Allwinner H3

Tronfy X2 Android TV Box Features Allwinner H3 for under $50

The Tronfy X2 is an Android TV box powered by the low cost Allwinner H3 SoC. Running Android 4.4, the Tronfy X2 does feature some additional customisations.

The marketing material shows a TV friendly launcher that appears to split apps into categories such as games and movies.

It also comes with pre-installed version of Kodi that seems to be customised with a whole host of addons. OTA updates are also supported, which is a massive plus for user friendliness.

In terms of specs, the Tronfy X2’s specs are similar to other Allwinner H3 boxes such as the Tronsmart Draco H3 and Beelink X2.

Tronsmart Draco H3 Technical Specifications

  • Operating System: Android KitKat 4.4.4
  • Chipset: Allwinner H3
  • CPU: ARM Quad-core A7 up to 1.5 GHz
  • GPU: Octo-Core Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory: 1GB DDR3
  • Internal Storage: 8GB eMMC + MicroSD card slot (32Gb Max)
  • Connectivity: 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Broadcom AP6181), Bluetooth 4.0
  • Audio/Video Output: HDMI
  • Interfaces: 2x USB 2.0

Inside the box, you get the Tronfy X2 unit, IR remote control, instruction manual and a power adapter.

Getting One

The Tronfy X2 can be purchased from TinyDeal for around $50.

Check Price at GearBest

 

X3 Android TV Box Runs Remix OS and VidOn XBMC

The X3 is a new Android TV Box powered by the Allwinner H3. Spec-wise, it’s nothing exciting. It features 1Gb of RAM, 8Gb of internal storage, b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and fast Ethernet.

Where it starts to get interesting is that it can run Remix OS, a Windows-like flavor of Android that features a taskbar and windowed applications.

It also comes pre-installed with VidOn XBMC rather than vanilla Kodi. As mentioned in my VidOn Box review, VidOn XBMC is based on Kodi 14.2 Helix and offers a number of paywalled features such as Bluray Menu navigation and HD audio passthrough.

X3 Technical Specifications

  • Operating System: Android KitKat 4.4
  • Chipset: Allwinner H3
  • CPU: ARM Quad-core A7 up to 1.5 GHz
  • GPU: MALI400MP2 @600MHz
  • Memory: 1GB DDR3
  • Internal Storage: 8GB NAND + MicroSD card slot
  • Connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Audio/Video Output: HDMI 1.4, Composite Video Out
  • Interfaces: 2 x USB 2.0

Inside the box, you’ll get the X3 Android TV box, IR remote control, HDMI cable, power adapter and a user manual.

Getting One

The X3 Android TV box can be purchased from GeekBuying for under $60.

Zidoo X1 Impressions: A Stylish 4K Android TV Box

The Zidoo X1 is an Android mini PC powered by the Allwinner H3. Featuring a really unique design and custom ZIUI launcher, the Zidoo X1 packs in 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage into it’s cool looking insect-like carapace.

I want to say thanks to Zidoo and GeekBuying for sending me a sample of the Zidoo X1 to review. Click here to view the latest price.

Zidoo X1 Technical Specifications

  • Operating System: Android KitKat 4.4.4
  • Chipset: Allwinner H3
  • CPU: ARM Quad-core A7 up to 1.5 GHz
  • GPU: Octo-Core Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory: 1GB DDR3
  • Internal Storage: 8GB NAND + MicroSD card slot
  • Connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Audio/Video Output: HDMI 1.4, SP-DIF, Composite Video Out
  • Interfaces: 2 x USB 2.0

What’s in the Box?

Inside the box, Zidoo have provided:

  • 1 x Zidoo X1 Unit
  • 1 x IR Remote
  • 1 x HDMI Cable
  • 1 x Power Adapter
  • 1 x Instruction Manual

Zidoo-X1-Inside-The-Box

Zidoo X1 Impressions Video

Zidoo X1 Initial Impressions

Opening up the package, I was surprised at just how compact the unit is. I know the Allwinner H3 can fit into some tiny cases, but I just expected the Zidoo X1 to be bigger. I’m happy it’s so compact as finding a space for it will be no issue.

The case looks fantastic. It reminds me of an insect’s carapace and Zidoo should be commended for putting some investment into the design of their units rather than going with the standard black square/rectangle.

Zidoo-X1-Side

 

All the ports are located around the back of the unit. Going from left to right, we’ve got the composite video port, USB 2.0 port, Ethernet, another USB port, microSD card slot and DC power input.

