Review | ENY EKB368 (Z4) TV Box

topconcEKB368-Unboxing1W

Introduction

Quite a mouthful, isn’t it? Well, the reason is that this is a multi-branded product. What that means is that several different companies use an OEM version of the same product and give it a different name.

If you search Aliexpress, for instance, you will find many results for this RK3368 based box. Some will be named “ENY EKB-368”, some “Z4”, and some simply “RK3368 tv box”.

This review unit was sent to me courtesy of the good people at ENY, so thank you all, and especially Kelvin, for the fast and good communication.

It makes no difference to the product’s design and abilities, so let’s get to it.

What’s in the Box?

As can be seen in the unboxing clip, the content is quite standard: The EKB368 TV Box, AV Breakout cable, HDMI cable (Mini to full, which is a little unusual), Power DC adapter, and a standard Infra Red remote control.

Looks & Design

The box design looks interesting, being a little different than most of the other boxes. It is square, and the sides are indented inwards. But this design is a bit of a problem – when you need to stick in and take out a Micro-SD memory card. That inwards indentation makes the taking out part much more tricky and you are likely to need a small set of tweezers. That’s a negative point for the design. Other than that, the power button is located on top of the box, and the led lights showing status (on, suspended and off) are in the front – red for off/suspended and blue for on.

Specifications

Chipset Rockchip RK3368 octa core Cortex A53
GPU PowerVR G6110 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.x/2.0/3.1, OpenGL 3.2, DirectX 9.3, OpenCL 1.2 EP, and Renderscript
Memory / Storage DDR3 2GB (Optional:1GB) / 8GB
LAN RJ45 LAN Port 100/1000M Base-T
Wireless 2.4GHZ + 5.8G WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/AC (ap6335)
Bluetooth v4.0
OS Android 5.1
Video Output HDMI 2.0 (4K/2K 60FPS)
Audio Output HDMI out, 3.5mm Headphone Jack, SPDIF (optical)
Power DC 5V/2A (2.1mm)
Peripheral Interface 2 * USB Host, 1 * Micro SD card (TF card) reader, 1 * SPDIF, 1 * 3.5mm Headphone Jack, 1 * HDMI(A type Male), 1 * RJ45 LAN Port
Packing Included 1 * EKB368 1 * Adapter(DC 5V/2A), 1 * HDMI Cable ,1 * IR Remote Controller,1 * Manual

Benchmarks and Testing

Antutu Benchmark

Antutu1w

The 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.

Since the EKB368 uses more of a “Little” (and not “BigLittle”) architecture, it means that it uses 8 cores at a lower clock speed and because of that, Antutu rating is lower than might be expected for this kind of powerful CPU.

GPU Mark Benchmark

GPUmark1w GPUmark2w

GPU Mark tests 3d gaming performance and also provides a normalized score according to the used screen resolution (for a more accurate result). The test is quite short and should be taken as a supporting result to that of the more serious 3D Mark benchmark. Here the extra cores show their strength more by taking one of the first two places in the comparison.

A1 SD Benchmark

A1SDBench1w

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).

I have had some trouble with the testing, as it seems the box insists on caching every time I perform the test, thus skewing the results.

For this reason, I’ve tried the accurate method which required rebooting and made the testing longer by a factor of (at least) 10. I also left out the RAM copy speed, as it is showing as twice as fast as its nearest competitor. As can be seen, the internal memory read speed still seems to be affected, though it is MUCH lower than initial testing showed – with caching.

The general performance of the box is definitely speedy. It does show inconsistent performance at times, but even then it usually doesn’t dip too low.

PC Mark Benchmark (*)

PCMark1w

* The PC Mark benchmark tests are lacking, because out of the three boxes tested, only the Minix X8-H was able to complete the video test portion of the test fully.

As can be seen, the EKB368 flew by the competition with high scores, and managed to complete all the tests in the benchmark.

3D Mark Benchmark

3DMark1w

 

Video Playback testing (Using KODI)

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) Playing correctly Playing correctly
4K (4096*2304) AVC (High@L5.1) Playing correctly Buffering  and stutter
4K TS HEVC files HEVC (H.265) 10Bit Does not play / play with artifacts and stutter Does not play / play with artifacts and stutter

I must mention that I did encounter problems (a couple of times) playing content over the network when I used my wired (over Powerline) connection. Even 720p files slowed and/or lost audio mid-play. This did not happen when playing over WiFi.

Network Performance

Testing was done both in wired network mode (Ethernet over power lines) and Wireless mode (in this case 802.11AC 5Ghz speed):

Wired
Wired
Wireless
Wireless

Gaming performance

I have tested the EKB368 with three games, but could not measure frame rate or resource usage accurately due to issues with rooting:

Asphalt 8 Airborne – a 3d graphic intensive racing game

 

Angry Birds 2 – a popular 2d action game

 

Walking War Robots – an online robot warfare game that requires a game-pad

KII,Pro,asphalt 8, airborne,racing,amlogic.s905,remote,user guide,review
angry-birds-2
KII,Pro,wwr,walking war robots,game,mechs,amlogic.s905,remote,user guide,review

Asphalt 8 run well in high settings. But, I could not measure FPS consistently. I did see it kept at 25-45 fps at most times.

Angry Birds 2 worked fine most of the time, but I noticed delays in loading (the cogwheel would get stuck for a short while and then continue), and even after a clean reboot, I noticed small very small hick-ups in gameplay.

WWR (Walking War Robots) seemed to load and play fine, but my FPS meter showed 7-11 frames per second, even though it seemed higher than that.

In short, game performance is erratic and inconsistent. Even though benchmark show (much) higher than average power, the gaming experience was not as expected.

The EKB368 did get warm (or very warm but not scalding) to the touch, which is similar to what’s reported by other RK3368 based box owners. The cooling is passive (a cooling plate or heat sink as far as I know) and quiet.

Conclusions

The Eny EKB368 is an impressive, yet flawed android TV box. Its powerful chipset proves up to the challenge at most times, but provides an inconsistent experience – even with 2D games. It seems that there is room to improve the design – both physically with a casing that is more user friendly, and a better heat distribution/cooling solution, and also with better software that will allow the box to keep the performance consistent as it should be.

Did I like it? Yes and No. The box got powerful hardware, but the software side is lacking. And I suspect the heat issue is affecting the performance which showed in the small hick-ups in the gaming I mentioned before.

Would I recommend it? Yes, but be aware of the issues, and try to find the best deal you can. I read that this model can be found for lower prices (60-70 USD) if you look hard enough.

I give it… 3.5 / 5 and I wish I could give it more, but I hope it will get better with future updates.

Update: A new firmware update came out (). Make sure you know how to flash using OTG and a PC/Laptop.

http://freaktab.com/forum/tv-player-support/rk3688-devices-aa/ekb368/525491-ekb3368-firmware-support

Pros

Cons

Can play almost anything you’ll throw at it Remote control requires direct line to the box
Fast and well performing mostly Rooting is non standard and mostly useless
Future-proof thanks to hardware HEVC 4K decoding Issues playing 4K TS files
1GBit LAN Lags in 4K AVC content playback over network
HDMI 2.0 support = 4K at 60Hz Caused issues in network till re-flashed

The EKB368 can be found on aliexpress and other venues, for prices around 80 USD.
Let shareasale.com find sales leads for you. Only pay when it works!

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