We return with a review of the new Box R 4K Plus Android 11 TV box from Homatics.
Thanks goes to Ella from Homatics for this review sample!
Homatics Box R 4K Plus is a special breed in the TV box market. It is based on Amlogic S905X4 chipset, and is running Android TV 11 OS (while most boxes run phone/tablet version of Android).
Box R 4K Plus mainly is for streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, HBO Max and so on) users.
What’s in the Box?
Box R 4K Plus comes in a small white and silver plastic box, with the logo on top, and a LED strip running around the edges. It is made of solid matte white plastic, and feels sturdy but not light, at 261 grams.
Another point to note is that it does NOT include a storage expansion slot (SD or MicroSD). When I asked why, I was told that the included storage is sufficient for the purposes of this box.
There is no physical power button, and the Box R 4K Plus turns on when connected to power, allows to restart via device preferences under settings, and only goes to sleep from the remote control “power” button. Future firmware updates may allow proper shutdown from the remote.
Another thing to mention is the “mystery” USB-C port at the bottom of the box. I asked about it and was told it is meant to connect to other Homatics home automation products in the future.
Box R 4K Plus Looks
Here are the items that come in the box: Box R 4K Plus TV Box, 1 * IR Remote, 1 * HDMI Cable, 1 * User Manual, 1 * User Guide, 1 * Power Adapter:
Box R 4K Plus Specifications
|Operation System||Android TV 11|
|Language||English, Chinese …Multi-Language support|
|CPU||Amlogic S905X4 with Quad-Core Cortex-A55 12nm|
|Storage Capacity (Flash)||32GB eMMC|
|WIFI||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax 2.4G/5G Wi-Fi 6|
|Widevine Level||Support, Level 1|
|Power Supply||DC 12V/1.5A|
|HDMI Output||HDMI 2.1, HDCP2.2|
|1*USB 3.0, 1*USB 2.0 Host|
|Network||1*RJ45 1000M (1000M Ethernet interface)|
|Remote Control||Remote controller|
|Net Weight||261 Grams|
|Android TV OS Build||RTT0.211009.001.3660|
Box R 4K Plus Benchmarks and Testing
*All completed benchmarks have been repeated 3 times and results have been averaged to give a more accurate reading (aside for PCMark):
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. Box R 4K Plus performs very averagely in Antutu test, at number 4.
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. Box R 4K Plus gets 8th place in Average FPS, and 5th place in Average Score.
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). Box R 4K Plus is 15th place in RAM copy speed, and 5th place in read/write speed. It’s no speed racer, but it performs fine for video.
PC Mark Benchmark
An extensive suite of productivity tests which is designed to show a more balanced picture of an android device’s ability to perform various tasks such as spreadsheet calculations, photo editing, complex web page browsing and more. Box R 4K Plus reaches 3rd place in this test which shows it can be used for productivity tasks quite easily.
3D Mark Benchmark
3D Mark benchmark is considered as one of the best ways to test 3d performance on Android (and other platforms). Box R 4K Plus gets 7th place in Sling Shot Extreme, and 3rd place in Wild Life. Not a good 3d performer.
Box R 4K Plus Extra Benchmarks
For some more information, see the following screenshots from other benchmarks such as Vellamo (without the browser section as google chrome is not available for Android TV), GFX Benchmark, Androbench, Geekbench:
Box R 4K Plus Bugs and Issues
- Angry Birds 2 seems to exhibit a similar bug as it does in some other new android TV boxes, and gets stuck after the first level is passed.
Kodi has a serious issue playing content over local network (LAN) – in which there is a serious delay between video and audio. Tested with another kodi variant (wbmc) as well with no difference. Note: Homatics tested this issue and could not replicate it on their side, so I may I have gotten a review sample that have a specific problem. But, I can only test what I have..After changing OS screen resolution, and the audio device in Kodi to RAW, the audio-video delay seems to have been resolved. This seems to have to do with the compatibility between Box R 4K Plus and my Marantz AVR.
- Box R 4K Plus is running Android TV, and as such, some benchmarking applications do not install from the Play Store. Even when side loaded from APK, they would not show up in the apps list and can only be accessed via the apps uninstallation section under settings.
- Box R 4K Plus cannot be shut down easily (only set to sleep mode via the remote power button), and restarting can only be done from the settings\device preferences section.
- Box R 4K Plus does not allow for easy screenshot taking (not only does it run Android TV, but it also restricted customization and does not allow access to task bar or other useful features – probably in order to prevent users from getting in trouble). I had to install an external application to allow screenshot taking.
- Permissions issues with some file managers (tested this on ES Explorer) – which means APK files cannot be installed from any application other than the pre-installed file manager.
- Inside Kodi, playing HDR content automatically plays (and converts?) to SDR. Seems Kodi is unable to switch to HDR modes. Also, if the outside resolution is set to 1080p, all videos inside Kodi will be played (or downplayed) to that resolution.
Box R 4K Plus Root Function
Homatics Box R 4K Plus does not offer any root function, nor is one available (I asked the manufacturer).
Box R 4K Plus Video Playback testing (using Kodi)
Homatics Box R 4K Plus is actually meant for streaming services almost exclusively. As such, there is one issue with Kodi which will be explained in the bug section of this review (no auto switching resolutions or HDR on and off for compatible videos). I was only able to test Amazon Prime Video which works well. Other streaming services (Netflix, and Disney Plus) should work up to 4k due to existing licensing on this box. I will update this review if and when I will test it.
VLC player is able to playback the same video files (including 4k) over LAN with no synching issue. (Kodi does too, after tweaking the audio device setting as mentioned in the bug section.
However, other than testing standard (SDR) video files (which work well up-to and including 4k and even some 8k), HDR video playback reverts to SDR, and the box cannot auto switch between resolutions. (at least not inside Kodi)
Box R 4K Plus Network Performance
I tested the network performance using the popular Speedtest.net application from the play store. I tested both WiFi (the fastest WiFi supported – in this case 5GHz 802.11ac), and wired network connection. My home connection is a symmetric 1GBit Fiber connection so it would not limit the testing.
Box R 4K Plus Gaming Performance
Asphalt 9 Legends – a 3d graphic intensive racing game. I found that Homatics Box R 4K Plus runs the game fairly smooth, but the controls are barely registered with the Bluetooth remote, and I had to use a separate air mouse to get any semblance of control. Keep in mind though, that this game is mainly intended for game pads.
Angry Birds 2 – a popular 2d action game. Due to the known bug mentioned in the bug section, the game does run (not completely smooth) but freezes after the first level, and can only be played with a Air mouse (which is not included).
Walking War Robots – an online robot warfare game that requires a game-pad (I don’t have a game-pad). Box R 4K Plus runs fine (not smoothly though), and I was able to control the game with a air mouse.
Box R 4K Plus Conclusions
Did I like it? Yes, although the ESN number, Android TV, and google license don’t necessarily justify the relatively high price tag (in my opinion) for a S905X4 box.
Would I recommend it? Yes, as I would say that it is mostly suitable for those looking for a cheaper alternative to boxes such as Nvidia Shield or Roku. Since it offers similar support to streaming services, but at a (somewhat) cheaper price.
You like it! Where can you buy it? You can buy it for 149.99 USD: Homatics Box R 4K Plus and.. you can use code EYALO to get a 5% discount!