Best Android TV Boxes in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 15, 2020
Having some type of streaming box included in a home entertainment centre is quite common nowadays, but most people know that having a smaller one makes it easier to fit in with the other devices connected there. If you're looking for a compact streaming box that will allow you to view all kinds of different streaming services, take a look at our reviews of five of the top models and find the best Android TV boxes for your home. ...Read more ...Read less
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BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Max Supported Resolution
Tech Specs
Interfaces
Remote
Android Version
Dimensions
Warranty
 
PROS

The quad-core Rockchip RK3318 CPU reduces delays and buffering. The housing boasts solid heat-dissipation properties, preventing the system from overheating. The USB 3.0 port stretches the maximum bandwidth rate 640 MBps (5 GBs).

CONS

The firmware is buggy. 

OUR VERDICT

The HaFen X10 is that no-nonsense product that you can trust. Keeping the price more than reasonable, this device turns average TVs into full-blown entertainment systems. Using this box, you can access Google's Play Market and purchase and run any app from there.

detailed parameters
Max Supported Resolution

4K/60 fps

Tech Specs

CPU: Rockchip RK3318

RAM: 4 GB

ROM: 32 GB

GPU: Mali-450

Interfaces

Wi-Fi (802.11ac), Bluetooth, HDMI, Ethernet port, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, AV-out, Optical audio out, Slot for microSD card

Remote

Remote without microphone

Android Version

Android 10.0

Dimensions

12 x 12 x 1.8 cm

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The H.265 codec ensures smooth 4K playback without introducing image artifacts. Measuring 9.2 x 9.2 x 2 centimetres, this box commands the smallest footprint yet. The remote is also more compact than before. 

CONS

The Wi-Fi module is subpar. 

OUR VERDICT

The YAGALA T95 is a polished Android box, both on the appearance and performance fronts. Despite its somewhat slow hardware, the optimised firmware makes sure that the system is booting fast and running without hiccups. Plus, the MicroSD slot will let you expand storage space.

detailed parameters
Max Supported Resolution

4K/30 fps

Tech Specs

CPU: Allwinner H3

RAM: 2 GB

ROM: 16 GB

GPU: Mali-400 MP2

Interfaces

Wi-Fi (802.11n), HDMI, Ethernet port, 2 x USB 2.0, AV-out, Slot for microSD card

Remote

Remote without microphone

Android Version

Android 10.0

Dimensions

9.2 x 9.2 x 2 cm

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The LCD screen displays time and current connections, including the Internet connection and connected devices. Supporting 6K playback, this box will fit the biggest, most expensive TVs, futureproofing the setup.

CONS

The housing gets hot during prolonged use. 

OUR VERDICT

The HaiFen T95 looks brilliant, with the blue splash on the black housing making the device's appearance stylish and modern. Supporting Android 10.0, this box reduces buffering and streamlines interactions, making the controls more intuitive and the interface easy to navigate.

detailed parameters
Max Supported Resolution

6K/30 fps (4K/60 fps also available)

Tech Specs

CPU: Allwinner H616

RAM: 4 GB

ROM: 32 GB

GPU: Mali-G31 MP2

Interfaces

Wi-Fi (802.11n), HDMI, Ethernet port, 2 x USB 2.0, AV-out, Slot for microSD card

Remote

Remote without microphone

Android Version

Android 10.0

Dimensions

10 x 10 x 1.7 cm

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The wireless mini keyboard introduces multiple multimedia keys, a joystick with directional keys, and a responsive touchpad. Using these controls, you'll have fun playing Android games and managing the playback with increased ease.

CONS

The OS boots slowly. 

OUR VERDICT

The LONOSUN A008 expands the storage space that you will have initially twofold, so you can install more games and apps without relying on MicroSD cards. Supporting the H.265 codec, this Android TV box will allow you to watch IP television without making the on-screen action jittery.

detailed parameters
Max Supported Resolution

4K/60 fps

Tech Specs

CPU: Rockchip RK3328

RAM: 4 GB

ROM: 64 GB

GPU: Mali-450

Interfaces

Wi-Fi (802.11ac), Bluetooth, HDMI, Ethernet port, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, AV-out, Slot for microSD card

Remote

Remote without microphone, wireless mini keyboard

Android Version

Android 9.0 (Pie)

Dimensions

~10 x 10 x 2 cm

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The optical audio output makes the model compatible with soundbars. Though the remote features more buttons, the space between them has been increased (without increasing the remote's size), so you waste less time switching between multiple settings. 

