Review | Ugoos AM1 S905 TV Box

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This review unit was sent to me courtesy of the nice people at Ugoos, so thank you very much, and especially Nancy, for the kindness and help!

Ugoos is a young (about 4 years old) company that came out with several products over the last few years and is showing quite a promise. They concentrate on Rockchip based products, but also carry several Amlogic based devices.

AM1 is Ugoos’s Amlogic S905 new entry into the (quite) crowded recent S905 group. It offers decent general performance, and great video performance, coupled with network speed that rivals the leaders in this bunch.

What’s in the Box?

As can be seen both in the unboxing video and the photo below, the package is pretty standard, with the external antenna, DC power adapter, (nifty blue) HDMI 2.0 cable, and standard IR remote control and user manual – on top of the box itself and a USB OTG cable (mostly for firmware manual upgrade or connecting to PC). However, it’s really all you need to use this device efficiently – aside from a digital screen.
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The box contains the standard assortment of necessities: The TV Box (naturally), its external antenna, HDMI 2.0 cable, a USB OTG cable, standard IR remote control, DC power adapter, and a user manual.

Looks

The AM1 is made of metal (aluminium) and comes in the color sky blue. That’s a bold choice for a box in the land of black and silver, but I find it a nice variation. It sports an external antenna that services the dual WiFi capabilities it offers, and provide passive ventilation both from it’s bottom and right sides, as well as a heat-sink inside to dissipate the heat from the CPU. Also, an interesting note is that the board inside is the same as the one used for Tronsmart’s Vega S95 Telos model, and so it includes the SATA connector – even though it is not usable and blocked behind the venting grill on the side of the box.

Specifications

Chipset (S905)Quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 up to 2.0GHZ (DVFS)
GPU Penta -core ARM Mali 450 GPU up to 750MHz+ (DVFS),OpenGL ES1.1/2.0, Open VG 1.1 , 2250Mpix/sec and 165Mtri/sec
Memory / Storage DDR3 2GB / 16GB
LAN Support LAN 100M/1000M Base-T
Wireless 2.4GHz/5GHz WiFi 802.11 b/g/n AP6335 dual-band WIFI
Bluetooth BT 4.0
OS Android 5.1, Built in Google Play Store,Support OTA Function
Video Output HDMI(1.4 and 2.0 ) to support maximum 4K@60fps
output(HDCP2.2)
Audio Output HDMI Data Output / SPDIF
Power DC 12V/3A 3.5mm DC-in
Peripheral Interface
  • 1 * SD card reader interface. up to 32GB (SD2.X,SD3.X,SD4.X, eMMC ver5.0)
  • 3 * USB 2.0 Host
  • 1 * IR receiver
  • 1 * SPDIF
Packing Included
  • 1 * TV box
  • 1 * Romote control
  • 1 * USB OTG cable
  • 1 * HDMI cable
  • 1 * Power adapter (EU/UK/US/AU)
  • 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

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. Don’t mind the bottom ranking of the AM1 in the updated 6.0.1 graph, since it includes only about half of the devices tested so far, so it gives only a partial picture. As can be seen in the older benchmark, the AM1 takes a middle position that matches its s905 competition.

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. The GPU mark benchmark pretty much mirrors the ranking in Antutu, with results in the mid-low part of the graph.

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). AM1 shows a surprisingly high ranking in this benchmark which may indicate good components as well as good implementation that brings it to the top 3 in the charts!

PC Mark Benchmark

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The PC Mark benchmark test suite gives a more task/day oriented picture of performance. Things like photo editing, web browsing and video playback are tested. Even with the highest “web browsing” score, the average “work performance” score still puts it in the middle of the chart, but keeps it in the s905 score group, due to the similar task related performance.

3D Mark Benchmark

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3D Mark benchmark is considered as one of the best ways to test 3d performance on Android (and other platforms). As mentioned in prior s905 reviews, the chipset is not designed for gaming and does not shine in that department. Even so, it can still run most casual (and even 3d racing) games quite smoothly.

 

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
4K/UHD (4096*2304) AVC (High@L5.1) Playing correctly Buffering  and stutter
2160P (3840*2160) HEVC (H.265) Playing correctly Playing correctly
4K TS HEVC files HEVC (H.265) 10Bit Does not play Does not play

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Issues and bugs

  1. Power off does not really power off the box. When I powered the box off via the power menu (long press on the remote power button), it would not turn back on – neither from the remote nor from the physical power button on the box. Only taking out the power cord and plugging it back allowed to turn the box back on.
  2. Remote is not too great. Response is a bit spotty as button presses are not consistently detected.
  3. Kodi Add-ons did not install properly at first time each time. Some required repeat attempts to get installed.
  4. Google play games service crashes upon running, and so does not function correctly inside games.
  5. Information overlay comes up on kodi while playing back video without user interaction, occasionally.
  6. Upon opening the box and looking inside, I found that the heat-sink was not properly attached to the CPU but used thermal two-sided strips that did not keep it firmly in place. I had to use some thermal paste and re-adjust the heat-sink so as to avoid overheating later on.

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 Symmetric Fibre connection. Notice that the WiFi performance is quite good, and comparable to that of Tronsmart’s Vega S95 Telos:

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WiFi (802.11ac 5 GHz)
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Wired, over power lines

Gaming performance

I use an application called “GameBench” to measure frame rate and resource usage in games. However, since this box is brand new, and does not have a working root solution, my impressions are just descriptive and not measured:

Asphalt 8 Airborne – a 3d graphic intensive racing game. The game run fine, but not completely smooth. Loading screens were swift, but the during gameplay I experienced a small amount of jerkiness.

review,ugoos,am1,s905,tv box,android,streamer,amlogic,4k,UHD,Asphalt 8 Airborne

Angry Birds 2 – a popular 2d action game. Runs smoothly most of the time, with bits of slowdown both in-game and in menus.

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Walking War Robots – an online robot warfare game that requires a game-pad (I don’t have a game-pad). Mostly smooth sailing, with very little to un-noticeable slower frame rate at times.

review,ugoos,am1,s905,tv box,android,streamer,amlogic,4k,UHD,walking war robots

Conclusions

Did I like it? Yes, I did. It’s a strong and mostly stable contender in the s905 scene. The annoying lack of power button, and remote control issues will be resolved in the near firmware update, as they’re the top priority. Rooting will also be offered as a built in option in the first official firmware release.

Would I recommend it? Definitely. It may not be the best of the bunch, but it’s definitely one of the cheaper and most cost effective ones.

So you’d like to buy this box? you can find it here: Ugoos AM1 Android TV Box – Amlogic S905 SoC, 2GB RAM, Mali GPU, Kodi 16, UHD 4K, Android 5.1, Wi-Fi for a modest 74.47 USD!

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