KI Pro is another in a series of hybrid boxes which combine the abilities of a full fledged Digital TV receiver (DVB-T/2, DVB-S/2, DVB-C) and a android TV box with Kodi. KI Pro is based on the newest iteration of Amlogic’s S905 system-on-chip (SOC) – S905D – where the D stands for Digital TV capabilities.
My thanks goes to the Leia from Videostrong, for providing me with another great review sample!
What do we get in the box?
Looks and design
KI Pro box design is very familiar to anyone who seen or used combo boxes from Videostrong before. It’s a black plastic box with trimmed edges, no external antenna, and a functional design. The Launcher on top of the new Android 7.1 OS is also a very familiar one and well adapted for HD TV displays:
And, naturally, one of the main attractions of this particular model is the Digital TV capabilities. An updated DTV application lets you choose between DVB-S2, DVB-T2, and DVB-C standards for watching, and the box does NOT come with any additional antenna and/or antenna cable which has to be purchased separately. However, DTV was able to scan quickly (after turning antenna power setting on) and find all the relevant channels and display them clearly and in a stable fashion. The app also offers time-shift (for pausing regular programming temporarily and picking up later right where you left off), and PVR recording capabilities (immediate as well as scheduled via the EPG):
|Chipset||Amlogic S905D quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 2 GHz|
|GPU||Penta-core ARM Mali-450MP|
|Memory / Storage||2 GB DDR4 / 16GB eMMC flash|
|Wireless||Dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac|
|OS||Android 7.1 Nougat|
|Video Output||HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60Hz with support for HDR10 and HLG, and 3.5mm AV (composite video) jack|
|Audio Output||HDMI, AV (stereo audio), optical S/PDIF|
|Peripheral Interface||4x USB 2.0 host ports, Power button and LED, IR receiver, micro SD card slot up to 32GB|
|Packing Included||Mecool KI Pro Hybrid TV Box, Standard remote control, HDMI 2.0 cable, DC Power cable, User Manual|
Benchmarks and Testing
All benchmarks have been repeated 3 times and results have been averaged to give a more accurate reading:
GPU Mark Benchmark
A1 SD Benchmark
A1 SD Benchmark tests RAM and flash memory speeds. As can be seen in the provided graphs, RAM is much faster (by a factor of about 40) than flash memory – that is why it’s in smaller amount and is also volatile (does not keep its contents after a reboot). The faster DDR4 RAM that the KI pro got inside is responsible for the respectable RAM copy speeds, but the first place in the external SD write speed is due to a quality reader.
PC Mark 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. Results place the KI pro in the last third of the table – meaning it’s not a fast box for general usage. Here is the older work 1.0 results as well:
3D Mark Benchmark
3D Mark is a labor intensive 3D animation and gaming Benchmark. It runs a series of 3d heavy game and video animations. KI Pro still takes one of the last places, though performance in a demanding 3d game such as Asphalt 8 is not that bad..
Video Playback testing (Using KODI/TV Center)
|Resolution||Video Format||Local Playback||Network (Wi-Fi/LAN) Playback|
|720p (1280*720)||AVC (High@L4.1)||Playing correctly||Playing correctly|
|1080P (1920*1080)||AVC (High@L4)||Playing correctly||Playing correctly|
|2160P (3840*2160)||HEVC (H.265) – 10Bit||Playing correctly||Buffering, Stutter *|
|4K (4096*2304)||AVC (High@L5.1)||Playing correctly||Buffering, Stutter *|
|4K TS HEVC files||HEVC (H.265)||Playing correctly||Buffering, Stutter, Audio Loss|
KI Pro uses a Kodi variant called “TV Center”. Playback performance does not vary much between LAN over WiFi or LAN over power-lines. However, the performance does improve if the built in media player app is used rather than TV Center/Kodi. (As is the case with most boxes)
These days, the viability of Kodi add-ons is very unreliable due to recent crackdowns against many of their developers. However, I tested several (pre-installed) video add-ons and the ones that are still alive (such as exodus for instance) have performed quite well – even in full HD streaming.
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.
- 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
- KI Pro reverts to korean system language shortly after each restart/boot-up
- Some stutter noticed in standard (H.264) 720p/1080p content
- TV Center (videostrong’s kodi variant) sometimes fails to start the first time
- 4K content over LAN/WiFi is inconsistent at best, even with 5GHz WiFi support
Angry Birds 2, a popular 2d game. played mostly smooth with just a bit of stutter in transitions, and slightly long load times. Game cannot continue past the first level – but it seems to be a game bug and not a box related issue.
Asphalt 8 Airborne , intense 3d racing game. Worked fine and smooth.. aside from not having any sound.
Walking War Robots – an online 3d robot battle game. worked fine and smooth enough, but still unable to shoot with this touch-centric game.
Mecool KI Pro Conclusions
MeCool KI Pro started unstable with the initial firmware that came installed, but over the next few weeks as more updates came, it settled down to much better performance. It also got DDR4 and a built in Digital TV Tuner which would be a great help for those that want a all-in-one solution.
Did I like it? Some. It is relatively stable and is still getting quite frequent firmware updates (mostly manual and not via OTA). But it is not the best box for uses other than Kodi/TV Center and Digital TV watching.
Would I recommend it? It’s a pretty good combo solution for those who are interested solely in video (DTV and/or streaming).
Like to buy it? You can get this hybrid box for about 80 USD right now here: MECOOL KI PRO TV Box