CONS

The interfaces have been moved behind, making them difficult to access. 

OUR VERDICT

The HaiFen Q PLUS Lite matches the company'ss signature flashy aesthetics with practical controls and smooth performance. With this streaming box, you'll be able to access YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, pretty much every major streaming service without paying for a smart TV.

detailed parameters
Max Supported Resolution

6K/30 fps (4K/60 fps also available)

Tech Specs

CPU: Allwinner H6

RAM: 2 GB

ROM: 16 GB

GPU: Mali-T720 MP2

Interfaces

Wi-Fi (802.11n), HDMI, Ethernet port, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, AV-out, Optical audio out, Slot for microSD card

Remote

Remote without microphone

Android Version

Android 9.0 (Pie)

Dimensions

~9.5 x 9.5 x 2 cm

Warranty

1 year

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HaFen X10

Reducing Delay and Buffering

The HaFen X10 is big. We always appreciate the company's attention to visual detail, so we'll start with the model's appearance here, but it is not the appearance aspect that sells this product first and foremost, though we'll get there as well. While some might not necessarily find the bright and expressive housing that attractive, at the very least, there's something unique about the colours, the curves, and the patterns atop this box, something that we can support. Still, as much as we dig its aesthetic, the device's firmware and hardware are the most important contributors there.

Despite the fact that the firmware is not as clean and optimised as you'd expect, presenting an occasional bug here and there, the Android 10.0 operating system that's used here is still running circles around its predecessors. In the meantime, the updated RK3318 quad-core Cortex-A53 processing unit with the penta-core Mali-450 graphics card will be reducing boot time and buffering so that the movies, pictures, and games are loading without delay.

Continuing with the hardware, the box is working with 4 GB RAM, keeping the system stable without an occasional breakdown. Storage-wise, the model's offering 32 GB, so you can install quite a few apps and games and, when that's not enough, use the MicroSD card slot and expand the memory. In other words, with this Android TV box, you won't have to worry about insufficient storage space.

Review of HaFen X10 Android 10.0 TV Box | 4/64GB

USB 3.0 as Well

Looking at the interfaces this device is bringing to the table, we're working with Wi-FI (802.11ac), Bluetooth, HDMI, Ethernet port, USB 3.0 port, USB 2.0 port, AV output, optical audio output, and the above-mentioned MicroSD card slot. Needless to say, between these ports, the box is compatible with (loud)speakers, headphones, smartphones, tablets, computers, laptops, USB thumb drives, and more, including both wired and wireless approaches. The USB 3.0 port is a welcome addition to the otherwise standard lineup though stretching the maximum bandwidth rate 640 MBps (5 GBs) and reducing energy consumption. Of course, the maximum resolution that this device supports is Ultra HD (4K) at 60 fps, covering even the biggest screens, but this is to be expected considering the price.

Bottom line, the HaFen X10 will work with everyday small screens and huge TVs that do not include smart functionality. With this Android box, you'll be turning these displays into fully-fledged entertainment centres.

HaFen X10 Android 10.0 TV Box | 4/64GB in the use

 

YAGALA T95 Super

Going Minimalistic

Android TV boxes are becoming more and more visually expressive these days, which is not something that we have a problem with. Some people do though. Some people like their entertainment centres looking elegant, polished, almost classy, without certain devices sporting especially bright colours, flashy logos, weird paintwork, etc. This is where the YAGALA T95 comes into play. With the all-black finish sporting this nice little white logo in the middle, this box looks anything but bright and flashy. At the same time, there's nothing especially boring or unattractive about its glossy housing, so even those entertainment centres that are filled to the brim with expensive-looking devices and accessories will welcome this Android box with open arms. Also, the black housing works wonders with the operating system's (Android 10.0) dark theme that's easy on the eyes and, using true blacks, increases battery life.

Setting appearance aside, the model's most impressive feat is supporting the H.265 codec, ensuring smooth 4K playback without image artifacts. Its least impressive 'feat' is the discount Wi-Fi module with, at best, passable range. But we're not at the interfaces quite yet. Before that, we'll address the hardware, which is not the box's biggest strength either. The 2 GB RAM setup cuts it close and the Allwinner H3 CPU serves its purpose (improving image processing without introducing buffering), but the 16 GB ROM could have been expanded from the get-go. Sure, you can always use the obligatory MicroSD card slot to do so but, again, capping the initial storage space at 16 GB is not okay, not today anyway.

