REVIEW: X96 Max Plus with Amlogic S905X3 SoC and Ethernet Gigabit

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X96 Max Plus is a new Android TV-Box model of which we present today in his review, a low-cost Box that integrates the interesting Amlogic S905X3 SoC, a chip that includes ARM Cortex-A55 CPU cores that replace the ARM Cortex -A53 of the previous S905X2. This model is a somewhat higher version of the X96 Air that we saw a few days ago in an analysis, it has several hardware versions that differ in their internal storage, Wifi and RAM but all with the Android 9 Pie system. Let’s see in our review how this device behaves and how it defends itself against its rivals.

PRODUCT DETAILS

ModelX96 Max Plus
Basic SpecsSoC: Amlogic S905X3 Quad Core 4x ARM-A55 @ 1.9GHz (64bit) / GPU Mali-G31 MP2 / 12nm
System: Android 9 Pie (32bit)
Ram, storage and network:
– 4GB RAM DDR3 + 32/64GB eMMC / Wifi ac Dual Band + BT 4.2 (Fn-Link 6222B-SRC) / Ethernet Gigabit (Review)
– 2GB RAM DDR3 + 16GB eMMC / Wifi b/g/n / NO Bluetooth / Ethernet 10/100
Ports: HDMI 2.1 4K@75fps / Jack AV + IR / SPDIF / 1x USB 2.0 / 1x USB 3.0 / SPDIF / MicroSD / Reset
Extras: IR remote / HDMI cable / Manual / DC 5V 2A adapter
Materials and measures: Plastic / Frontal LED panel / 77 x 77 x 17 mm / 125 gr.

Unboxing

The X96 Max Plus 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.

Description

This Android-TV X96 Max Plus 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.

Hidden 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 4.2 (Fn-Link 6222B-SRC) chip little known and has two internal Wi-Fi antennas, 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

We tun on the X96 Max Plus boots automatically, we arrive at a simple and quite clear launcher, it is valid for use with the default remote, 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) / IS root by default / NO root menu / Model X96Max_Plus2 / Board Franklin.
  • Support: X96 don’t have support site / Firmware available / Custom firmware not available yet.

Network, storage, RAM and ports

The model X96 Max Plus 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 4.2 (Fn-Link 6222B-SRC) and Ethernet Gigabit port. As we can see in the tests results are good, 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 two internal wifi antennas / Range 452dBm, fine. / Bluetooth OK.
  • We recommend reading our Tutorial SAMBA on Android networks if we are going to use files from our network PC.
USB 2.0USB 3.0microSDSATA
Read / Write21/17 MB/s101/37 MB/s20/19 MB/s

Power and performance

At the performance level the X96 Max Plus has installed the Amlogic S905X3 a 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.

  • CPU performance: Min 500 MHz / Working  1ºC / Max 1,9 MHz
  • Thermals: Min. 40ºC / Working  62ºC / Max. 75ºC / Maintains performance up to 100% / Heat zone on the top / Noise 0db
  • Consumption: Off 0.6W / Min 3W / Working 4.1W / Max. 7.9W
  • 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

In the video playback aspect, the X96 Max Plus 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 results

FormatsResult
h.264 / 1080i / 8bitFrameskip
h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)Frameskip (SW)
h.265 / 1080p / 8bitOK
h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)OK
h.265 / 4K@24fps / 8bitOK
h.265 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P1 / 4K@24fps / 8bitOK
VP9 P2 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P2 / 8K@60fps / 10bit HDROK (only in KODI)
Max. Bitrate100 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

FormatsDD / DTS 5.1DD+ / DTS MADD True / DTS HRDD Atmos / DTS X
HDMIOK / OKCoreCoreCore*
OpticalOK / OKCoreCoreCore*
  • 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

In our usual tests with streaming services we see how the most popular services work. The X96 Max Plus 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

Streaming serviceVideo / AudioResultManual
YoutubeFullHD HDR (720p) / StereoOK
Google Play MoviesHD (720p) / StereoOK
NetflixSD+ (540p) / StereoOK, installing the apk with mouseNetflix on Android
HBOFullHD (1080p) / StereoOK, with mouseHBO on Android
Amazon Prime VideoSD (480p) / StereoOK, with mouseAmazon Prime video on Android
DAZNHD (720p) / StereoOK, with mouse
IPTVFullHD (1080p) / StereoOK

