Minix Newest Android Box: NEO U9-H Review
The MINIX NEO U9 bills itself as the ultimate home entertainment system. For the boatloads of people reading this, it’s an upgraded version of the NEO U1 model. Scores of individuals out there waited a long time to latch on to this product. So, let’s find out if the MINIX NEO U9-H lives up to its expectations of top-tier performance or is it a big letdown?
Before we get to the meat of the matter, let’s give you a short introduction on Android boxes since they have plagued the market like wildfire. Believe it or not, they are said to be the wave of the future. So, let’s press on to the short intro.
Introduction to Android boxes
Android boxes are no more than few inches wide. Basically, they arrive in the shape of a small box that can be connected to your TV or monitor to give you access to live sports, TV shows, movies, and a ton of other applications and games. You can watch just about any TV show through the live TV stream on your Android box. It can also be used to play music or to browse the web. In a nutshell, it smartens up your TV.
It can instantly transform any conventional TV into a fully functional PC. An Internet connection is a must to use the device. The majority of these units can be connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet connection. Once the box is connected, desired apps can be installed on the go.
Some of the latest devices offer Ultra HD 4K video playback as well as 3D. Media players are primarily used to stream video content to watch one’s favorite movies and shows on demand. Most Android boxes out there have different features, hardware, and pricing.
Given the fact that there is a mountain list of information out there, it might prove to be a challenging affair to choose the right device. Not to forget the fact that there are quite a few lackluster media players on the market.
MINIX NEO U9-H Features
It also comes with a mini keypad, which can prove to be a handy unit. An extra remote is included as well in the bundled package. The A2 wireless remote is made exclusively for MINIX media boxes. It’s much easier to use this media player with these tools. Speaking of product application, the U9-H device lets you choose tens and thousands of Android apps, and it offers complete access to Google Play Store. Let me now give you a walk around of the product specs.
This media player device is powered by Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. The configuration of this device is quite powerful with Octa Core Cortex A53 CPU and ARM Mali-820MP3 GPU. It also comes with RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, OTG, and Bluetooth 4.1. The 802.11b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz/5.0Ghz Dual-Band Wi-Fi provides the greatest output for media streaming.
The device by itself is housed in a high-quality plastic body. It has a premium look and feel to it. It’s not one of those flimsy units that will end up being added to a future garage sale. Furthermore, it’s backed up with 2GB RAM and 16GB of built-in storage.
Above all, it offers dual DRM support such as Microsoft Play Ready 3.0 and Google Widevine Level 1. Such improved content protection system is not easily found in similar devices out there on the market today. By all means, the inclusion of Optical digital out is a winning quality too. This often-neglected port is hard to find in products that are sold at similar price point. The result is very high-resolution audio.
On the box itself, they have their signature ‘MINIX’ logo engraved in black piano finish. If you slip to the other side, you will find a big Android logo. Of course, this doesn’t contribute to the functionality or the usability of the product, but it does look aesthetically appealing. On the front side, it has the power button, space for 3 USB ports, a slot for micro SD card, OTG USB port, and finally a locking port. On the back side, there is a port for the power adapter, HDMI port, LAN port, SPDIF optical audio port, microphone, and audio jack as well. It has an infrared sensor and a LED light indicator on the front. On the opposite side, there is a slot to fix the external antenna. The detachable antenna is positional, which makes it easy to tuck into the device for superior Wi-Fi performance.
Speaking of applications, it’s loaded with the latest Kodi Media Center v17.1 Krypton and other helpful applications such as Youtube, Miracast, Play Store, Kodi, Skype, etc. Most importantly, 4k videos can be played well in Kodi. Since it’s an Android operating unit, one can get all the benefits that Android brings to the table. Everything is nicely categorized via big shortcuts.
The layout is pretty much perfect for television format. Moreover, it’s all customizable. All the preset categories make way for easy addition or removal of shortcuts to their associated sub menus. One will have to simply play around with the settings to customize things as per one’s preference.
Furthermore, there’s a whole range of supported media. You can take a quick glimpse below:
Video: TP, VOB, ISO, AVI, M4V, WMV, MP4, MPE, MPG, FLV, MKV, M2TS, MPEG, TS, MTS, MOV, 3GP, ASF, DAT.