Review of YAGALA T95 Super Android 10.0 TV Box | 2/16GB

Lossless HDMI Approach

While the box is somewhat lacking on the hardware front, there's nothing lacking about its interfaces. Sure, again, the Wi-Fi (802.11n) module is not great but the HDMI input is, so you can use this device with 4K TVs without worrying about losing detail. Plus, you receive an HDMI cable with the package as well. Meanwhile, the AV output makes this Android box compatible with legacy CRT displays too. The Ethernet port is present and so are the two USB 2.0 ports, which's not wrong about the MicroSD card slot as well.

Last but not least, the model measures 9.2 x 9.2 x 2 centimetres, even more compact than its direct competition (though we're talking about no more than ~1-centimetre decrease width- and length-wise).

In short, the customers that are leaning more towards minimalistic-looking Android boxes and less towards flashy models cannot go wrong with the YAGALA T95.

YAGALA T95 Super Android 10.0 TV Box | 2/16GB in the use

 

HaiFen T95

6K Playback

With the HaiFen T95, the most attractive attribute is its appearance. Still, we'll start elsewhere, so stick with us. First things first, the model supports 6K playback, futureproofing the box. While most people nowadays are using 4K panels, things are changing, and 6K screens will only become more and more prevalent within the next few years. Nevertheless, you can also go with the 4K@60fps option, so the model is not forcing you into anything here.

You can go with whatever is comfortable, the interfaces that this box is endowed with will support you nonetheless. These interfaces include the obligatory Wi-Fi (802.11n) module, an HDMI input, an Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports, an AV output (turning 180 degrees and making the box compatible with outdated CRT TVs as well), and the MicroSD slot that will also let you expand the model's storage space. Chances are though, you won't need to do so since the 32 GB ROM that this device's offering initially easily covers the basics, so you can install all the apps and games you need.

Now, what you will have to do is turn the device off from time to time since the housing here is not great at dissipating heat, meaning that the box gets hot during prolonged use. You will not fry its circuitry or damage the hardware, we're not talking about anything as drastic here, but you might reduce its service life. Speaking of its hardware, the model employs an Allwinner H616 central processing unit and a Mali-G31 MP2 graphics card, both sufficient contributors to the smooth playback cause.

Review of HaiFen T95 Android 10.0 TV Box | 4/32GB

Claiming the Sweet Spot

Finally reaching the appearance part, the blue splash that was added onto the black housing, circling the company's logo, is as stylish as they come. While most Android TV boxes are either too gaudy or too dull and uninspired, this one claims the sweet spot between both extremes, making the device look quite brilliant. The appearance part that does not revolve around aesthetics also includes the small LCD screen below the logo, displaying time as well as current connections (these include the Internet connection and the connected devices).

Of course, where these boxes are concerned, the firmware dictates a great big deal. On that note, the model incorporates Android 10.0, providing improved privacy protection, accelerating load times, and letting you replace wallpapers. So, as long as you're fine occasionally turning off the device to let the housing cool off, the HaiFen T95 should fit you to a tee.

HaiFen T95 Android 10.0 TV Box | 4/32GB in the use

 

LONOSUN A008

The Least Boxy Box

The LONOSUN A008 should check its pants since there's a pretty good chance they might be on fire. As much as we value creativity, we're reviewing Android boxes here, so who put this circular-looking here? We did? Oh. Well, on a more serious note, despite its non-boxy profile, this model more than earns its spot on this list.

To begin with, while its competition usually caps you at 32 GBs ROM-wise, this model expands the initially available storage space twofold. With 64 GBs at your disposal, you can install every app and game you can think of knowing that you won't be running out of storage space anytime soon. Some might even find this much storage space on a device like that excessive but considering that this model costs as much as Android boxes with much less storage space and even less impressive hardware, there are no downsides stemming from this ROM setup.

No, from where we're standing, the product's biggest downside is relying upon the Android 9.0 (Pie) operating system, which's pretty nimble but not quite as nimble as the Android 10.0 version. On the plus side, the hardware somewhat makes up for the firmware, with the Rockchip RK3328 CPU and the Mali-450 GPU that the model borrows from its more expensive peers reducing delay and buffering. Both units are also pretty good at improving image processing, so you can even watch 4K@60fps videos without the visuals appearing jittery or choppy.

