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Best Android TV Box 2019 Review

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For all of you guys who don’t own a media player yet, forget the mountain list of information out there. The best from the rest is already shortlisted for you. So, here’s a review of the top 5 Android boxes on the market today.

Before that, let me give you a short brief on Android boxes.

Introduction to Android boxes

An Android box is basically a small device that can turn your conventional TV into a smart TV in a moment’s notice. It allows you do things that you could have never expected from your normal television. Once plugged into your TV, it will give you access to a mammoth amount of content.

Basically, an Android TV box lets you expand your content, games, or music library like nothing else. You will be able to jump between content and games as easily you would do through your phone.

Once plugged into your TV, it will give you access to a mammoth amount of content. Basically, Android TV lets you expand your content, games, or music library like nothing else. You will be able to jump between content and games as easily you would do through your phone.

android tv box living room

With the right device, one will be able to stream content like a breeze and enjoy high-quality content at all times on best resolution and brilliant audio and video quality. That being said, picking a streaming device can be tough. There are abundant choices out there. It seems that just about everyone out there thinks that his/her Android box is the best pick in the market.

To save you all the guesswork, here are the best Android TV boxes on the market today that have been personally reviewed and tested for their usability, durability, efficiency, and functionality.

1. Nvidia Shield TV

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NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server
383 Reviews
NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server

Pros

  • Great for gaming
  • Plenty of power
  • Comes with gamepad
  • Voice control

Cons

  • High price
  • Arguably overkill if only used for multimedia streaming

Product Features

This latest offering from Nvidia takes the Android streaming experience further. The Nvidia Shield TV is capable of streaming 4k Ultra HD resolution. It’s available in two separate models at different price points. The higher model offers 500GB VS the 16 GB that you get at lower pricing. The higher package also incorporates a 2.5-inch Hybrid Drive inside the model for efficient storage of all your media and games.

NVIDIA Shield TV | 4K HDR Streaming Media Player

As such, the unit made an appearance in the market with a 256-core Nvidia processor, 64-bit CPU, 3 GB RAM, dual band Wi-Fi, and a bunch of other features. The LED light on the side is very subtle and non-distracting. The space on the front has a refined power button that lets you turn the unit on and off conveniently without the need for a physical button.

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  • Amazon Prime members enjoy exclusive access to movies and TV shows, ad-free music, Kindle books, original audio series and unlimited photo storage.
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Above all, it features a revolutionary voice command technology that lets you say what you want and get desired search results in a flash.

Nvidia Shield TV in Action

The setup was a snap. The interface was loaded with a bunch of apps. I was able to easily navigate through everything as if I was a returning customer. I downloaded several apps at the same time, and it didn’t slow down. Also, I did not notice signal degradation while running Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos. I must say that it handled 4k streaming like a champ. I do have a steady Internet connection speed of 60mbps. Both the audio and video was spot on.

Of course, this Android TV box is capable of much more than any other device on the market. What really sets the Shield TV apart from the competition is the gaming experience. Coming from Nvidia, a leading graphics processor manufacturer, it is designed with both streamers and gamers in mind. So, if you fancy playing a game every now and then on your living room TV, this box is a must-have for you.

The unit itself is great looking with glossy parts. It’s surprisingly slim, which proves that a lot of thought and effort has gone into the design.  The Shield remote is as unique as it can get. It has a solid aluminum built to it. Moreover, it’s light enough for comfortable holding. Furthermore, the buttons work like a charm. Above all, it automatically shuts off when not in use. The game controller is up to the mark as well.

NVIDIA Shield TV | 4K HDR Streaming Media Player

Pros

There’s hardly any setup required other than logging into your Google account. It will instantly link you to the media and movies on your Google Play Store. It lets one explore tens and thousands of apps like Amazon Prime, CBS News, Plex, Spotify, and much more.

Moreover, these guys have also partnered with Kodi. So, this device is a no brainer for Kodi users. One will always get latest Kodi versions and updates.

