Mecool’s KM3 Android TV box is mainly for power users on a budget, according to the review

Although there have always been media platforms for TVs, Android TV is arguably one of the most potent. Compared to a Roku or Apple TV, it has more potential that you can realize, but a lot of that depends on the hardware at your disposal. Power users require several connections and powerful specifications, and the Mecool KM3 Android TV box meets those needs.

MORE PORTS, MORE PORTS, AND MORE HARDWARE The KM3’s physical design isn’t particularly impressive. It’s a straightforward box with ports along the rear and left sides, a breathing LED on the front, a metal bottom with holes for heat dissipation, and a shiny plastic finish. The true hardware here is represented by those ports.

An HDMI port, an Ethernet port (10/100m), and an audio jack are all included on the Mecool KM3’s rear. Two full-size USB ports (one 2.0, one 3.0) and a microSD card reader are located on the side. There is no need for extra dongles or devices when using those ports to connect a flash drive, external hard drive, or microSD card filled with local media.

Under the hood, a 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of onboard storage are combined with an Amlogic S905X2 processor that can produce 4K video and HDR. The Chromecast with Google TV, in contrast, has the same chipset but just 8GB of storage and half the RAM. Even with a more powerful processor, the Nvidia Shield TV Pro only has 16GB of internal storage. However, the base model comes with 64GB. In either case, there is more than enough room for apps, and the ports leave plenty of room for extension for movies, music, and other media.

Finally, let’s spend a brief moment discussing the remote. A D-Pad, navigation buttons, a Google Assistant button, and volume controls make up its simple design. It connects via Bluetooth, and I had no connection issues. Through and through, it was quite sturdy. However, I do wish that there was at least one button on the device that could be used to launch an app. A button that could be customized would be fantastic given who this box is for.

SPECIFICATIONS FOR SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE THAT CAN DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING BUT NETFLIX The performance of this equipment is another crucial factor. The S905X2 processor isn’t exactly a powerhouse, but when combined with Android TV and 4GB of RAM, this setup provides more than enough capability for playing games or running sideloaded apps that aren’t designed for Android TV. My regular use didn’t really push this machine to its limits, but I noticed that everything was considerably faster and smoother in each app and throughout the interface.

On the Mecool KM3, you’ll get Android TV 10 out of the box. There are only a few pre-loaded apps and no significant tweaks (Twitch, Tubi, Sideload Launcher). The same experience may be had on a Mi Box or Shield. The update tool is the only thing that causes me to pause. Mecool is employing a proprietary tool rather than one from Google, which traditionally has never worked out successfully. But keep in mind that this is a Google-certified box, which means Mecool has permission from Google to utilize the Play Store and Google’s apps.

However, it is wonderful that Mecool pre-loads some apps that are ideal for its target market. The preloaded Sideload Launcher enables users to quickly access and launch sideloaded apps that aren’t specifically made for Android TV. A file explorer and a movie player are also included. Although they are really simple, they work.

The absence of official Netflix support may be the biggest deal-breaker for most consumers. Disney, HBO Max, Peacock, and even Prime Video are all compatible with the KM3, but Netflix isn’t since the device isn’t approved by Netflix while being approved by Google. The program can be sideloaded, but it only supports SD for playing back movies and TV shows (480p). Shame.

LAST THOUGHTS Not the first Android TV box I’d suggest to most people is the Mecool KM3. However, I believe that for folks who want more from their media streamer than simply the essentials, this is likely the greatest option in its price range for its sub-$100 price point. If ports are important to you, I believe the majority of people should purchase the Nvidia Shield TV Pro, but the truth is that $200 is a lot to spend on a set-top box.

This Mecool box is a good way to utilize Android TV if you want to 1) sideload apps, 2) use peripherals and external storage, and 3) play local media. It also maintains a software interface that is truly cozy to use on the couch. Before any of those generic Android TV boxes you can find on Amazon, I’d recommend the KM3 (seriously, dont buy those). This is a true Android TV with all of the benefits that entails.

The majority of Android TV boxes marketed to consumers don’t make an effort to cater to any customers besides the average media streamer—those who use Netflix, YouTube, and similar services. The service provided by Mecools can provide that experience, but it also widens the bundle to include elements that power users desire: extra storage and ports. If those are your goals, the Shield TV Pro, which costs between $70 and $90 depending on the store, is worth a look. The KM3 is available for direct purchase through from Mecool (free keyboard remote on Black Friday), Walmart , Gearbest , and Aliexpress .

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