VidOn recently approached me to review their Android TV Box, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Continue reading to see what I think about their first dedicated media player.
Let me just start by saying it has been a pleasure working with VidOn. The service thus far has been excellent, to say the least. I had a few questions about the software and it was sorted out through email within an hour. You don’t get this level of service with other cheap chinese Android boxes. You don’t get any service at all really.
The packaging is very minimalist looking. It’s an all black box with a single gold logo on the top. Some small writing is on the back, detailing some specs of the box.
- VidOn Media Box
- Power cable
- Instruction manual
The instruction manual is very well done. It has very clear and concise instructions. It keeps with the minimalist theme, and only has the information you need. Great English and great grammar, no poorly translated Chinese instructions here.
Alright let’s get to the specs and features
- All-In-One multimedia player, plays Blu-ray & DVD ISO files and movie folders smoothly
- Supports Blu-ray 3D playback; Blu-ray menu navigation available
- Manages multimedia files smartly and scraps online information automatically
- Supports HD 1080p video and hardware encoding
- Supports DTS-HD/Dolby TrueHD HDMI passthrough and AC3/DTS SPDIF / HDMI passthrough
- Supports all Android apps and XBMC add-ons
- Quad-core CPU
- Eight-core PowerVR GPU
- 8GB Storage
- 1GB RAM
- Android 4.4
The software on the VidOn box is really what sets it apart from the pack. The menu system and application launcher is unique and fits with the brands previous designs. All of their software follows the same theme, and the VidOn box stays true to that. This is nice for people already invested in their ecosystem of applications (VidOn Media Center, VidOn Server and VidOn Player).
The main launcher screen has all the standard apps, along with a neat setup where the icons show up on the dashboard, but aren’t downloaded until you click on them. This saves space for people who don’t want to download apps like Pinterest for example.
Another feature that sets it apart from the crowd is the autoupdate system built in. When you plug it in for the first time, it updates to the latest firmware and software, as well as later on if any new updates are pushed out.
VidOn has a special arrangement with the XBMC/Kodi Foundation which allows them to have a custom made XBMC running on the VidOn box. On my dashboard there are actually two icons for XBMC. The icon with the ‘X’ (The XBMC Logo) is XBMC Gotham (version 13) and the icon with the VidOn logo is XBMC Frodo (version 12). The support at VidOn has advised that you should always be using the newest version, which is the app with the ‘X’ (XBMC) icon.
Performance of XBMC is great, much better than the MX3 for example. This software has been optimized for this chipset, and it shows. There is very little lag in the menus, and playing 1080p content proved to be quite easy. There was no stuttering or lag over wifi.
The VidOn Android box is very nice to look at.
The case is made out of aluminum, and is a nice brushed gold color. It has a black plastic front and back, that has a nice mirror finish to it. There is a tiny, dim LED in the front that blinks when you press a button on the remote. It’s very hard to notice and will not get in the way of viewing TV in the dark.
The remote is very nice as well. Finished in a nice matte black plastic it feels nice in your hand. The plastic almost feels soft, it’s very nice. The construction is solid and doesn’t feel flimsy or cheap. It has a power button, ok button, D-Pad (directional pad), Back, Menu, Home and +/- buttons. All have a nice tactile feel and provide great feedback when pressed.
With all that said, this is an above average Android TV Box. It’s very usable and provided a great experience over the weeks that I’ve used it. I’d recommend this to friends and family looking to cut the cord.
VidOn Android TV Box
- Very nice looking tv box, as well as remote
- Excellent menu look and feel
- Auto update feature works very well
- VidOn membership required ($15 USD/year)
- No HDMI cable included
- Remote takes a watch battery
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