X96S Android TV Stick – Firestick Replacement?

X96S

This X96S Review was written by Troy from TROYPOINT after using the Android TV Stick on a regular basis for one week.

Its important to note that even though I received the X96S for free from GearBest, I still provide my true feelings and give you both positives and negatives.

This device is available in various configurations and the one that I received comes equipped with 4GB DDR RAM, 32GB storage.


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If you are going to purchase one of these after reading the review, I suggest the same configuration that I have due to its outstanding powerful components.

Note:  If you order from GearBest and you live in the United States, you must use a U.S. power adapter converter as the unit comes with an EU power plug.

The plug is connected to the power cord by USB so you can also connect to a USB power adapter if you have one laying around.

Buy X96S Android TV Stick

Note:  The X96S may also be available through various Amazon retailers.  The model that I received was from GearBest and the link above points directly to the same product that I am using in this review.  

What’s An X96S Android TV Stick?

Before diving into this review, you should understand how a stick like the X96S differs from other Android-based streaming devices.


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The X96S runs on stock Android 8.1 Oreo operating system, not Android TV.

You can think of stock Android as the same operating system found on phones and tablets.X96S Android TV Stick Dongle

Android TV is Google’s operating system optimized for television screens found on products such as the NVIDIA SHIELD, and Mi Box.  The Android TV OS is not installed on this device.

Amazon has a similar Android-based operating system (Fire OS) that powers the Fire TV Stick/Fire TV which is also optimized for the TV screen.

I often refer to devices such as the X96S as a “generic Android TV Box/Stick” because it isn’t using the true Android TV operating system.

Devices such as the X96S are perfect for those who don’t use any of the paid services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.

If you use any of those services, I would suggest either the Fire TV Stick/Fire TV, NVIDIA Shield, or Mi Box S.  Those apps perform much better on Android TV and Fire OS operating systems.

Most of these boxes are distributed in China which means customer support is usually very limited.

The great thing about these generic Android TV Boxes/Sticks is that you can get a lot of bang for your buck because there aren’t any license requirements from the manufacturers so they pass the savings onto you.

I strongly suggest purchasing the iPazzPort Wireless Keyboard/Remote Combo if you are using one of these stock Android units.  It will make it much easier navigating the screen in apps that aren’t remote-control friendly.

What I Like

First, I want to write about the heat that the X96S produces when it runs.  I have reviewed a few other Android TV Sticks in the past and they all had overheating problems and that’s why the reviews never made it to the site.

This Android TV stick does not overheat like its competitors.  In fact, it seems that this keeps cooler than the Fire TV Stick 4K.

I tested the heat output by running the Players Klub IPTV service for 12 hours straight and there was no noticeable change detected.

X96S PortsThe included ports on this small stick are definitely game-changers.  It includes USB 3.0, Micro SD, power (DC), and IR ports.

One of the common criticisms of the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is the lack for USB/Micro SD Card support.  The X96S provides both options, which will allow for peripheral devices and extra storage.


Vidgo

The X96S does a great job playing 4K video which I tested through YouTube and by playing via USB drive connected to the device.  The S905Y2 CPU seems to pack a powerful punch and allow for smooth playback of large media files.

The model that I received has 4GB of RAM Memory and 32GB of storage.

The 4GB RAM is noticeable in how quick the system performs.  Changes from one menu item to another happens very quickly and there is minimal lag.  The X96S is very snappy.

Its nice having 32GB of storage so we can install numerous apps and even download movies/TV shows for later playback.

The X96S comes with support for both 2.4 and 5Ghz wireless networks, which we don’t always see with these Android devices.  Also, the Internet download speeds were excellent with both the VPN on and off, which you will see below.

Obviously, the size of this unit is a big selling point as well and it will allow for easy travel or you can easily conceal it near your television.

I like the fact that this stick is running Android 8.1.  I personally wouldn’t purchase a new streaming device unless it was running 8.1 or higher.

Buy X96S Android TV Stick

Note:  The X96S may also be available through various Amazon retailers.  The model that I received was from GearBest and the link above points directly to the same product that I am using in this review.  

