I have an old Samsung flat screen television that still does the trick. Despite the fact that it is almost ten years old and OLED was not invented by then, it is full HD and it’s video quality is sufficient enough for some casual TV watching and gaming. The only thing it lacks is media playback capabilities and the performance to support apps for video services like Youtube and Netflix. Therefore I decided to order the Alfawise A8 TV BOX from Gearbest. With its quad core processing power and support for 4K movies it should be able to extend the lifetime of my old Samsung. But not only for my Samsung: also more recent TV models seem to lack the processing power to support apps for video services like Netflix. The Alfawise A8 TV BOX could help you in these cases.
Specifications as stated on Gearbest:
- General: Brand: Alfawise // Core: Quad Core // CPU: RK3229 / GPU: Mali-400 MP / Type: TV Box / Processor: RK3229 / Media Supported
- Audio format: AAC,FLAC,MP3,OGG,RM,WMA
- Product Details: Power Supply: Charge Adapter // Power Requirement
- Power Type: External Power Adapter Mode
- Power Adapter Output: 5V 2A
I expect the Alfawise A8 TV Box to smoothly run the video services I want to use on my old television. I hope it also can play video material up to 4K (of course down scaled to 1080p) from a storage device.
No fancy box with photo prints, but a plain cardboard box with the text ‘Smart Device’. The package is 16.60 x 12.50 x 8.50 cm (L x W x H) and weighs only 380 grams.
Does it fit your mailbox?
What’s in the box
The box contains the following items:
- TV Box,
- Power Charging Adapter,
- HDMI Cable
- Infrared Remote Control (2 AAA batteries, not included).
- English User Manual
The main features as stated on Gearbest:
- Main Features:
- Supports 3D movie and 4K x 2K HD display
- Android 8.1 OS for fast and stable running
- Store and query personal information, including documents, files, data forms, web pages
- Support the body feeling game, such as playing tennis, paper planes, shooting
- Faster boot up, response, transmission, channel change
- 802.11 b/g/n WiFi signal is more stable
- 2GB adequate running memory
- 1.5GHz high compatible quad-core cortex-A7 chip
- Local media playback, support HDD, U disk, SD card up to 32G
Build Quality & Design
The Alfawise A8 is a light and tiny box. With a weight of only 186 grams, the TV Box is very light and does not feel rock solid. When first inserting a USB stick in one of the USB ports, it feels for a moment like you are going to push the whole USB socket into the case and you are going to destroy the device. But the device is more solid than it seems and the IO ports stay nicely in place.
Speaking of which: the Alfawise has really no shortage on IO ports. To give an impression:
- Four USB ports.
- An SD/MMC slot
- A LAN port (next to integrated 802.11 b/g/n WiFi)
- An SPDIF and AV port
- An HDMI port
Because the TV Box weight so little I was curious about what is on the inside, so I decided to open it. This was done rather quickly by removing the four rubber pads on the bottom of the device and removing the screws. There really was nothing interesting to see, just a circuit board with soldered on memory and a SoC (both covered by a heathsink) and the IO ports.
Getting the Alfawise A8 up and running is really a piece of cake. Because it runs Android, I expected it to ask for my Google Account before I could start using the TV box. But fortunately, that was not true. Eventually I spend most of the time searching for two AAA batteries for the remote.
The A8 ships with Android 8.1 and has a lot of apps pre-installed. Varying from Youtube Netflix and the Google Play Store to applications like RKMC, a version of Kodi for Rockchip devices (the version of the SoC the A8 is with).
It takes some time to get used to controlling the interface with the remote. In combinations with the Android interface and things like the cursor button does it not make the interface as smooth as it can be, but it in general it does the trick.
The Alfawise A8 plays videos pretty well, even the 4K ones. Because the internal storage (16 GB of which 11 GB is available) is fast enough to play videos, playing videos from the device or from a USB stick workes well. Playing 4K is a little bit more a hassle: I did not get it running smoothly over WiFi and neither by playing it from a number of different USB sticks. You can get it to work when connecting a cable or playing it from internal storage, but playing 4K seems to be near the limits of the Alfawise A8.
pro / cons
- Playing H265 videos
- Sleek design
- Lots of ports (USB and audio)
- Android 8.1
- Remote included
- Performance is acceptable but not excellent.
- Build quality could be better
The Alfawise A8 TV Box offers good value for money. Don’t expect it to run heavy apps like games smoothly, but it offers all the main features a TV box needs to offer at a low price.
The Alfawise A8 is runs pretty well with most features. It outperforms many of the integrated TV media players and also runs Android 8.1. You have it up and running in no time and as long as you don’t run heavy Android games on it will do pretty well. Sometimes the interface could be a bit quicker, but it still outperforms most of the older integrated TV media players. So if you are looking for a TV Box for your older TV, the Alfawise A8 is a good option to consider.
Where to buy?