SZTomato

Rippl-TV V2 Android Box Features Amlogic S905 and Integrated Google Cast

SZTomato have revealed the Rippl-TV V2 Android TV box, a successor to the original Rippl-TV based on the quad core Amlogic S905 processor.

The specifications are fairly typical, featuring 1GB of DDR3 RAM, 8GB of onboard storage, Gigabit Ethernet, b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1. Both Google Play and Aptoide app stores are pre-installed.

However, there’s a few key things that differentiates this box from others on the market, namely completely unique launcher and rumored support Widevine L1 DRM.

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If Widevine L1 DRM is supported may allow the Rippl-TV V2 to support HD streaming from apps such as Netflix. If Tomato have pulled this off, the Rippl-TV V2 will be one of only a handful of Android TV boxes capable of HD Netflix playback. I’ll have to wait until I get my hands on one to test it out.

Google Cast is also said to be supported, allowing you to stream video to the Rippl-TV V2 as you would a Chromecast.

The device runs Android 5.1.1 and Tomato are offering two different launchers. The first, called utilOS, looks incredibly stylish, with a subdued color pallete and minimalist design that’s said to offer lots of customisation. I’m looking forward to seeing it in action.

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There’s also a second launcher that seems to be the stock Android TV launcher.

Inside the box, you’ll get the Rippl-TV V2 Android TV box, power adapter, HDMI cable and user manual.

You can see the Rippl-TV V2 in action in the company’s demo reel below:

Getting One

The Rippl-TV V2 is currently available on Amazon at the time of writing.

For a limited time, use coupon GMPZT37L to get $8.88 off! Code expires on the 5th of April.

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Rippl-TV V2 Technical Specifications

General

  • Processor
    Amlogic S905
  • CPU CPU
    Quad-Core Cortex-A53 up to 2.0GHz
  • GPU
    Penta-Core ARM® Mali™-450
  • Operating System
    Android Lollipop 5.1.1
  • RAM
    1GB DDR3
  • Storage
    8GB eMMC
  • Other Features
    IR Sensor
  • Power
    DC 5V/2A

Interfaces

  • Video Output
    HDMI 2.0, Composite
  • Audio Output
    HDMI 2.0, SP-DIF, Composite
  • Other Interfaces
    2 x USB 2.0
    MicroSD Card Slot

Connectivity

  • WiFi
    802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Ethernet
    1000Mbps
  • Bluetooth
    4.1

Physical

    Tomato G9C Review: Is This Amlogic S905 Android Box A Winner?

    SZTomato have entered the Amlogic S905 market with the Tomato G9C, a compact mini PC that runs Android 5.1. How good is it? Read our Tomato G9C review to find out!

    I want to say thanks to Tomato for sending a sample to review

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    What’s in the Box?

    Tomato-G9C-Review-Inside-The-Box

    Tomato have provided everything you’ll need to get up and running inside the box:

    • 1x Tomato G9C unit
    • 1x IR Remote
    • 1x Power Adapter
    • 1x HDMI Cable
    • 1x Instruction manual

    Tomato G9C Review: Design

    It’s great to see the Tomato have opted for a unique design for their mini PC. The unit is a black square that gently tapers towards the unit’s base. It’s distinct yet blends in which is nice.

    Tomato-G9C-Review-Front

    The top surface has a piano black finish with white MXQ branding on the top. The MXQ logo doubles as the power LED, lighting up blue when the unit is powered on. It’s attractive but could be a distraction in certain environments. The black finish also has a tendency to attract finger prints so you’ll need to keep it clean.

    The G9C’s ports are located on the right and rear of the unit. The right features a micro SD card slot and 2 fullsize USB 2.0 ports.

    Tomato-G9C-Review-Right

    The rear has the composite video output, Ethernet, HDMI out, optical out and DC In.

    Tomato-G9C-Review-Back

    There’s a small lip that hangs over the ports but thankfully it doesn’t get in the way. My bulky USB devices plugged in fine and the Ethernet release tab faces down so it’s easy to remove.

    The included remote is reasonable, including multimedia and Android buttons, in addition to a mouse mode. It’s clicky though which means it can be a little loud at times.

    Tomato-G9C-Review-Remote

    Tomato G9C Review: Using It

    The Tomato G9C boots up automatically when connected to power. With only a USB keyboard and mouse connected, a cold boot took around 33 seconds. Resuming from standby is instant and the box can be cleanly powered on and off via the remote.

    Tomato have opted for the colorful mediabox launcher seen in a number of TV boxes to date. However, it opts for the photo-based variant which I personally think looks more polished than the overly bright version that uses solid colors. Tomato have informed me that they’ll be releasing new firmware that will have a whole new launcher around February but I don’t have any more details at this stage.

    Tomato-G9C-Review-Android-01

    There’s the ability to sort your apps into the “Online Video”, “Recommend” and “Music” categories, in addition to adding shortcuts along the bottom of the home screen.