Zidoo-X1-Back

The included remote is pretty solid, with a comprehensive set of Android buttons (including a task switcher). There are also 3 customisable shortcut keys and the top set of buttons can be used to learn your TV remotes IR signals.

Zidoo-X1-Remote-Closeup

The Zidoo X1 automatically powers up when plugging it in, taking around 49 seconds to boot. It’s a little long but the device resumes instantly from standby so it’s not really an issue but worth mentioning.

The X1’s preloaded with Android 4.4 and a custom Kodi fork call ZDMC which supports the Allwinner’s hardware decoding. The device was rooted once I updated the firmware.

The ZIUI looks great which isn’t surprising given what Zidoo showed us with the Zidoo X9. It’s locked at 720p like the Tronsmart Draco H3, but videos play at their native resolution. I really appreciate the ability to set apps to boot on launch, allowing you to boot straight into Kodi rather than ZIUI.

Zidoo-X1-ZIUI-01

WiFi performance was good during testing and I didn’t experience any buffering when playing back my 4K or 1080p samples from an NFS share on my server. I did experience some playback issues however. My 4K 30Hz sample didn’t play back being particularly smoothly and I had an odd aspect ratio issue for some of my samples in the Zidoo Kodi fork. Jumping across to Kodi from the Google Play store greatly improved the situation.

Gaming performance was good, with both Jetpack Joyride and Beach Buggy Racing playing well. Beach Buggy Racing on maximum settings was fairly playable, although there were some significant dips in framerate if the action got too heavy.

Brief benchmarking via Antutu returned 17152, which is roughly the same as what we saw on the Tronsmart Draco H3.

Verdict So Far

The Zidoo X1 appears to be a good unit. It’s design and UI are fantastic and Zidoo have already been hard at work releasing regular firmware updates already. Playback was generally fine but I did experience some minor playback issues with 4K content but I’m sure they’re fixed in future updates. Zidoo have an excellent track record for releasing patches.

Getting One

You can get the Zidoo X1 from GeekBuying. Click here to view the latest price.

Alternatively, it’s also available at Amazon or AliExpress.

Zidoo X1 gets a new ZIUI launcher called Frisbee

Zidoo have released a new launcher for the Zidoo X1 Android PC. Called “Frisbee”, the new launcher swaps out the card-based UI of the Zidoo X9 for circular icons and a much brighter color palette.

According to the release notes, the UI is based on OpenGL and supports a whole bunch of useful features such as loading apps on boot (useful for Kodi), a parental lock and navigation via both mice and IR remotes.

I’ve embedded the official demo below:

What do you think of the new launcher? Let us know in the comments below!

Tronsmart Draco H3 Review: 4K Android PC for Under $40

The Tronsmart Draco H3 is an Android mini PC powered by the quadcore Allwinner H3. Thanks to the Allwinner H3, this Android stick PC can decode and output 4K content.

Thanks to GeekBuying for providing me a sample to review. Click here to view the latest price.

What Is It?

The Tronsmart Draco H3 is a tiny Android mini PC that’s capable of decoding and outputting 4K content.

Tronsmart Draco H3 Technical Specifications

  • Operating System: Android KitKat 4.4.4
  • Chipset: Allwinner H3
  • CPU: ARM Quad-core A7 up to 1.5 GHz
  • GPU: Octo-Core Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory: 1GB DDR3
  • Internal Storage: 8GB NAND + MicroSD card slot
  • Connectivity: 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Broadcom AP6212), Bluetooth 4.0
  • Audio/Video Output: HDMI
  • Interfaces: 1x USB 2.0, 1xUSB OTG

What’s in the box?

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-Box-01

Tronsmart have provided the basics to get you started inside the box:

  • 1x Tronsmart Draco H3 Mini PC
  • 1x USB Power Cable
  • 1x Power Adapter (5v 2A)
  • 1x Instruction Manual
  • 1x HDMI Extension Cable

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-Inside-The-Box

Tronsmart Draco H3 Design

The Tronsmart Draco H3 is roughly the same size as other stick-shaped mini PCs such as the MK808B Plus or Intel Compute Stick. It’s covered in a nice rubberized coating which feels great and makes the device feel more expensive than it actually is.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-Back

The design is military-inspired, featuring angled grooves and ventilation ports. At just 101x37x10 mm, it’s incredibly portable.