Review of LONOSUN A008 Android 9.0 TV Box | 4/64GB

Grab the Keyboard too While You're at It

More often than not, the games that you can install on Android boxes are not great. To elaborate, the games are fine, but playing them is seldom the greatest experience. This time, however, should be different, with the device packing not just the obligatory remote but also this wireless mini keyboard that includes multimedia control keys, directional keys, and a nice little touchpad that lets you move with cursor almost as easily as you would with a laptop touchpad. What's more, the touchpad comes equipped with motion sensors, so you can control the device without sifting through its settings. Still, one would argue that, before that, the keyboard will aid gaming, with the QWERTY setup, the joystick, and the touchpad letting you enjoy countless Android games on a huge screen.

Long story short, despite its circular approach, the LONOSUN A008 lands among the best Android TV boxes within its price bracket, owing to the supplied mini keyboard and the solid hardware that this device is packing.

LONOSUN A008 Android 9.0 TV Box | 4/64GB in the use

 

HaiFen Q PLUS Lite

Light 'em Up

The HaiFen Q PLUS Lite continues the company's tradition that compels them to design weird-looking streaming boxes and we hope they continue to do so. While this is not necessarily the weirdest model we've seen yet, you cannot call this device especially orthodox either, at least not regarding its visual aspect. While most Android TV boxes are, well, boxy, this one smoothes out its curves and rounds the edges, making the model look more polished and elegant as well as making sure that kids cannot hurt themselves with its' sharp corners.

Of course, visually speaking, the part that we like the most is the LED lights surrounding the device and the ones that are inside the logo, lighting up when you turn the box on and illuminating with countless colours. Still, as much as we would like to give this product an A+ on its construction, moving the interfaces to the back was not the smartest choice. Sure, the model looks more concealed this way, but that also makes the ports not quite as easy to access as they should be.

That being said, this is not where the product drops the ball. No, that would be the hardware department. Whilst the Allwinner H6 central processing unit is alright at image processing, the 2 GB RAM setup is not great and the 16 GB ROM is even less impressive. Sure, most people seldom install games on these streaming boxes anyway and the 16 GB that you're working with initially storage space-wise are usually enough for storing every app you need but some people will have to use the MicroSD card slot to expand storage space, which is a little unfortunate considering that they could have expanded the ROM from the get-go without making the product that much more expensive.

Review of HaiFen Q PLUS Lite Android 9.0 TV Box | 2/16GB

USB 3.0 + Optical Audio Output

Setting aside the underwhelming hardware, this streaming box is nothing to scoff at. It is even able to play 6K content at 30 fps. Meanwhile, employing the H.265 codec, this model prevents the same content from looking jittery.

Looking at the interfaces, apart from the usual lineup, this box introduces one USB 3.0 port and optical audio output. While the first interface will accelerate data throughput, the second will let you work with soundbars. Also, this time, we like what they've made with the remote, adding buttons but increasing the space between them, so you waste less time switching between different settings but without occasional misclicking.

To give you the gist, the HaiFen Q PLUS Lite is where elegant aesthetics meet smooth playback and practical controls.

HaiFen Q PLUS Lite Android 9.0 TV Box | 2/16GB in the use

 

What Is an Android TV Box?

Home entertainment centres look a lot different now than they did several decades ago. Long gone are the VCRs and cable boxes of old, often now replaced with a variety of different things, including DVD/Bluray players, game consoles, and streaming devices. Among those listed, streaming devices have come a long way lately, providing access to dozens of different streaming services and channels in just one box, which has led to many people abandoning cable TV altogether.

Android TV boxes are quite similar to the aforementioned streaming devices, but there are a few notable differences. Probably the biggest difference has to do with the variety of different forms of entertainment provided by an Android TV box. Streaming devices from companies such as Roku and Apple tend to be pretty closed devices, with only a limited number of extra features. Android TV boxes, on the other hand, give you the full power and capabilities of the Android operating system, letting you not only stream content, but also download many different apps and games, thus greatly expanding the capabilities of the device beyond most other types of streaming boxes.

If you're looking for a great TV to take advantage of all of the content offered to you on an Android TV box, take a look at our picks of the best 4K TVs.

