Review | Himedia A5 Amlogic S912 Android TV Box

Himedia A5 is Himedia’s new and first venture into Amlogic based boxes. Before the A5, Himedia mostly built high quality, high priced TV boxes based on HiSilicon SoC solutions. With a S912 based box, they can venture into the saturated, and competitive market of Amlogic based devices. But are they up to the task? Let’s have a look.

My thanks goes to the Nicole from Himedia, for providing another awesome review sample!

What do we get in the box?

The Himedia A5, DC Power adapter, HDMI 2.0 cable, a short user manual, and a Infra-red remote control.

himedia,a5,streamer,tv box,review,android,kodi,amlogic,s912,items

Looks and design


Himedia A5 uses a similar or even identical box design as the Q5 Pro model. It is a metal tapered box with an external antenna that cannot be screwed off as in other models. We get three (3) USB ports for OTG, storage and other purposes, the SD card slot, HDMI 2.0 port, Audio & Video coaxial jacks, Audio Optical SPDIF port, 1GBit LAN port, and a DC power jack.

Technical Specifications


Chipset
AMLogic S912 Quad-Core Cortex-A53 up to 2.0GHz
GPUMali-T820MP3
Memory / Storage2GB DDR3 / 16GB eMMC
SD Card Slot (up to 32GB)
LAN10M/100M/1000M
WirelessWiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO
Bluetooth4.0
OSAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Video & Audio OutputHDMI 2.0
PowerDC 5V/2A
Peripheral InterfaceSD slot up to 32GB, IR receiver and LED, 1 * HDMI(A type Male), 1 * RJ45 LAN Port
Packing Included1 * A5, 1 * Adapter(DC 5V/2A), 1 * HDMI Cable ,1 * IR Remote Controller, 1 * User’s Manual

Benchmarks and Testing


All benchmarks have been repeated 3 times and results have been averaged to give a more accurate reading:

Antutu Benchmark


himedia,a5,streamer,review,android,kodi,amlogic,s912,antutu,benchmarkThe Antutu benchmark tests single core performance over multi-core as it is a better indication of the performance of one device over others in most situations. Himedia A5 gets a most respectable placement here at number 3! right after it’s Himedia’s HiSilicon based older brother (Q5 Pro) and a Rockchip based box (HPH NT-V6).

GPU Mark Benchmark


A1 SD Benchmark


PC Mark Benchmark


himedia,a5,streamer,review,android,kodi,amlogic,s912,pcmark,benchmark

PC Mark suite of tests tries to measure performance in day-to-day tasks such as image processing, word processing, video playback and editing and so on. Himedia A5 managed 6th place here and it is quite an achievement, considering all the boxes that supersede it carry Rockchip chips which have more raw power than Amlogic chips.

3D Mark Benchmark


himedia,a5,streamer,review,android,kodi,amlogic,s912,3dmark,benchmark3D Mark is a labor intensive 3D animation and gaming Benchmark. It runs a series of 3d heavy game and video animations. Himedia A5 takes the 3rd place (just bellow two Rockchip boxes) which makes it one of the most powerful gaming machines reviewed on this blog. (But keep in mind there are few real-world bugs as mentioned bellow)

Video Playback testing (Using KODI)


ResolutionVideo FormatLocal PlaybackNetwork (Wi-Fi/LAN) Playback
720p (1280*720)AVC (High@L4.1)Playing correctlyPlaying correctly
1080P (1920*1080)AVC (High@L4)Playing correctlyPlaying correctly
 2160P (3840*2160)HEVC (H.265) – 10BitPlaying correctlyPlaying correctly
4K (4096*2304)AVC (High@L5.1)Playing correctly
Playing correctly
4K TS HEVC filesHEVC (H.265)Buffering, StutterBuffering, Stutter

* Some stutter was observed only when playing heavy 10 bit TS 4K files. Both over WiFi and Wired connections. Issue has been reported to the manufacturer.

himedia,a5,streamer,review,android,kodi,amlogic,s912,antutu,video,benchmark

himedia,a5,amlogic,s912,tv box,streamer,review,android,kodi,ultrahd,fullhd,internet,video,tests

* Only in the beginning of the video playback

Network performance


Network performance has been tested using Speedtest.net Internet speed measuring app, in WiFi and in Wired (*) mode. My Internet connection is 500 Mbit Symmetric Fibre connection. Performance is quite good for WiFi (AC/5Ghz standard is supported), but there is plenty of room for video playback optimization as it does not manifest well in Kodi:

himedia,a5,streamer,review,android,kodi,amlogic,s912,speed,test,network

  • Wired works over Power-line adapters and those has been upgraded now to a AV1200 kit which gives a big bump to network performance.

Issues and Bugs


  1. PC Mark shows some video artifacts when running Work 2.0 tests
  2. Angry Birds 2 cannot advance past the first level due to not allowing to click in a selection screen
  3. Asphalt 8 will not connect properly to Google play games and does not get the updated profile
  4. Some apps (such as Speedtest.net above, and PC Mark) do not switch correctly to Landscape mode, and there is no such clear option in the settings of the box
  5. Air mouse tested (Probox2 Remote+) does not allow to use “back” button. This issue was observed in a previous (Q10 Pro) model as well with a different Air mouse

All the issues and bugs mentioned have been reported to Himedia and should be addressed in future firmware updates.

himedia,a5,streamer,review,android,kodi,amlogic,s912,angry birds 2,bug

 

Gaming performance


As usual, I test three games: Angry Birds 2, Asphalt 8 Airborne, and Walking War Robots. No root solution is available, therefore I could not measure CPU or RAM usage.

Angry Birds 2, a popular 2d game – worked fine during the first level, but then could not advance as it did not allow to click on a required item.himedia,a5,streamer,review,android,kodi,amlogic,s912,angry birds 2,game

Asphalt 8 Airborne , intense 3d racing game, worked fine and mostly smoothly. But.. it will not connect properly to Google play games and does not get the updated profilehimedia,a5,streamer,review,android,kodi,amlogic,s912,asphalt 8,airborne,game

Walking War Robots – an online 3d robot battle game, works fine – as usual, but still cannot shoot. Frame rate is quite smooth.mk22,rikomagic,review,amlogic,s912,android,tv box,games,benchmarks,tests,speed,internet,kodi,4k,fullhd,ultrahd,1080p,720p,war robots,game,gamebench

Himedia A5 Conclusions


The Himedia A5 impressed me so far. And its general performance outside of Kodi places it quite high, even next to other S912 based boxes.

This box is mostly bug free – especially inside Kodi – but the few bugs outside of Kodi may annoy people who use their streamer for other purposes – such as gaming.

Did I like it? Yes

Would I recommend it? Yes, especially for avid kodi users, but I do believe it will improve over time and do a great job as an all around android box.

I give it…  4/5 Stars – .

So you’d like to buy this box? You can find it for a mere 99.45 USD here:

Himedia A5 Octa-Core Marshmallow (16GB/EU)

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