The ports are located on the side and bottom of the device. On the bottom of the device, we have a function button, micro SD card slot and DC In.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-Side

The back of the device houses a USB OTG port and a fullsize USB port.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-Bottom

It’s great that the Draco H3 has two USB ports, but the whole device looks slightly awkward when you’ve got a USB thumbdrive dangling off an OTG cable.

The male HDMI connection is hidden under a removable cap to keep things neat and protect the connector during transport. Just make sure you remember where you put it.

Using It

Like most Android stick PCs, plugging in the Tronsmart Draco H3 causes it to boot. A cold start takes around a minute and a half which is significantly slower than other devices I’ve tested. However, this device is designed to be left on constantly, so it’s unlikely to be an issue for most but still something to be aware of.

Resolution was set to 720p on first boot but the Tronsmart Draco H3 supports 4K output at 30Hz. However, the UI resolution is locked to 720p . Thankfully, video output is unaffected by the UI resolution lock – with video playback under MXPlayer being rendered at its native resolution.

The UI lock does impact all apps however. This means that apps like YouTube wouldn’t play any higher than 720p which is a shame.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-HDMI-Output

Tronsmart have provided a 1080p kernel for those who are willing to sacrifice OTA updates and some performance for the improved UI resolution. I’d guess the trade off is worth it for those who love glorious Full HD UIs or want to watch 1080p YouTube.

The version of Android KitKat on the Tronsmart Draco H3 is essentially stock. The only noticeable customization is that Tronsmart have included a few key media apps as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Plex as well as an OTA update function.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-App-Drawer

The OS feels pretty good most of the time, with animations remaining smooth throughout. Although I did find that there was an occasional delay when opening an app or multitasking a lot.

The OTA Update feature makes getting the latest firmware a breeze. Clicking “Update now” downloaded the new firmware, rebooted the device and installed it.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-Android-OTA

The device comes pre-rooted out of the box for those that need it.

Miracast

The Tronsmart Draco H3 comes with Miracast support. I was able to cast my Galaxy S4’s screen to the Draco but there were weird video artifacts down the right side of the screen which made it unusable for any sort of landscape sharing. However, this could be due to an incompatibility in my phone’s ROM rather than an issue with the unit’s Miracast implementation.

External Storage Support

I was able to plug in my USB drive and 2.5″ HDD and play videos without any issues. The USB drives were automatically mounted upon plugging them in.

Tronsmart Draco H3 Media Playback

Kodi 14.2 is pre-installed and configured to use the included video players as an external player. This is because Kodi doesn’t support the Allwinner H3’s hardware decoder at this stage.

I initially had some issues with the external player not loading via Kodi. However, after a reboot, it started working fine.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-Kodi

Video CodecVideo Performance (Kodi – External Player)Video Performance (MX Player)
1080p 3D SBS H.264OKOK
1080p 3D ABL H.264OKOK
1080p30 H.264OKOK
1080p High Bitrate H.264OKOK
1080p60 H.264OKOK
720p50 H.264OKOK
1080i50 H.264OKOK
4K H.264Watchable (Occasional Minor Stutter)Watchable (Occasional Minor Stutter)
1080p30 HEVCOKOK
1080p60 HEVCAudio Sync IssuesAudio Sync Issues
4K HEVCAudio Sync IssuesAudio Sync Issues
1080p VP8OKOK
720p Hi10pUnwatchable (Force Quit Video Player)Unwatchable (Force Quit Video Player)
1080p Hi10pUnwatchable (Decoding Artifacts)Unwatchable (Decoding Artifacts)
1080p MPEG2OKOK
720P RMVBNo (Format Not Supported)OK
1080p VC1OKNo Audio

I was able to play the Sintel Bluray ISO in Kodi without any issues so Bluray ISOs appear to be supported.

Tronsmart Draco H3 Gaming Performance

To test gaming performance, I installed 2 games,1 2D and 1 3D title:

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-Beach-Buggy-Racing

With the 720p UI lock, games only run at the reduced resolution. Whilst the games don’t look as good as they could, with some noticeable aliasing thanks to the upscaled image, both games ran really well. Even with maximum settings, Beach Buggy Racing managed a fairly consistent framerate, with only the occasional dip. As long as you’re ok with the reduced resolution, the gaming experience is great.

