EM95 was sent to me courtesy of the nice people at ENY, so thank you all, and especially Kelvin, for the fast communication and help.
ENY is a chinese manufacturer that mostly produces OEM models for other companies. I have already reviewed another of their boxes – the EKB368 (Z4) based on Rockchip’s RK3368 SOC.
EM95 is the new and first home branded S905 based model from ENY. It was designed to keep a low price tag while still providing more than adequate video performance.
What’s in the Box?
As can be seen in the unboxing clip, and the photo below, the included bundle is basic: EM95 TV Box, DC Power adapter, HDMI 2.0 cable, IR Remote Control, and a User manual. It matches the budget oriented hardware inside the box – 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage.
Unlike the first S905 box I tested, the Minix Neo U1, the EM95 is a simpler design without an external antenna. Its antenna is built into the box. The box is the standard square shape with grey lines
|Chipset||Amlogic S905 Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU up to 2.0 GHz (DVFS)|
|GPU||Penta-Core Mali-450 up to 750 Mhz ( DVFS)|
|Memory / Storage||1GB DDR3 / 8GB|
|LAN||Ethernet:10/100M, standard RJ-45|
|Wireless||Support IEEE802.11 b/g/n|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6212)|
|Video Output||HDMI 2.0 (CEC and HDCP 2.2 ) , 4K X 2K @60 fps|
|Audio Output / Input||HDMI out, 3.5 mm AV Port, SPDIF (optical)|
|Peripheral Interface||3 * USB 2.0 Host, 1 * SD/MMC card reader, 1 * SPDIF, 1 * 3.5mm Headphone Jack, 1 * HDMI(A type Male), 1 * RJ45 LAN Port|
|Packing Included||1 * EM95, 1 * Adapter(DC 5V/2A), 1 * HDMI Cable ,1 * IR Remote Controller,1 * Quick Guide|
Benchmarks and Testing
All benchmarks have been repeated 3 times and results have been averaged to give a more accurate reading:
* Antutu Benchmark
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. The box shows that it’s single core performance is not the highest which is consistent with the S905 being a more “budget-y” SOC and not really meant for the high end products. Its location in the 6th place is still not too far from the S812 and RK3368 based boxes. * Recently, Antutu benchmark has been updated to version 6 which uses different parameters and sub-tests, so the graphs are still based on the older 5.7.2 version for comparison, but here is the result of the new (6.0.0) Antutu version: 35516
GPU Mark Benchmark
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.
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 EM95 surprises here with a third place in the RAM copy speed chart, and a respectable fifth place in the internal and SD card read/write performance chart.
PC Mark Benchmark
The PC Mark benchmark tests run several productivity tests and the U1 performed well in most of them. It reaches fifth place – partly due to the low amount of work RAM, but still very close to the results of Minix new star – the U1.
3D Mark Benchmark
3D Mark benchmark is considered as one of the best ways to test 3d performance on Android (and other platforms). Again, poor results due to the use of the older/weaker Mali-450 GPU and lower clock speed. And still one place bellow the U1.
Bugs & Issues
Google play store would not allow to install nearly all of it’s apps and games selection, giving this message instead: “your device isn’t compatible with this version” – This was quickly sorted out by the manufacturer by a firmware update. The fix did not work at first, but after a few reboots it did. However, google play services still do not work properly, but the next firmware update expected in a few days should correct it among other things.
2. 10 mb bug. Unable to copy to, rename on, or delete from connected USB drives. in my case it’s a 1.5 TB hard drive that works perfectly when connected to any other TV box. This is a known issue with ALL S905 out so far.
3. Add-ons installation – it requires repeat action almost every time since some dependencies fail to install. the installation succeeds the second time, but this happened in any Kodi version I tried (the 16 beta included, and SPMC 15)
4. Backing up XBMC/Kodi/SPMC to a folder either on the external USB drive or a Micro-SD card failed. (“not writable” error) It seems that small files can be written correctly to the targets, but bigger files just refuse to write. The targets are formatted in NTFS, and I was using compression in the backup add-on.
5. ES Explorer, a popular file manager is unable to retain passwords for network locations (SMB shares) and asks for them anew even though “remember password” tick box is checked.
6. Torrent streaming Kodi Add-ons still do not work (pulsar, Kmediatorrent and so on) in Kodi or Kodi variants.
Network performance has been tested using Speedtest.net Internet speed measuring app, in WiFi and in Wired mode. My Internet connection is 200 Mbit Synchronous Fibre connection:
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||Long Pre-buffering (on Wifi. PLC over LAN is worse with stutter and buffering)|
|4K TS HEVC files||HEVC (H.265) 10Bit||Playing correctly||Long Pre-buffering (on Wifi. PLC over LAN is worse with stutter and buffering)|
Video playback is quite great. 10 Bit TS files that never worked before are now playing quite well, but bandwidth still affects playback, and the heavier the file is, the more of an issue it is. Wi-Fi performance is mediocre at best, and wired LAN (over Powerline) performance is lacking as well. ENY noted that the next build of the box will have better network performance.
The EM95 comes pre-rooted, and for review purposes it is quite an important requirement. However, it did not help in this case as the measuring app (GameBench) did not work, so the results are all subjective:
Asphalt 8 Airborne – a 3d graphic intensive racing game. Game performance is fine in standard settings. It is not completely smooth, but is more than playable. I cannot offer frame rate count due to the reasons mentioned above.
Angry Birds 2 – a popular 2d action game. The gameplay was mostly smooth with a few stutters/jerks (both in picture and audio) along the way. The loading times were a little slower than I expected. Overall, a mediocre to good experience. The GPU/RAM handling may need some polishing to avoid these issues in the future, and it may also have to do with the “Google play services” bug that does not allow games to use it for game play tracking.
Walking War Robots – an online robot warfare game that requires a game-pad (I don’t have a game-pad). Game loaded fast and frame rate was quite satisfactory. The A2 Lite gyro function did not work with the game, so only directional arrows were used.
Did I like it? Not as much as other S905 boxes. It needs a few more firmware rounds to get where it should. The hardware compromises that were made means there is no Dual WiFi, and that cuts the box’s ability to run heavier videos smoothly. However, the manufacturer is aware of the issues, and promises to iron out bugs in the next firmware or two.
Would I recommend it? Yes, for the budget minded. The box still needs work, but the price (down to about 54 USD) is quite good, and it is a good performer (even with the lower RAM and storage) that is more future proof than the more expensive S812/RK3368 rivals.
The EM95, like all ENY boxes, comes pre-rooted. However, be aware that it comes with SuperUser app which does not open correctly, and you might want to install SuperSu and let it uninstall its predecessor.
So, you like it? You can buy the EM95 for a low price of 55.98 USD here:
AliExpress.com Product – 2016 Streaming Media Players EM95 Android TV Box Amlogic S905 Quad Core Android 5.1 DDR3 1G Flash 8G HDMI 2.0 WIFI 4K 1080p Kodi