H96 Pro Review: A Powerful Amlogic S912 Android TV Stick for $40

Find out if the H96 Pro is worth it with my comprehensive H96 Pro review

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H96 Pro Review 01

Android TV sticks have fallen out of popularity in recent years so the H96 Pro comes as a bit of a surprise. Packing the octacore Amlogic S912, running Android 7.1.2 and coming in at a very affordable price, is the H96 Pro worth it? Keep reading my H96 Pro review to find out.

Thanks to GeekBuying who sent me a sample to review.

What is the H96 Pro?

The H96 Pro is a compact Android Stick PC that offers a full Android experience in a small form factor.

Inside the shell is some decent hardware – particularly when you consider the price. For under $40, you’re getting the octacore Amlogic S912, 2GB of RAM, 8GB of onboard storage, b/g/n wifi and Bluetooth 4.1.

Thanks to the Amlogic S912, the H96 Pro is capable of 4K 60fps video playback, H.265 hardware decoding and even HDR for those with a compatible TV.

It also runs Android 7.1.1 so you’re getting one of the most recent versions of Google’s smartphone operating system.

As it’s basically an Android TV box, you can watch videos using Kodi, stream movies from Netflix, play your favorite Android games and more.

Key Features

  • Runs Android 7.1.1 – A recent version of Android
  • Octacore Amlogic S912 Processor with Mali-T820MP3 GPU
  • Two full-sized USB ports on an Android Stick
  • Incredibly cheap at under $40

Where to Buy the H96 Pro

The H96 Pro is available from GeekBuying. You can also get the higher spec model for just $46.99 using coupon GKBH96PRO using this link.

Check Price at GeekBuying

H96 Pro Technical Specifications

View Specifications

General

  • Product Name
    H96 Pro
  • Processor
    AMLogic S912
  • CPU CPU
    Octa core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU up to 2 GHz
  • GPU
    ARM Mali-T820MP3 GPU up to 750MHz
  • Operating System
    Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • RAM
    2GB DDR3
  • Storage
    8/16GB eMMC
    MicroSD Card Slot
  • Power
    DC 5V/2A

Interfaces

  • Video Output
    HDMI 2.0
  • Audio Output
    HDMI 2.0
  • Other Interfaces
    2 x USB 2.0

Connectivity

  • WiFi
    802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (2.4GHz)
  • Bluetooth
    4.1

Physical

  • Dimensions
    100x80x40mm
  • Weight
    200g

What’s in the Box?

H96 Pro Review Inside The Box

There’s not much in the box, with accessories kept to a minimum to keep costs down:

  • H96 Pro Android TV stick
  • Power Adapter
  • Micro USB power cable
  • HDMI Extension Cable
  • English User Manual

H96 Pro Review: Hardware

The H96 Pro is a relatively compact Android stick. Coming in at 100x40x10mm, it’s like a USB drive that needs to go on a diet.

The bottom of the unit features a micro SD card slot and a micro USB port for power. I was pretty impressed to see that the H96 Pro also managed to cram two full-sized USB ports into its compact case.

An integrated HDMI plug makes it easy to connect up to your TV, and you can use the included HDMI extender if your screen’s ports can’t accommodate the Android TV stick’s width.

H96 Pro Review 04

There’s no included remote (no doubt to keep costs low) so I’d recommend picking up an air mouse for a better Android experience. You can see my picks for the best Air Mouse here.

H96 Pro Review: Software

The H96 Pro offers a reasonably attractive TV-friendly user interface, with large tiles for key apps like Netflix, YouTube and Google Play. There’s also shortcuts for themed folders like videos and games.

H96 Pro Review Android 01

There’s also a few pre-installed apps including a media player, Netflix and KDMC – A Kodi fork that comes with a host of add-ons preinstalled (though I’d recommend installing stock Kodi instead).

Of course, you can also use the Google Play Store comes to install your favorite Android apps. For power users, the H96 Pro is rooted out of the box.

H96 Pro Review Android Settings

The interface feels snappy and I didn’t experience any lag or performance issues thanks to the octacore processor under the hood.

H96 Pro Review: Video Playback

H96 Pro Review Kodi 17.4Video playback was tested using Kodi 17.4 downloaded from the Google Play store.

After setting up Kodi, videos were played from a USB 3.0 hard drive and streamed over wifi from my server’s NFS share.

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Media playback was good with the Amlogic S912, handling pretty much everything I threw at it, though Hi10p and other demanding codecs tripped it up like most other Android TV boxes.

Automatic framerate switching isn’t supported, even when “HDMI Self-Adaptation” is enabled in settings.

CodecVideo Performance (Kodi 17.4)
1080p 3D SBS H.264
1080p 3D ABL H.264
1080p24 H.264
1080p High Bitrate H.264
1080p60 H.264
720p50 H.264
1080i25 H.264
4K 30FPS H.264
4K 60FPS H.264
1080p24 HEVC
4K 30FPS 8-bit HEVC
4K 30FPS 10-bit HEVC
1080p VP8
720p Hi10p
1080p Hi10p
1080p MPEG2
1080p VC1
Unencrypted Bluray ISO (Sintel)

5.1 Audio Passthrough

There were no issues with Dolby Digital 5.1 passthrough over HDMI when set up in Kodi.

Netflix

The H96 Pro isn’t Netflix-certified so streaming videos are limited to 480p (DVD resolution).

For more information about Netflix on Android TV boxes, check out my HD Netflix on Android guide.

H96 Pro Review: Gaming Performance

H96 Pro Review Android Crossy Road

Gaming performance was tested using using Crossy Road (Android) and Beach Buggy Racing (Android) using my GameSir G4S controller (read my review) via Bluetooth.

The H96 Pro’s gaming performance was good, with Crossy Road and Beach Buggy Racing playing great when maxed out.

H96 Pro Review: Benchmarks

Should You Buy the H96 Pro?

H96 Pro Review 03

The H96 Pro makes a compelling case, combining powerful hardware for an impressively low price.

Whilst the device lacks features for home theatre enthusiasts, those wanting basic media playback and streaming in Kodi as well as gaming should be happy with this budget Android TV stick.

Pros

  • Good Price vs Performance Ratio
  • Compact, portable design
  • Good codec support

Cons

  • Doesn’t include remote
  • Netflix limited to 480p
  • No automatic framerate switching
  • Firmware updates/support may be an issue

Where to Buy the H96 Pro

The H96 Pro is available from GeekBuying. You can also get the higher spec model for just $46.99 using coupon GKBH96PRO using this link.

Alternatively, it’s also available on Amazon.

Check Price at GeekBuying

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
7
Features
6
Performance
7
Usability
7
Value
8
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Michael is a technology expert with over 10 years of experience in IT, Home Theatre and Automation. Feel free to send Michael a message here.