Gaming Controllers and Bluetooth

I tried connecting both my Moga Pro Power and iPega PG-9025 via Bluetooth. Whilst the iPega PG-9025 was able to pair, none of the buttons were recognised by the OS. The Moga Pro Power paired fine and I was able to use it to play Beach Buggy Racing.

SixAxis Compatibility Checker reported that it was compatible so you should be able to hook your PS3 controllers up via Bluetooth.

Tronsmart Draco H3 Networking Performance

Networking pertformance was tested using WiFi Speed Test. 100Mb of data is transferred between the device and a PC running the benchmarking server application. This is repeated 3 times for each direction and the average is taken.

Wireless Performance

Wireless performance on the Tronsmart Draco H3 was mixed. Average download speeds were good at 23.8 Mbps. Upload speeds were appalling though, reaching 1.56 Mbps on average.

Thankfully, the poor upload speeds didn’t seem to impact video streaming, as I was able to stream 4K and 1080p video samples from an NFS share on my server.

Tronsmart Draco H3 Android Benchmarks

Antutu 5.7.1

Antutu returned a respectable score of 12147.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-Antutu

Epic Citadel

The device achieved 40.9 FPS at 1280×720 on the high-quality setting.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-Epic-Citadel

3DMark – Ice Storm Extreme

The Draco H3 scored 1791 on Ice Storm Extreme.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-3DMark

RAM and Storage

Internal memory read/write speeds were 34.79 and 9.91 MB/s respectively. RAM copy speed was benchmarked at 904.98 MB/s.

Tronsmart Draco H3 Temperatures

During testing, I didn’t notice any form of thermal throttling. With an ambient temperature of 20°C, case temperatures were 41.5°C after benchmarking using an IR thermometer.

Tronsmart Draco H3 Power Consumption

Power consumption was impressively low, consuming under 5w, even under load. As the device doesn’t have a standby mode, no power rating is provided.

OffIdleUnder Load
0W2.7W4.2W

Getting One

You can purchase the Tronsmart Draco H3 from GeekBuying. Click here to view the latest price.

Alternatively, it’s also available from Amazon.

 

Beelink X2 Firmware 103K4 Available for Download

Beelink have released new firmware for the popular Beelink X2 TV box. Version 103K4 apparently fixes issues with root on the device. You can download the Beelink X2 firmware here.

There are two ways to update the Beelink X2’s firmware.The first is to use the local update:

  1. Copy ota_XII_V103K4.zip to the X2’s local memory.
  2. Run the System Update app on the home page.
  3. Select Local Update, select Select File, select Local Memory and then select the file ota_XII_V103K4.zip you copied.
  4. The system will auto reboot, update the firmware then reboot again after around 50 seconds.

Alternatively, you can use install update_X2_V103k4.img via Phoenix Suite.

Update: Looks like the firmware’s been pulled due to issues with reliability of the update process

Tronsmart Draco H3 Impressions: 4K Mini PC for Under $40

The Tronsmart Draco H3 is an Android mini PC powered by the quadcore Allwinner H3. Adopting a stick form factor, this tiny mini PC is capable of decoding and outputting 4K content.

Thanks to GeekBuying for providing me a sample to review. Click here to view the latest price.

Update: Our Tronsmart Draco H3 Review is now available.

What Is It?

The Tronsmart Draco H3 is a tiny Android mini PC that’s capable of decoding and outputting 4K content.

Tronsmart Draco H3 Technical Specifications

  • Operating System: Android KitKat 4.4.4
  • Chipset: Allwinner H3
  • CPU: ARM Quad-core A7 up to 1.5 GHz
  • GPU: Octo-Core Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory: 1GB DDR3
  • Internal Storage: 8GB NAND + MicroSD card slot
  • Connectivity: 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Broadcom AP6212), Bluetooth 4.0
  • Audio/Video Output: HDMI
  • Interfaces: 1x USB 2.0, 1xUSB OTG

What’s in the box?

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-Inside-The-Box

Inside the box, Tronsmart have given a fairly comprehensive set of accessories:

  • 1x Tronsmart Draco H3 Mini PC
  • 1x USB Power Cable
  • 1x Power Adapter (5v 2A)
  • 1x Instruction Manual
  • 1x HDMI Extension Cable

Tronsmart Draco H3 Initial Impressions

The Tronsmart Draco H3 is slightly larger than other stick-shaped mini PCs such as the MK808B Plus and the Chromecast. The dongle is covered in a nice rubberised coating which feels great and makes the device feel more expensive than it actually is.

