Some time ago, I was looking for a box TV to turn my old TV into one Smart TV. Obviously with Android operating system and, perhaps, with hardware able to run some game smoothly. So my research was based right away on both the amount of RAM and the price, until I ran into M8.
The name is just that, M8, simple and short, but with performances that they can satisfy in many aspects. Before going to the review we see all the features.
|CPU||Amlogic S802 Quad Core @2.0 GHz|
|ROM||8 GB expandable|
|Connettività||IEEE 802.11 b / g / n WiFI, Bluetooth, 2 x USB 2.0, HDMI, LAN, AV, S / PDIF.
3D and 4K support.
|Dimensions||12.0 x 11.5 x 3.0 cm x 170 grams.|
Box and appearance
Inside the box, in addition to the box, we find: the classic user manual, an HDMI cable, an infrared remote control and the power supply. The latter requires an adapter, since the plug is not in European, but American version. However, they are just a few dollars and I will leave the link at the end of the article if you would like to buy it.
M8 is only available in black, it is one little box fairly light with an almost square, very simple and compact shape (with a surface finish) on the side and opaque edges in the upper and lower surfaces. Below we find a label and several holes probably needed for heat dissipation; above, only the logo.
The front edge, in the center, has an infrared receiver and a blue LED that lights up only when M8 is in operation. The edge on the left (looking at the LED) is clean, on the opposite side we have the expansion slot for micro SD. Finally, on the rear one, we find all the other ports listed in the features.
After turning on M8 - which happens in less than 30 seconds - we find ourselves in front of a colorful interface metro di Windows, enough simple and intuitive ma thin and not very customizable: has the most important shortcuts (apps, settings, ...) and some pre-installed apps, to which we can add our favorites. However, using Android, you can install an alternative launcher; in fact I have installed Nova Launcher with whom I am very well and, at the same time, manages to get along quite well with this Android TV box.
Behind the launcher, hides the old 4.4.2 Android KitKat. All you have to do is access the settings to notice the old menus with a black background, which could annoy those who are used to new ones Android Lollipop or even ad Android Marshmallow. Of course, there will not be all the latest releases, but this does not affect the use or user experience. An application to manage updates is also available, but I don't think one will ever be released!
Ease of use
This is a sore point for M8, but it can affect more or less all TV boxes. Let me explain: as we receive it, the use is not entirely simple, as we have a remote control that has just the essential keys: numeric keypad, volume keys, menu, back and Android home, etc. It is not equipped with letters and a simple operation - like searching or installing an application - can be rather cumbersome. It is also equipped with a button for the mouse function, but it remains a difficult task to move, especially on the screen keyboard. However, if we have a keyboard and a mouse we are free to move and write with ease, be it wireless, usb or Bluetooth. For the uninitiated, it is possible to pair multiple Bluetooth devices simultaneously.
The Amlogic S802 is a CPU that is more than a year old, but designed exclusively for mini PCs and TV boxes. He does his job quite well together with the GPU and 2 GB of RAM, always ensuring a good fluidity of the entire system, and - which I honestly did not expect - he is able to ensure (almost always) good performance even during Gaming: I played for over an hour both a Dead Effect 2 that SHADOWGUN: DeadZone and here the surprise: at the end of the gaming session for fear of high overheating, the device was instead kept at a low temperature; the performances were however very convincing, without the presence of lag or other problems.
The same is not true to Real Racing 3, which - despite the excellent graphics and impeccably reproduced details - has a lot of lag (often tends to freeze for a few seconds) and tends to heat up more, making the 60 ° even higher according to CPU-Z. Needless to lower the details.
[It is obvious that a gamepad is required to play.]
The Play Store has a myriad of games, but it is also true that there are dozens of emulators for Android, so if you are nostalgic of old consoles and games that have kept you company as children, you can spend hours in front of the TV without any problem. The good Mario barth 64 to Nintendo 64 stole half a day from me! 😀
The same goes for movies and streaming: they run very well and you can scroll from minute to minute without waiting. They are pre-installed Kodi - already equipped with many extensions - e Cloud TV, an app with hundreds (maybe thousands) of streaming TV channels, available in many languages, including theItalian. A few Mediaset channels have recently been added to this, which unfortunately do not work at the time of writing. M8 also supports videos in 4K and 3D that I have not tried because of the slightly dated TV; I will update the article if one day I will be able to test them. They work perfectly both DLNA and Miracast; the latter is a marvel, a little less if we carry out mirroring of games, where some micro-lag can happen, even if almost imperceptible and not at all annoying.
The internal memory is of 8 GB, but they are little more than 5 the jigs available to the user. If used exclusively for the purpose of smart TV, they are more than sufficient, otherwise an internal memory may be required. SD cards are fine but also USB sticks and external hard drives, with which I have not encountered any kind of incompatibility problem.
With 2 you play almost 900 MB, pre-installed apps and some other applications, I still have about 2 GB left.
The hardly lit RAM occupied is around 500 MB. With use of course it goes to increase, but all in all we always have more or less 1 GB at our disposal.
As for the pre-installed apps, on M8 we find:
- Kody 16
- Cloud TV
- video player in 4K
- File Manager
- Play Store (and Google services)
And some more to manage connections, Miracast and more. They don't steal a lot of memory, but you can still uninstall them at any time. Finally M8 already has active ROOT permissions, if we wanted to do more advanced actions.
Where to buy M8
M8 it can be found on GearBest a 44.75 € with free shipping. The shipment takes around 20 days to reach the destination, furthermore there are no additional costs.