The DroidBOX T8 Mini is a unique entry in the Android-based TV box world. The product is one of many entries from the British company but has some features that stand out from a number of the other products from DroidBOX and the rest of the Android box field. The box powered by Android 5.1.1 and a Quad core processor has the ability to handle some actual Android TV apps (the “lean back” TV versions), it’s own Aptoide powered custom store and a sharp custom launcher, but its most interesting feature might be the dual-boot capability that allows the user to jump into an Open Elec environment to access a powerful Kodi 16.1 build unencumbered by Android. Take a look at our full review below in our Droidbox T8 Mini Review Full Overview. Want to get one click here.
|Processor:||2.0 GHz Quad Core Cortex A53 Neon Amlogic S905|
|Operating System:||Android 5.1.1 Lolipop|
|GPU:||Mali-450 Penta Core|
|Expandable Memory:||SD Storage (up to 32GB)|
|HD Video Playback:||Yes, Supports 1080p HD Videos|
|4K Video Playback:||Yes, Supports 4K Videos|
|Gaming:||Supports 3D gaming|
|I/O Ports:||10/100/000 Ethernet, HDMI, SD card up to 128GB, Optical Audio out, Power Port|
|WIFI:||Wireless LAN 802.11b/g/n/AC – 2.4/5GHz DualBand|
|Accessories:||HMDI Cable, Power Adapter, Remote Control, Manual.|
The DroidBOX Market The DroidBox Market is a custom app store for the device based on Aptoide, an alternative app store for Android devices. This version is actually based on the Aptoide TV. This gives users an app store with a more TV-centric and controller friendly environment meaning that user will not have to use an AirMouse just to navigate the store. It is broken up into 20 easy-to-scroll-through categories from the start including one called Kodi, DBMC, SPMC where users can find the latest version of the DroidBox Media Center. Users can also update apps from the market. Because it is powered by Aptoide it means that users will be able to find apps
that are not actually available in the Play Store.
The Google Play Store
The Google Play store doesn’t need much of an introduction for techie users. It is Google’s signature collection of apps for everything. With the Google Play Store users can set up their DroidBOX as a mini computer and presentation device just as easily as they can a media player. The Google Play Store on the DroidBOX T8 Mini is the Android Tablet and phone store, not the Google Play store found on official “Android TV” devices. This means that users will be able to access the full breadth of the Google Play store’s games and file managers and other tools that they can utilize as they customize their device.
Built in Maintenance and Help
Set top box users come in all skill levels. For those who are skilled with toothpicks and terminology most repairs are pretty simple but for the rest of the world, it is helpful to be able to fix problems in as simple a manner as possible. It is even nice for those of us who are more familiar with these sorts of devices. Users will notice an Icon that resembles a skull and crossbones at the center of the homepage with a wrench and screwdriver. The icon launches a help center where users can watch how-to videos, access articles from the company, connect with help online through team viewer, which comes preinstalled, as well as a section for registration and submitting log files, which is more for the DroidBOX side of help then the user. This is a bevy of help that I have never run across in this fashion. I don’t know if it grew from hundreds of hours of calls or what, but before you waste time on a message board check this important resource out. Under its Fix it menu users can repair their Kodi builds, reset their device to the Boot menu for a factory reset, remove apps and more. There is only one failing on this section. The color scheme is stubbornly Mustard yellow with white writing. If DroidBOX wants to use its branding on this section maybe a grey background and green writing like in their Kodi program would be a better choice. I can imagine a lot of people may have trouble reading the choices, even with the shadowing around each category.
IP Vanish is a VPN program that allows users to browse in privacy and DroidBOX T8 Mini owners will get a chance to try the program out for a steep discount for a month. Besides protecting the privacy of users VPN’s can also allow users to access websites around the world despite their country of origin which could be very helpful to those living in a country with more limits to information than others. Learn more about IP Vannish here.
Android TV Apps Supported
The T8 Mini can support the Android TV version of Hulu as well as the Android TV Version of
YouTube. This means that both apps can be accessed and navigated without the need of a cursor to explore menus. While the device does not support the Android TV version of Netflix this is a somewhat unadvertised perk of the device. Like a number of Android boxes the device can also support the Amazon Video service via downloading the Amazon Underground App Store, which is available via the browser.
Users can add any number of Android-based browsers to the box and with an air mouse this can give an Android box a unique dynamic because it allows you to find and download other apps from sources that may not have apps. I find APK Mirror helpful in a pinch. Like any phone or tablet, the
device has a browser included but will support any number of others.
Mirroring and Display sharing
This is an area where the DroidBOX T8 shows off its versatility. The device comes preconfigured to allow users to share video and audio from a diverse list of devices including IOS, Android and computers. The device is capable of receiving AirPlay based video and audio from IOS devices with IOS 8.0 or higher. We tried AirPlay with a number of apps and discovered surprisingly that while this worked well for a number of apps, a notable exception was Netflix. Notable apps that did launch with no problem included Hulu and Videos from Apples iTunes. The AirPlay app also allows users to stream video from websites as well which opens up a number of possibilities.
