R-TV BOX K99 Android TV Box Review: Is the First RK3399 Box a Winner?

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R-TV Box K99 Review

The R-TV BOX K99 is an Android TV box powered by Rockchip’s new hexacore RK3399 chip. Featuring 4GB of RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage and the latest tech including USB Type-C and Wireless AC, is it any good? Keep reading my R-TV BOX K99 review to find out.

Thanks to GeekBuying for sending me a sample to review.

Where to Buy the R-TV BOX K99

The R-TV BOX K99 is available from GeekBuying for around $140 with free shipping at the time of writing.

Use coupon “KQOCKPNN” to get $10 off for a limited time only!

Check Price at GeekBuying

In This Review

R-TV BOX K99 Technical Specifications

General

  • Product Name
    R-TV BOX K99
  • Price (MSRP) Suggested Price
    139.99
  • Processor
    Rockchip RK3399
  • CPU CPU
    Hexacore processor with 2x ARM Cortex A72 cores @ up to 2.0 GHz, 4x ARM Cortex A53 cores
  • GPU
    Mali-T860MP4
  • Operating System
    Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • RAM
    4GB DDR3
  • Storage
    32GB eMMC
    MicroSD Card Slot
  • Other Features
    IR Sensor
  • Power
    5V/2A

Interfaces

  • Video Output
    HDMI 2.0
  • Audio Output
    HDMI 2.0
    SP-DIF
  • Other Interfaces
    1x USB 2.0
    1x USB 3.0
    1x USB Type-C

Connectivity

  • WiFi
    WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz)
  • Ethernet
    1000Mbps
  • Bluetooth
    4.0

Physical

What’s in the Box?

R-TV Box K99 Inside The Box

Inside the box, you’ll get:

  • R-TV BOX K99 Android TV Box
  • Power Adapter
  • IR Remote
  • HDMI Cable
  • English User Manual

R-TV BOX K99 Review: Hardware

The R-TV BOX K99’s design is attractive, with a matte black metal case with rounded edges. It doesn’t stray too far from typical Android TV box design but still looks distinct.

The right side houses a micro SD card slot, as well as USB Type-C, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports.

The back of the device has the Ethernet, optical audio, HDMI and DC In for power.

R-TV Box K99 Left

As usual, I wish there was a front USB port for easy access when you want to quickly plug in a USB drive.

There’s no power button, so the R-TV Box K99 boots automatically when connected to power. Boot times are impressively low, coming in at 17 seconds.

I was surprised that the included remote was an airmouse, allowing you to control the cursor by waving the remote (read more about air mice and my recommendations in my Best Air Mouse guide).

R-TV Box K99 Remote

It’s on the basic side but does the job. It’s got Android functions and volume controls which covers most situations.

I was disappointed that the power button will turn off the box but won’t let you turn it back on which is odd. You’ll need to disconnect and reconnect the power if you want to turn it back on which is just frustrating.

R-TV BOX K99 Review: Software

The R-TV BOX runs Android 6.0 with an attractive (if overly purple) TV friendly launcher. It’s intuitive, with shortcuts for commonly used apps as well as a customisable row of your favorite apps.

R-TV Box K99 Review Android 01

It’s good to see the company skinned the Settings menus too. It makes everything feel far more polished, aside from the odd spelling mistake.

Netflix, Facebook and a few other apps are preinstalled. You can use the Google Play Store to install your favorites too.

However, I couldn’t install several Android apps as they said they weren’t compatible which is a significant problem. Sideloading them or using the Amazon App Store worked fine so hopefully this is fixed in a future firmware update.

R-TV Box K99 Review Android 03

If you like to keep your Android TV box updated (and you should!), the K99 supports over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates. However, I haven’t had an R-TV Box device before so I’m not sure how much support the company will provide.

R TV Box K99 Review Android OTA Updates

The firmware feels stable and the hexacore Rockchip RK3399 does a good job handling the OS.

