Review | Tronsmart S95 Telos S905 TV Box

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.

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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!
tronsmart,vega,s95,telos,amlogic,s905,streamer,android,kodi,UHD,4K,rooted,items

Looks

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.

Specifications

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
LAN Gigabit (10/100/1000M)
Wireless 802.11ac Dual-Band Wi-Fi(2.4GHz/5.0GHz) ap6335
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
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
Peripheral Interface
  • 3 * USB 2.0 Ports
  • 1 * SD card slot
  • 1 * SPDIF
  • 1 * HDMI 2.0 port
  • 1 * RJ45 LAN Port
  • 1 * SATA port
Packing Included
  • 1 * Vega S95 Telos
  • 1 * Adapter (DC 12V/2A)
  • 1 * HDMI 2.0 Cable
  • 1 * IR Remote Control
  • 1 * SATA cable
  • 1 * User Manual

Benchmarks and Testing

All benchmarks have been repeated 3 times and results have been averaged to give a more accurate reading:

* Antutu Benchmark

tronsmart,vega,s95,telos,amlogic,s905,streamer,android,kodi,UHD,4K,rooted,AntutuThe 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

tronsmart,vega,s95,telos,amlogic,s905,streamer,android,kodi,UHD,4K,rooted,PCMark,benchmarkThe 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

tronsmart,vega,s95,telos,amlogic,s905,streamer,android,kodi,UHD,4K,rooted,3DMark,benchmark3D 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

1. Google play games crashes on opening
2. Volume bar bug – appears randomly on the screen without any remote control interaction.
3. 10mb 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 (non S905 based) TV box.
4. Backing up XBMC/Kodi/SPMC to a folder either on the external USB drive or a MicroSD card failed. (“not writeable” 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. Torrent streaming Kodi Add-ons still do not work (pulsar, Kmediatorrent and so on) in Kodi or Kodi variants.

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.

Network performance

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. Notice that in comparison to Minix Neo U1, it has room to improve, although it shows a respectable performance (WiFi wise):
tronsmart,vega,s95,telos,amlogic,s905,streamer,android,kodi,UHD,4K,rooted,wifi,speed,test,internet,speedtest,802.11ac
5 Ghz (802.11ac) WiFi Speed
tronsmart,vega,s95,telos,amlogic,s905,streamer,android,kodi,UHD,4K,rooted,AV500,Internet,Powerline,wired,Speed
AV500 Internet over Powerline (wired) Speed

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”).

Gaming performance

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.

tronsmart,vega,s95,telos,amlogic,s905,streamer,android,kodi,UHD,4K,rooted,,Asphalt 8 Airborne,game

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.

tronsmart,vega,s95,telos,amlogic,s905,streamer,android,kodi,UHD,4K,rooted,,angry birds 2,game

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.

tronsmart,vega,s95,telos,amlogic,s905,streamer,android,kodi,UHD,4K,rooted,,walking war robots,game

Conclusions

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

Thanks for reading! please like and share!

Comments

Comments

  1. Ron

    In the description, it shows 12 volt, then in another description, it says 5 volt. I am sure with this box it is 12 volt, and i like that.

    Also, keep those reviews coming.

    Thanks

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  4. Chuck

    Excellent review. Didn’t know these boxes could come with so many bugs.

    I have a StreamaxTV AML8726 1.5ghz Dual Core 1/8 gig I paid $400 thru a network marketing company. It runs Gotham on Android.

    I need an additional box and thinking I should find something that runs Kodi. Thanks much for your insight.

  5. Nomad

    Nowadays, not many users are using SATA hdd and there are solutions via USB connection. If maintained using 5V3A and remove both SATA connector and cable, the price could probably be much lower.

    Well… like what you mentioned, it may due to the additional juice required. 12V2A(24W) vs 5V3A(15W).

  6. Marcus

    What device would you choose? The S95 Telos or the HPH NT V8? I Cant make a decision. You have tested both boxes so i would like your input.
    /Marcus

  7. Nomad

    Tronsmart products have always being overpriced, definitely not worth to consider. You can consider these S905 powered, Beelink Mini MX @ USD42 from GearBest, ENY EM95 or ENY EM95-MXQ.

  8. Post
    Author
    admin

    @Nomad, I reviewed the Eny EM95 here. Tronsmart is a good competitor for Minix I believe. As for the pricing – it’s partly name building, but also partly better quality assurance and higher quality components and assembly. If Tronsmart’s products were not worth their salt, so to speak, people would stay away. But as it is second only to Minix these days, it seems that they are getting something right. But, as you said, if your budget is tight – you might want to look elsewhere.

  9. oxxy

    @admin

    I agree.

    At least they have a forum which is active so you can get support with any tronsmart device if you have any issues.

    Minix & tronsmart are the 2 best options for android boxes.

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      Author
  10. Pat

    This is useless product due to following reasons,
    Lack of proper firmware support by manufacturer.
    Android based product are always unstable for IPTV and linux based Mag254 is more stable
    It kik me out from IPTV apps frequently.
    Over heat and lack of cooling
    Internet and airmouse fight with eachother frequently disconnect from internet, internet interferences issue for 5.4ghz and 2,5 ghz both.
    Only iptvexpress is software available which can be easily hecked.
    Kodi is always giving trouble because kodi is free.
    If paid is not stable and free kodi is also not working than why should we buy this
    This is a piece of junk after few months of use. Dont buy. I will recommend to buy mag254 which has light hardware but that is the best stable products. If you dont want to get disturb while watching tv.

    1. Post
      Author
      admin

      All I can tell you is that I haven’t encountered any of the issues you mention. All the bugs I did find were reported back to Tronsmart and they handle it. On top of that, if you contact them directly, they’ll probably replace your box.. so I’m sorry for your bad experience, but I didn’t have the same nor similar experience with it.

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