It loads content extremely fast. I had no buffering issues with streams. Frankly speaking, it can nail your expectations with media streaming. It also streams games seamlessly with no lags.

Cons

The unit can handle 4k HD streaming like a pro. It’s right up its alley. However, don’t expect lightning fast speed with a crappy Internet connection. I use 60mbps, and it works great at this speed. So, be sure to have a good and steady Internet connection in place to make the most of this unit.

Also, the price of this media player is on the higher side of the spectrum. But, it’s worth the money spent—a piece of information confirmed by previous users.

NVIDIA Shield TV | 4K HDR Streaming Media Player

Final Words

This media player doesn’t disappoint. By all accounts, the Nvidia Shield TV is a powerful device. Even the extra storage offered at the higher price point is worth the asking price. It feels nice to not worry about storage at all. So, one can choose any model and run with it.

Overall, this Android box is definitely a beast compared to its competition. It’s a true powerhouse in its class!

2. Amazon Fire TV

Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote (1st Gen), streaming media player
24,357 Reviews
Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote (1st Gen), streaming media player

Pros

  • The world of Prime at your fingertips
  • Voice control
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Pushy with its own services
  • No access to Play store

Product Features

Amazon Fire TV is a portal to all the widely used apps out there. With instant access to Youtube, HBO, Amazon Videos, Netflix, and more, there are countless movies and TV shows ready for streaming. With Amazon Fire TV, every day will be like Christmas morning for all the TV addicts out there.

It has a quad-core processor, which delivers enough power to do movies, music, and games as well. Basically, it offers enough of everything to keep users satisfied. Not to forget the fact that it supports 4k Ultra HD content.

Furthermore, the Fire TV includes a ‘mic’ button that performs dedicated voice search. Users will have to simply hold the top button on their remote and say what they want. Once the button is released, the Android box initiates the search for the desired terms.

The interface also includes a sizeable amount of free content to watch. Moreover, Amazon Prime members receive a decent library of free movies to watch. You will never complain that there is nothing on the TV to watch.

Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote (1st Gen), streaming media player

Amazon Fire TV in Action

The Amazon Fire TV interface is extremely pleasant to use. On the top, it displays the most recently used apps, movies, games, and TV shows. Below that, it displays featured and recommended apps and games. On the left, there is a navigation bar to control things even further.

The setup was a breeze as well. You only need an Amazon account to access Fire TV. You don’t have to be an Amazon Prime member. I like the fact that users are not trapped into a subscription model. So, you are not tied to the company’s services. Even on the first launch, it offers an impressive list of apps. The video and audio quality did meet my expectations.

Also, I found the voice recognition feature to be responsive and accurate. It’s one my favorite feature on this media player.

Its gaming capability left me impressed as well. It was able to handle just about any game that I threw at it. Over here, the credit goes to its dedicated PowerVR GX6250 GPU, 2 GB RAM, and better Wi-Fi support. All of it keeps things moving seamlessly.

Moreover, I found it to be faster and better equipped than the majority of the other expensive Android boxes out there. It didn’t take me long to cut the cord and divorce the cable company. My cable company was not happy with the premature breakup, but I was happy as hell. I must have saved hundreds of dollars so far.

Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote (1st Gen), streaming media player

Pros

Compared to its competition, Amazon Fire TV can be availed at a shoestring budget.

Also, the device by itself is beautiful. It can easily fit into most of the modern living rooms. It has a nice sleek design to it. It’s well-built too.

Now, there is nothing fancy about the stock remote, but all the buttons work. Also, it doesn’t leave behind finger prints or scratches upon use. The remote requires 3 AAA batteries, which are supplied by Amazon at the time of order delivery itself.

It comes with a decent 8GB internal memory which can be extended up to 200GB. Also, you won’t get the full Play Store apps, but Amazon has its own roster of apps ruling the unit.

Cons

Amazon also uses this Android box as a marketplace to push its products and services. Quite a bit of content shown in the recommended section is the products/services owned by them. A lot of users out there may not admire this biased advertisement. That being said, one can easily and quickly access content on the Amazon Fire TV interface.

