Best Android TV Box 2017: What’s the Best Android TV Box?

Want to know the Best Android TV box of 2017? Whether you're looking for the best Android TV box overall or the best cheap Android TV box, I've got you covered.

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Best Android TV Box 2017

When you’re looking for a new media streaming device, it’s tough to know which is the best Android TV box to buy (or click here if you want to know what’s the best Android TV box of 2017!)

There’s so many devices on the market, and more are appearing all the time with the latest Android TV boxes promising they’re bigger and better than the last. The massive number of manufacturers, chipsets and features means plenty of options but it makes it hard to decide which Android TV box to buy.

You’ve read Android TV Box reviews, compared the specs and you’re still wondering “what is the best Android tv box for me?“.

I’ve spend thousands of hours researching and doing Android TV box reviews to find the best Android boxes of 2017 to help you decide which TV box to buy.

Whether you’re looking for the best box for Kodi or just an Android TV box for gaming, I’ve got you covered.

If you’re new to Android TV boxes, you may want to check out my Android TV box buying guide at the end of the article or just hop to my pick for the Best Android TV box of 2017.

The Best Android TV Boxes 2017

After hundreds of hours of testing, research and writing Android TV box reviews, I’ve picked the best Android boxes of 2017:

Best Android TV Box 2017 Comparison

DeviceFeaturesPriceBest ForBuy
Nvidia Shield
  • Best Gaming Performance
  • 4K Netflix
  • Built-in Google Cast
  • HD Audio Passthrough
$$$Most Users
Gamers
Buy Now
Xiaomi Mi Box
  • 4K Netflix
  • Runs Android TV
  • Google Cast Built-In
$$Most UsersBuy Now
Amazon Fire TV
  • 1080p Netflix
  • Excellent Streaming App Support
  • Voice control with Alexa
$$Most UsersBuy Now
WeTek Hub
  • 4K Netflix
  • Excellent Kodi Support
  • Dolby Licenced
$$Most UsersBuy Now
NexBox A95X
  • Incredibly Cheap
  • Can run LibreELEC
$Budget-ConsciousBuy Now

Best Android TV Box For Most

NVIDIA SHIELD TV

Pros

  • 4K Netflix capable (as well as other services)
  • Excellent Media Playback support
  • Google Cast Built-In

Cons

  • Expensive
NVIDIA’s SHIELD TV is NVIDIA’s latest Android TV box and absolute beast. After dozens of Android TV box reviews, it’s clear NVIDIA’s device is the best TV box of 2017, standing above the rest in terms of specs, support and performance.

That’s why I had no hesitation giving it the title of Home Theatre Life’s Best Android TV box 2017.

Made by gaming giant NVIDIA, the NVIDIA SHIELD TV is powered by the company’s powerful Tegra X1 processor offering unparalleled CPU and GPU performance. This thing screams, whether you’re gaming or browsing the web.

For you media lovers, it’s capable of watching 4K content from Netflix, Youtube, Kodi and PLEX. It also supports 10-bit color and Dolby 7.1 surround sound passthrough.

Google Cast is built-in so you don’t even need to have a separate Chromecast to stream media from your smartphone or tablet.

It’s also got strong support from Koying, developer of the Android-centric Kodi fork SPMC, so you know Kodi support will be top notch.

Gamers get some of the best GPU performance from an Android device, including a number of PC titles ported exclusively to the SHIELD TV.

There’s also support for NVIDIA’s game streaming technology, letting you  stream your games from your PC with a compatible NVIDIA GPU or use NVIDIA’s NOW game streaming service.

The company has also been actively supporting the device, releasing regular firmware updates.

The NVIDIA Shield is considerably more expensive than its rivals but the sheer amount of features and power makes up for the increased cost. If you wanting the best Android box on the market, you can’t be the NVIDIA Shield.

Check Price at Amazon

Best Android TV Box Under $100

Xiaomi Mi Box (International Edition)

Pros

  • Android TV for TV-optimized experience
  • Bluetooth Remote with Voice Control
  • 4K Netflix supported

Cons

  • Average gaming performance
  • No Standby mode

Xiaomi, the gadget company producing everything from smartphones to rice cookers, entered the Android TV box market in a big way.

