REVIEW: Tanix TX3 Max a low-cost TV-Box with Amlogic S905W SoC

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Today we present, thanks to the support of the Gearbest store, the analysis of the TV-Box Tanix TX3 Max, a low-end model that assembles the new SoC Amlogic S905W Quad core and has certain interesting aspects at the software level. In this device we have 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, Wifi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and Ethernet 10/100 among other features, as a system we have Android 7.1 and is compatible with LibreELEC with a firmware including Dual OS feature. This model supports decoding of all types of H.265 and VP9 files with HDR support but is limited to 4K30fps or 1080p60fps video output. Let’s see if we are facing an interesting product and that gives us respect to its competence.

  • Buy the Tanix TX3 Max in their basic setup on the store Gearbest.com for only $44.99 with free shipping

SPECIFICATIONS

ModelTanix TX3 Max
CPUAmlogic S905W Quad Core Cortex-A53 1,2 GHz
GPUMali-450MP
OSAndroid 7.1 (32bit)
RAM2 GB DDR3
Storage16 GB eMMc
WiFiWiFi b/g/n
Bluetooth4.1
Ports2x USB 2.0
microSD reader
HDMI 2.0
Audio jack
IR jack
Ethernet 10/100
 OthersRecovery button
 ContentIR Remote
HDMI cable
5V 2A DC adapter
Manual
Measures: 4.13 x 4.13 x 0.59 inches
Weight: 5,8 oz

CONTENT DESCRIPTION

Package content

The Tanix TX3 Max model is presented in a cardboard box with the logo of the model on top. Inside the box we find the mini TV-Box in a superior compartment, the rest of the accessories are in a lower area, we have a serial IR control, HDMI cable, manual and a 5V / 2A adapter.

Product Details

As we see the small box of the Tanix TX3 Max is made of plastic and have bright bands, on the front we have a small display that tells us the hour and an IR receiver hidden behind the black plastic.

In one of its sides we have a microSD card reader with self-extracting mechanism and two USB 2.0 ports, the first is the one used to perform the updates from PC.

On the back we have all the other ports, DC connector, optical audio output, HDMI 2.0 connector limited to 1080p60fps, 10/100 Ethernet port and AV video / audio jack.

In the lower part of the Tanix TX3 Max we have four rubber feet, the sticker that identifies the model and a small hole that hides the button to access the recovery mode.

CONNECTING THE DEVICE

Connection and desktops

We connect the Tanix TX3 Max to the wall plug and it starts directly, the first thing we find is an assistant that allows us to adjust language, time, screen, network connection and remote control.

After passing the setup wizard we came to the Alice UX launcher, it has a somewhat different design but it is the same as others based on pictures. We have access to Google Play, browser, settings and different subcategories. In the lower part we have a row where we can add optional shortcuts with our apps. We can change the default launcher by installing another. The resolution of the system is only 720p and it is something that can be seen in the image quality of the Android environment and streaming apps.

  • Boot time: 19 seconds

As we have seen, we have a navigation bar and notification bar, that is useful if we want to use a mouse to manage the system, for example.

Within the settings we have a section to activate by default or not the bottom navigation bar.

In the installed applications by default we found the classics ones, we have AirScreen that allows us to share the screen of our mobile, KodiAddonUpdater, Chrome, File browser, Modbro to see streaming content, a Netflix app, TV Center (Kodi) and one app to update the system.

Within the language settings we have all the classic Android languages, we can change to another language without problems.

User Experience

At user level the TV-Box Tanix TX3 Max is a model that allows us to run the most common apps correctly, the Amlogic S905W processor moves the system well but we must bear in mind that we are driving an Android resolution only to 720p. In this model we have 2 GB of RAM which is the minimum to move apps correctly, from the shortcuts bar we have the multitasking function that allows us to easily change between running apps.

Android Settings

In the Tanix TX3 Max we have three different settings screens, the first one created by Tanix with the basic settings of the system.

Accessing to the Droid Settings option we have other settings where we can see the network options, HDMI CEC, automatic refresh setting, sound, screen saver and access to classic Android settings.