What I Don’t Like

The infrared remote is horrible.  You must plug the IR receiver into the available IR port for the remote to work.

X96S Launcher
X96S Launcher

When will these manufacturers start including either 2.4Ghz or Bluetooth remotes?  I usually don’t even take the remotes out of the box.

I would strongly suggest using a wireless mini keyboard with this device instead of the generic included remote.

I also don’t like the home screen launcher because we can’t customize it.  We’re stuck with the shortcuts that they have built-in by default.

But, the X96S works very well with ATV Launcher, which is an Android TV launcher that we can use instead of the built-in option.

See my video below where I show how to install, activate and configure ATV Launcher with the X96S.  This awesome launcher can be installed on most Android TV Boxes, including the NVIDIA SHIELD.

How To Install ATV Launcher On Android TV Box

X96S Photo Gallery

X96S Download Speed Tests

The following tests were conducted through my 200 Mbps Internet service.  The WiFi testing was done through the 5 GHz band on my Asus AC3100 router.

I connected the UGreen Ethernet Adapter USB Gigabit Network Hub to this device to test the Ethernet speeds.

The VPN that I am using in this speed test is IPVanish VPN.

Ethernet

VPN On: 39.6 Mbps download & 25.7 Mbps upload

VPN Off: 118.0  Mpbs download & 26.1 Mbps upload

WiFi

VPN On: 32.0 Mbps download & 25.9 Mbps upload

VPN Off: 83.3 Mbps download & 26.2 Mbps upload

What’s In The Box

Package Contents: 1 x Dongle, 1 x HDMI Cable, 1 x IR Line, 1 x Remote Control, 1 x Micro USB Cable, 1 x USB Adapter, 1 x English Manual

X96S Android TV Stick Specs

Type: TV Dongle
GPU: ARM Dvalin MP2
System: Android 8.1
CPU: Amlogic S905 Y2
Core: 2.0GHz,Cortex A53,Quad Core
RAM Type: DDR4
Max. Extended Capacity: TF card up to 64GB (not included)
Decoder Format: H.263,H.264,H.265
Video format: AVI,ISO,MKV,MOV,MPEG,MPG,RM,WMV
Audio format: AAC,FLAC,MP3,OGG,RM,WMA
Photo Format: BMP,GIF,PNG,TIFF
Support 5.1 Surround Sound Output: Yes
5G WiFi: Yes
Power Supply: USB Port
Interface: DC Power Port,HDMI,IR,TF card,USB3.0
Antenna: Yes
Camera: Without
Language: Multi-language
DVD Support: Yes
HDMI Version: 2.0
Other Functions: 3D Games,3D Video,DLNA,ISO Files,Miracast,NTSC,PAL
External Subtitle Supported: Yes
Power Type: USB Port Supply
Remote Controller Battery: 2 x AAA Battery ( not included )
Product weight: 0.0310 kg
Package weight: 0.3000 kg
Product size (L x W x H): 9.80 x 3.30 x 1.30 cm / 3.86 x 1.3 x 0.51 inches
Package size (L x W x H): 15.30 x 10.20 x 5.60 cm / 6.02 x 4.02 x 2.2 inches

Final Thoughts

The X96S is a great streaming device for the money.  In my opinion, it outperforms the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and provides additional peripheral connections to boot.X96S Specs

But, it still doesn’t solve the problem for those who use services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.  This device won’t do a good job with those services but for those of us who use the free apps such as Kodi, Cinema HD, IPTV, etc. this is a great choice.

If you are willing to spend a few more dollars, I would still recommend the X96 Max over the X96S due to its powerful components and larger on-board storage of 64GB.

Buy X96S Android TV Stick

Note:  The X96S may also be available through various Amazon retailers.  The model that I received was from GearBest and the link above points directly to the same product that I am using in this review.  

This page includes affiliate links where TROYPOINT may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Many times, you will receive a discount due to the special arrangements made for our visitors. I will never promote something that I personally don't use or recommend. Purchasing through my links directly supports TROYPOINT which keeps the content and tools coming. Thank you!

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