Oddly enough, the package does not include the HDMI cable. So, you will have to order it separately to go with the Fire TV. By all means, it’s a surprising omission by Amazon.

Also, the voice recognition search feature has further room for improvement because not all apps work with voice search.

Final Words

The Amazon Fire TV is the poor man’s media player. It delivers top-notch performance without costing an arm and a leg. For its features and usability, it’s definitely worth checking out. At its price point, it’s clearly the king of the jungle and the best Android box for those on a tight budget.

On the whole, it’s a wonderful and affordable streaming device for your TV. It clearly muscles out the majority of its competition. Also, it’s my favorite unit thus far.

3. Minix Neo U9-H

MINIX NEO U9-H 4K Ultra HD Streaming Media Player
179 Reviews
MINIX NEO U9-H 4K Ultra HD Streaming Media Player

Pros

  • Great streaming performance
  • Versatile
  • Micro SD slot

Cons

  • No USB 3 port

Product Features

Minix Neo U9-H is an Android TV box which is HDR ready. The package arrives with the usual stuffing. Expect a lot of accessories. Inside the box, you will receive the main unit, IR remote, power adapter, HDMI cable, OTG cable, Wi-Fi antenna, and an instruction guide. The design of the Android box itself is nice and compact. It’s almost the size of a smartphone. The Android 6.0.1 is the operating system of this unit by choice.

The hardware may not blow your mind, but it packs up a decent punch. It boasts of an AmLogic S912 processor, an Octa Core Cortex A53 CPU that runs at a maximum clock speed of 2.0 GHz and a GPU Mali-820. Better yet, the GPU is fitted to impress. It’s capable of providing 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. The internal memory is of 16GB, which can be expanded via MicroSD. Let’s see how this product treated me.

MINIX NEO U9-H + MINIX NEO A3, 64-bit Octa-Core Media Hub for Android [2GB/16GB/4K/HDR/XBMC] and Six-Axis Gyroscope Remote with Voice Input. Sold Directly by MINIX Technology Limited.

Minix Neo U9-H in Action

During use, the product has always been well mannered. Lags and slowdowns were experienced by me, but only in rare cases. Over here, I would give this product the benefit of doubt because my Internet connection was not steady at all times when I was using this box at full-fledged. Overall, the Wi-Fi reception was impressive as the signals were strong for the most part.

I have used it for surfing, games, and as a media center as well. It managed all the heavy duty work without throwing any tantrums.

Speaking of the stock remote, I didn’t find the standard remote to be very useful. However, I fell in love with the A2 Lite Remote. All the buttons work well, and it has a good range to it. This remote helped me maximize the capabilities of this Android box.

MINIX NEO U9-H + MINIX NEO A3, 64-bit Octa-Core Media Hub for Android [2GB/16GB/4K/HDR/XBMC] and Six-Axis Gyroscope Remote with Voice Input. Sold Directly by MINIX Technology Limited.

Pros

Although the box is made from plastic, the overall built quality is great. It’s not of those defective units that will crumble in your hands.

Minix Neo U9-H supports Dolby DTS and Dolby Digital, which helps in delivering brilliant sound quality to the video. Moreover, it supports DD and DD +, DTS-HD and plenty other audio formats.

You can play Kodi or watch Netflix in HD quality without throwing an arm and a leg. I have never encountered a problem with any of the video files. Both media playback and gaming performance are up to the mark.

Cons

The device has a bunch of 2.0 ports, but it does not have USB 3.0 ports. For a device this capable, it appears to be a surprising omission.

Also, this is not an ultra-budget friendly unit. While the features are impressive, the pricing may not suit all wallets. It’s not a high-end or a low-range Android TV box. The pricing is somewhere in between.

MINIX NEO U9-H + MINIX NEO A3, 64-bit Octa-Core Media Hub for Android [2GB/16GB/4K/HDR/XBMC] and Six-Axis Gyroscope Remote with Voice Input. Sold Directly by MINIX Technology Limited.

