Category: android

Review: Ultra M8 U-M8 SMART TV Box S802 From AndroidSticks

It wasn’t until 2 years ago that i was introduced to the wonders of XBMC via a jailbroken Apple TV 2 that i had purchased off EBAY for a complete bargain. That’s when i have to admit the sordid love affair started. XBMC had me hooked. It had me so tight in it’s grasp I’d find myself losing hours in a darkened room with just XBMC for company. OK OK so you’ve all been there don’t deny it. Partners have been and gone but somehow XBMC is just that dirty pleasure that just doesn’t leave your side.

Over the last 2 years the hardware available has completely revolutionized how we all view XBMC. At the end of the day we all know it’s totally down to user preference and in some cases how easy the user finds it to keep both the hardware and software upto date. But what if i was to tell you that the Android M8 can actually be kept upto date remotely without you having to root the device, hook it up to a computer, or perform any form of jailbreak????

The guys over at AndroidSticks have thought of everything when it comes to enjoying XBMC in all it’s 1080p glory. Before i go into a full blown review i will first give you the all important specs of the device.

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Ultra M8 U-M8 Main Features:

  • ULTRA M8 U-M8 (M8) MX Box Smart TV BOX S802
  • Android 4.4 Kitkat
  • Lifetime updates
  • XBMC 13 pre-installed
  • Blu-Ray ISO and 4K video playback
  • Unique user interface
  • 4K video output up to 30 fps supported
  • 2.4Ghz – 5Ghz Wi-Fi
  • Quad core CPU
  • CPU: ARM cortex-a9 quad-core
  • GPU mali-450 octo-core
  • DRAM 2gb ddr3
  • Flash memory 8 gb

Hooked up to a full HD 1080P TV (the bigger the screen size the better), the device has the ability to give you a complete cinematic experience in the comfort of your own home. If you’re a fan of all things Android like myself then you will find this device very easy to navigate and totally user friendly. It’s actually like controlling a Samsung Tablet but on a grander scale on your TV. 

Also with the M8 box comes a complete XBMC installation guide (the software is installed you just basically have to run up to date versions), aswell as a guide to keeping the box running smoothly and up to date. This also allows the user to get familiar with the device as those that aren’t technologically minded often find this quite daunting. If users do have a problem or question, the AndroidSticks team are always on hand to offer support and guidance when necessary. they’re friendly guys with fabulous after sales care.

With the M8 box i was also sent the S77 Pro Smart TV BOX Remote With Wireless Qwerty Keyboard (sold seperately from the M8 but worth investing in)

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Simply insert the small wireless USB device into the back of your M8 Box and away you go. As remotes go this is pretty flawless and so easy to use, but the one thing for me (but it isn’t deal breaker) is the fact that the onscreen cursor that appears has the tendency to run away with itself at times causing XBMC to act strangely. But there is the option to turn the cursor off when it’s not required so it’s easy enough to solve this problem.

With the device being rooted, and running all the relevant up to date software, the team also pre install a whole bunch of great apps to get you started and to get you the most out of the Box, The Google Playstore is a must have on any Android device and you can load great apps on the M8 such as Spotify, TuneIn Radio, MX Player, Chrome Browser,ShowBox, VideoMixPro etc etc. Oh i didn’t mention that the M8 also acts as a web browser with great functionality. So the M8 is a complete media center hub all at a reasonable cost without any hidden costs etc.

The other great feature is that you can use the box to AirPlay your media form any phone,tablet, or computer. Having tested this function i can safely say that no sound or picture quality is lost, and the strength of the Blutooth is phenomenal. so it’s win win in my opinion.

I’ve personally been using an Ouya as a media hub for the past 12 months, but the sound and picture quality can be a bit hit and miss at times which in turn can make it frustrating when trying to use the Ouya to it’s full potential. But i can safely say I’ve been converted over to the M8 for the specs, functionality and ease of use, as well as picture quality and fantastic DD5.1 Sound.

XBMC Remote Shootout – Yatse VS The Official XBMC Remote I…

XBMC Remote Shootout – Yatse VS The Official XBMC Remote

I forgot to post it here, but I have put together the video for the comparison between Yatse and the official XBMC remote app for Android.  I really like both remotes and it is hard for me to pick a clear winner.

YATSE

This remote app is really easy to configure thanks to its built in wizard that automatically detects XBMC installations on your network.  It lets you sort your media in a couple of different ways, as well as access programs & add ons you may have directly from a sub menu.  On the downside, it is a little harder to use due to its swipe left and right menus.

THE OFFICIAL XBMC REMOTE

The official app is a little harder to configure with your XBMC installation, but is very easy to use, even for people who have never used a touch based remote before.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you are a little more of a power user, check out Yatse, I do not think you will be disappointed.  If you want something that simply works, check out the official remote, you cannot go wrong.