CONCLUSIONS AND BUY LINKS

Score

X96 Max Plus

0.00
7.2

Design

7.0/10

Hardware

7.0/10

Conectivity

7.5/10

Support

7.0/10

Price

7.5/10

Pros

  • Wifi ac and Ethernet Gigabit
  • Cheap
  • SPDIF
  • Android 9
  • Stable OS

Cons

  • No android navigation bars
  • Cooling system can be better

Opinion

Once passed the tests on the TV-Box X96 Max Plus we can say that we are facing a fairly correct low cost model with positive points compared to its rivals. In this TV-Box we have the Amlogic S905X3 SoC 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 Max Plus has quite good performance with its Dual Band Wifi aC adapter and its Gigabit Ethernet port that allows us to get the most out of our local network. As shortcomings we have a very basic IR control, which does not have Android navigation bars and also has a basic cooling system that does not help much to get better thermal performance.

In short, the X96 Max Plus is an interesting low-cost TV-Box, in its version with 4GB of RAM it has Gigabit Ethernet and a decent Wifi adapter, as conventional media player is valid at several levels.

Where to buy

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27 Comments
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Mort

this box has a serious “Overheating” problem, that causes it to reboot. Anyway to fix this? Thx

Tuborg

i’m torn between the x96 max plus and a95x f3.,which would you recommend? which ia more durable of the 2?

mik

Hi Good review one of the things i noticed is 2.4GHZ USB wireless gamepads are not detected by these boxes can you review pls.

zeke

It seems to run quite hot. Is this caused also by the fact that the cpu is facing down? I saw that not so much tv box uses this design.

Captain

Play box upside down and place 3″ box fan on top like mine

Len

I install Private Internet Access VPN apk and this box could not run it well. It always disconnect from the internet as the network device (wifi or wired) lost it’s IP address as soon as PIA app try to connect. My 2 years old android box running on Android 7 using Amlogic S905X runs PIA app beautifully though. With this, i learn the hard way that not all android boxes run VPN app well. I certainly hope that you could add one extra VPN test in your review for future Android box to inform viewers whether the boxes run VPN… Read more »

Len

Thanks for the great review. I bought this box and i found that it can indeed playback H265, VP9 4k and so on BUT noticed that it will output the video up to 1920x1080p to the TV (FHD or 4K). You also show that the screen resolution is only 1920×1080 from your AIDA64 snapshot in your review. Not believing what i saw. I verify from Kodi system info and found that the screen resolution is also 1920×1080. Still not happy with it, i open Youtube and play Japan in 8K video, change the settings to 4k streaming and from the… Read more »

Len

Thank you very much Kim for the clear reply. This explains why i’m seeing 1080p. It’s for Android UI. Cheers.

Cetelec

Hi guys, Thanks for this great review! I was looking for an Android TV box in this price range. My intention is obviously to connect it to the TV, but also to connect my mobile phone to it through USB, tether the data connection from the mobile (as I do now) to the TV box and from the TV box create a hot-spot to share with the rest of devices. Can I do that with this device? I was considering this device versus the A95X F3 [1] because this one has two WiFi antenas. If you are wondering why I… Read more »

Cetelec

Many thanks Kim for your quick reply!

Will A95X F3 have the tether option (mobile -> tv box) if both are Android 9?

Cheers!

Cetelec

Mmm, many thanks Kim. I was asking cause I have no experience with Android TV boxes. I might consider a Mini PC instead.

Cheers!

majkool

Issue with Surfshark VPN app it disconnects the ethernet port!
Firmware: X96Max_Plus_S905x3_2GB_20191101

Ilkner

Netflix runs at 540p on this box ?
which tv box would you recommend me to run Netflix in 1080p ??

radek

no android navigation bar….. do you have tv set top box with that feature? Usually 99,99% chainease android for set top box has no navigation bar

Usama

[QUESTION] Where is the SPDIF port? There is only AV port?

Usama

How do I get / convert this into simple AUX 3.5mm stereo jack?

mark

Titles: Gigabit Ethernet
Cons: Fast Ethernet 10/100

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