Tronsmart Pavo M9 Review: HDMI Recording for under $70

The Tronsmart Pavo M9 is Tronsmart’s first HDMI recording TV box. Running Android 4.4 with a heavily customised “Pavo  M9 UI”, the M9 features 1GB RAM and 8GB of onboard storage.

I want to say thanks to GeekBuying for sending me a sample of the Tronsmart Pavo M9 to review. Click here to view the latest price.

What Is It?

The Tronsmart Pavo M9 is an Android-powered TV Box that features 4K video decoding and HDMI recording.


Tronsmart Pavo M9 Technical Specifications

  • Operating System: Android KitKat 4.4
  • Chipset: Mstar MSO9180D1R
  • CPU: Quad core ARM Cortex A9
  • GPU: Octa core ARM Mali-450 GPU
  • Memory: 1GB DDR3
  • Internal Storage: 8GB eMMC + MicroSD card slot
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Realtek 8188), 10/100 Ethernet
  • Audio/Video Output: HDMI 1.4, SP-DIF, Composite Video Out
  • Video Input: HDMI In
  • Interfaces: 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0

What’s in the box?


Inside the box, Tronsmart have been fairly comprehensive with their inclusions:

  • 1x Tronsmart Pavo M9
  • 1x IR Remote Control
  • 1x Power Supply
  • 1x HDMI cable
  • 1x English Instruction Manual


Tronsmart Pavo M9 Design

The Tronsmart Pavo M9’s design an unobtrusive black square that follows in the footsteps of Tronsmart’s recent designs. It stays out of the way but I can’t help but wish they made something that looked distinctive.


At the rear of the device (from left to right), we have Ethernet, optical audio, Reset button, HDMI In, AV out, HDMI out, DC in and the power switch.


The side of the device features a USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports and a micro SD card slot.


The included remote is great, offering a variety of functions at your fingertips. From key Android functions like Home and Menu to mouse control and one-touch recording, it’s all here.


Using It

Powering up the device is done via a flick of the switch. A cold boot takes around 30 seconds, almost identical to the Zidoo X9.

On first boot, the resolution was correctly set to 1080p. Resolutions up to 4K at 30Hz are supported.


The Pavo UI is heavily “inspired” by the Zidoo X9’s ZIUI. The main menu has cards for groups of applications or individual apps such as the HDMI recorder.


It’s very intuitive and looks fantastic in motion. I’d love to see Tronsmart bring it across to their other devices. It is locked at 720p however, movies play at their native resolution.


The unit is rooted out of the box for those that need it. HDMI CEC isn’t supported as far as I can tell.

HDMI Recording

Those who have used the Zidoo X9 will be right at home with the HDMI Recording function. You can select the recording resolution and format, and even schedule a time to start recording. Unfortunately, there’s no option to schedule recurring recordings (such as every Monday at 7pm) but hopefully Tronsmart will add it in a later firmware update.


I’ve embedded a sample from the HDMI recorder so you can get a feel for the quality:

Tronsmart have also recently added a Picture-in-Picture feature in their latest firmware, allowing you to view the HDMI input and use the Pavo M9 at the same time.

Tronsmart Pavo M9 Media Playback

Media playback was tested using Kodi 15.0 and MXPlayer.

Video Codec Video Performance (Kodi – External Player) Video Performance (MX Player)
1080p 3D SBS H.264 OK OK
1080p 3D ABL H.264 No Video OK
1080p30 H.264 OK OK
1080p High Bitrate H.264 OK OK
1080p60 H.264 OK OK
720p50 H.264 OK OK
1080i50 H.264 OK OK
4K H.264 No Video OK
1080p30 HEVC OK OK
1080p60 HEVC OK OK
4K HEVC No Video No Video
1080p VP8 OK OK
720p Hi10p Crashed App OK
1080p Hi10p Crashed App Unwatchable (Lag)
1080p MPEG2 OK OK
1080p VC1 OK Crashed App

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


Video playback was generally pretty good. I did experience some issues in Kodi that didn’t occur in MXPlayer so I’m guessing this is related to the SoC being used.

Netflix worked fine during my testing, although the app’s UI is more tailored towards touchscreens so I’d recommend a good airmouse over the included remote.

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 Pavo M9 Gaming Performance

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

Gaming performance was great, although that can partially be attributed to the 720p UI lock. Jetpack Joyride played great and Beach Buggy Racing was very playable, even on the highest graphics settings. However, as the games are rendered at 720p then upscaled, there are some jagged edges noticeable when viewed on a 1080p display.

Gaming Controllers and Bluetooth

Unfortunately, the Tronsmart Pavo M9 is missing Bluetooth unlike the Zidoo X9, so Bluetooth game controllers are off limits here. I was able to connect up my Tronsmart Mars G01 and play Beach Buggy Racing however so all is not lost on the controller front.

Tronsmart Pavo M9 Networking Performance


Networking performance 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 Pavo M9 was mixed. Average download speeds were excellent, consistently achieving around at 50.1 Mbps. Upload speeds were appalling though, reaching 1.3 Mbps on average.

In real-world usage, WiFi performance seemed solid. I was able to stream my 4K and 1080p samples from an NFS share and watch Netflix without any noticeable buffering.

Ethernet Performance

Ethernet performance was unusual, achieving low download speeds and faster upload speeds. Average download and upload speeds were 28.1 Mbps and 76.7 Mbps respectively.

Tronsmart Pavo M9 Android Benchmarks

Antutu 5.7.1

The Pavo M9 scored on 18987 on Antutu 5.7.1.


Epic Citadel

I couldn’t get Epic Citadel to run, with it crashing just after loading the splash screens.

3DMark – Ice Storm Extreme

On 3DMark’s Ice Storm Extreme benchmark, the Pavo M9 achieved 3313.

RAM and Storage

Internal memory read/write speeds were around 30 and 5 MB/s respectively. RAM copy speed was benchmarked at 1045.28 MB/s.

For the USB 3.0 port, I was able to achieve read and write speeds of 36.66 MB/s and 16.17MB/s respectively on my Kingston DataTraveller Elite.

Tronsmart Pavo M9 Power Consumption

Power consumption was slightly higher than other Android boxes I’ve tested, idling around 8W. As the device doesn’t have a standby mode, no standby power rating is provided.

Off Idle Under Load
0.8W 8.1W 9.9W

Should I Get One?

The Tronsmart Pavo M9 is a good deal for those wanting a media player that can also record via HDMI. The amount of functionality that you are getting for $70 is great, although there are some limitations. Those wanting a little bit more power should consider the Zidoo X9.

However, those wanting a capable media player and HDMI recorder that can do a little gaming on the side should be pretty happy.

Getting One

You can purchase the Tronsmart Pavo M9 from GeekBuying. Click here to view the latest price.

Tronsmart Pavo M9 Additional Images

Tronsmart Pavo M9
The Tronsmart Pavo M9 is a solid Android media player, particularly if you want to record via HDMI. The fact you get all this functionality for under $70 is impressive. However, its intuitive UI and solid feature set is let down by minor issues such as the lack of Bluetooth.


Michael is a technology expert with over 15 years of experience in IT, Home Theatre and Automation. Feel free to send Michael a message here.

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6 thoughts on “Tronsmart Pavo M9 Review: HDMI Recording for under $70”

  1. I have a Tornsmart M9 pavo Android TV Box but have a problem.
    Box freezes on loading on the Tronsmart label.
    I tried to update the box with different firmware but the problem remained the same.
    Can anyone suggest what can be done about this?


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