Review | Minix Neo U22-XJ AMLogic S922-XJ TV Box

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Minix Neo U22-XJ is Minix’s latest (and blazing fast!) Amlogic based Android TV Box!
Based on Amlogic’s most powerful S922-XJ SoC, you can now expect great HDR support as well as Dolby Vision straight out of the box.

 

What’s in the Box?


U22-XJ comes in the standard classy box embossed with the logos of supported standards such as 4k, HDR, Dolby and so on. Inside we find the TV Box itself encased in soft nylon and laid in a caveat inside a cardboard cover. After we lift that cover we find all the peripherals – HDMI 2.1 cable, USB-OTG cable and, of course, the DC power adapter (with multiple power plug adapters), removable antenna, IR remote control and the Setup guide. U22-XJ itself uses the standard black minix matte plastic box with its plethora of ports (see details bellow)

 

U22-XJ Looks


Minix box design remains the same over the years. If I had to venture a guess, it is to reduce cost and use the same basic box design for all of Minix’s Android/Windows product lines. At most, extra ports need to be embedded into the box, but the classic black plastic shell is the same.

Here are the items that come in the box: WiFi antenna, HDMI 2.1 cable, User Guide, IR Remote, Power adapter, Power plug adapters, and a USB-OTG cable.

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Minix Neo U22-XJ Items
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Minix Neo U22-XJ Home Screen

 

U22-XJ Specifications


Chipset Amlogic S922XJ Quad Core Cortex-A73 + Dual Core Cortex A53 Processor (64-bit)
GPU Mali-G52 MP4
Memory / Storage 4 GB (LPDDR4 3200 MHz) / 32GB eMMC 5.1 flash, microSD card slot
LAN Yes, RJ-45, 1Gbit / s
Wireless 802.11ac 2.4GHz / 5GHz WiFi (2 × 2 MIMO)
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.1 + EDR
OS Android 9.0 Pie
Video Output HDMI 2.1 output up to 4Kp60 with HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision support
Audio Output / Input HDMI 2.1, Optical S/PDIF, 3.5mm audio jack
Power 5VDC/3A via power jack
Peripheral Interface RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet
Micro SD card reader, Kensington Lock ready
USB 3.0 port x 3, USB-C port x 1 (data only)
3.5mm audio jack, IR receiver (remote included)
Packing Included power adapter, OTG-USB Cable, HDMI Cable, MINIX IR remote control, and a user manual
Dimensions 128mm x 128mm x 28 mm

 

U22-XJ Benchmarks and Testing


All benchmarks have been repeated 3 times and results have been averaged to give a more accurate reading:

Antutu Benchmark


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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. Minix U22-XJ performs amazingly, and is placed number 1 in the list of TV boxes (and one tablet) reviewed. It is also worth noting that Minix U22-XJ is placed above any other Amlogic based box on the list.

Bellow is a screenshot of the latest Antutu benchmark (I have not tested other boxes with this new version, so there is no comparison graph as yet):

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GPU Mark Benchmark


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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. Minix U22-XJ performs very well here, placing it second only to the top contender (a powerful tablet) – it’s S922-XJ chipset placing it higher than all TV Boxes reviewed so far.

 

 

A1 SD Benchmark


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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). Minix U22-XJ achieved 2th place in the RAM Copy Speed test, placing it only under the powerful tablet. In the storage Read/Write testing, Minix U22-XJ takes 2nd place again, this time only behind a Realtek based box.

 

 

PC Mark Benchmark


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The PC Mark benchmark tests run several productivity tests, but sadly, results page comes up empty, and freezes the application.

 

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). Minix U22-XJ is officially compatible with only these two tests: Slingshot, and Slingshot Extreme (which results are also showing above). But using an older APK of 3dmark, I was able to run the older “Ice Storm Unlimited” test and get quantifiable results (with the new version on the android play store, you can run the test, but the result comes out as “Max”). As can be seen, this new generation of Amlogic chipsets opens a wide gap ahead of everything I tested before it..

 

 

U22-XJ Extra Benchmarks


For some more information, see the following screenshots from other benchmarks such as Basemark, Vellamo, Passmark, and GFXBench:

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U22-XJ Bugs and Issues


  1. Restarting the box causes loss of picture on screen. Must unplug and re-plug HDMI cable to restore.
  2. PCMark Work 2.0 benchmark will not show results at end of testing
  3. After shutting down box from remote, sometimes unable to turn it back on from remote, and must use the physical power button. Then must unplug and re-plug HDMI cable to restore picture as in issue above
  4. Built-in Root function only works per session (while the device is running, and reverts to non-root after a restart). Also does not play well with SuperSU root permission management app, as when you try to update the SU binary, it will brick the U22-XJ box. Also, the root switch stay “ON” after a restart, even though root functionality is not active.
  • John from Minix assures me that at least some of these aforementioned issues (especially the loss of picture) will be corrected in upcoming firmware updates.