If we click on More Settings we get to the Classic Settings of Android we have some options more than in the previous settings but they are quite limited and it seems that some menus have been cut that would have allowed us to fine-tune the system.

Android System

The default system in the Tanix TX3 Max is the Android 7.1.2, a fairly modern system today. The kernel as we see is the version 3.14.29 and the compilation is dated 01-25-2018. With this version we have made the review that you can read in the following pages.

Brand Support

The website of the Tanix brand has a download section where we can download a Dual OS firmware with Android and LibreeLEC, there is also a patch to activate XPOSED Framework if we are interested, curiously we don’t found to download the factory firmware but the TX3 mini that It seems to be compatible. When booting the TV-Box we found an OTA update that seems to fix problems with YouTube or Netflix, it is applied without any problem after restarting the device.

Storage and RAM

By default the Tanix TX3 Max includes 16 GB of eMMc storage memory, from this storage memory we have actually available about 12 GB, a figure enough 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 check we also have 2 GB of DDR4 RAM and 1.4 GB that are free after a long navigation through the system, so it allows us to correctly open several tabs in a browser.

We check the memory and internal storage testing the hardware that is integrated in this device, we used the SD bench app as usual. The results of the Tanix TX3 Max give us correct figures for this kind of low-cost hardware.

Consumption and temperatures

The power consumption aspect in the Tanix TX3 Max with the S905W SoC shows results within the range of other devices, even putting the SoC to the brim with games with 3D graphics only 6,8 W peak are reached in consumption, the temperatures are low using it.

Google Play and Amazon App Store

We use Google play and 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

The firmware of the Tanix TX3 Max has a Root selector something that gives us access to use some apps that do not work if we have this feature enabled, we also have the option to install XPosed Framework.

Power Off / Standby / Power On

If we leave pressed the power button on the remote of the Tanix TX3 Max, it offers us a menu with which we can completely turn off the device, if we want to change this behavior in the settings of the TV-Box we have a menu with several options about it.

TEST BENCH

Video and audio connections.

Integrated in the Tanix TX3 Max we have the SoC Amlogic S905W a product that has support for video output by HDMI 2.0a but is limited to a maximum resolution of 4K@30fps, this is a product designed to play 1080p60fps content. We also do not have image quality controls like brightness, contrast or gamma. We can change the size of the mouse pointer and the captions aspect of several streaming services following our guide.

In this system there is an automatic refresh option but it has not worked, the resolution of the screen is not changed even if we put a video at 24p, something that would be interesting since it avoids us to play content with the annoying Judder effect.

Inside the HDMI settings we find a control to choose the format and depth of color in detail, something that we will do well to adjust with respect to our TV, for example we can put RGB mode for old screens.

DLNA and Miracast

Installed in the Tanix TX3 Max we can share the screen using the AirScreen app and we have NO problem using a Smartphone LG G5, as we know this type of connections depends on many factors, with this app we can use Miracast and AirPlay.

Using the app MediaCenter 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

In our test for videoconferencing with the Tanix TX3 Max we use Skype and we can do a video conference without any notable problems using a simple webcam Logitech C170, a model very compatible with Android.

NETWORK CONNECTIONS

Wi-Fi and Ethernet

Installed in the Tanix TX3 Max we have a b/g/n Wireless Wi-Fi Adapter and Gigabit 10/100 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 2.4 Ghz Wi-Fi and achieved a speed of about 27 mbps. This model has a Gigabit 10/100 connector with which we used a Category 6 network cable to guarantee the max speed, using this connection we reach about 51 mbps which is a basic transfer speed, usual in this products.

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 to have the best network speed.

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 42 dBm a correct result for an internal antenna but we can not expect miracles.

Within the network settings we have the Wifi Emulator option that allows us to simulate the wifi connection even if we are connected by the network cable, this is useful for games like Asphalt.

Bluetooth

The Tanix TX3 Max has a Bluetooth 4.0 adapter that works normally and we have been able to connect compatible devices without much inconvenience.

CONTROL SYSTEMS
Remote control

By default with the Tanix TX3 Max package we have a basic IR remote control that is powered by two AAA batteries, we have the classic crosshead functions, shortcuts of Android commands, volume, mouse to move with the cursors.