Audio: APE, AAC, DD, DD+, DTS-HD, WMA, WAV, FLAC, ALAC, OGG, OGA, MP2, MP3.
Photo: GIF, TIFF, PNG, JPEG, BMP, etc.
When you buy the MINIX NEO U9-H, you can disconnected the cable service in your house if you don’t want to fork out more money. After all, it will cost you twice as much as this device. So, it’s dosen’t make any sense to be loyal to them anymore. Make no apologies in stating that you have to show them the middle finger. You are not the fool anymore who could be easily parted with your money. So, the inexpensive U9-H became my prudent choice. For saving your money, it deserves a big hug!
On the whole, it will prove to be a nice addition to your TV and PC. Yes, it’s one of the best things in my living room. So, it dosen’t make any sense to be loyal to them anymore.
So, the inexpensive U9-H is a prudent choice. For saving my money, it deserves a big hug!
The extra A2 remote has all the bells and whistles you would expect from a high-end remote. It has great range and options. The build-quality is great as well. In fact, one of the lovable features of this MINIX media player is that it’s easy to control, and the remote makes this job all the more easier.
It arrives in a good looking box, which includes an instruction manual along with the unit itself. Of course, the user manual will be a boring read, but it carries a hell lot of information. So, it’s worth a shot. If you have purchased anything from MINIX before, you will find the packaging familiar. The device by itself is pretty well-built. In fact, this media player has quality written all over it. Simply put, the plastic shell is built to last. Unlike other Android boxes, this unit does not lag.
This thing loads up pretty quickly. Moreover, the interface is quite straightforward and easy to use. It can be customized to look the way you want. The preinstalled apps are rather minimal on purpose with full access to Google Play Store to enable users to download their favorite app on the go as required. One can easily install any app from Google Play Store without having to side load apps.
Unlike other Android boxes, this unit does not lag. This thing loads up pretty quickly. Moreover, the interface is quite straightforward and easy to use. It can be customized to look the way you want. The preinstalled apps are rather minimal on purpose with full access to Google Play Store to enable users to download their favorite app on the go as required. One can easily install any app from Google Play Store without having to side load apps.
First up, it does take a fair amount of time for setup. The directions are not very clear, so it could take a while to troubleshoot things on your own. Two AAA batteries are required to operate the remote, which is not included in the package. Given the price point for this product, it’s not really an infuriating thing. However, it still has some other flaws. For instance, I would have preferred a ventilation slot on this device, which doesn’t exist. On the bright side, the unit doesn’t heat up quickly, but a ventilation slot would have been preferred.
Also, the 2GB RAM is adequate but can be a tad bit lacking in today’s age and time. Some of the new products in the competitor’s lineup offer up to 4GB RAM. To up the game, MINIX would have been better off offering 4GB RAM. Since they have paid unusually high attention to details, it appears to be rather surprising oversight from their end. But, I was never at my wit’s end because of this minor flaw. Finally, the cost of this unit is a tad bit on the higher side of the spectrum. I won’t bitch about the cost because it saved me quite a bit of money by helping me ditch the cable service. For what you get, it’s worth the asking price.
Another point worth mentioning is the fact, that MINIX did not equip their newest flagship streaming device with USB 3.0 ports. The newer generation ports are increasingly becoming standard on high-end Android TV boxes. So it does surprise that MINIX opted to only support USB 2. However, on the up-side, the Neo U9-H does allow you to connect 3 USB devices which is quite impressive since most manufacturers only support two.
Finally, the cost of this unit is a tad bit on the higher side of the spectrum. I won’t bitch about the cost because it saved me quite a bit of money by helping me ditch the cable service. For what you get, it’s worth the asking price.
If you are an Android fan, this powerhouse device should be on your wish list. Perhaps, there’s no better and affordable way to make your TV smart without throwing an arm and a leg. Although it has some minor flaws, the will definitely improve all your media and video experience.
Overall, the quality of this media player is great for the price. The company could easily get away charging more for this little marvel. However, the low price improves customer satisfaction and value. On the whole, it’s clearly a superior device in its class. It’s a bit pricey, but it delivers something more precious— superior quality, convenience, and performance.
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