 

U22-XJ Root function


Minix seems to have done away with the unofficial (which requires some know-how and may cause box bricking) methods for rooting their new boxes. Instead, you get a nice menu option for turning Root “ON” or “OFF”.

But.. it is far from perfect. Instead of turning it on and expecting it to stay on after reboot, this root is only per session. Meaning, after reboot the U22-XJ is no longer rooted. On top of that, the switch option itself still remains as “ON”, even though the root is not active. To allow root status again, you’ll need to turn it “OFF”, and then back “ON”. That’s tedious, and really unnecessary.

On top of that, this is a permission-less root. So there is no “SuperSU” or other permission management app which gets installed along with the root. It will automatically grant your application root rights as needed. Personally, I prefer to have better control of which applications gets root access and which do not. You can always install SuperSU yourself, but be warned: if you agree to update the SU binary – which the application will automatically offer you to do, the U22 will be soft bricked upon reboot, and will require a firmware flash using a cable and a PC. Learned that the hard way.

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U22-XJ Video Playback testing (Using KODI)


Resolution Video Format Local Playback Network (Wi-Fi) Playback
720p (1280*720) AVC (High@L4.1) Plays OK Plays OK
1080P (1920*1080) AVC (High@L4) Plays OK Plays OK
 2160P (3840*2160) HEVC (H.265) Plays OK Plays OK
4K (4096*2304) AVC (High@L5.1) Plays OK Plays OK
4K HDR HEVC Main 10@L5@High HDR10 Plays OK Some buffering
4K TS HEVC HEVC (H.265) 10Bit Plays OK Plays OK

Kodi 18.6 arrives pre-installed on the U22-XJ. Video performance is very good, although local network streaming was less than perfect (especially with 4k HDR content) even though the WiFi performance measured very well outside of Kodi.

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* 8k video is not really usable in kodi, but I have found that these samples DID play locally (with some stutter and a bit of buffering) on MX Player Pro

Kodi add-ons tested quite well. IPTV streamed without issues. Also, this box contains a SDR to HDR and HDR to SDR capabilities. It makes the picture pop. Some would like it and some would not, but you can always turn that feature off.

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Antutu Video Testing got mixed results: U22-XJ played all the videos in the test, aside for FLV and RMVB formats which failed. Video playback was pretty flawless in general.

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U22-XJ 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 connection (in my case AV1200 Ethernet over power line). My home connection is a symmetric 500 Mb Fiber connection so it would not limit the testing (but the Ethernet over power line connection does) – Minix U22-XJ shows the strength of its MIMO antennas in the excellent WiFi performance, but less so with the LAN over Power-line connection:

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WiFi 5Ghz

 

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Wired, over power lines

According to the Speed test, the network connection performed amazingly on WiFi 5 GHz (probably due to the MiMo and hardware), but not so great on the wired connection. Since the wired connection is over powerline adapters, inferior speeds are to be expected.

 

U22-XJ Gaming performance


U22-XJ is definitely suited for smooth gaming – as long as you have a proper controller with which to play:

Asphalt 8 Airborne – a 3d graphic intensive racing game. Loads and runs smoothly, Using the included standard IR remote I could steer, but could not use Nitro..

minix,neo,u22-xj,U22,streamer,review,android,kodi,amlogic,s922-xj,asphalt 8,racing,game

Angry Birds 2 – a popular 2d action game. U22-XJ loaded the game fast and run smooth as butter – using an air mouse (not included). There is an issue where you cannot move from one stop to the next due to inability to click on an icon (clicking does nothing – also tried with a mouse), but that seems to be due to a game bug with this and some of the other TV boxes I tested.

minix,neo,u22-xj,U22,streamer,review,android,kodi,amlogic,s922-xj,angry birds 2,game

Walking War Robots – an online robot warfare game that requires a game-pad (I don’t have a game-pad). U22-XJ loaded the game fast, and it run smoothly without issues. But full control was only possible via an air mouse with built in keyboard. otherwise, could only look around, but could not shoot or move with the standard IR remote.

minix,neo,u22-xj,U22,streamer,review,android,kodi,amlogic,s922-xj,war robots,game

 

 

U22-XJ Conclusions


Did I like it? Yes, it is another quality power performer from Minix.

Would I recommend it? Yes, even though there area few issues, they do not affect the stability or the performance of the box in general. (8k is not currently common, a requirement or officially available on this chipset, so it cannot be counted)

You like it! Where can you buy it? It’s not a cheap box, but starting at about 170 USD for the basic package, you can find it here: AliExpress.com Product – MINIX NEO U22-XJ TV BOX S922X-J Android 9.0 4GB DDR4 32GB eMMC Smart TV BOX Dolby Video Audio 4K UHD Media Hub 2.4G/5.0G WiFi

or here: MINIX Android 9.0 Pie Media Hub 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Dolby Audio HDR10+4GB DDR4/32GB eMMC HDMI 4K @ 60Hz 3 x USB 3.0 USB-C [data only] GLAN AC Wi-Fi TF Card (NEO U22-XJ)

Amazon Minix Store

Aliexpress Minix Store

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