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Probox 2 Air – cool Android TV Box is small and delicious [Review]

probox2AirMain

We’re getting close to the point now where Android TV boxes are actually more of a commodity than anything else, which is always an interesting test for a product type. Will the price plummet, will the build quality go up or down, what extra features will we see in the later incarnations? From the looks of it, we’re seeing a solid set of answers from this market, which is good news. The quality appears to be consistent, the pricing stable and while there’s very little feature ‘sizzle’ at the moment, we’re definitely seeing a slow steady improvement in specs and usability, which suggests that these little boxes still have a solid life ahead of them as a consumer product.

The latest product we’ve been looking at is the Probox 2 Air, the first Android 6 powered TV box on the market. Regular readers will know that we’ve got a soft spot for the brand. Our previous reviews of Probox products has highlighted a nice attention to detail, and some endearing qualities, not least of which is the inclusion of a great little air mouse remote control. This may sound like a small point, but it really improves usability to a huge degree, compared to standard remote controls. Anyway take a look at our video review below to get an idea of what we like about this new box.

First impressions
The Probox brand typically ships in very professionally produced packaging, and include all the bits you need to get going in the box. The user guide is sparse but useful, and the addition of the Probox2 Remote+ as we’ve said before is a winner. The specs of the new device are also commendable. It’s running a quad core 2GHz processor, with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. It also features dual band WiFi, HDMI 2.0b and a microSD card slot supporting up to 64GB, and an OTG socket so you can connect external peripherals such as USB hard drives or keyboards etc.

probox2Air-(3-of-7)

In use
The Probox2 Air connects to your TV via the included HDMI cable quickly and easily. From there you just select the right port on your TV and you’ll see the unit powering up. It’s a typically lengthy boot time, Android 6 doesn’t seem to fix that, but it’s not too onerous. The first screen is an interesting surprise. The box features a new launcher called Apex, which is a very elegant, flat design UI. The result is a refreshingly easy to use way of navigating around the boxes features with very little lag or complication.

apex

You can also install and access your own favorite launcher by simply clicking the <> icon on the bottom right of the screen, which again is a nice touch if you’re used to another way of doing things and don’t wish to change.

probox2Air-(4-of-7)

All of the typical functionality of an Android TV box is included with this product. So you have instant access to Internet browsers (it comes with Chrome and the default Android browser installed), as well as Google Play for installing new apps, Kodi for all your media handling loveliness and music and streaming categories for storing apps relating to that part of the multimedia mix.

probox2Air-(5-of-7)

In operation, the unit is snappy and easy to use. What’s more the image quality is really very good indeed, which is most noticeable with things like YouTube, which seems to be much more detailed and less fuzzy than with other boxes. The tech specs talk about something called HDR10, which is supposed to improve image quality. We’re not sure if this is the reason, but we’re definitely impressed anyway.

probox2Air-(2-of-7)

Conclusion
The Probox 2 Air is definitely a step up from previous models we’ve tested from the brand. It’s a smaller, neater package, which makes best use of the Android 6.0 operating system without forcing you to wade through a complicated launcher UI, which is great. It’s definitely snappy enough in use, and we found no problems with maintaining a solid and fast WiFi connection, which often ruins the use of this type of product. Clearly the Probox antenna system is top class. Overall, this is a great little box at an attractive price, so it should definitely be on your evaluation list if you’re looking for something like this in the future.

Price: $99.99 / £84.99

Specifications:
CPU Amlogic S905X Quad Core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU up to 2GHz
GPU Penta Core ARM Mali-450 GPU up to 750MHz+
Memory / Storage 2GB DDR3 / 16GB eMMC
Wireless Connectivity 802.11ac Dual Band WIFI (2.4Ghz / 5.8Ghz), Bluetooth 4.0
OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Video Output HDMI 2.0b, up to 4K*2K @ 60fps, Support HDR, HDMI-CEC, HDCP 2.2
Audio Output Via HDMI 2.0b, optical SPDIF (5.1CH, 7.1CH)
Power DC 5V 2A adapter (CE, FCC, CCC Certified)
Peripheral Interface RJ-45 Ethernet Port (10/100Mbps), USB 2.0 Port x 2, OTG Port, TF Card Reader, IR Sensor (Remote included)
Supported Video Format UHD 4K 60fps HW decoding, supports multiple formats including H.265 10-bit, H.264 & VP9 DAT/MPEG/MPE/MPG/TS/TP/VOB/ISO/AVI/MP4/MOV/3GP/ FLV/MKV/M2TS/MTS/M4V/ WMV/ASF/RM/RMVB
Supported Audio Format MP2/MP3/WMA/OGG/FLAC/APE/AAC/WAV/OGA/ALAC Programmable with 7.1/5.1 down-mixing
Packing Included PROBOX2 Air, Power Adapter, IR Remote, Dual-Band Antenna, HDMI Cable, User Manual
Dimensions / Weight 99mm * 107.5mm * 16.3mm / 190g

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


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