Amlogic S905X2 SoC and 4GB of RAM

Amlogic S905X2 SoC and 4GB of RAM

H96 Max X2 is a new Android TV-Box that we present today its analysis or review, a model that has as main incentive the inclusion of the new Amlogic S905X2 SoC, an updated chip compared to the previous S905X as we have seen in a special article. This model has a 4GB version of DDR4 RAM and 32/64GB of internal storage. It has Wifi a/b/g/n with double band, Bluetooth, Ethernet 10/100 and as a system we have Android 8.1 installed to which we can send voice commands with its remote control included in some of its versions. We see in our review how this device behaves and the power of its hardware compared to all its current rivals.
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PRODUCT DETAILS

Model H96 Max X2
Basic Specs SoC: Amlogic S905X2 Quad Core Cortex A-53 (64bit) / GPU Mali-G31 MP2 / 4x ARM-A53 @ 1.8GHz
System: Android 8.1 Oreo (32bit)
Ram and storage: 4 GB DDR4 – 32/64 GB eMMC (4/32GB in review)
Network: Wifi a/b/g/n Dual band – Bluetooth 4.0 – Ethernet 10/100
Ports: HDMI 2.1 4K@75fps / AV Jack 3.5mm / SPDIF / 1x USB 2.0 / 1x USB 3.0 / MicroSD
Extras: Remote control IR+RF with microphone / Cable HDMI / Manual / Adapter DC 5V 2A

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Description

The TV-Box H96 Max X2 has a very conventional design, at the top it has the logo of the brand. On the front we have a status LED and on the perimeter we have all connectors, highlights the USB 3.0 port that is new in this SoC, we also have HDMI 2.1 to 4K@75fps connector, AV jack (with internal flash button), another USB 2.0, microSD reader and the power connector.

  • Materials and measures: Plastic / 100 x 100 x 19 mm / 140 gr.
  • Package contents: Manual / Adapter DC 5V 2A / HDMI cable / IR+RF remote control with microphone (2x AAA batteries not included).
  • Interfaces: HDMI 2.1 4K@75fps / AV Jack 3.5mm (reset inside) / SPDIF / 1x USB 2.0 / 1x USB 3.0 / MicroSD
  • Leds and panel: Frontal LED
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The default  remote control is quite simple and serves to perform the basic functions, if we press the microphone button, Google searchwith Voice Search is launched with which we can search the web for content and launch them. We can also install Google Assistant from Google Play and launch installed apps like Youtube or Netflix, works fine in all the languages. From the command we can not access the multitasking function.

    • Remote control: Basic remote with IR option and 2.4GHz RF adapter via USB adapter included.
  • Alternative remote control: We can control remotely from our mobile or Android TV-Box using the app Cetusplay or connect a flymouse, mouse or keyboard.

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ANDROID SYSTEM

Environment and user experience

We start up the H96 Max X2 by connecting it to its power adapter, it starts up automatically and we have a quite scandalous input animation. We arrived at the launcher by default based on squares where we can customize the lower bar and some categories as a folder, little else. We have very few apps installed by default, something that is appreciated. In this TV-Box the system fluidly between the apps, the hardware performance is correct thanks to the Amlogic S905X2 SoC, the 4GB DDR4 RAM.

  • Launcher: Basic Launcher / YES we can change launcher but only Pixel launcher works 100% / Android UI rendering at 1080p.
  • Multitasking and access: Multitasking not directly available / NO lower access bar and notification area.
  • Installed apps: Google play, Google, Media center (DLNA), Update,  Youtube, Filebrowser, KDMC (KODI) and Droid settings
  • Languages: All the international Android classics.

On/Off Controls: If we leave the power button off,the TV-Box show a configurable menu in settings.

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System, support and store apps

This H96 Max X2 TV-Box has installed three different settings menus, one the classic side menu with global android settings, app Droid settings with TV-Box settings and finally the Android classics with the background in white. The Google Play store behaves normally and we can find the most common apps. The version of the system and the compilation of the kernel is quite new as we can see.

  • System version: Android 8.1.0 (32 bit) / Kernel 4.9.76 (03-11-2018) / Reference U211.
  • App store: Google Play with all the apps available for the Android system.
  • Brand support: We do not have official support, if we find a firmware we will publish it.
  • Root:The system IS root, you do not have the option to deactivate it in settings.
  • Scene: There are no custom firmwares for this TV-Box / NOT compatible with LibreELEC.
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    HARDWARE TESTS

    Storage and RAM Memory

    Performing our usual memory tests for the internal storage in the H96 Max X2 using the SD bench app. As we can see in the tests, the internal storage speed is quite fast, which makes the system show very fluid. We also have as a novelty with a USB 3.0 port that allows us much higher reading speeds than the classic USB 2.0 although the writing does not reach the maximum of this type conenctors.

