found with several configurations that combine 2 or 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 16 or 32 GB of internal storage. Integrantes Wifi dual-band AC, Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet and as a system we have Android 8.1 installed by default. We see in our review how this device behaves and the power of its hardware compared to other similar models.

  • S95 can be purchased at Gearbest.com only for $59.99 (€53) shipping included.

PRODUCT DETAILS

ModelS95
Basic SpecsSoC: Amlogic S905X2 Quad Core Cortex A-53 (64bit) / GPU Mali-G31 MP2 / 4x ARM-A53 @ 1.8GHz
System: Android 8.1 Oreo (32bit)
Ram and storage: 2/4 GB DDR4 – 16/32 GB eMMC (4 / 32GB in review)
Network: Wifi Dual band – Bluetooth 4.0 – Gigabit Ethernet
Ports: HDMI 2.1 4K @ 75fps / AV Jack 3.5mm / SPDIF / 1x USB 2.0 / 1x USB 3.0 / MicroSD
Extras: Remote control IR / Cable HDMI / Manual / Adapter DC 5V 2A

Description

The TV-Box S95 has a very conventional design as you can see , in the part we have the logo of the brand as the only decoration. On the front there is a blue status LED and on the perimeter we have all the connectors, the USB 3.0 port is new in this SoC, we also have HDMI 2.1 to 4K@75fps, AV jack, another USB 2.0, microSD reader, SPDIF and the power connector. In the lower area we have a hole for the update button.

  • Materials and measures: Plastic / 96 x 96 x 16 mm / 190 gr.
  • Package contents: Manual / Adapter DC 5V 2A / HDMI cable / IR remote control (2x AAA batteries not included).
  • Interfaces: HDMI 2.1 4K@75fps / 1x USB 2.0 / 1x USB 3.0 / MicroSD / SPDIF / Ethernet Gigabit
  • Leds and panel: Frontal LED.

By default we have a quite simple IR control and it help us to perform the basic functions, it has a series of colored keys as direct accesses to the highlighted multimedia functions. From the command we can not access the multitasking, a pity, maybe AZW update it in the future.

  • Remote control: Basic remote with IR.
  • Alternative remote control: We can control remotely from our mobile or Android TV-Box using the app  Cetusplay or connect a flymouse, mouse or keyboard.

ANDROID SYSTEM

Environment and user experience

We connect the power adapter to the S95, it starts up automatically and the blue LED lights up. After a discrete input animation we access the default launcher based on squares where we can customize the lower bar by clicking on the plus icon. We have very few apps installed by default, something that is appreciated. In this TV-Box the system moves well and smoothly between apps, there are no hardware performance problems thanks to the S905X2 SoC, the 4GB DDR4 RAM and an internal storage that behaves correctly.

If we are going to play and make an intensive use of this model we recommend buying the model with 4GB of RAM, if we want to adjust our budget and we are only going to use it as a multimedia player, maybe with the 2GB model we can have enough.

  • Launcher: Basic Launcher / YES we can change launcher but only Pixel launcher works 100% / Android UI rendering at 1080p.
  • Multitasking and access: Multitasking only from the lower android navigation bar / YES lower access bar and notification area.
  • Installed apps: Google play, file explorer, music, DLNA, Update and a version of Qodi.
  • Languages: All the international Android classics.
  • On/Off Controls: Pressing the power off button the system Shutdown directly.

System, support and store apps

The S95 TV-Box has installed three different settings menus, one the classic side menu with global android settings, another with TV-Box settings and finally the Android classics with the background in white. The Google Play store behaves normally and we can find the most common apps. The version of the system and the compilation of the kernel is quite new as we can see.

  • System version: Android 8.1.0 (32 bit) / Kernel 4.9.76 (09-01-2018).
  • App store: Google Play with all the apps available for the Android system.
  • Brand support: Official AZW support.
  • Root: The system IS rooted but it can be disabled from Android classic settings, developer mode.
  • Scene: The system IS rooted / There are no custom firmwares for this TV-Box / NOT compatible with LibreELEC.

HARDWARE TESTS

Storage and RAM Memory

We perform our usual memory tests and internal storage in the S95 using the SD bench app. As we can see in the tests, the internal storage speed is really fast, which makes the system show very fluid. We also have as a novelty with a USB 3.0 port that allows us much higher reading speeds than the classic USB 2.0 although the writing does not reach the maximum of this type of ports.

