Review | Nexbox A95X Amlogic S905x Android TV Box

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Nexbox A95X TV Box is the second box I got so far based on the new budget SoC – Amlogic S905X. A refresher: S905X adds over its older brother (S905) these four (4) features:  VP9 4k codec support, HDR support, OS support (android 6 and up only vs android 5.1 and up), and with Nexbox own models (A5 for the S905 and A95X for the S905X) – the SPDIF audio output.

I want to thank Geekbuying‘s Nick and Lily for this review sample, and I hope we’ll have plenty more co-operations of this kind in the future.

What’s in the Box?


As we can see, the box is a budget item, and includes the necessities: A learning IR Remote, A short User manual, HDMI 2.0 cable, and a DC power adapter.

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Looks & Design


The box retains the standard Nexbox look – with the red ribbon on the corner. Other than that it’s a small box, made of smooth black plastic, with no screws. Two USB ports, AV port and a SPDIF coaxial port as well as HDMI and LAN ports make up for the port offerings – aside for the DC power jack.

Specifications


Chipset Amlogic S905X Quad core Cortex A53 2.0GHz 64bit
GPU Penta Core ARM Mali-450 GPU up to 750MHz+
Memory / Storage 2GB DDR3 RAM / 16GB eMMC Flash ROM
LAN 10/100M, standard RJ-45
Wireless IEEE 802.11b/g/n, 2.4G/5G
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Video Output HDMI 2.0, up to 4K*2K @ 60fps, Support HDR, HDMI-CEC**, HDCP 2.2
Audio Output  Via HDMI 2.0, coaxial SPDIF (5.1CH, 7.1CH)
Power  DC 5V 2A adapter (CE, FCC, CCC Certified)
Peripheral Interface  RJ-45 Ethernet Port (10/100Mbps), USB 2.0 Port x 2, OTG Port, Micro-SD/Micro-SDHC/TF Card Reader, IR Sensor (Remote included)
Packing Included 1 x A95X Android TV Box, 1 x Remote Control, 1 x HDMI Cable, 1 x Power Adapter, 1 x English Manual

 

Benchmarks and Testing


Antutu Benchmark


nexbox,a95x,streamer,amlogic,s905x,uhd,4k,review,items,remote,tv box,benchmark,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. A95X takes a place right after the Tronsmart S95 Vega Telos, which is not a bad place to be, and this is considering that it is a budget box with a middle placement on the chart.

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. A95X takes a good place in the middle, in line with other s905/x boxes.

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 retain its contents after a reboot). A95X RAM copy speed shows speed and takes the second place in the total chart, as well as in the Internal and External Read/Write speeds.

PC Mark Benchmark


nexbox,a95x,streamer,amlogic,s905x,uhd,4k,review,items,remote,tv box,benchmark,pcmarkPC Mark is a benchmark that tests several real-world aspects of android devices. Tests such as web browsing, photo editing, writing (copy, cut, paste) and so on. A95X takes a middle placement again, in line with other similar boxes.

3D Mark Benchmark


nexbox,a95x,streamer,amlogic,s905x,uhd,4k,review,items,remote,tv box,benchmark,3dmark3D Mark benchmark is considered as one of the best ways to test 3d performance on Android (and other platforms). A95X takes one of the last places in the list of S905 and S905X based boxes. However, it does not affect game performance too much, as becomes evident in the game testing below.

Usage and Performance


 A95X is, as many other Chinese boxes out there, rooted. But… this is not a full root by any means. The meaning is that when you run a root detection app from the play store, it will report the box is rooted. But there is no root permission management binary installed – such as “SuperSu” or “SuperUser” – and without one of these, a box is not really rooted. That’s because all the advantages of rooting depend on the ability to grant permissions to apps – and that is simply impossible with the A95X. Requests for a better solution were not answered so far.

Another thing to mention – the recovery button which exists normally in the S905 (not S905X) version of this box – is missing here. It means that booting the box into recovery is pretty much impossible. When I asked for help for this, I was told the recovery button is on the inside of the AV port, on the side. I still cannot seem to find it.

These two issues lead to the fact that flashing this box has been impossible for me so far. After many attempts, I managed to install TWRP recovery, but in the process lost the partial root. Now I cannot do anything in terms of flashing – even from my PC.

This annoyance aside, and a few crashes (settings app, and the update app which pops up a crash message mainly upon boot), the box performs mostly in a stable manner.

SD and HD quality content are played correctly over WiFi, with a few exceptions I noticed with heavier videos, 4k content or times that the box lost network speed for no apparent reason.

The box is quite small, but even though it got a bit hot, it was not too hot to touch.

Bugs & Issues


  •  As mentioned, ROOT is practically non-existing.
  • 4k content did not play smoothly over WiFi – at all. All of the samples, including HEVC samples that usually play fine, did not play smoothly and exhibited stutter, audio loss, and buffering.
  • No shutdown menu is available – only “Power Off” option.
  • No built in screenshot button available. To take screenshots I had to connect a USB keyboard and use the PrintScreen key.
  • Video appeared to be a bit on the dark side from the beginning.
  • Error message pops up in regard to the update app crashing – after boot.

