Ugoos AM3 Close View

Amlogic is a global fabless system-on-a-chip (SoC) leader that provides open platform solutions for multimedia consumer devices including OTT/IP STBs, Smart TVs and Smart Home products. Almost every year Amlogic releases newer versions and brand new SoCs. Recent successor is Amlogic S912: Octa-core 64-bit ARM® Cortex™-A53 and Multi-core ARM® Mali™-T82.

No wonder big bunch of TV Box manufacturers used this SoC to renew their product lines and add new devices. Among them – Ugoos Team and AM3 device.

Ugoos AM3 is a TV Box device with metal housing, separate antenna and 2GB/16GB ROM and RAM version.

Device looks pretty standard: 117x117x18.5cm. Weight 290g. Detailed specification you can find on Ugoos AM3 official page.

Housing made of metal, covered with soft touch matte material. On the front, there is a small window made of plastic for IR-receiver and LED indicator a little bit higher. During playback, LED turns blue and becomes red on standby.

Right side: heatsink holes and Wi Fi antenna connector.

Left side: 2 USB ports and, micro SD slot.

Behind: we can find power supply port, S/PDIF, LAN, HDMI OUT and one more USB port.

Down cover, there are a row of heatsink holes and rubber legs. Near the sticker from the right, a hole leads to a recovery button. Down cower fixed on its place by four screws.

Seems like a regular device among other S912 boxes but there are some differences and advantages make it more attractive for users.

 

Firmware and OC, Root

This Box has Android OC 6.0.1 version. Right now there some boxes with Android 7 on that SoC, but playback seems not the best. Time from time appeared news about stable Android 7.1 version release.

Many users, who choose Chinese TV Boxes, complain about Chinese programmers who works on firmwares. Ugoos team choose another way: European programmer team works on firmwares and updates.

Firmware can be updated both locally and via OTA.

Latest firmware dated of this review is 1.1.2. Android version is 6.0.1. Ugoos devices their own format update page.

As a home screen (launcher) system uses Ugoos Launcher. I want to note fact that it is rather convenient to operate using both PC mouse and RC. Mouse Scroll switches categories in menu. However, you always can choose another launcher, there are no any software limits for this.

 

Features

Here comes the most interesting part.

Both TV and default settings you can find special menu tab called „Ugoos Settings“

It contains two main tabs:

  1. System settings
  2. Hardware settings

System settings contain several useful functions for end users:

In Default settings “ROOT” access disabled, but you can activate it very easily.

Unique Ugoos software has special “features” – they are “Hardware control”, using it you can check device temperature, processor frequency, processor load, RAM load, LAN performance.

In the list of “features”, you can find Samba Server and Gamepad Settings.

 

Gives you ability to operate with any controller much more comfortable.

This is how wireless assistant looks like:

Wireless control works both via bluetooth and WiFi connections.

 

Remote Controller and HDMI CEC

RC is pretty small and ergonomic in hand. Weight without batteries about 45g.

Switching features are standard for that kind of device. RC have no gyroscope, so for those users who like to operate using air mouse need to buy it.

HDMI CEC function works correctly. Some forums said there is no capability with LG TV set CEC system, seems because they have their own different system. Ugoos Team claims, that nexr firmware will get CEC fix and LG TV users also will be able to use this Function.

 

Performance and device testing

Device based on Amlogic S912 SoC – 4 cores ARM Cortex-A53 up to 1.5 Ghz + 4 ARM Cortex-A53 up to 1 Ghz, GPU ARM Mali – T820MP3. This SoC is in a middle price level, but exactable for game performance (for recourse “hungry” 3D games is a good idea to put settings on middle level or looking for alternative option like Nvidia Shield).

System works very fast, no lags, no freezes or discomfort. Animation is very smooth. In different resources there a lot of test with S912 SoC and all of them looks same, so I just get some interesting definitions about AM3 against other boxes:

 

Video source formats support and video out.

TV Box has HDMI 2.0a out supports video out rate resolution: 3840×2160@60 Ghz (10 bit per channel) and HDR, if TV screen can support can support that settings.

In KODI 17 there fractional frequencies for HDMI self-adaptation function in order to get content on those frequencies doesn’t loose the frames. Only Ugoos and Minix S912 boxes have that kind of functionality.

First, let’s talk about decoding.

Box easily handles with H.264 decoding. I checked 55 mb/sec bitrate and 1920×1080 resolution (max video bitrate for Blue-ray is 48mb/sec). No problems with Stagefright and Mediacodec libraries. Generic player, MX Player, KODI decode without any drops. Content was delivering over Wi Fi. Box can handle with any BD Remix and BDRip.

Max video bitrate on Ultra HD Blu-ray (4K) is 128 mbit/sec. In order to teat HEVC/ H.265 Main 10 I used list of files from 50 to 140 mbit/sec. MX Player can work with 140 mbit/sec flow (over Ethernet). No drops. Kodi handle with flow up to 100 mbit/sec without drops (over Ethernet). Over Wi Fi satisfying level was about 70 mbit/sec. In addition, I checked true 50p and 60p output. “fake” double frames I didn’t found, box trully showed 50 fps and 60 fps.

Autoframerate

Autoframerate works in each video player that uses Stagefright library.  For example, generic player or MX player (HW). Content also matters. Autoframerate works with each sources/files, except HLS (HTTP Live streaming). But in KODI 17.1 Autoframerate unfortunately disabled.

 

In the end

Surely AM3 is interesting TV Box – wonderful metal housing, excellent firmware with autoframerate from the box, stable device performance with stock firmware, absence of so called “green parts” gives a really good feeling about device. Still have a lot of things need to improve, but seems new updates is just a matter of time.

 


Ugoos Industrial  Co., Ltd. is the first Dual core and Quad core TV dongle company that specializes in designing, R&D, manufacturing, and marketing of Android HD Media Players, Smart TV Box, Smart tv  dongle, Set Top Box in China. In early 2011, Ugoos developed the first Dual core Android TV dongle in the world. As the leading company of Smart TV dongles and TV boxes in China, Ugoos has a European Development Team in China.

 

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