Miracast is an app that allows users to share the display of their Windows computers and Android phones with an Android device. In order to activate it, you must open the app on the box and set your desired device to allow it to launch. Once this is done users can fully mirror a computer or Android phone for whatever uses they are good for. It could make for a decent presentation device in this form as well as a chance to check out video and pictures from other devices wirelessly.
The DroidBOX is the first Android box outside of the official “Android TV” family that I have worked with that had any kind of Google Cast capability. GoogleCast is the ability to send video from mobile devices and computers to a remote device and deliver the content through the cloud. It’s what a Chromecast does. Google Cast is built into the device and appears to work with Android devices but not IOS devices based on my experience. Official Google Cast devices work with both platforms. We found that my Android phone recognized the T8 as a receiver but the IOS devices did not. On the other hand, we were able to launch YouTube videos from our computer. It does not appear to support all of the apps that are supported by a full Google Cast device, but the YouTube Launcher
from both mobile devices and computers is handy. It’s comparable to Roku which has the same capability but only for YouTube and Netflix.
Multiple Controller Options
Like most Android boxes the T8 Mini ships with a basic remote which does not lend itself to navigation in Android apps. This is where the multiple USB ports come in handy. The box supports air mouses, wireless keyboards etc as well as a great built-in feature that allows users to control the box with IOS and Android devices via an app. The app DroidBOX Share allows users to utilize both directional controls and an air mouse-like functionality. More on that in its own section below.
DroidBOX share is a unique feature of the device. Located on the home screen is a back and yellow icon shaped like a diamond. Once users launch the app and type in the IP address into the browser of their mobile devices or computer they will open up a menu that invites them to download a helpful companion app that open up multiple features. For computers, for instance, the app allows user to mirror their screen, (with a lag) with the push of a button. On Mobile devices it allows users to control their device with both swipe based and airmouse style controls. Users can also send media to the box via their devices.
Three versions of Kodi
Being that it is an unlocked Android device it is understood that T8 Mini can harness the power of
the Kodi Media Center. But there is a lot more to it than that. First of all like the heading says there are 3 versions of Kodi on the device. One is more or less clean version of Kodi built on the confluence theme. There are no addon’s installed ahead of time though it does come with a few sources ahead of time including links to Husham Memar’s repo source, Toptutorials, and tvcordcutterz.com. There are no extra wizards or setups in place.
The DroidBox Media Center DBMC
The DroidBox Media Center DBMC: This is a forked version of Kodi built on SPMC, The DBMC comes loaded with a number of source links in the file manager including The Ares Wizard, Fusion addons “TV Addons”, Noobs and Nerds (home of the Community/Total Installer) theTdbwizard Husham Memar’s repo source, Toptutorials, and tvcordcutterz.com. DBMC also comes installed with the TDB DroidBOX maintenance program, which allows users to take care of all of their Kodi needs
from clearing cache to changing the looks etc. It is helpful to have it all in one place from the start however you will be using Kodi.
Dual Boot Kodi Open Elec
Now this is different. DroidBOX offers this feature on one of their other products but you just about never see dual boot options on inexpensive Android devices. This version of Kodi exists all on its own and features a number of options not found on the Android build of Kodi. It has a setup wizard, and can connect to a user’s network completely from within the app itself. The Open Elec Kodi is more powerful than the versions of Kodi built on Android because it gets to be the only attraction. All of the box’s resources are poured into it. Users can easily switch back to the Android build by clicking on the power section of Kodi. The version is built on confluence and does not feature other skins as an option though I would expect that you would be able to add them through various programs and repos.
DroidBOX has its own firmware design that resembles the dashboard of a modern sports car. There is an attractive clock and calendar widget, there are dials that indicate the performance of the device, show storage levels, CPU usage, and Memory usage. There is also a helpful memory cleaner similar to what we see in the Minix Metro Launcher. other sections provide quick launch to a number of the T8’s special features including DBMC, The Open Elec Launcher, DroidBOX Share, The Droid Box Market and of course The Google Play Store, settings, and the main apps section. A simple feature that I enjoy is the favorites launcher section that allows users to add numerous apps for quick access. It does not appear to be limited, though I would encourage users not to add too many things to this or it looses its helpfulness as a feature.
The DroidBOX T8 Mini really packs a good punch as a device and stands out above a number of less imaginative devices because of its attractive firmware and dual boot capabilities. at 79 Euros, which translates to around $73.00 US dollars depending on exchange rates you can get one for the price of a number of the mid-priced cookie cutter Chinese firmware boxes. It performed well in each of the tasks I ran it through from basic android apps to the various kodi features.