Just like our phones got replaced by smartphones, so was our TV replaced with a Smart TV. However, if you are looking to treat yourself with a new TV, which would allow you to watch online content — you don’t have to pay an excessive amount of money to get the best experience. A lot of companies have recognized the advantages of using Google’s Android OS, and have started implementing it in new set-top boxes. We can help you choose the top solution among them, and buy the best Android TV box in 2019.
1. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Our top pick is likely what you have expected — Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. It is a perfect solution for anyone who wishes to stream 4K HDR content on their TV, without having to deal with the complicated and unnecessary parts of a typical Android TV box. It is also the latest model that Amazon has come up with, which makes it extremely simple to use, and you get a lot of it in return.
All you need to do is plug it into the back of your TV, and that is it. You will get access to more than half a million movies and episodes of all kinds of TV shows that can be found on some of the best streaming platforms, such as Prime Video, Hulu, as well as Netflix, among other sources. Of course, it all comes with support for 4K HDR 10+, and is also accompanied by Dolby Atmos sound.
You could also easily access content from different websites, such as YouTube, Reddit, Facebook, and more — all of which can be accessed via their own respective applications. Even that is not it, and if you are willing to do some extra work, you can easily gain access to pretty much any website.
Naturally, since this is an Amazon product, it also comes with Alexa support, which will allow you to search for content with your voice, meaning that you don’t even have to do things manually anymore. Alexa has an enormous library of skills, and all of them will be easily available to you.
Even so, you will also receive a small remote, which will provide with volume control, navigation, and a few other basic buttons. It is truly the most advanced and still the simplest way of accessing pretty much any kind of content, which is why it sits at the very top of our list.
2. PENDOO X8 MINI
Next on our list, we have Pendoo X8 MINI, which is a very cheap Android TV Box and is also pretty ideal for any user who wants a simple experience, without too much fuss. In other words, this solution won’t cost you much, but it also doesn’t come with tons and tons of features, which you will be learning for weeks after the device arrives at your door.
It provides good performance and is reasonable versatile, which is why it has a lot of satisfied users — at least among those who do not require much.
Pendoo X8 MINI comes with quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 2GHz processor, Android Nougat 7.1.2 system, 16GB of storage, Mali-450MP GPU, as well as 2GB of RAM, which is quite modest, but it should still serve you good enough. It features an HDMI output, two USB ports, as well as a Wi-Fi and LAN connections, although it is high time these received an upgrade.
In other words, the hardware is not particularly impressive, but it will still provide you with 4K video at 30fps or so. On the other hand, if you are looking for a 60fps experience, it will, unfortunately, be a challenge for this device.
In terms of streaming, you can only go as high as 720p on sites like YouTube or Netflix, which is a firmware-based restriction. It is something that we have expected to be gone by now, but it is still present, which is something that you should be aware of, as well.
In the end, this is a product that is cheap and versatile, but far from the best solution on the market. It is simply a budget option that should be able to satisfy the needs of those who do not want much. If you do have certain higher expectations, this likely won’t be the best model for you.
3. NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server
Now, if you are after a better, stronger device that will allow you to connect your PC gaming and your smart TV, you are looking for NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server. This TV box is a real state of the art, and it will likely be considered as such for quite a long time. It features a rather advanced GPU and a strong wireless connection that will allow you to project your PC gaming on your TC screen with no need to connect the hardware directly.
Not only that, but it also comes with other strong hardware of its own, such as a rather innovative CPU, which actually combines two different processors, both quad-core. In other words, it is using four cores to do simple tasks, which frees an additional four cores to do advanced processing.
As a result, you end up having all the processing power you could ever need. In addition to that, it also features 3GB of RAM, which provides you with plenty of speed. Not to mention that its storage is 500GB, which is more than some computers have to offer. It also places it high above most other TV boxes, essentially letting it dominate the market.