The Xiaomi Mi Box (review) runs Android TV, Google’s Android-based OS designed specifically for TVs.

This lets the Mi Box access a whole range of TV-optimized applications and offers built-in support for 4K Netflix and other video streaming services.

Google Cast is also built-in, allowing you to stream your favorite content from YouTube and more directly from your smartphone.

In terms of specs, the Xiaomi Mi Box packs in the quadcore Amlogic S905X chipset and features 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 8GB of storage, dual band wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.0.

It also supports HDMI 2.0, capable of 4K 60fps video playback and HDR for improved picture quality on supported TVs.

Check Price at GearBest

Amazon Fire TV

Pros

  • Strong app support including 1080p Netflix
  • Regular firmware updates
  • Useful voice control using Alexa

Cons

  • No support for Google Play Store
  • Strong bias towards Amazon services
  • No HDMI included

The Amazon Fire TV is Amazon’s incredibly popular streaming device capable of 4K video output, gaming and more for under $100.

There’s strong support for streaming apps including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Hulu so cord-cutters will be well looked after. The Amazon App store also offers thousands of games and apps to install too.

You’ll also get the Alexa Voice Remote, which puts the power of Amazon’s virtual assistant in your hands – allowing you to search for movies and ask questions without leaving the couch.

If you’re a Amazon Prime member (click here for a free 30 day trial), you’ll also get access to unlimited streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

That said, the Amazon Fire TV is heavily biased towards Amazon’s own services. For example, you’ll need to install apps from the Amazon App store, as the the Google Play store isn’t support. However, you can easily install Kodi on the Fire TV using other means.

That said, the Amazon Fire TV offers immense value for money, particularly if you’re wanting to stream movies from video-on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Check Price at Amazon

WeTek Hub/WeTek Play 2

Pros

  • Intuitive TV-friendly interface
  • Quality IR Remote
  • HD Netflix Supported

Cons

  • Average gaming performance
  • No Standby mode

WeTek have been around for quite a while (the original WeTek Play was one of the first Android TV boxes that I reviewed!) and the company has built an impressive reputation for well-designed Android devices with excellent support.

Both the WeTek Hub and WeTek Play 2 are powered by the quadcore Amlogic S905-H chipset and are capable of playing back Netflix in high definition – a feature few Android boxes can boast (if you’re wondering why, check out my article on HD Netflix on Android)

If you opt for the WeTek Play 2, you’ll also get the ability to watch and record live TV which is awesome.

Additionally, thanks to working closely with Team Kodi, WeTek devices have some of the best Kodi support around.

If you’re looking for an excellent streaming media player that won’t break the bank, check out WeTek’s devices.

Check Price at WeTek

Best Android TV Box Under $50

Nexbox A95X

Best Android TV Box Under $50: Nexbox A95X

Pros

  • Incredibly cheap (often an be picked up for around $30)
  • Support for LibreELEC, the Kodi fork that greatly improves its media playback capabilites

Cons

  • Average gaming performance
  • No Standby mode

The Nexbox A95X is an probably the best cheap Android TV box of 2017. Powered by the quadcore Amlogic S905X, it  features up to 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage (depending on the variant though I’d recommend getting avoiding the mode with 1GB of RAM), wireless b/g/n for wireless streaming, and Bluetooth 4.0.

It’s also capable of 4K video playback and supports HDR on compatible TVs for improved picture quality thanks to the wider color range.

However, the main reason the Nexbox A95X is my pick for the best Android TV box under $50 and best cheap Android TV box overall for 2017 is that you can install LibreELEC on it. This makes it one of the best value Android TV boxes on the market.

LibreELEC is a Kodi-fork that offers the same great home theatre experience, but removes the extra bloat to make the Nexbox A95X feel more like an appliance whilst improving video playback capabilities with support for automatic framerate switching and more.

Check Price at GearBest

Best Android TV Box Honorable Mentions

UGOOS UT3S/Ugoos UT3+

UGOOS-UT3S-Photo-01

Pros

  • Custom UGOOS Kodi fork installed
  • Excellent Gaming Performance
  • Regular Firmware Updates

Cons

  • Netflix limited to 480p
  • Pricier than other Android TV boxes

The UGOOS UT3S (Review) is one of the best Android TV boxes I’ve reviewed to date.