Final Words

The Minix Neo U9-H has all the elements to deliver a better multimedia experience. It’s damn easy to setup, and it has a ton of features to impress users. Not to forget the fact that it does its job like a pro. You can truly cut off your cable cord with this unit and have a smarter TV in your house from day one.

Overall, this media player is a people-pleaser by all accounts. As advertised, it offers the ultimate home theater experience.

4. Roku Ultra

Roku Ultra HD and 4K UHD Streaming Media Player
357 Reviews
Roku Ultra HD and 4K UHD Streaming Media Player

Pros

  • Huge variety of content
  • High-quality image
  • Powerful search feature
  • Great remote
  • Never lose your remote again!

Cons

  • Voice search can be hit or miss

Product Features

The Roku Ultra has every feature that you could hope or ask for in a media player. It supports many other things including 4K video playback and HDR. The unit also has a MicroSD and Ethernet slot. It has a USB port on the side and an optical audio slot on the front.

The remote on this has a novel feature too. You can do voice search through this remote. The interface offers much better channel selection than its competition. You will get Netflix, Google Play, Hulu, HBO NOW, Amazon, and a lot more at your fingertips.

roku ultra set top box

Roku Ultra in Action

The installation of this Roku Ultra unit is as easy as you can ask for. For the most part, it’s simply plug-and-play. The improvement in the hardware is pretty noticeable. This unit is much quieter and cooler than the earlier Roku versions. The channel selection is enormous as well. Pretty much, I got the most available choices on this Roku unit.

Also, it didn’t disappoint when streaming. Certain things do lag at times, but these instances are rare and few. I noticed that the remote is thicker than the other remotes out there. I like the fact that it comes with a headphone jack. So, it gives me the liberty to enjoy late night movies without disturbing my family. Moreover, the response time on this remote is amazingly fast. Lastly, Roku also added a remote finding feature in case you misplaced it.

roku ultra remote controller

Overall, I have enjoyed my time with this unit.

Pros

No line of sight is required to make the remote work. Since it’s a radio frequency remote, you can point it anywhere, and it will still work like a charm. Also, the remote does not drain the battery life.

Their interface also offers a lot of free stuff to keep kids occupied. Once loaded, everything is nicely laid out, so navigation would be a piece of cake as well.

Moreover, the refurbished price makes the acquisition of this unit a fantastic deal.

Cons

The volume can be adjusted only when you have your headphones on. The remote does not allow one to control the TV volume. Basically, the volume can be adjusted on your own headphone and not the TV.

The remote has some gaming buttons too, but it’s not an ideal replacement for a gaming controller because it has very few control buttons on it. Nevertheless, the gaming buttons were a surprising inclusion in the remote.

The voice command feature works well for the most part. However, there were instances when it didn’t react properly to my commands.

Finally, not all 4k TV is supported by this unit. 4k won’t be shown if your TV is not HDCP 2.2 compatible. It’s not really Roku’s fault over here; it’s a content-protection thing.

roku ultra review

Final Words

If you are thinking about bringing home the Roku Ultra, you won’t be disappointed. It does offer decent 4k video playback and HDR capabilities.

With wide channel selection and great quality video, this Android TV box is born to impress all the media enthusiasts out there.

Gamers won’t be disappointed either. The device does pack a decent punch for its price point.

5. Amazon Fire TV Cube

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Amazon Fire TV Cube
5,368 Reviews
Amazon Fire TV Cube

Pros

  • Able to turn the TV on and off via voice command
  • Use voice commands to tune to different programs
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Does not include Ethernet or HDMI cable

Product Features

It doesn’t happen often that a new Android TV box tries to revolutionize the way we watch television. But, the new Amazon Fire TV Cube attempts exactly that. Why, you ask? Because Amazon decided that the future of television will not require a remote. No, all interaction will be done purely using your voice. Sounds like something you would see in the movies, right? Well, Amazon released the Fire TV Cube as the first hands-free Android TV box that relies purely on Alexa.