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. Speeds measured are Wireless 2.4GHz, Wired (Lan over Powerline), and Wireless 5GHz:nexbox,a95x,streamer,amlogic,s905x,uhd,4k,review,items,remote,tv box,internet,speed,benchmark

The speeds are not so great in general, but LAN speed is quite high among other android TV boxes.

Video Playback testing


Video playback testing was done with the latest official Kodi (16.1) – pre-installed on the box with add-ons:

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 Buffering, Audio Loss, Stutter
4K (4096*2304) AVC (High@L5.1) Playing correctly (a bit of microstutter) Buffering, Audio Loss, Stutter
4K / HD / FullHD HEVC (H.265) 10Bit Playing correctly Buffering, Audio Loss, Stutter

 I noticed an issue with one of the AVC (H.264) videos freezing while the audio kept playing – forcing me to restart the box. After restart it did play, but showed some micro-stutter. I hope that future firmware updates will address these problems.nexbox,a95x,streamer,amlogic,s905x,uhd,4k,review,items,remote,tv box,video,tests

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Gaming performance


nexbox,a95x,streamer,amlogic,s905x,uhd,4k,review,items,remote,games,asphalt 8 airborneAsphalt 8 Airborne – a 3d graphic intensive racing game. The game run mostly smoothly. The initial data download crashed mid-way and had to be resumed. There were minor stutters during gameplay – especially as races starts.


nexbox,a95x,streamer,amlogic,s905x,uhd,4k,review,items,remote,tv box,games,angry birds 2Angry Birds 2 – a popular 2d action game. Mostly it run well, but the game loaded a bit slow, and I did experience some stutter when moving between screens inside the levels.


nexbox,a95x,streamer,amlogic,s905x,uhd,4k,review,items,remote,tv box,games,walking war robotsWalking War Robots – an online robot warfare game that requires a game-pad. The game recently had its graphics upgraded. The game run smoothly even with the polished graphics.

Nexbox A95X Conclusions


Did I like it? Not especially. The faulty root solution on top of flashing impossibility, and inconsistent network performance made this box only okay and mostly for up to 1080p content.

Would I recommend it? Only for the price targeted buyers. It does the job, most of the time, but there are small bugs and annoyances which make the experience lacking.

If you’d like to buy this box, the price will be 46 USD, and I’ll be glad if you can use my link:

Nexbox A95X Amlogic S905X 4K KODI Preinstalled Android 6.0 TV BOX 2G16G 2.4G5G WIFI Bluetooth LAN

Comments

Comments

  1. Maria

    Great review!

    I bought this box, installed apps like Xfinity To Go and Sling but the playback I’m getting is very low resolution, surely under 720p. I tried over wifi, ethernet and I get the same bad results.
    I have a firestick where the same apps, over wifi, play perfectly, 1080p, I’ve tried every display setting on the Neobox but I’m never able to improve the image, what am I doing wrong!? Is the Neobox this bad!?

    thank you

  2. Kz

    Proper root is possible by amlogic firmware customization tool, check freaktab forum.
    I managed to install twrp too.
    I have the reset button inside the av plug.

  3. waqar

    I can confirm that this reviewers list of bugs and issues are the same as the ones with my A95x(S905X) tv box.

    The issue with the video being dark is very true and is annoying me alot. It seem that the bringness and contrast settings are being affected and there is no option to correct that. I have noticed that at a few instances this issue somehow fixes itself and I dont know how.

    Tthe manufacturer needs to address this ASAP and provide a fix for that, but this being a china clone and dont think any attention will be payed

    1. Post
      Author
      admin

      There is a way to correct some of them, with a custom firmware available on freaktab.com – just MAKE SURE the firmware is the correct one for your model as there is more than one with the same name, but different properties!

  4. zbignew3

    Note that the SPDIF port is not coaxial, it is fiber optic TOSLINK style. Which leads me to the next point… on my unit the SPDIF port doesn’t work. The port never illuminates. I downloaded and installed the latest firmware (Nov 5, 2016) but there’s no improvement. Another gripe is that the “check for updates” feature to easily update the firmware is completely misleading. It always reported to me that I was up to date. You need to navigate to the vendor’s website and support forum and download the firmware and install it either via USB or via memory card. Either way the FW update instructions are pretty tough to follow. The vendor’s support forum is pretty rough. I think I’ll return mine for refund since it just seems like the unit has too many rough edges and they’ll stop supporting it soon when they release the next version.

    1. zbignew3

      Ooops. Article is correct that the SPDIF output is electrical/coax not optical. However it is a 3.5mm mini jack not the more typical RCA jack. Sorry for any confusion my comment caused.

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