Table of Contents
The X96 Air comes in a standard cardboard box with a image of the device in the top, inside we found the TV-Box, IR remote, HDMI cable 4K@60fps compatible, Manual and a DC 5V 2A adapter.
The box of the X96 Air is made in plastic and has a box design with round corners. On the front we have an LED display that indicates the time, on the sides and in the back area we have all the connectors in a classic configuration. This model includes a simple IR remote control that allows us to perform basic functions in apps like KODI but is limited for more complex ones.
Inside the audio jack we have the update button in case it is necessary to update the firmware. On the motherboard we can see the Wifi ac Dual Band + Bluetooth 4.1 (X9655) chip little known and has an internal Wi-Fi antenna, the 2GB model only mounts Wifi b/g/n without Bluetooth. The cooling system is extremely simple, rubber ends and metal plate, it could be better.
- Remote Control: Basic IR Remote with copy keys/ NO microphone / We can choose other alternatives.
- Alternate control: Does not have its own control app / We can try Cetusplay in our smartphone.
SYSTEM AND PERFORMANCE
Environment and Android system
Connecting the power adapter at the X96 Air boots automatically, we arrive at a simple and quite clear launcher, it is valid for use with the default command by default, it has a lower row that we can customize with the icons of the apps we want. The installed apps include Miracast and KD Player, which is a version of KODI full of addons. The performance of Android 9 is very good at the desktop level or with heavy apps and works stable and without forced app stops.
If we are going to play and make intensive use of this model we recommend buying the variant with 4GB of RAM, if we want to adjust our budget and we are only going to use it as a media player we may have enough with the 2GB model.
- Launcher: As an alternative we have Pixel launcher to use mouse or Ugoos for IR control / Android UI rendering at 1080p.
- Multitasking and access: Multitasking NOT available / NO lower Android bar or upper bar.
- Languages and Google Play: All the international Android classics / Google Play installed.
- 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) / The system IS root by default / NO root menu.
- Support: X96 don’t have support site / Firmware available / Custom firmware not available yet.
Network, storage, RAM and ports
The X96 Air TV-Box has eMMC memory for internal storage and DDR3 RAM, it has two USB 3.0 port and SD card reader. In the network section it has a wireless adapter Wifi ac Dual Band + Bluetooth 4.1 (X9655) and Ethernet 10/100 port. As we can see in the tests results are correct, we have an acceptable wifi speed in the 5G band and a normal range for a model with an internal antenna.
- Storage: Total 32GB – Free 29GB / NTFS + exFAT compatible / Expandable with a USB or SD external memory.
- RAM: Total 4GB – Free 3GB / DDR3.
- Network: Basic speed with one internal wifi antennas / Range 42dBm, aceptable. / Bluetooth OK.
- We recommend reading our Tutorial SAMBA on Android networks if we are going to use files from our network PC.
|USB 2.0||USB 3.0||microSD||SATA|
|Read / Write||21/17 MB/s||101/37 MB/s||20/19 MB/s||–|
Power and performance
At raw power level the X96 Air this model has installed the Amlogic S905X3 Quad Core SoC with ARM Cortex-A55 processors and in the graphic section a Mali-G31 MP2 GPU that is in the mid-range. This SoC is manufactured in 12nm, has a fairly low consumption but as we have seen the cooling system is basic and temperatures are somewhat high in normal use.
- Check our Amlogic S905X3 SoC Comparison against all SoCs in the sector for more details.
- CPU performance: Min 500 MHz / Working 1,7ºC / Max 1,9 MHz
- Thermals: Min. 40ºC / Working 65ºC / Max. 75ºC / Maintains performance up to 92% / Heat zone on the top / Noise 0db
- Consumption: Off 0.6W / Min 2.3W / Working 3.6W / Max. 7.8W
- 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
For the video playback aspect, the X96 Air features the Amlogic S905X3 SoC and a VPU Advanced Video Engine Gen10 compatible with most modern video formats such as h.265 and VP9 with 4K HDR native resolution or even 8K@60fps support, don’t have video quality settings. We can use players like KODI or PLEX without the slightest problem, the system comes by default with a version of KODI full of addons that we recommend uninstalling. At the audio level we can play DD and DTS sound up to 5.1 through the HDMI port. Check our Amlogic S905X3 SoC Comparison against all SoCs to see more details about A/V aspects of this SoC.
- Video Settings: Image quality settings / RGB and SDR / HDMI-CEC available, see manual / Automatic refresh rate with root + AFRd.
- Audio Settings: HDMI up to 5.1 audio / Stereo Jack.
- Media sharing: Chromecast NO / Miracast YES / DLNA with BlubblePnP / Airplay NO.
- LibreELEC: This model will be compatible with LibreELEC or CoreELEC.
- Tutorials: Install add-on in KODI / Judder effect, how to fix it / Multi-channel audio guide / Correct dark video playback in Android.
- We recommend reading the Setup Guide of our TV to get the best picture quality.
|h.264 / 1080i / 8bit||Frameskip|
|h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bit||OK|
|h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)||Frameskip (SW)|
|h.265 / 1080p / 8bit||OK|
|h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)||OK|
|h.265 / 4K@24fps / 8bit||OK|
|h.265 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDR||OK|
|VP9 P1 / 4K@24fps / 8bit||OK|
|VP9 P2 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDR||OK|
|VP9 P2 / 8K@60fps / 10bit HDR||OK (only in KODI)|
|Max. Bitrate||100 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
|Formats||DD / DTS 5.1||DD+ / DTS MA||DD True / DTS HR||DD Atmos / DTS X|
|HDMI||OK / OK||Core||Core||Core*|
|Optical||OK / OK||Core||Core||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
In our usual tests with streaming services we see how the most popular services work. The X96 Air presents the classic configuration without certifications which limits us in quality in several streaming services, luckily if it is compatible with most services even if they are in its most basic quality of SD video
- DRM: Google Widevine L3
- Certification: No
- Tutorials: Change the size of the captions and the mouse pointer on Android / Install Addons in KODI in a simple way
|Streaming service||Video / Audio||Result||Manual|
|Youtube||FullHD HDR (720p) / Stereo||OK||–|
|Google Play Movies||HD (720p) / Stereo||OK||–|
|Netflix||SD+ (540p) / Stereo||OK, installing the apk with mouse||Netflix on Android|
|HBO||FullHD (1080p) / Stereo||OK, with mouse||HBO on Android|
|Amazon Prime Video||SD (480p) / Stereo||OK, with mouse||Amazon Prime video on Android|
|DAZN||HD (720p) / Stereo||OK, with mouse||–|
|IPTV||FullHD (1080p) / Stereo||OK||–|
CONCLUSIONS AND BUY LINKS
After testing the X96 Air we can say that we are facing a low-cost model that is quite competent with positive points regarding the competition, although it has some lack. In this TV-Box we have the S905X3 that improves its Cortex-A55 CPU cores and updates its VPU with VP9 video support up to 8K. The GPU allows us to play powerful titles like PUBG although if we are going to play we recommend the 4GB model over the 2GB model to do it without problems.
At the level of WiFi connectivity the X96 Air has correct performance with its Wifi ac Dual Band adapter but it only mounts an internal antenna, the Ethernet adapter is only 10/100 and we have a very basic IR control, some classic cut-off points of hardware in low-cost models. As negative points it should be noted that it does not have Android navigation bars and also has a somewhat basic cooling system that added to its closed box does not help much with thermal.
In short, the X96 Air is a competent low-cost TV-Box, a model that serves as a conventional media player and that mounts a decent Wi-Fi chip, can be valid at a good price.
Where to buy
- Consult our recommended models to see other alternatives.