Better yet, you can also control compatible TVs and other devices like your home cinema receiver with Alexa. Similarly, many of the popular streaming services like Netflix and Hulu make full use of the voice commands and allow you to search and browse their content. All of this is made possible by the advanced far-field microphones and Amazon’s Alexa technology. Conveniently, the box also has an integrated speaker to make the interaction with the Fire TV Cube interactive.

Fire TV Cube | Hands-Free with Alexa and 4K Ultra HD | Streaming Media Player

Under the hood, a quad-core 1.5 GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM do all the heavy lifting, giving you smooth 4K video and even supporting HDR playback. Unlike the other Fire TV devices, the Cube finally supports wired network connections out-of-the-box, a feature many have been hoping for given the limitations around Wifi streaming.

Finally, Amazon beefed up the storage of the Cube, giving you 16 GB to store video, apps and more.

Fire TV Cube in Action

All of this sounds great in theory, but how well does the Fire TV Cube perform in real life?

Setting up the Fire TV Cube couldn’t be easier. It really is plug-n-play. You link the device to your Amazon account and let the device recognize your TV and other equipment so they can be controlled.

Fire TV Cube | Hands-Free with Alexa and 4K Ultra HD | Streaming Media Player

Controlling the Cube and connected TVs and other devices works surprisingly well. I have not had any issues with Alexa understanding my commands and controlling the box with just your voice feels awkward at first. But, it becomes almost second nature really fast.

Of course, streaming from Prime TV or any of the other streaming services works as well as you’d expect from a Fire TV device. Native 4K and HDR support provide stunning pictures, the interface is great and there are so many entertainment options that you can’t run out of TV shows to binge watch.

The Fire TV Cube also acts as a full-fledged Alexa device. So if you already have an Echo in the same room, you can move that to another room.

Pros

A clear advantage over virtually any other streaming media player is the integrated hands-free Alexa voice control. This device truly feels like a hint at the future of entertainment in your living room. Thanks to Alexa, you can naturally interact with the device, even if the TV is turned off. And of course, being able to turn on the TV with your voice is a killer feature of its own.

You would think that a device that does not have any physical means of interacting with it would be complicated to set up, maybe even needing a PC or app to initially configure. But Amazon really nailed it with their guided set up that has you up and running in no time.

Finally, it goes without saying that the Cube, like the other Amazon devices, provides access to vast amounts of entertainment, both on the Amazon Prime Video service and the many third-party streaming providers that it supports.

Fire TV Cube | Hands-Free with Alexa and 4K Ultra HD | Streaming Media Player

Cons

When a revolutionary device first gets released, it is bound to have some bugs and quirks. At least in the beginning. Luckily, the Fire TV Cube has been in the hands of consumers for quite a few months now. This has given the company enough time to iron out some of the early issues with software updates. The result is a very stable and reliable Android TV box. However, there is always room for improvement and Alexa voice control will only get better with time.

What surprised us the most is that Amazon ships the Cube without an HDMI or Ethernet cable. This is surprising since the device can’t be hooked up to the TV without an HDMI cable. You would think that the extra cable wouldn’t financially ruin Amazon, but some executive must have thought they couldn’t afford to provide one in the box…

Final Words

The Fire TV Cube is an exciting new Android TV box that provides the very latest tech at a surprisingly affordable price. For some, holding a remote may still be a familiar necessity and for the time being probably is the fastest way to control your streaming box. But, without a doubt, the Cube hints at what the entertainment hub of the future looks like. And we have to say, it is an exciting one.

Conclusion

These Android boxes will pretty much cover everyone’s price bracket, whether you are looking for a budget media player or the next big thing. So, depending on how much you are willing to shave off for an Android TV box is what you are going to end up with.

If I had to recommend an Android box, I would either go with the NVIDIA Shield TV for its raw power and gaming capabilities or the Amazon Fire TV for the great value as the best Android TV box for this year.

Last update on 2018-12-09 at 23:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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