This review unit was sent to me courtesy of the good people at Tronsmart, so thank you all, and especially Jim, for a very helpful communication.
Today I review a second box (so far) from Tronsmart: Vega S95 Telos. This box is one of the new generation of boxes based on the AMLogic S905 SOC, and like Eny EM95, and Minix Neo U1 before, it supports 10 bit TS video playback – which makes it one of the most advanced TV Boxes out there.
What’s in the Box?
As can be seen, the items included in this package are quite standard.. Power adapter, HDMI cable, IR Remote control, User manual… all aside from the SATA cable which is included to allow for the connection of Hard drives directly into this box!
The S95 Telos is a black box with matte finish and the company logo embossed in shiny black on its top. It is remarkably skinny and light. No rubber legs are to be found, but it also means it will be easier to attach it to the back of your TV – if you so wish.
|Chipset||Amlogic S905,Quad-core 64-bit ARM® Cortex™-A53|
|GPU||Penta-Core ARM® Mali™-450|
|Memory / Storage||2 GB DDR3 / 16 GB eMMC 5.0 Storage|
|Wireless||802.11ac Dual-Band Wi-Fi(2.4GHz/5.0GHz) ap6335|
|OS||Android Lollipop 5.1.1|
|Video Output||HDMI™2.0,up to 4K @60Hz,Supports HDMI-CEC|
|Audio Output / Input||HDMI out, SPDIF (optical)|
|Power||DC 12V / 2A|
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. * 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: 35393
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 RAM performance is better than the Minix Neo U1, which helps the general performance. But in both Internal and External SD card tests, the S95 seems to take a backseat to the new Minix, probably due to a better implementation of a memory reader/controller in the latter.
PC Mark Benchmark
The PC Mark benchmark tests run several productivity tests and the S95 did not show great performance. (concentrate on the work performance score). It may be due to lack of optimization in the firmware and may get better in time.
3D Mark Benchmark
3D Mark benchmark is considered as one of the best ways to test 3d performance on Android (and other platforms). The S95 did not shine in it, coming right after its competitor – the Minix Neo U1. As this is the budget chip of the new AMLogic generation, it is understandable.
Issues and Bugs
Keep in mind that this is a brand new model and that those are most likely growing pains that will be ironed out in time. All issues have been reported to Tronsmart and should be dealt with in future updates.
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, and some jitter (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 noticeably better (especially AC/5GHz connection) than LAN over PLC. Tronsmart includes a Pro version of a customized Kodi player called VidOn. It has support for DTS-HD & Dolby TrueHD, pass-through, 3D MKV, 3D BDMV and 3D ISO playback, as well as BD-J menu navigation. However, be aware that VidOn is considered as a company that employs low tactics and circumvents Kodi’s GPL in order to sell their product (by using “XBMC” in their name instead of “Kodi”).
Rooting became available during testing, and so Frame rate and resource usage can be measured:
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.
Average frame rate was measured at 41 Frames per second, while CPU usage was at 26 % and 298 MB of RAM were used.
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.
Average frame rate was measured at 32 Frames per second, while CPU usage was at 13% and 255 MB of RAM were used.
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.
Average frame rate was measured at 30 Frames per second, while CPU usage was at 15% and 247 MB of RAM were used.
Did I like it? Yes, as can be seen by the high marks. I think that even though it performs somewhat lower than it’s direct competitor – the U1, it also costs less and poses a real alternative to Minix.
Would I recommend it? Definitely.
UPDATE: A first rooting solution has been presented recently (15 December) on Tronsmart forum: http://forum.tronsmart.com/forum/vega-s95/1454-tronsmart-vega-s95-root-method#.VndtOuh96Uk
I have verified that it works.
So, you like it? To buy it, for 85.21 USD go here: Tronsmart Vega S95 Telos 2G+16G Quad Core Dual WiFi Android TV Box
For a cheaper model (Meta) which differs in Wifi module used, less storage space, and no SATA support, you can save some money and buy it for 71.50 USD: Tronsmart Vega S95 Meta 2G+8G Quad Core Dual WiFi Android TV Box
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