    Tomato-G9C-Review-Android-02

    There’s a few pre-installed apps such as an OTA updater, Kodi 15.2 and an app called “XBMC/Kodi Helper” that automatically installs various Kodi plugins automatically.

    The Google Play store is also installed and works well. Though I did have an issue where the Play Store said the device wasn’t compatible until I cleared out the Play Store’s cache so it seems like its an issue with the Store APK itself rather than the firmware.

    The settings menu is skinned like other S905 boxes but it’s much easier to navigate using a remote than the standard Android settings menu.

    Tomato-G9C-Review-Android-03

    Android features a single unified 4.76GB partition with around 3.99GB free out of the box. It’s also rooted out of the box for those who need it.

    As with other Amlogic S905 boxes, the Tomato GC9 handles Android 5.1 well. Navigating the launcher was nice and smooth.

    HDMI CEC worked fine with my Samsung TV which was great, allowing me to control the box using my Samsung’s remote.

    Tomato G9C Review: Media Playback

    Tomato-G9C-Review-Kodi

    Media playback was tested using the pre-installed version of Kodi 15.2

    Video CodecVideo Performance (Kodi 15.2)
    1080p 3D SBS H.264OK
    1080p 3D ABL H.264OK
    1080p24 H.264OK
    1080p High Bitrate H.264 – 120Mb/sUnwatchable (Lots of Dropped Frames)
    1080p60 H.264OK
    720p50 H.264OK
    1080i25 H.264OK
    4K 30FPS H.264OK
    4K 60FPS H.264Unwatchable (Video lags behind Audio)
    1080p24 HEVCOK
    4K 30FPS HEVCOK
    1080p VP8OK
    720p Hi10pOK
    1080p Hi10pUnwatchable (Decoding Issues)
    1080p MPEG2OK
    1080p VC1OK
    Unencrypted Bluray ISO (Sintel)OK

    Media playback was fairly good using the included Kodi 15.2 although the 120Mb/s high bitrate sample suffering lots of dropped frames during playback, making it unwatchable.

    Automatic framerate switching didn’t work, despite activating the setting in both Kodi and the HDMI self-adaptation setting under Settings.

    De-interlacing performance was good, without any noticeable artefacts when watching my interlaced samples.

    5.1 Audio Passthrough

    Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS passthrough worked fine over HDMI.

    Netflix

    Netflix worked via the native Android app however, only at 480p like most other Android TV boxes.

    External Storage Support

    I was able to playback movies from my 2.5″ USB-powered HDD and USB flash drive without any issues.

    Tomato G9C Review: Gaming Performance

    Tomato-G9C-Review-Beach-Buggy-Racing

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

    Gaming performance on the Tomato G9C was mixed. Jetpack Joyride played smoothly. However, I experienced issues with Beach Buggy Racing, with low frame rates, audio dropouts and crashes.

    Bluetooth and Gaming Controllers

    Bluetooth worked fine, pairing with both my iPazzport Bluetooth Keyboard and iPega PG-9025. However, my the box wouldn’t respond to the iPega PG-9025’s buttons.

    Sixaxis Compatibility Checker reported that the Tomato G9C should be compatible with PS3 controllers via the app.

    Tomato-G9C-Review-01

    Tomato G9C Review: Networking

    Networking performance was tested using Wifi performance was tested using Wifi Speed Test, conducting 3 tests and averaging the results. My router is approximately 5m away, with a single wall between the router and the device. WiFi performance is heavily impacted by a number of factors so your performance may vary.

    Wireless Performance

    Wireless performance was reasonable, achieving upload and download speeds of 31Mb/s and 37Mb/s respectively over 2.4GHz.

    Real world wireless performance was good, being able to stream both 1080p and 4K H.264 videos from an NFS share via Wifi.

    Tomato-G9C-Review-03

    Ethernet Performance

    The Tomato G9C is armed with Gigabit Ethernet and performance was strong. Upload and download speeds were 620Mb/s and 870Mb/s respectively, making it one of the faster Android boxes to date.

    Tomato G9C Review: Benchmarks

    BenchmarkScore
    Antutu 6.036552
    Antutu Video Tester 3.0892
    3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited7171
    3DMark Ice Storm Extreme4092
    GeekBench 3 Single Core595
    GeekBench 3 Multi Core1738

    Tomato G9C Review: Power Consumption

    OffStandbyIdle1080p24 VideoUnder Load
    0.1W0.8W3.2W4.7W7.0W

    Should You Get One?

    The Tomato G9C generally performed well during the tests, showing respectable video playback and strong networking performance. However, rough edges in the firmware detract from the package. However, it’s a reasonable option for someone looking for low cost Android TV box.

    Tomato-G9C-Review-02

    Getting One

    The Tomato G9C is available from Tomato.

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