Within the settings menus we also have the possibility to activate HDMI CEC to be able to use the control of our TV with the TV-Box itself, a system that gives varied results depending on our TV models.

Remote control app

To remote control the Tanix TX3 Max 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

We can control games on the Tanix TX3 Max connecting 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-450MP GPU that is incorporated in this Amlogic S905W SoC runs any Android game without problems at medium or low level.

PERFORMANCE TEST

SOC

Integrated on the Tanix TX3 Max we have the Amlogic S905W SoC that includes four processors ARM Cortex-A53 64bit and a GPU Mali-450mp. This is a low-cost SoC that works between 100 MHz and 1.2 GHz (although theoretically it reaches 2 GHz) depending on the performance needs of the system. This SoC incorporates hardware decoding support for the H.265 video codec, 10-bit H.265 and is capable of playback video at 4K@30fps. In the performance tests as we can see we have low figures in general, something that is logical within a product of this price.

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

With this hardware we pass several playback tests in the Tanix TX3 Max, in this model we have the SoC Amlogic S905W that gives us positive results in general. It is possible to reproduce the most common files without major problems in native resolution in a fluid way. We can watch videos at resolutions at 1080P@60fps or also in 4K@30fps format encoded with the h.265 codec, this SoC also supports HDR modes and 10 bit color files an option seems to work in the native player and in KODI without problems. By default we have installed many streaming plugins, if we are not interested we can delete this installed our own Kodi.

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 MbpsIncompatibleIncompatible
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 Tanix TX3 Max we have the Amlogic S905W 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 naturally check that in the device we have audio pass through for DTS  and DD5.1 although in some  7.1 formats we have noticed incompatibilities.

Test results

Formato audioPCM*HDMIOptical
Dolby Digital 5.1CorrectCorrectCorrect
Dolby Digital Plus 7.1CorrectCorrectCore
Dolby True HD 7.1CorrectCutsCuts
Dolby Atmos 7.1CorrectPCM *PCM
DTS 5.1CorrectCorrectCorrect
DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1CorrectCoreCore
DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1CorrectCutsCuts
DTS-X 7.1CorrectCore *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 fine

WEB NAVIGATION AND STREAMING

Navigation

With the Tanix TX3 Max we can navigate in a quite good way opening a good number of tabs, something normal since it includes 2 GB of RAM DDR3 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

If we check 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 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 2160p 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 VideoSD (480p)StereoCorrect
HBO nordicHD (720p)StereoCorrect
  • You can consult our guides where we explain in detail all the most known streaming services, what are their limitations in each platform and how to configure them to see content in HD or 4K quality if possible.
  • Guide for Netflix on Android, inside you can found a solution for Error 0013 and installation method on rooted devices
  • Guide for Amazon Prime video on Android

CONCLUSIONS

Tanix TX3 Max

6.4

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

6.0/10

HARDWARE

5.5/10

SOFTWARE

7.0/10

SUPPORT

7.0/10

PRICE

6.5/10

Pros

  • Dual OS system available
  • Good Firmware
  • Stable
  • Cheap
  • Some support

Cons

  • Basic network adapters
  • 720p for Android

Opinion

After reviewing the TV-Box Tanix TX3 Max we see that we have a classic low-cost model based on the Amlogic S905W SoC, in this case it highlights something because it has a firmware worked with some extra settings that we do not find in other models but it’s nothing exceptional either. The assembled components are quite basic for the system to work in a basic use, we can not demand more with its b/g/n Wifi and Ethernet 10/100 network, although at least it has Bluetooth.

The firmware Tanix TX3 Max as we have seen has certain special features and surprises us with its version Dual OS with Android + LibreELEC and the inclusion of navigation bars among other options, even so in Android the system is rendered at 720p. In general, as is usual in these TV-Box, the S905W does not provide much compared to more flexible SoC like the S905X than if it supports 4K@60fps resolutions. In short, a TV-Box that can be ok for us if we look for something cheap and with Dual OS but that does not stand out at the hardware level.

Where to buy

  • Buy the Tanix TX3 Max in their basic setup on the store Gearbest.com for only $44.99 with free shipping

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