The device looks almost military, covered in angled ventilation and grooves. At just 101x37x10 mm, it’s incredibly portable.

In terms of ports, the basics are all here. On the bottom of the device, we have a function button, micro SD card slot and DC In.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-Side

Moving around to the bottom of the device, we have a USB OTG port as well as a fullsize USB port.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-Bottom

The male HDMI connection is hidden under a removable cap to keep things neat and protect the connector during transport. Just make sure you remember where you put it.

Plugging in the Tronsmart Draco H3 causes it to boot automatically. A cold start takes around a minute and a half. While slow, this device is designed to be left on constantly, so this isn’t as big of an issue as it seems.

On the first boot, the resolution was set to 720p. You can change the resolution up to 4K at 30Hz. However, it does seem that the UI is locked to 720p. Thankfully, video output is unaffected by the resolution lock – with video playback under MXPlayer being rendered at its native resolution.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-HDMI-Output

Tronsmart have provided a 1080p kernel for those who are willing to sacrifice OTA updates and some performance for the improved UI resolution. I’d guess the trade off is worth it for those who love glorious Full HD UIs.

The Android launcher essentially stock, with a few media applications such as Netflix and Plex come preinstalled.

Tronsmart-Draco-H3-App-Drawer

Kodi 14.2 is pre-installed and configured to use an external player as Kodi doesn’t support the Allwinner H3’s hardware decoder at this stage. However, my device never loaded the external player so this didn’t work. Playing media via MXPlayer was fine however, with my 4K HEVC samples playing back nicely.

I initially had some challenges with wifi However, it turns out a rogue QoS service on my router was to blame. Disabling QoS allowed me to stream both 4K and 1080p samples without issue. I watched the 4K version of Big Buck Bunny without any buffering so WiFi performance is actually quite good. Wifi signal strength remained at 5 bars at all times thanks to the external WiFi antenna.

Gaming performance was tested using Beach Buggy Racing and Jetpack Joyride. With the 720p output, both games ran well. With maximum settings, Beach Buggy Racing managed a fairly consistent framerate, with only the occasional dip.

Verdict So Far

So far, the Tronsmart Draco H3 is an interesting device, particularly at its sub-$40 price point. With its ability to play a variety of media codecs and have reasonable gaming performance thanks to a lowered UI resolution, it’s a good option for those wanting a media player on the cheap.

Getting One

You can purchase the Tronsmart Draco H3 from GeekBuying. Click here to view the latest price.

 

X2 TV Box Decodes 4K HEVC for Under $50

The X2 TV Box is an Android Mini PC powered by the Allwinner H3 chipset. Thanks to its SoC, it’s capable of 4K video output and decoding of 4K H.265/HEVC content – a feat many more expensive TV boxes can’t do.

The Beelink X2 can be purchased from GearBest, AliExpress and Amazon.

The X2 TV Box also features 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage. This should be sufficient for watching movies but those with more demanding needs should look at something more powerful.

X2-TV-Box-Ports

It seems that the Allwinner H3 is becoming quite popular in the budget TV box space thanks to its impressive features and low cost. Both the new Zidoo X1 and Tronsmart Draco H3 mini PCs feature the SoC.

X2 TV Box Technical Specifications

  • Operating System: Android KitKat 4.4
  • Chipset: Allwinner H3
  • CPU: ARM Quad-core A7 up to 1.5 GHz
  • GPU: Octo-Core Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory: 1GB
  • Internal Storage: 8GB + MicroSD card slot (up to 32GB)
  • Connectivity: 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 10/100 Ethernet
  • Audio/Video Output: HDMI, SP-DIF
  • Interfaces: 2 x USB 2.0
  • Size (L x W x H): 11.0 x 11.0 x 1.75 cm

Inside the box, you’ll get a HDMI cable, USB OTG cable, IR remote, and power adapter.

Getting One

The X2 TV Box is available from GearBest. Click here to view the latest price.

[gb-x2tv-deal]

Zidoo X1 Android TV Box Powered by Allwinner H3 SoC

The Zidoo X1 Android TV box has appeared on the product pages of Zidoo’s website. Powered by the Allwinner H3 chipset, the Zidoo X1 adopts the rounded “TV box” form factor coming in a variety of colors. At this stage, silver, red, green and blue have been shown off in product images.

Read moreZidoo X1 Android TV Box Powered by Allwinner H3 SoC