  • Storage: Total 32GB – Free 24GB. / Is expandable with a USB memory stick
  • RAM: Total 4GB – Free 3GB / DDR4.
  • Compatible formats: NTFS compatible / exFAT compatible
USB 2.0USB 3.0microSDSATA
Read / Write22/21 MB/s150/31 MB/s22/21 MB/s

WIFI and Bluetooth

In Wi-Fi connections, the S95 TV-Box has a Wifi ac 2.4/5GHz with Bluetooth 4.0 with which we connect to an ASUS RT-AC1200G+ Router, a mid-range device. We perform tests on the use of streaming using the iPerf measurement tool to see the maximum performance of each network adapter.

  • Wifi speed results: Correct speed for this wifi adapter and quite stable.
  • Wifi range: At a distance of 5 meters with a wall we have a signal of 38 dBm, very good value.
  • Bluetooth: We can connect compatible devices without problems.
  • We recommend reading our Tutorial SAMBA on Android networks if we are going to use files from our network PC.

Power consumption, temperature and noise

The power consumption of the Android TV S95 using the Amlogic S905X2 SoC has very good results in terms of efficiency. This new SoC is manufactured in 12nm and has a maximum consumption of only 3.6W, we have tried to take it up to 5W that seems the maximum of the SoC but it is impossible even with benchmarks.

We check the performance of the TV-Box in scenarios of maximum sustained performance and in its usual use, we use a stress app for fifteen minutes and thermal camera to detect hot areas. As we have seen the S95 does not have ventilation slots and it seems that it has some loss of performance when facing demanding scenarios although it does not affect the use as a multimedia player.

  • Loss of performance: The system has a loss of performance of up to 76% in maximum performance.
  • Temperature: The upper part heats up a little but does not affect the general use of the TV-Box.
  • Noise: Fanless system, 0db.

PERFORMANCE TEST

SOC

In the performance aspect the S95 has good results in the line of the new Amlogic S905X2 Quad Core SoC with ARM Cortex-A53 processors and Mali-G31 MP2 GPU in a very good position. Observing the results we can see how it is almost on par with the most powerful Amlogic SoC from  the last generation the S912, in general section is below from a powerful SoC like the Rockchip RK3399 that already has ARM Cortex-A73 cores, in general a excellent product with ridiculous power consumption for his price.

Benchmarks

Games and gamepads

In the gaming aspect the S95 have the Amlogic S905X2 SoC that integrates a Mali-G31 MP2 GPU, this model allows us to correctly move most Android titles without performance problems and good compatibility. The titles with a lot of 3D load also move quite well and this GPU allows us to play them correctly in low or medium settings.

VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

Video and audio connections

Playing multimedia videos using the S95 behaves perfectly using the S905X2 SoC, a product that supports HDMI 2.1 video output that theoretically allows maximum resolution up to 4K@75fps with HDR information. We also have a AV jack for old stereo or TV audio.

As a novelty in this SoC we verify that we have image quality settings with brightness, contrast and saturation, and several preconfigured, also has DNR “Digital Noise Reduction” that effects a smoothing effect of the image with results that depend on personal tastes,a ll of these settings do not seem to work because of some problem in the Amlogic SDK that could fixed soon. We also have specific settings to activate Dolby Vision if we have a compatible TV.

Video playback test

Performing video playback tests on the S95 the device don’t have any problem, with the integrated S905X2 SoC and a VPU compatible with most modern video formats the results are ok as we see in the video tests. We can use players like MX Player or install KODI from Google Play, we can uninstall the pre installed without problems. This model is NOT compatible with LibreELEC.

With the VPU called TruLife Gen8 gives us a pretty good image quality, we have more defined colors than in the S905X models where video processing is basic. We must also highlight the best compatibility with VP9 P2 video in 4K resolution, plus we notice improvements in the playback of Anime HVEC but still charge the CPU although it is a very specific niche format.

