Review for The Ugoos UT2 XBMC and Android Set Top Box

Review for The Ugoos UT2 XBMC and Android Set Top Box

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The UT2 set top box from Ugoos is a quad core set-top box running Android 4.2. The box provides access to the Google Play store and all of the apps that come along with it and is pre-installed with a customized version of XBMC known as Beyond XBMC or XBMC 12.4 “FLUMP”, much more on that later. The box can offer users a full Android experience with both a tablet based and set top based UI along with the most complete custom build of XBMC we have run across. Click here for a FAQ based user guide for the UT2

The Box Basics for the Ugoos UT2
The UT2 is the largest set-top box we have tested at the Streaming Advisor. It is about an inch shorter than a DVD box. It has a sturdy build and comes complete with three USB ports, WIFI (External Antenna) LAN network connection (recommended by The Streaming Advisor) and a an overall solid sturdy build with enough heft to keep it in place on a table or home theater shelf.

Ugoos Box
Large and weighty the Ugoos UT2 is as large as two Rokus. (Click for larger image)

Pros: Has enough ports to attach an air mouse, keyboard, game controllers, hard drives you name it. Connect a hub and you can do even more. Option for wireless or hard line connection always a bonus and not always available.
Cons: Box is larger than most.

Remote for the Ugoos UT2
The Remote for the UT2 is a very basic design. It includes a number key pad a backspace button to correct hunting and pecking mistakes, basic video scrubbing controls, four color coded preset function buttons as well as short cut buttons for XBMC settings and Android settings.
Ugoos Remote Upright
Pros:
Small light and minimal.
Cons: No keyboard, must have line of site with box, mouse feature requires use of directional buttons, not very compatible with Android apps.

Android functionality for the Ugoos UT2
The UT2 runs on Android 4.2 jellybean with an option to upgrade to 4.4 Kit Kat. But if you would like to use this as an Android Box you should consider some form of air mouse or wireless keyboard. The standard controller appears to be intended to run XBMC but does not have the capability to effectively launch and navigate touch based Android apps, which is what this device utilizes. This is not a Google TV or Android TV product. That being said when utilizing an air mouse or wireless keyboard the box functions quite well. The Google Play store was easy to search and apps like Netflix launch with no problem. It is a nice option to have Netflix and other apps along with XBMC for a full multimedia experience. Includes web browser.

Pros: Adds tons of video apps and games
Cons: Requires additional controller to take full advantage

Customized Home Screen For the Ugoos UT2
Just like a tablet or phone users can add apps to the home screen using the mouse/curser feature with the remote or a right click with a wireless mouse. Users can change wall paper, widgets and so on. As was stated before, when used with a wireless keyboard or air mouse these features come to life.

Ugoos Launcher UI
The Ugoos launcher is designed for a controller based experience. (Click for larger image)

Ugoos Launcher (almost hidden feature)
A custom set top box based launcher designed with the TV experience in mind. It has access to all of the same features as the normal Android set up but integrates a simple left to right carousel format for accessing apps and settings. You will find it in the apps.

Beyond XBMC XBMC version:  12.4 (FLUMP)
The headline feature of the Ugoos UT2 is XBMC and more specifically XBMC 12.4. Taking full advantage of its high end processor and offering fun graphics, highly customized menus and over 1,000 apps and programs pre-installed it is unlikely you will feel ill used by its selection.


Look and feel of the Beyond XBMC app for Ugoos UT2

Beyond XBMC is a very unique take on the app. This is evident as soon the user launches. Home screen resembles the old Front Row XBMC theme with a bold living room entertainment center picture reminiscent of Navi-X or the old Back Row XBMC theme.

Ugoos Beyond XBMC
The XBMC experience with Beyond XBMC is Flashy and fun. (Click for larger image)

RSS Feed: The RSS feed on the UT2 does not feature XBMC based information. Instead it features the BBCI.com feed. This is nice for those who want to enjoy their XBMC experience without unplugging from the world at large.

Preset custom splash Images

There are attractive flashy images loaded in to the XBMC build to indicate which category you are on. Clicking through the main menu reveals a large camera for pictures, a production board for system and so on. The images are active using some sort of water drop affect that makes the entire experience feel a bit more vibrant.

No need to type in URLS
Some of the most popular XBMC based videos happen to revolve around how to add URL based downloaders. The UT2 comes preloaded with each of the hugely popular server portals installed and present in the file manager. This saves a lot of time and energy for those who would otherwise have to hit YouTube, in order to find them.

Installed apps
Many XBMC builds come with the XBMC.org repository and its selection of over 200 sturdy apps. XBMC beyond is a bit more substantial. There are 150 repositories included on the UT2 and XBMC beyond. This list is neither infinite or fully definitive but it provides an incredible library of content channels and save countless hours a user would have to use in order to put together such a setup.

Ugoos Beyond XBMC Family
The Beyond XBMC set up includes integrated fan art (Click for larger image)

Pre-Installed Programs
The UT2 comes pre-installed with 141 XBMC programs alphabetically listed including Navi-X and The Super Repo. While the Super repo may be a bit redundant considering the pre-installed repositories already included with Beyond XBMC, you have the choice to add this customization. Also included are the Xunity’s iStream Installer for custom skins,  and the Addon Installer app from XBMC Hub.

Add on Browser
The developers put together what is titled the  Addon browser which is located under the System heading. Choosing this means that when a user is ready to explore add-ons they can bypass the typical process which is to enter the main settings menu and choose add-ons etc. With the Addon Browser the user is taken directly to the main Add-On menu.

Mini Keyboard
An air mouse or Wireless Keyboard is needed for a good Android experience. (Click for larger image)

Intangibles
Batteries not included with remote
Ships with an HDMI Cord (thanks)
ships with standard to Micro US converter cable.
Short basic instruction book included

Final Thoughts
The Ugoos UT2 offers a great deal of versatility in a set top environment. Outside of the UI for the Little Black box I have not run across anything that came installed with such a great customized UI on a set top box. Having so many options already in place from the Apps, to the basic configuration set ups made the set up process far quicker than usual. The fact that it can also function as an Android box is also a winner. Android has a large library of games and emulators that can be quite enjoyable. I think this box is worth a look for anyone looking for quad core XBMC experience.

Want to purchase one?
The UT2 is available at Amazon for $107.90. Click here to be take to the site.

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