Review | Inphic SPOT i5 TV Box

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Introduction

Inphic SPOT i5 is one of the newest models from the Chinese manufacturer Inphic.

My thanks goes to the Inphic team and especially Javier, for providing this review sample!

It uses the cheaper and less powerful little brother of the AMLogic chipset family – the S805.

That means that if you’re looking for 4K playback, you better look elsewhere, as this device tops out at 1080p.

It also means that the price point is quite low. Inphic did a promotion a short while ago, where it sold the first 100 units that came out for half price – that’s 13 USD, excluding shipping.

Therefore, the regular price stands at around 26 USD. But for now, the price is still low at about 15.6 USD per unit, or about 26.82 USD with shipping.

What do we get in the box?

The Inphic SPOT i5, DC Power adapter, Micro-USB to female USB adapter (the device only offers one micro-USB slot), a Infra-red remote control, a small user manual, and a (white) HDMI cable.

Modest, but as can be expected from a device that’s been designed to offer a good price.

The device arrived with an initial version of firmware, but after a few days, I was sent an updated OTA application that allowed me to update to the latest firmware which includes rooting (and I added SuperSu to allow permissions management) and corrected at least one of the issues: 3d Mark managed to run after installation, after not being able to before. PC Mark 8 installed and run (only from downloaded APK) but would only perform the tests in portrait mode and still could not complete them.

All issues found have been reported to manufacturer and hopefully will be addressed in time.

Looks and design

The i5 is an interesting animal in the TV boxes world. For one, it’s not even shaped as a box. Instead, it’s designed as a top hemisphere, a beetle, or half of a ball. It is offered in one of four colors (Red, Blue, Black or White), and stands out in the sea of rectangular TV boxes out there. It’s made of soft plastic/rubber, and may turn sticky over time in a warm/hot environment, so be aware.

For another, it’s main purpose is to keep costs down, while still offering a reasonable performance. How does it do it, and does it succeed? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

Specifications

Chipset
AMLogic S805 Quad-core Cortex-A5 at 1.5GHz
GPU Quad-core Mali-450 at 600MHz+
Memory / Storage 1GB DDR3 RAM / 8GB eMMC
LAN 10/100M Ethernet, (Realtek)
Wireless 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
OS Android 4.4.2
Video & Audio Output HDMI 1.b up to 1080p60 with CEC support
Power DC 5V/1.5A
Peripheral Interface 1x micro USB OTG port, micro SD slot up to 32GB, IR receiver and LED, 1 * HDMI(A type Male), 1 * RJ45 LAN Port
Packing Included 1 * SPOT i5, 1 * Adapter(DC 5V/1.5A), 1 * HDMI Cable ,1 * IR Remote Controller,1 * USB OTG adapter cable, a 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

Antutu

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. As can be seen, this budget box performs a little better than the HiSilicon 3798M based box, and a part of its poor performance can be attributed to the low amount of working RAM (1GB) that it carries.

GPU Mark Benchmark

Standard and Normalized score
Average and Normalized score
GPUmark Average Frame rate per second
GPU Mark Average Frames per Second

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. The average FPS score is a bit surprising as it’s not as bad as can be expected, and can be due to the fact that the GPU is similar (although at a lower clock speed) then that of the faster options tested.

A1 SD Benchmark

Storage Read/Write Speed RAM copy speed

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 included RAM in this box is fairly slow, and it affects the performance just as much as the low amount of it. This is likely due to the need to cut costs on this model.

PC Mark Benchmark

  • Benchmark would not run

3D Mark Benchmark

Average 3DMark Score

3D Mark is a labor intensive 3D animation and gaming Benchmark. It runs a series of 3d heavy game and video animations. In the case of the i5, it pointed quite clearly at the box’s inability to handle heavy tasks. Do not try to use it as a gaming android machine – it is simply not up to the task.

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) – 10Bit Does not play Does not play
4K (4096*2304) AVC (High@L5.1) Does not play Does not play
4K TS HEVC files HEVC (H.265) Does not play Does not play

* A small amount of buffering occurred while playing some HD content off of local area network. Both over Wi-Fi and Wired connections. Issue has been reported to the manufacturer.

As the testing, and as I previously already knew from information on the internet, the AMLogic S805 is not capable of 4K (sometimes referred to as 2160p or UltraHD) video playback. I only tested it on Kodi, but unlike other boxes, it does not include a 4K external player application and that is further evidence to the fact.

Gaming performance

 Frames Per Second Minix Neo X8-H (Amlogic S802) Probox2 EX+ (Amlogic S812) Inphic SPOT i5 (AMLogic S805)
Asphalt 8 Airborne 23 33  17
Angry Birds 2 30 31  14
Walking War Robots 25 29  19
 Resource Usage Minix Neo X8-H (Amlogic S802) Probox2 EX+ (Amlogic S812) Inphic SPOT i5 (AMLogic S805)
Asphalt 8 Airborne 8%, 169MB 12%, 326MB  9%, 94MB
Angry Birds 2 9%, 201MB 13%, 315MB  13%, 181MB
Walking War Robots 10%, 99MB 13%, 275MB  14%, 93MB

I should mention: Asphalt 8 was playable, but it crashed out to the desktop several times mid-game, and loading was VERY slow. Angry Birds mostly worked well, with slow loading times. WWR worked quite well, but I think it is better coded and less heavy than the other two. In short, don’t get this device to play games, unless you enjoy waiting.

Conclusions

The i5 is a different kind of kodi machine, both for its unusual shape and its target audience. It gives an average performance but also comes at one of the cheapest prices out there. It is not a gaming device.

The manufacturer Inphic does seem to listen and work on the correction of the issues I found. Remember that aside from the low specs, it is a brand new model that did not yet have time to go through too many firmware upgrade cycles. I’m sure that the device will get better with time.

Did I like it? Not especially, but I recognize that for its price point, it may be a good option for some.

Would I recommend it? Yes, but only for price conscious buyers and those who want a only-kodi device that tops out at 1080p video.

I give it…  2.75/5 Stars – Passing marks, with hopes that future updates will correct some if not all the issues found.

Let shareasale.com find sales leads for you. Only pay when it works!

Comments

Comments

  1. Sum

    Hi

    Thanks for the detailed review.
    I have also bought this boc during the recent price drop. For me, although it has adequate performance as a cheap android tv box, I am always looking for ways to squeeze more out of it.
    Hence do you mind sending me the OTA application used for updating the firmware as I couldn’t start the upgrade process from the box itself when it complained it could not find the upgrade server?
    Thank you.

  2. tcsabika

    Help.
    recently arrived at the inphic i5 machine , I really like the looks , but I noticed that when in use constantly stop and only switch-off can be restarted . In the beginning it operates 15-30 minutes , but after a few minutes to stop and just be turned off and on again . What ‘s wrong , what’s the solution to the problem ?

    1. Post
      Author
  3. Marcos

    I am really happy with the Spot i5. It plays video really smooth and with the latest OTA update even can get DTS-HD and Dolby-HD from Kodi!
    I can watch Netflix videos in high quality and they have fixed Yomvi crashing problem as well as they are releasing OTA updates almost every week.
    I would give a 4/5 stars. Do not understand why just 2.5, I am pretty happy.

    1. Post
      Author
      admin

      I’m glad you’re happy with the Spot i5. I reduced the grade for several reasons: it’s not suitable for much of anything else but videos (too weak for gaming). the remote is quite bad as it overlaps the TV remote signal, is loud (clicky) and directional. I am however looking forward to review Inphic’s next model – the SPOT i7.

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