REVIEW: X96H with HDMI input and the new Allwinner H603 SoC

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X96H is a new low-cost Android TV model of which we present today its analysis or review, a Box with which it has the new Allwinner H603 SoC that is a version of the Allwinner H6 chip but with HDMI video input. This TV-Box has several different hardware versions but they all have the Android 9 Pie system installed. Let’s see in next pages from our review how this device behaves and how it defends itself regarding direct competition.
  • X96H can be purchased in Gearbest.com only for $33 (30€) with free shipping

PRODUCT DETAILS

ModelX96H
Basic SpecsSoC: Allwinner H603 Quad Core Cortex-A53 (32bit) / GPU Mali-T720 MP2 / 4x ARM-A53 @ 1.5GHz / 28nm
System: Android 9 (32bit)
Ram and storage: 2/4GB DDR3 – 16/32/64GB eMMC (2/16GB in review)
Network: Wifi b/g/n – No BT (XR819) – 4GB RAM = Wifi ac + Bluetooth 4.1 / Ethernet 10/100
Ports: 2x HDMI OUT+ IN 2.0a 4K@60fps / Jack AV / SPDIF / 2x USB 2.0 / USB 3.0 / MicroSD / Reset
Extras: IR remote control / HDMI cable / Manual / DC 5V 2A adapter
Materials and measures: Plastic / Frontal Led panel / 100 x 100 x 20 mm / 180 gr.

Unboxing

The X96H comes in a standard cardboard box with the logo of the device, inside we found the TV-Box, the IR remote control, HDMI cable 4K60fps compatible, Manual and a classic DC 5V 2A adapter.

Description

The X96H box is made of plastic and has a box design where it only stands out for the frontal display with the time in blue. On the sides and in the rear area we have all the connectors, as a novelty we have an HDMI input port. Inside the AV jack we have the update button if necessary. On the motherboard we can see the Wifi chip b g/n and a single internal wifi antenna.

  • Remote Control: Included a Flymouse remote with mic for basic functionalities. We can choose other alternatives.
  • Alternate control: We can control remotely using the app  Cetusplay / Don’t have its own remote control app.
  • HDMI input: Only switches between the video signal of the TV-Box and that of another device, only activable from the remote control.

SYSTEM AND PERFORMANCE

Environment and Android system

We connect the X96H to the current and boots the default launcher based on squares, we can customize the lower area by adding shortcut icons to the apps we want. In the installed apps, KD Player stands out, which is KODI and Miracast for screen sharing. The performance of Android 9 is correct at desktop level or with basic apps and works well without forced closures of classic apps.

  • Launcher: We can change launcher but only Pixel launcher works 100% / Android UI rendering at 720p.
  • Multitasking and access: No multitasking from the remote o screen / No lower or upper Android 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 (32 bit) / The system IS root by default / NO menu to deactivate it in settings.
  • Support: H96 don’t have website for direct support / Firmware not available / Custom firmware not available

Network, storage, RAM and ports

The X96H TV-Box has eMMC memory as internal storage, has a USB 3.0 port and SD card reader. In the network section you have a Wifi b/g/n – No BT (XR819) and 10/100 Ethernet port connector.

  • Storage: Total 16GB expandable with a USB memory stick / NTFS + exFAT compatible.
  • RAM: Total 2GB – Free 1GB / DDR3.
  • Network: Basic speed with one external wifi antenna / Range 46dBm, basic. / 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 / Write22/17 MB/s110/36 MB/s18/19 MB/s

Power and performance

At the power level the X96H has with the Allwinner H603 Quad Core SoC with ARM Cortex-A53 processors and in the graphic section a Mali-T720 MP2 GPU that is in the mid / low range. This SoC is manufactured in 28nm, has a moderate consumption and temperatures are high if we demand performance in powerful games. This TV-Box is NOT suitable for playing games because of the high temperatures it reaches but we can use it for multimedia perfectly.

  • Consumption: Off 2.3W / Standby 4W / Basic use 5W / Maximum 7.8W
  • Thermals: Minimum 53ºC / Maximum 80ºC / Maintains performance up to 68% / Heat zone on the top / Noise 0db
  • Games and emulators: IS NOT possible to play demanding titles such as PUBG / Emulators up to Wii / NO Vulkan support.
  • Controls: Compatible with Gamepads by cable or bluetooth.

VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

Video playback test

In terms of video playback, the X96H features the Allwinner H603 SoC and a VPU compatible with most modern video formats such as h.265 and VP9 with 4K HDR native resolution support and features an app for quality settings of video. 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.

Video results

FormatsResult
h.264 / 1080i / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)Frameskip
h.265 / 1080p / 8bitOK
h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)Frameskip
h.265 / 4K / 8bitOK
h.265 / 4K / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P1 / 4K / 8bitOK
VP9 P2 / 4K / 10bit HDRLow Frameskip
VP9 P2 / 8K / 10bit HDRNot compatible
Max. Bitrate60 Mbps = 7,5 MB/s
  • The maximum bitrate depends on the port used to connect or the limitations of SAMBA Networks.

Audio test results

FormatsDD / DTS 5.1DD+ / DTS MADD True / DTS HRDD Atmos / DTS X
HDMIOK / OKCoreCorePCM / Core*
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 X96H presents the classic configuration without certificates that limits us in quality in several streaming services, luckily it seems that if it is compatible with most services even if they are in their most basic SD quality

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

CONCLUSIONS

Score

X96H

0.00
6.4

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

7.0/10

HARDWARE

6.0/10

SOFTWARE

6.5/10

SUPPORT

6.0/10

PRICE

6.5/10

Pros

  • Android 9
  • Compact
  • OTA update
  • HDMI IN
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Hot in gaming
  • No Bluetooth in 2GB model
  • No Android navigation bars
  • Android UI only at 720p

Opinion

As we have seen, the X96H TV-Box with the new Allwinner H603 SoC assembles enough hardware for normal multimedia use using it with players such as KODI up to 4K or IPTV. The Android 9 installed system behaves normally and we do not have forced closures although the environment is rendered only at 720p.

At the hardware level in the 2GB model the Wifi adapter is basic, in terms of power we can play titles like PUBG in low settings but this TV-Box gets too hot when used with demanding apps. The included remote control is also very basic and only ca work for simple apps, its only novelty the HDMI input port, but does not contribute more than the option for connect and see another external device, it does not allow recording.

In short, the X96H is a TV-Box for a basic use that does not stand out in anything in particular, the only notable surprise has been that an OTA update has come to us although we have not noticed improvements with respect to the original firmware.

WHERE TO BUY AND ADD-ONS

  • X96H can be purchased in Gearbest.com only for $33 (30€) with free shipping

Add-ons

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