The R-TV BOX K99 isn’t not rooted out of the box, though this won’t affect most users.

R-TV BOX K99 Review: Video Playback

The R-TV BOX K99 comes with a clean install of Kodi 17.0 Krypton, so you can set up Kodi exactly how you want it.

I used the pre-installed version of Kodi to play videos from a USB 3.0 harddrive and stream them over wifi from my server’s NFS share.

Overall, the R-TV BOX K99’s video playback was reasonable. The most common video files played without issues which will cover most users.

The R-TV BOX K99’s video playback was reasonable

However, high end video codecs had issues and automatic framerate switching isn’t supported to minimize judder in certain videos.

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Codec Video Performance (Kodi 17.0)
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

Dolby Digital 5.1 passthrough via HDMI didn’t work at all, even when enabled in Kodi 17.0.

Dolby Digital 5.1 passthrough didn’t work at all

Videos with 5.1 audio just played with static, so I can’t recommend this for anyone wanting to watch videos with multichannel audio.

Netflix

Streaming movies on Netflix worked well. However, video was limited to SD (480p or DVD quality) as the R-TV BOX K99 isn’t a Netflix-certified device.

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

R-TV BOX K99 Review: Gaming Performance

R TV Box K99 Review Android Beach Buggy Racing 01

To test gaming performance, I hooked up my trusty GameSir G4S (read my review) via Bluetooth and installed Beach Buggy Racing (Android).

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test out Jetpack Joyride (Android) as the Google Play said the K99 wasn’t compatible with the current version. Here’s hoping this is fixed in a future firmware update.

Gaming performance was good

Gaming performance was good, thanks the Rockchip RK3399’s Mali-T860MP4 GPU. Gaming performance was significantly better performance than Android TV boxes powered by the Amlogic S912 (and its Mati-T820MP3 GPU).

R TV Box K99 Review Android Beach Buggy Racing 02

Beach Buggy Racing played well, even when maxed out at 1080p. However, I saw regular framerate drops when action intensified. Lowering the graphics settings improved performance.

R-TV BOX K99 Review: Benchmarks

Should You Buy the R-TV BOX K99?

R-TV Box K99 Review

There’s no doubt the R-TV BOX K99 has some impressive hardware under the hood. However, it’s held back by average firmware, missing features and some odd choices.

Positives like the included air mouse and fast chipset are held back by software issues like Google Play store compatibility issues and the inability to turn the box on using the remote.

Furthermore, missing features like 5.1 audio passthrough and automatic framerate switching mean home theatre users should avoid it.

That said, if you’re happy with basic media playback, it’s ok but there’s far better Android TV boxes out there for less money than the R-TV BOX K99.

Pros

  • Fast chipset for media playback and gaming
  • Airmouse included
  • Solid hardware

Cons

  • Automatic Framerate Switching and 5.1 Passthrough isn’t supported
  • Included remote can’t turn device back on
  • Firmware lacks polish

Where to Buy the R-TV BOX K99

The R-TV BOX K99 is available from GeekBuying for under $140 with free shipping.

Use coupon “KQOCKPNN” to get $10 off for a limited time only!

Check Price at GeekBuying

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
6
Features
5
Performance
3
Usability
6
Value
3
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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.
  • saor

    Yeah there no real advantage buying this over previous boxes maybe when jide release their TV box with rk3399 it might be worth buying

    • It’s not surprising as this is the first RK3399 device to the market. The hardware is solid though, so I’ll be interested in seeing what other manufacturer’s do with it.

  • Ronnie Bailey

    Thanks for the review.

  • Shannon Hollister

    Can someone help me know whats wrong with mine? I left it un plugged over night and now it wont turn on and only shows a gray screen. Theres no reset bottom on the box its a R-TV BOX k99. Does anyone know what could be the problem and how to go about fixing it?

  • HYDRA E-Store

    really great review.