Test results

H.264 / VC-1Result
BBB – H.264 8bit – Simple@L1 – 1080p@25fps – 7 MbpsCorrect
Samsung Oceanic Life – H.264  8bit – High@L5.1 – 1080p@30fps – 40 MbpsCorrect
Timelapse – H.264 8bit – High@L5.1 – 4K@24fps – 43 MbpsCorrect
Anime – H.264 10bit – High 10@L5.1 – 1080p@24fps – 10 MbpsCorrect
MKV – VC-1 – Advance@L3 – 1080p@24fps – 17 MbpsCorrect
H.265 / VP9 SDR
Tears of steel – HVEC 8bit – Main@L6.2@Main – 1080p@24fps – 17 MbpsCorrect
Samsung UHD Dubai – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.2@Main – 4K@24fps – 51 MbpsCorrect
Anime – HVEC 10bit –  Main 10@L4@Main – 1080p@24fps – 21 MbpsCorrect
Eye of the Storm – VP9 – 4K@24fps – 14 MbpsCorrect
H.265 / VP9 HDR
Life of Pi HDR10 –  HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.1@High – 4K@24fps – 45 MbpsCorrect
LG Demo – Dolby Vision – HVEC 12bit – Main 10@L5@Main – 4K@24fps – 30 MbpsCorrect
Planet Earth II – HDR HLG 10bit  – Main 10@L5@High – 4K@25fps – 31 MbpsCorrect
The world in HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 4K@60fps – 20 MbpsCorrect
Peru 8K HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 8K@60fps – 20 MbpsFrameskip
MAX BITRATE
Jellyfish – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L6.1@High – 4K@30fps – Test up to 400 Mbps100 Mbps = 12,5 MB/s
  • * The maximum bitrate depends on the internal storage, usb port, Ethernet adapter or wifi used, we have used the fastest available, see Hardware tests section of this same review to have more information and have consider the limitations of SAMBA Networks.

Audio playback test

We perform tests in the S95 using a Yamaha RXV-577 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 and we have problems to listen to 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. Curiously SPDIF is not available in the settings, a firmware is expected to fix it.

  • Ports: HDMI up to 5.1 / SPDIF not available / Stereo audio jack
  • Certification: No
  • Chomecast Audio: No

Audio test results

FormatsDD / DTS 5.1DD+ / DTS MADD True / DTS HRDD Atmos / DTS X
HDMIOK / OKOK / CoreCorePCM / Core*
OpticalOK / OKCoreCorePCM / Core*
  • 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

With the streaming services test we can see how the most popular services work. In this model does not have certificates for these services. The S95 model presents the classic configuration without certificates that limits us in quality in several streaming services, the streaming services are executed normally in most cases.

  • DRM: Google Widevine L3
  • Certification: No
Streaming serviceVideo / AudioResultManual
YoutubeFullHD (1080p) / StereoOK
Google Play MoviesHD (720p) / StereoOK
NetflixSD (480p) / StereoOKNetflix on Android
HBOFullHD (1080p) / StereoOK
Amazon Prime VideoSD (480p) / StereoOKAmazon Prime video on Android

CONCLUSIONS

Score

S95 _

0.00
7

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

7.0/10

HARDWARE

7.5/10

SOFTWARE

6.5/10

SUPPORT

7.0/10

PRICE/QUALITY

7.0/10

Pros

  • New S905X2 SoC
  • Android 8.1
  • USBB 3.0 and SPDIF
  • Compact
  • Low price

Cons

  • Need some firmware corrections
  • Some thermal throttle

Opinion

As we have seen the new model S95 offers a fairly classic configuration but with the novelty of Amlogic S905X2 SoC which for example now incorporates USB 3.0, improvements in video playback and excellent consumption for the performance achieved by this processor. The performance of the Wifi adapter is correct as well as its coverage despite the internal antenna and the Gigabit Ethernet port speed allow us to use them as a network player perfectly. The remote control included by default is quite basic and we may be interested in another option if we are going to use it intensively.

This TV-Box S95 as we see has several versions if we are going to play we recommend the 4GB of RAM, if it is only for multimedia perhaps 2GB is enough, as we have seen in high performance we have some drops in the maximum speed of the processor. A Box that is suitable as a video player for example with KODI and all kinds of common apps. The firmware is stable, has navigation bars and Root selector, there are things still to be polished that we found in all S905X2 models because of the earlies firmwares in these SoC. In general, a correct model if we find it at a reasonable price.

WHERE TO BUY AND ADD-ONS

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