Review | Inphic SPOT i7 TV Box

Inphic,SPOT,i7,streamer,android,amlogic,s905,review,box,top

Inphic,SPOT,i7,streamer,android,amlogic,s905,review,box,topInphic SPOT i7 is the latest offering from Chinese manufacturer Inphic, and it is based on the new and popular Amlogic S905 CPU.

My thanks goes to the Inphic team and especially Javier, for providing this review sample!

What do we get in the box?

The Inphic SPOT i7, DC Power adapter, HDMI 2.0 cable, a learning Infra-red remote control, a small user manual, and a 4x USB 2.0 Hub.

Inphic,SPOT,i7,streamer,android,amlogic,s905,review,items

Looks and design

The SPOT i7, as its predecessor, the SPOT i5, is an interesting animal in the TV boxes world. For one, it’s not even shaped as a box. Instead, it’s designed as a top hemisphere, a beetle, or half of a ball. It arrived in white color, and stands out in the sea of rectangular TV boxes out there. It’s made of soft plastic/rubber, and may turn sticky over time in a warm/hot environment, so be aware.

Specifications

Chipset
Amlogic S905 Cortex-A53 up to 2.0 GHz
GPU Penta-core Mali-450
Memory / Storage 1GB DDR3 RAM / 8GB eMMC
LAN 10/100/1000M Gigabit Ethernet
Wireless 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (AP6212)
Bluetooth 4.0
OS Android 5.1.1
Video & Audio Output HDMI 2.0 Standard with CEC support
Power DC 5V/1.5A
Peripheral Interface Micro SD slot up to 32GB, IR receiver and LED, 1 * HDMI(A type Male), 1 * RJ45 LAN Port
Packing Included 1 * SPOT i7, 1 * Adapter(DC 5V/1.5A), 1 * HDMI Cable ,1 * Learning IR Remote Controller,1 * USB 2.0 4x Hub, a user’s 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. The i7 shows it’s not one of the speediest. This may have to do with the modest amount of RAM included.

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. Here i7 shows it’s targeted at the budget market and is not meant for heavy 3d tasks.

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 i7 is placed in the middle, showing that what mostly holds it back is (again) the small amount of working RAM.

PC Mark Benchmark

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PCMark Work, Photo Editing, Writing and Web browsing scores

The i7 surprises in this bench-marking suite, and takes the 3rd place. It’s day-to-day task performance does it proud.

3D Mark Benchmark

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3D Mark Average Score

3D Mark is a labor intensive 3D animation and gaming Benchmark. It runs a series of 3d heavy game and video animations. The i7 takes a respectable position just under the Minix Neo U1, which is a great place to be.

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) – 10Bit Playing correctly Playing correctly
4K (4096*2304) AVC (High@L5.1) Stutter
Mixed – some fine some stutter
4K TS HEVC files HEVC (H.265) Mixed Artifacts and/or Stutter

* A small amount of buffering occurred while playing some HD content off of local area network. Both over Wi-Fi and Wired connections. Issue has been reported to the manufacturer.

4k,uhd,kodi,testing,trailers,samples,HEVC,H.264,H.265,stutter,slow start,bufferingAs the testing, and as I previously already knew from information on the internet, the AMLogic S805 is not capable of 4K (sometimes referred to as 2160p or UltraHD) video playback. I only tested it on Kodi, but unlike other boxes, it does not include a 4K external player application and that is further evidence to the fact.

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Antutu Video Tester

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. Performance is average-low for WiFi (only N standard is supported), but quite good for Wired connection:

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Wireless – 2.4 GHz
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Wired (over power lines)

Issues and Bugs

  1. 4K playback performance is mixed. Some files play correctly, while others stutter, show artifacts, and perform poorly over network.
  2. Most 720p and 1080p video files buffer in the middle of playback, regardless of which network connection is used.
  3. I’ve also encountered video freezing mid-playback. This was only resolved when I stopped playback, and resumed it again.

Gaming performance

Usually, I test three games: Angry Birds 2, Asphalt 8 Airborne, and Walking War Robots.

As I tried to test Angry Birds 2, I found that at first, GameBench crashed when trying to measure resource usage in the game, and the game itself slowed down to a point it was basically frozen.

Asphalt 8 Airborne was playable, but it crashed out to the desktop when I ran it through my bench-marking app (GameBench).

Walking War Robots crashed when trying to start a battle.

Conclusions

The i7 is a step forward from the i5. Some of the known issues from the Amlogic S905 boxes are already resolved here (mainly the infamous 10 mb bug), but other issues still plague this device – mainly buffering and Ultra HD content playback issues.

The manufacturer Inphic did quite a bit of work on the device before I got it, and with that in mind, it has a bright future. However, the specs are on the low end of the scale with slow and some times insufficient amount of RAM, and problems with multi tasking.

Did I like it? I liked the pricing, and it is not the worst S905 box I’ve reviewed. With that said, it has a lot of work ahead of it still. I’ve encountered way too many instances of buffering and even freezes. It is also not a gaming machine.

Would I recommend it? Yes, but mostly for price conscious buyers and those who are patient enough to wait for Inphic to resolve some of the main issues I’ve found.

I give it…  3.0/5 Stars – Passing marks, with hopes that future updates will correct some if not all the issues found.

So you’d like to buy this box? You can find it here: Inphic Spot i7 Android TV Box Amlogic S905 with VidOn XBMC KODI Android 5.1 8GB eMMC WiFi Miracast HDMI Gigabit LAN Yomvi Ready for a mere 49 USD!

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