Media playback is solid thanks to Ugoos’ custom Kodi fork that’s specifically optimized for their hardware, enabling features such as automatic framerate switching that are unfortunately lacking on many other devices. However, Netflix is limited to 480p (DVD quality) as the Ugoos UT3S isn’t a Netflix-certified device.

Powered by the impressive quadcore Rockchip RK3288, the UGOOS UT3S performed well across the board. Thanks to its powerful Mali-T764 GPU, gaming performance was excellent for everything from Android games to emulators.

In fact, despite having access to most Android TV boxes on the market, I still have my Ugoos UT3S connected for gaming.

It’s available in two variants. One features 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, whilst the cheaper model features 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Both models features wireless AC, Bluetooth 4.0 and Gigabit ethernet.

For Linux lovers, UGOOS have ported across Ubuntu and the company has been regular firmware updates for months after release, constantly fixing bugs and adding awesome new features.

Check Price

Zidoo X9S

Pros

  • Custom Kodi fork installed
  • HDMI Recording
  • Regular Firmware Updates

Cons

  • Netflix limited to 480p

The Zidoo X9S packs in an impressive array of features and remains one of my most used Android boxes, including HDMI recording, dual WiFi antennas and USB 3.0.

HDMI recording is the key feature on the Zidoo X9S, allowing you to record content from other devices (as long as the stream isn’t protected by HDCP)

Media playback is comprehensive and 4K video playback and HDR is supported thanks to HDMI 2.0 compatibility.

Zidoo have also developed a fantastic and intuitive Android launcher called ZIUI which is easy to use for anyone.

The company also provides regular firmware updates. Over the past few months, Zidoo have fixed numerous bugs and added many new and useful features.

In terms of specs, the Zidoo X9S features the quadcore Realtek RTD12952GB of DDR3 RAM, 16GB of storage, dual band wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.0.

Check Price

Best Android TV Box: Recap

DeviceFeaturesPriceBest ForBuy
Nvidia Shield
  • Best Gaming Performance
  • 4K Netflix
  • Built-in Google Cast
  • HD Audio Passthrough
$$$Most Users
Gamers
Buy Now
Xiaomi Mi Box
  • 4K Netflix
  • Runs Android TV
  • Google Cast Built-In
$$Most UsersBuy Now
Amazon Fire TV
  • 1080p Netflix
  • Excellent Streaming App Support
  • Voice control with Alexa
$$Most UsersBuy Now
WeTek Hub
  • 4K Netflix
  • Excellent Kodi Support
  • Dolby Licenced
$$Most UsersBuy Now
NexBox A95X
  • Incredibly Cheap
  • Can run LibreELEC
$Budget-ConsciousBuy Now

Best Android TV Box Buying Guide: What to look for in an Android TV Box in 2017?

Payment Money

What is an Android TV box?

If you’re wondering what is an Android TV box, you’re not alone.

An Android TV box is best described as a home entertainment hub. They’re often called Kodi boxes, OTT TV boxes, smart TV boxes or simply TV boxes. Phew, that’s a lot of variations!

Not only are they media streaming devices that you to play media through a gorgeous frontend like Kodi, but also access the hundreds and thousands of apps on the Google Play store.

Smart TV boxes are a good solution for those wanting a device that goes beyond basic multimedia playback.

Whether it’s watching Netflix, browsing the web on Chrome, or playing the latest Android games, an Android box will let you do it all.

What Features Should the Best Android TV Box Have?

With so many options out there, there’s a number of core features you should look for when trying to find the best Android TV box.

Excellent Kodi Support

It goes without saying that the best box for Kodi needs to have solid Kodi support. Certain manufacturers work closely with team Kodi to ensure their Android TV boxes support important Kodi functions to allow for important features such as audio passthrough and automatic framerate switching.

5.1 Audio Passthrough

Stereo audio is so passe. 5.1 audio, which features 5 speakers plus a subwoofer, has been the baseline for home theatre audio for years. The best Android TV box for Kodi will support 5.1 audio passthrough as a minimum, allowing your video’s multichannel audio to be reproduced on your home theatre setup.