Simply put, this solution is on a whole different level, and it also comes with a number of exciting features. One of the best ones is an entire lineup of Android games, which were designed to be used on this model alone. And, as mentioned, it has excellent wireless capabilities, which will allow you to stream games from the cloud straight to your TV. Then, there is quite an immersive audio tech, which offers full Dolby audio, as well as surround sound pass-through.
Not only that, but Shield Pro is also compatible with Google SmartThings smart hub assistant. That means that your TV box will be connected to your smart hub, which will, in turn, provide a clear visual interface when it comes to all of your smart devices. You will be able to control your entire home easily.
Finally, with this device being capable of accessing countless streaming services, you will likely never again be left without something interesting to watch. Of course, all of these features also place the device’s price quite high, and it will cost you a few times more than your average Android TV box. This might not be a great thing to hear for a lot of people, especially for those who feel that they don’t need a strong GPU or an extra-large RAM.
4. ROKU ULTRA
On the other hand, if you are looking for an affordable solution, that is still highly-efficient, then you should look no further than Roku Ultra. Now, granted, this is not an Android-based solution, but we still believe it deserves mention due to the fact that it combines excellent performance with a very low price.
This is a TV box that everyone should at least consider, since it is a perfect solution for streaming 4K content from a variety of services, including Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO NOW, YouTube, Hulu, and pretty much anything else you wish. It has everything you will need, apart from some specific Google Play apps, which are not supported, unfortunately. Roku 8.1 OS simply isn’t compatible with Android, or apps based on this system.
In terms of hardware, Roku comes with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, although its storage capacity is very poor by today’s standards, sitting at only 512 MB. However, it does have 1GB of RAM, so that’s worth noting. Even so, it has enough power to stream 4K as much as you want and beat most of the competition while it’s at it.
It is also very simple to use, and it comes with a number of great features, including HDR 10, Dolby Atmos, Wi-Fi, LAN, voice command remote, numerous outputs, and more. It also has a few downsides, that much is true, as well. For example, it lacks multitasking support, and it features ads, which might be a bit annoying, but we consider it acceptable, considering the low price and great performance.
5. MXQ Pro
Finally, we have the MXQ Pro, which is likely the best choice if you are looking for extras. It features all you might want when it comes to a basic Android TV box, meaning that it has a good quad-core CPU, 8GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, which is all quite decent. Not only that, but it also comes at a very affordable price, and most people will be able to buy it without a second thought.
Apart from that, its greatest strengths are its flexibility and various extras, which make it a lot more interesting than its competitors who offer the same price.
For example, the unit comes with a remote control which can let you access all of the standard functions. Then, there is a wireless mini-keyboard, which will make entering text that much easier and faster. That way, you can easily browse the web, which is not something that you are likely to find when it comes to most other TV boxes. Even if you do find it featured on some other box, the chances are that it will be more difficult to do, which reduces the convenience and efficiency of the device.
Now, when it comes to its storage — it is decent, but hardly anything more than that. You would find it sufficient if you plan to stream everything you watch. If not, then you will need to upgrade it yourself. Luckily, doing so is quite easy, thanks to the SD card reader, as well as three additional USB-A ports.
Not only that, but this device also offers pretty decent connectivity, which is handled either by a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, or Ethernet. Also, you get multiple useful apps that the device has pre-installed, including Netflix. YouTube, Kodi, and alike. All in all, it is a great device for a great price, with a lot of extra goodies that you will definitely be able to make use of, and have that much more enjoyable experience while using it, and that is all that matters, in the end.
With that, we would complete our list. There is something for everyone here, whether you are looking for a top device for gaming or a moderate one for streaming. There is an Android box with countless additional features, as well as a solution that barely has any, and they also come at all price ranges, from extremely affordable to extremely expensive.
In other words, whatever you are after — we likely have it listed. All you need to do is go through the list, check out different solutions, and take your pick. With such excellent technology being not only available, but also mostly quite affordable — you shouldn’t deny yourself an opportunity to stream all of your favorite content in a single place and with a single device.