    • Storage: Total 32GB – Free 24GB. / Is expandable with a USB memory stick
    • RAM: Total 4GB – Free 3GB / DDR4.
    • Compatible formats: NTFS compatible / exFAT compatible
    USB 2.0 USB 3.0 microSD SATA
    Read / Write 21/20 MB/s 150/31 MB/s 21/19 MB/s
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    WIFI and Bluetooth

    In Wi-Fi connections, the H96 Max X2 TV-Box has a Wifi a/b/g/n 2.4/5GHz with Bluetooth 4.0 with which we connect to an ASUS RT-AC1200G+ Router, a mid-range device. We perform tests on the use of streaming using the iPerf measurement tool to see the maximum performance of each network adapter.

    • Wifi speed results: Correct speed for this wifi adapter, quite stable.
    • Wifi range: At a distance of 5 meters with a wall we have a signal of 35 dBm, very good value.
    • Ethernet: Only 10/100 port.
    • We recommend reading our Tutorial SAMBA on Android networks if we are going to use files from our network PC.
    • Bluetooth: We can connect compatible devices without problems.

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Power consumption, temperature and noise

In the consumption side this Android TV H96 Max X2 using the Amlogic S905X2 SoC has very good results in terms of efficiency. This new SoC is manufactured in 12nm and has a maximum consumption of only 3.5W, we have tried to take it up to 5W that seems the maximum of the SoC but it is impossible even with benchmarks.

We test the performance of the TV-Box in scenarios of maximum sustained performance and in its usual use, we use a stress app for fifteen minutes and thermal camera to detect hot areas. As we have seen the H96 Max X2 has no ventilation slots but the heat sink system works perfectly and the consumption reach only 3.5W even playing the PUBG, thats prevents it from getting hot.

  • Loss of performance: The system maintains a maximum constant performance, NO loss of performance.
  • Temperature: The upper part heats up a little but does not affect the general use of the TV-Box.
  • Noise: Fanless system, 0db.

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PERFORMANCE TEST

SOC

For the raw power aspect the H96 Max X2 has very good results in the line of the new Amlogic S905X2 Quad Core SoC with ARM Cortex-A53 processors and Mali-G31 MP2 GPU in a very good position. Observing the results we can see how it is almost on par with the most powerful Amlogic SoC from  the last generation the S912, in general section is below from a powerful SoC like the Rockchip RK3399 that already has ARM Cortex-A73 cores, in general a excellent product with ridiculous power consumption.

  • You can read our Comparison article for Amlogic S905X2 SoC with all its technical details
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    Games and gamepads

    In the gaming aspect the H96 Max X2 have the Amlogic S905X2 SoC that integrates a Mali-G31 MP2 GPU, this model allows us to correctly move most Android titles without performance problems and good compatibility. The titles with a lot of 3D load also move quite well and this GPU allows us to play them correctly in low or medium settings, even with PUBG that is demanding.

    • Compatibility: IS possible to play demanding titles such as PUBG.
    • Controls: Compatible with Gamepads by cable or bluetooth.

      VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

      Video and audio connections

      In terms of multimedia playback the H96 Max X2 works perfectly using the new Amlogic S905X2 SoC, which has video output support for HDMI 2.1 that theoretically allows maximum resolution up to 4K@75fps with HDR information. We also have AV jack output for stereo or audio for old TV’s.

      This SoC we verify that we have image quality settings with brightness, contrast and saturation, and several preconfigured, also has DNR“Digital Noise Reduction” that effects a smoothing effect of the image with results that depend on personal tastes,a ll of these settings do not seem to work because of some problem in the Amlogic SDK that could fixed soon. We also have specific settings to activate Dolby Vision if we have a compatible TV.

      • Automatic refresh rate change: Not available, the settings exist but it does not work. *
      • Audio passthrough: Available in audio settings. *
      • Image adjustments: Image quality settings exists but don’t work / RGB mode / HDR <> SDR modes. *
      • Media sharing: Chromecast NO / Miracast NO / DLNA with BlubblePnP / Airplay NO.
      • HDMI CEC: Available in settings.
      • * Tutorials: Judder effect and how to avoid it / Multi-channel audio guide / Correct dark screen when playing video on Android.
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Video playback test

We passed our video playback tests on the H96 Max X2, a device that integrates the S905X2 SoC and a VPU compatible with most modern video formats as we see in the video tests. We can use players like MX Player or install KODI from Google Play, we can uninstall the pre installed without problems. This model is NOT compatible with LibreELEC.

With the VPU called TruLife Gen8 gives us a pretty good image quality, we have more defined colors than in the S905X models where video processing is basic. We must also highlight the best compatibility with VP9 P2 video in 4K resolution, plus we notice improvements in the playback of Anime HVEC but still charge the CPU although it is a very specific niche format.

