MXQ-4K was sent to me courtesy of the nice people at ENY, so thank you all, and especially Kelvin, for the continued help and support.
ENY is a chinese manufacturer that mostly produces OEM models for other companies. I have already reviewed two other of their boxes – the latest being EM95 based on Amlogic’s S905 SOC.
What’s in the Box?
As can be seen in the unboxing clip, and the photo below, the included bundle is basic: MXQ-4K TV Box, DC Power adapter, HDMI 2.0 cable, IR Remote Control, and a User manual. It matches the budget oriented hardware inside the box – 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage.
The box design is simple, square black and plastic-y. with a notification led on the front, and no physical on/off button.
|Chipset||Rockchip RK3229 Quad-Core(1.5GHZ)|
|Memory / Storage||DDRIII 1GB / Nand Flash 8GB|
|LAN||10/100 BaseT, standard RJ-45|
|Video Output||HDMI 2.0 (CEC and HDCP 2.2 ) , 4K X 2K @60 fps|
|Audio Output / Input||HDMI out, 3.5 mm AV Port, SPDIF (Coaxial)|
|Peripheral Interface||4 * USB 2.0 Host, 1 * TF/MicroSD card reader, 1 * SPDIF, 1 * 3.5mm AV port, 1 * HDMI(A type Male), 1 * RJ45 LAN Port|
|Packing Included||1 * MXQ-4K, 1 * Adapter(DC 5V/2A), 1 * HDMI Cable ,1 * IR Remote Controller,1 * Quick Guide|
Benchmarks and Testing
All benchmarks have been repeated 3 times and results have been averaged to give a more accurate reading:
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.
Results for the MXQ-4K are quite poor. It manages to come one place before last, but it makes little difference. It is a budget box, but we’ve seen budget boxes which performs much better in this day and age.
GPU 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 poor results indicate a deep issue with either the firmware optimization, the memory controller or all the above. Let’s hope that it will be improved upon in future firmware updates.
PC Mark Benchmark
The PC Mark benchmark tests run several productivity tests and the MXQ-4K came last. As this suite of tests look at all kind of general tasks, it shows that this box is aimed mainly at Kodi and should really focus on that.
3D Mark Benchmark
3D Mark benchmark is considered as one of the best ways to test 3d performance on Android (and other platforms). MXQ-4K performed slightly better than a couple of other boxes, but it does not help since it still shows a massive weakness when it comes to 3d performance.
Bugs & Issues
- No shutdown/reboot/recovery option. Off button on remote simply put the box to sleep mode.
- No working root solution in official firmware.
- Video crash, artifacts buffering and stutter in 4K content. Including crash and reboot in 10 bit TS content.
- All three games tested ended abruptly mid-game with a crash and reboot.
- IR Remote control frequency interferes with other devices. In my case it was a standing fan. (This is not an uncommon issue with quite a few chinese TV Boxes)
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 ENY and should be dealt with in future updates.
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:
Video Playback testing (Using KODI)
Video playback testing was done with the latest official Kodi (16.1) as well as SPMC 16.3:
|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)||Artifacts and crash||Artifacts and crash|
|4K (4096*2304)||AVC (High@L5.1)||Buffering and stutter||Buffering and stutter|
|4K / HD / FullHD||HEVC (H.265) 10Bit||Artifacts and crash||Artifacts and crash|
Video playback testing shows that even though this box is targeted at UHD content, it is not there yet. It may have the right hardware, but the implementation of software and optimization is poor and holds it back.
Two comments though:
- I also tested the 4K/UHD content mentioned here with the built-in video player app, and it played (at least the local copy I tested) almost perfectly. The Eutelsat 10 bit demo file started stuttering a bit, but did not crash or cause a reboot. This tells me that the issue is with the firmware and Kodi optimization. There are Rockchip optimized Kodi versions out there, and a good example is Zidoo which customized a Kodi variant for its own RK3229 based X1 II model. But that takes engineers work hours and of course costs. OEM products usually do not get that level of investment.
- After my bad experience with the stock firmware, I did some digging, and found that there is a rooted minimal firmware available. Trouble was, my box refused to boot into Bootloader mode which is a basic requirement when it comes to flashing new firmware. Using the recovery button inside the SPDIF jack did not help either. Eventually, I managed to boot into bootloader mode using “adb reboot–bootloader” from the android tools SDK. After flashing the new firmware, and uninstalling Kodi (works in this version), I installed a specialized Kodi version with Rockchip optimization from a talented programmer nicknamed “SuperCeleron”. This solved most of the issues – all of the promised formats (10 bit included) work almost smoothly. There are small stutters and I only tested locally, but This is a hugely better experience with this box.
The Kodi version used was taken from here: http://freaktab.com/forum/tv-player-support/rk3688-devices-aa/beelink-rk3368/566253-kodi-16-1-rc3-for-rk-by-superceleron and my thanks to the chef (“SuperCeleron”)
** Remember: I take no responsibility as to what you do with this information, and if it bricks your box – that is on YOU. But, if you want to try this, make sure your box is the one with esp8089 wifi controller, because if you use this firmware on another variation with realtek wifi, you won’t like the result..
In any case, I uploaded a zip package with the custom firmware, custom Kodi APK file, Rockchip flashing driver and tool Here. You can give it a try if you know what you’re doing, or just opt for other options.
The MXQ-4K supposedly comes pre-rooted, but when tested with a root status check app, it appears that it isn’t (root may be broken).
Asphalt 8 Airborne – a 3d graphic intensive racing game. Played quite smoothly.. until maybe two minutes into the game when the box simply rebooted.
Angry Birds 2 – a popular 2d action game. Again, played not too slow or jerky, but rebooted shortly after starting moving through the first stage.
Walking War Robots – an online robot warfare game that requires a game-pad (I don’t have a game-pad). And once again, run fine but rebooted after a few minutes.
Did I like it? Not particularly. The firmware is very premature. I feel that this SOC can show much better and definitely more stable performance than it did. It’s a very cheap box, but it still should perform better.
Would I recommend it? Not at this stage. Perhaps with some optimization and work on the firmware, it can actually stand up to its promises, but currently it is not a UHD capable box.
So, you like it? you can buy it here for mere 27.99 USD: MXQ 4K TV Box