What Features to Compare

Android TV boxes, being relatively new devices on the market, may be a bit of a mystery to most people who haven't used one yet. However, they really shouldn't be. Many of the same characteristics that people would look for in another type of Android device will be similar to what they should look for in an Android TV box. However, there are a few other additional characteristics to look for as well, so make sure you are familiar with these characteristics in order to help yourself find the best Android TV box for your entertainment centre.

Maximum Supported Resolution

As with any kind of digital media device that is meant to connect to your TV, knowing the maximum supported resolution will be one of the first things to look at. In this case, it is best to make sure that the maximum resolution of the Android TV box at least meets or exceeds the maximum resolution supported by your TV. Doing this will help ensure that you get the best picture quality possible from the device.

Tech Specs

The tech specs of an Android TV box are just as important as they would be for any other Android device. These specs, including the type of CPU and GPU as well as the amount of RAM and storage, will help define the total capabilities of the device. More powerful specs will usually correspond with higher performance and more compatibility with other services and apps.

Interfaces

The available interfaces that are included on any Android TV box are another important consideration, as these will dictate how you are able to connect the device to different TVs, as well as to your home WiFi network. Those who may want to add additional storage space will, of course, want to make sure that their device supports the usage of SD cards, and those who plan on connecting the device to an older non-HD television will want to make sure that the appropriate connectors are supported.

Remote

All Android TV boxes will come with some type of remote controller, which will allow you to control the device. The only thing to check here is to see if the remote includes a built-in microphone if the device supports voice control capabilities.

Android Version

Last but not least, the Android version included on any Android TV box is an important thing to be aware of. Different versions of Android will often have different capabilities which can affect the device's compatibility with different apps and streaming services. In general, you will want to make sure that whichever device you choose uses a version of Android that supports all of the apps and capabilities that you desire.

What Can You Do With an Android TV Box?

Android TV boxes are a great option for those who want to get rid of their expensive cable or satellite TV services, as nowadays almost everything you want to watch can be done through streaming along with live TV via standard broadcasting. However, such devices aren't limited to just that. What really sets an Android TV box apart from other media streaming devices such as a Roku or Apple TV box is the pure choice of options available for different types of content, ranging from games to productivity apps. What we will talk about here are some of the great things you can do with your brand new Android TV box that goes above and beyond what most other media streaming devices are capable of.

Streaming

First things first - the main use for an Android TV box is for streaming. Whether you use Netflix or Amazon or another service as your primary streaming platform, you can do this on virtually any modern device, ranging from game consoles to smart TVs. However, Android TV boxes tend to give you a wealth of other options that generally aren't available on many other similar devices. There are tons of different streaming services, both free and paid, that can be used on an Android TV box that simply aren't available for other platforms. In addition, with an Android TV box, you generally won't be stuck with having to scroll through pages of channels that you'll never use. You can customize the selection of streaming channels through downloading and installing only the apps for the streaming services you use, while ignoring the ones you don't.

Gaming

Most people wouldn't think of an Android TV box as being a good device to use for gaming purposes, but many of them actually make excellent gaming platforms. In fact, one of the devices we review here is meant specifically for gaming. Of course, not all Android TV boxes will have the same capabilities for gaming, but almost all of them are powerful enough to run many of the simpler games available. The higher-end devices, on the other hand, are powerful enough to run even high-end AAA gaming titles in great details and with high framerates. Just keep in mind that you may need to purchase a wireless gaming controller separately for the optimal gaming experience.

Screen Sharing

One of the features that is included in many of these devices is the Chromecast feature, which allows you to stream video from another device to your main television. This can be useful in both home and office environments where you need to give a presentation at the office without needing to connect your computer to a projector. Likewise, it's just as great for home purposes, when you want to share your home movies or vacation photos with family and friends without needing to drag out your laptop, or crowed everyone around the tiny screen of your phone.

Productivity

Believe it or not, you can actually use an Android TV box for productivity purposes, as almost all of these devices support the connection of a mouse and keyboard. All you have to do is download the productivity apps you need to use, which can range from simple word processing to video editing, and voila - you have your own powerful workstation on your TV! Although in many cases, these devices aren't really meant for high-end productivity tasks, most of them are still quite powerful enough to let you do some light tasks without having to jump on your computer.

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Publish Date: 2020-07-06 13:37:47