Automatic Refresh Rate Switching

Automatic framerate switching is an important but relatively unknown feature few Android TV boxes support. Basically, it allows your Android TV box to output a video signal that matches the framerate of your video. This means smooth video playback and elimination of judder.

H.265 Hardware Decoding

H.265 decoding, also known as High Efficiency Video Coding or HEVC, is the one of the latest video codecs. Thanks to its improved compression rates over H.264 video, H.265 video allows better quality video with smaller file sizes. As such, it’s becoming popular for both compressing video files and using in streaming applications.

The best Android TV box will support decoding H.265 in hardware to provide a degree of future proofing for this increasingly popular format.

Dual-Band Wi-Fi and\or Gigabit Ethernet

We live in a world of streaming, whether you’re streaming 4K movies from Netflix or watching Blurays from your server. All this high resolution video requires bandwidth to support it.

The best Android TV boxes will offer dual band wireless to avoid the congestion found on the 2.4GHz band and/or gigabit Ethernet for those that prefer the stability of a wired connection.

OTA Firmware Updates\Good Customer Support

It can be argued that an Android TV box is only as good as its support. So many cheap Android TV boxes coming out of China (or overpriced “fully loaded Kodi boxes” from other companies) are sold by those trying to make a quick buck. When something goes wrong or there’s a bug, they’re nowhere to be found.

Good Android TV boxes come with excellent support, either via direct customer support or regular firmware updates that add features or fix bugs so you can focus on enjoying your streaming media player.

A Recent Version of Android (Android 5.0+)

Google regularly releases new versions of its Android operating system. Like any other operating system, having a recent version is important so you have both the features and security you need.

An Android TV box should at least come with Android 5.0. This is particularly important if you’re looking for the best box for Kodi, as Kodi 17 only supports Android 5.0+.

Other Useful Features

HD Netflix Support

There’s no doubting that Netflix is the king of movie streaming. However, not all Android devices support HD Netflix.

If you’re a Netflix user, picking an Android TV box that supports HD Netflix streaming is a must to ensure you’re getting the best quality video possible.

Strong Gaming Performance

Many home theatre enthusiasts are also gamers. With Android supporting a host of games, including casual titles, ports of retro games and even emulators, it’s no surprise some want their Android TV box to pull double duty as a gaming machine.

3D Playback

3D never really took off the way Hollywood was hoping, though some are still fans of 3D movies (myself included). If you regularly watch 3D content, you’ll want an Android TV box that’s capable of playing back 3D video in various formats.

USB 3.0

USB 3.0 is pretty much ubiquitous at this stage, though the uptake on Android TV boxes has been slower. If you’re regularly finding yourself transferring lots of content between an external hard drive and your Android TV box, getting a device with high speed USB transfer makes sense, though it’s unlikely to be a must have feature for most.

Conclusion

Having personally reviewed dozens on Android boxes, the above list reflects the best Android TV boxes to date.

The NVIDIA’s SHIELD TV is definitely the best Android TV box so far thanks to its combination of great features, best-in-class gaming performance and support from one of the biggest companies in gaming.

The honorable mentions are also fantastic in their own ways. In the end, it’s all about what device best meets your requirements.

Have a favorite that I haven’t included in here? Let me know in the comments!

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  • saor

    nice one michael i am sold on the wireless air con on the ugoos!!

  • saor

    but on i serious note are you getting one of the new xiaomi speakers to review?

    • Thanks! Love the Ugoos – it’s my current goto.

      Re: the Xiaomi speakers, I’m waiting for confirmation.

  • saor

    Thanks michael good writing keep up the good work

  • Alex

    Quick question Michael, apart from the Shield are there any other andriod boxes that play Netflix at 1080p?

  • Marcos Calicchio Vianna

    Great review Michael!
    Regarding the NVIDIA SHIELD TV (and probably the others), will I be able to install torrent apps and download to their internal memory?

    • Hi Marcos,

      You should be able to, though the Nvidia Shield TV runs Android TV so some Android apps may need to be sideloaded, rather than installed from Google Play though this is a straightforward process.

      • Marcos Calicchio Vianna

        Good! Thanks for your help!