  • CompatibilityHEVC with good performance at 10 bit color or HDR / VP9 correct with P2, not compatible with 8K
  • Tutorials: Install Addons in KODI in a simple way / LibreELEC installation guide for the TV-Boxes with Android

Test results

H.264 / VC-1 Result
BBB – H.264 8bit – Simple@L1 – 1080p@25fps – 7 Mbps Correct
Samsung Oceanic Life – H.264  8bit – High@L5.1 – 1080p@30fps – 40 Mbps Correct
Timelapse – H.264 8bit – High@L5.1 – 4K@24fps – 43 Mbps Correct
Anime – H.264 10bit – High 10@L5.1 – 1080p@24fps – 10 Mbps Correct
MKV – VC-1 – Advance@L3 – 1080p@24fps – 17 Mbps Correct
H.265 / VP9 SDR
Tears of steel – HVEC 8bit – Main@L6.2@Main – 1080p@24fps – 17 Mbps Correct
Samsung UHD Dubai – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.2@Main – 4K@24fps – 51 Mbps Correct
Anime – HVEC 10bit –  Main 10@L4@Main – 1080p@24fps – 21 Mbps Correct
Eye of the Storm – VP9 – 4K@24fps – 14 Mbps Correct
H.265 / VP9 HDR
Life of Pi HDR10 –  HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.1@High – 4K@24fps – 45 Mbps Correct
LG Demo – Dolby Vision – HVEC 12bit – Main 10@L5@Main – 4K@24fps – 30 Mbps Correct
Planet Earth II – HDR HLG 10bit  – Main 10@L5@High – 4K@25fps – 31 Mbps Correct
The world in HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 4K@60fps – 20 Mbps Correct
Peru 8K HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 8K@60fps – 20 Mbps Frameskip
MAX BITRATE
Jellyfish – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L6.1@High – 4K@30fps – Test up to 400 Mbps 100 Mbps = 12,5 MB/s
  • * The maximum bitrate depends on the internal storage, usb port, Ethernet adapter or wifi used, we have used the fastest available, see Hardware tests section of this same review to have more information and have consider the limitations of SAMBA Networks.

Audio playback test

We perform tests in the H96 Max X2 using a Yamaha RXV-577 AV receiver we check that they supports DD and DTS pass through sound. We can only listen to the multi-channel audio up to 5.1, if we do not have an AV receiver and we have problems to listen to files with AC3 or multichannel sound we must configure the system to listen to configure the system to listen to multichannel AC3 videos in stereo on any TV.

  • Ports: HDMI up to 5.1 / Stereo audio jack
  • Certification: No
  • Chomecast Audio: No

Audio test results

Formats DD / DTS 5.1 DD+ / DTS MA DD True / DTS HR DD Atmos / DTS X
HDMI OK / OK OK / Core Core PCM / Core*
Optical OK / OK Core Core PCM / Core*
  • PCM – Stereo only doing downmix from DD or DTS
  • Core – Only the core of the format is played back with what we passed to the Dolby / DTS base system
    * Our AV receiver does not support these native formats but we verify that it is played back to 7.1

Streaming services

We pass the classic tests on streaming services to see how the most popular services work. In this model does not have certificates for these services. The H96 Max X2 model presents the classic configuration without certifications that limits us in quality in several streaming services, all the compatible services works without problems.

  • DRM: Google Widevine L3
  • Certification: No
    Streaming service Video / Audio Result Manual
    Youtube FullHD (1080p) / Stereo OK
    Google Play Movies HD (720p) / Stereo OK
    Netflix SD (480p) / Stereo OK Netflix on Android
    HBO FullHD (1080p) / Stereo Pause icon in the middle of the screen.
    Amazon Prime Video SD (480p) / Stereo OK Amazon Prime video on Android

    Opinion

    The new model H96 Max X2 is the classic TV-Box generic without defined support, the operation is correct thanks to the new Amlogic S905X2 SoC that now as a novelty has USB 3.0, visual improvements in video playback and a very controlled consumption that gets really low temperatures. The performance of the Wifi adapter a/b/g/n is correct, the 10/100 Ethernet port speed is acceptable but a Gigabit connector would be better. The included standard remote control works well with Google Assistant although with a flymouse will be better or using Bluetooth it would not occupy a USB port with its adapter.

    The TV-Box H96 Max X2 competes in price with other models that integrate 4GB of DDR4 RAM, something that helps to have a feeling of fluidity when loading several apps. This model works perfectly as a video player for example with KODI or for powerful games such as PUBG and all kinds of apps. The firmware is stable but as we can see it does not have navigation bars nor does it have a Root selector, something that can cause us some problems with apps that require these functions.

    In general, a basic model that will compete in price but that does not contribute much to this sector, you can compare this product with our recommended models to know alternatives.

    WHERE TO BUY AND ADD-ONS

    • H96 Max X2 can be purchased at amazon only for $58,99 (51,77€) with shipping cost included.
    • You can compare this product with our recommended models to know alternatives.

    Add-ons

    • Logitech K400 keyboard with trackpad control zone.
    • Keyboard and mouse Logitech MK270 economic and quality.
    • Flymouse with integrated microphone and full keyboard with light.
    • USB 3.0 pendrive to expand internal storage.
    • External hard disk up to 3GB to save media.
    • Bluetooth Gamepad to play games
    • Logitech Basic Webcam to video chat.

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