I’ve recently moved away from the live broadcast element, mainly because I don’t believe in the T.V license and what it stands for and to do this I have had to move onto a platform that restricts me from being able to watch anything the law considers live, this is where Android T.V boxes come to the rescue. The T95 is the latest to grace my T.V cabinet.
In terms of design, this is by far the nicest one I have ever owned and that’s because its body isn’t constructed from cheap shiny plastic, no instead the entire shell from top side to bottom side is constructed from strong metal that finished with a matt black paint. Running around the top and bottom sides of the box are chrome trims that along with the metal body really makes this box feel and look premium, you really wouldn’t think this is just a £40 box.
Around the front of the box is a cool feature, which is basically a built-in digital display clock, this the first Android box I have ever owned to have this feature. The display can also tell you the current play or paused status and even the method you are using to connect to a network.
Around the back are a few different things. They include:
- A Wifi antenna
- A HDMI out port
- An ethernet port
- An AV out port
- DC in port.
Around the left-hand side of the box (if viewing it from behind) are the following:
- Two USB ports
- A USB on the go port
- A MicroSD slot
The right-hand side of the box remains completely bare of any ports of features.
Included with the box is a remote control as you would expect, however as I have said before with other boxes the remote is pretty much a pain to use. While it still looks a lot nicer than the remotes from other boxes it still lacks that wow factor. In all honesty, when you are working with an operating system that has spent most of its life on touch screen devices it just feels wrong to use something as generic as a basic remote.
So as I have always done in the past, I have connected a wireless keyboard with a built-in touch pad to the box instead and this works extremely well, although I still have to use the remote to turn the box on and off. If you don’t have a wireless keyboard, then fear not as the two USB ports on the side can be used for anything with a USB interface, so you can easily connect a typical PC mouse and keyboard up to this box.
Operating system, Performance and In use:
Out of the box, this comes running Android 5.1 (Lollipop). This isn’t too bad as it isn’t too far behind the current Android generation, however, I can’t really say whether or not the company will update this to the latest Android or not, my guess now though would be most likely no and the box will stay on 5.1 for as long as it works. However though is something that happens with a lot of these unknown brands, if you want the security of future updates you are better going for a more known brand with a more expensive box.
Now if you are familiar with Android you will know what the term ‘skin’ means, if not well I’ll just tell you now, It’s essentially what you see of the Operating System, so basically the stuff that you use to navigate and work your way around what you see on the screen. In the world of Android, there are two terms for the skin of O.S, there’s ‘Vanilla’ and there’s ‘Skinned’. Vanilla is the way Google designed the O.S and it’s what you see on Nexus devices, Skinned is the way O.E.M’s cover over the whole system with their own design.
This box isn’t Vanilla, instead, it’s very heavily skinned over, so heavy in fact that if it weren’t for the Google Play App store and a few other things like the ‘more settings’ menu you wouldn’t really be able to tell that this is an Android-powered box. However, though, despite being a huge Vanilla Android fan when it comes to mobile phones and tablets, I must say that for this skin has been designed very well for a T.V set, Vanilla Android on phones and tablets would be a pain to use without a proper touchscreen.
The skin on here actually reminds me of the tile setup you see on Windows phones or Windows 8 (Let’s never mention that OS again). This look actually makes using the main menu, which is the first one you see each time you turn the box on, so much easier. It’s bright colourful and just instantly greets you with a nice big metaphorical hello. The app menu is a bit different, its displays things a lot smaller so that a lot more things can be displayed on the screen at once.
In terms of applications, this box has pretty much access to just as many applications as your Android phone or Tablet. That’s because it comes with Google Play Store as standard, The store is home to millions of applications such as games, movies, ebooks, t.v shows and even music. This box has access to all of that, so you literally have a world of entertainment in your front room, now I know a Sky box can’t do all of that. I mainly use this for watching T.V show’s on catch up and the odd movie here and there so I have mainly downloaded applications that allow you to watch catch up T.V. Most of these worked quite well although I did have problems with 4OD, which first of all told me the application might not work well because the box is rooted and then told me as I tried to play shows that there was a key component missing from the O.S that 4OD needs to play content, so, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch my favourite 4 shows. Some applications also come preloaded on the box such as Netflix, Kodi and a few other streaming applications.
The box does a fantastic job at running all of these applications, although I do sometimes experience a bit of lag which causes issues on some of the applications, although this probably has more to do with my internet connection than anything else. I h ave also tried the odd game, although admittedly that isn’t one of the main reasons for my use of this box. The game I tried was candy crush but I used a USB mouse for this as it was the best input method I could find. The game ran with no issues and I was very pleased with it.
This is a fantastic box, it looks stunning and works well. It’s easy to use and provides many hours of entertainment. The only thing I don’t like about it is the remote control which is basic at best., however, that can be sorted with a wireless or wired keyboard and mouse set.
DISCLAIMER: I received this product for free in return for my honest and unbiased review. This has had no effect on my overall opinion of the product.
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