With more and more people cutting the cord and moving away from cable subscriptions, finding the perfect streaming box for your home is extremely important. You’ll want something that doesn’t just look good or have an affordable price tag but will also perform well so that you can enjoy what you’re watching.
The Probox2 Air is one we’ll check out today to see what makes it different from other Android TV boxes as well as how it performs for gaming and videos.
This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Probox2. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
What’s in the Box
The Probox2 Air comes with everything you need to get up and running except an optical audio cable (to connect a speaker). Here’s what you get:
- Probox2 Air TV Box and two-prong AC adapter
- Antenna to improve the WiFi connection
- Standard Android TV remote
- Probox2 “Remote+” with USB receiver (used as an air mouse and game controller)
- Short HDMI cable
Setting Up and Using the Probox2 Air
The box is very easy to set up once you figure out where you’re going to put it. I already use an Android TV box daily with my second monitor, so I simply replaced the one I had with this one.
Setting up the Probox2 Air is as easy as screwing on the antenna, connecting the HDMI and power cables, and plugging in the power adapter. If you plan to use the Remote+ (highly recommended), you’ll also need to insert the USB adapter into one of the USB ports. Luckily, there are two USB ports, so you’ll still have one left.
If you want to connect a speaker via a standard 3.5mm audio jack, you’re out of luck. The Probox2 Air only has an optical output audio jack. You’ll be fine connecting the box to a TV since you can get audio through HDMI and the TV speakers, but for me, it wasn’t so easy.
My only option was to connect a Bluetooth speaker wirelessly. Fortunately, I had no issues doing so and performance has been top-notch (no disconnections, static, or anything like that).
Getting the Hang of the Remote+
The box turns on automatically when you plug it in, but after that it can be turned on and off via either included remotes. I have been using the Remote+ exclusively, and while I love the ability to use it as an air mouse and game controller, I do wish there was a keyboard on the back like other air mouses I’ve used. You can see the Remote+ in action here.
The Remote+ has four different modes:
- Remote control mode (default)
- Air Mouse mode
- Gaming Mode (vertical)
- Gaming Mode (horizontal)
I love the horizontal Gaming Mode because it reminds me of a retro game controller (Nintendo / Super Nintendo).
The modes can be switched by pressing the “Air Mouse / Gamepad” button which is to the right of the “OK” button and above the “Volume Up” button. You have to press the button consecutively in order to change modes.
By default, the remote is in “Remote Control mode,” but pressing it once will enable the air mouse which is the mode I happen to use the most. Pressing it twice in a row will enable “Gaming Mode (vertical),” and pressing it three times in a row will enable “Gaming Mode (horizontal).”
Also, when you’re in “Air Mouse mode” pressing the button at any time will turn off the air mouse and put you back in “Remote Control mode.” It may sound confusing, but once you’re actually using the remote, it all makes sense and becomes second nature.
Navigating the Probox2 Air
Using the Probox2 Air is much like any other Android TV box I’ve tried. The only difference is that this one has Android 6.0 installed which offers a cleaner UI and snappier experience when navigating the “Home” and “Apps” menus.
Just like with your Android mobile device, you can go into “Settings” on the Probox2 Air and set things up the way you’d like. This is something I always do first before using any device. The box has its own “Settings” menu, but you can also access Android’s native “Settings” menu by going to “More settings.”
Once everything is set up to your liking, you’re ready to watch TV and movies, stream (via DLNA, Airplay, Miracast), listen to music, play games, and more.
Playing Games on the Probox2 Air
There’s a “Game” category on the home screen which is where all your installed games can be viewed. I did expect more games to be installed, but there was only one: Fishing Joy. I decided to install a classic favorite of mine (Sonic the Hedgehog 2) to check out its performance.
Note: Installed apps are automatically put into the relevant categories you see on the home screen. However, you can manually remove and add apps to these categories as well.
For gameplay, I put the controller into horizontal “Game Mode” and had a great, lag-free thirty minutes of fun. I didn’t notice any type of delay, stuttering, or any issues with the game; everything was very smooth. The Remote+ is very comfortable and easy to use and feels just like any other gamepad.
Video Performance on the Probox2 Air
The Probox2 Air is perfect for watching TV shows, movies, and videos either via streaming or other apps like Kodi (included) and YouTube.
I will admit that before performing a Firmware update and resetting the box, I had some performance issues with videos. The main issues were constant buffering, choppiness, and a slight delay in the audio. This wasn’t just happening in Kodi either; it was happening in YouTube and Airstream as well (just a few apps I tried).
Also, when I first tried to watch a video in Kodi, there was no audio at all. Luckily, I was able to quickly fix that by selecting the “Enable Passthrough” option in the audio menu. (Click on the audio icon while a video is playing to bring up this menu.)
It wasn’t until I updated the Firmware (by TF card) that the video performance improved. Just know that even though “Settings” might say the box is up to date, this may not be the case. You can check Probox2’s website for the latest Firmware.
Updating the Probox2 Air
As I mentioned above, I had to perform an update by TF card. This involved downloading the update on my computer, putting it on a micro-SD card, and rebooting the box with the card inserted while by pressing the little reset button on the bottom of it with a pin.
To update by OTA, go to “All apps” (on the Home screen) and select “System update.” If there is a new update, it will give you the option to “Download” and display the file size. Select “Download” to install; it usually takes a few minutes for it to download. Select “Update now” once downloaded.
The update will be installed and the box will automatically reboot. Make sure that you do not unplug or turn off the power during the update process.
If there is no update, it will display “Your system is currently up to date.” It’s very important to do a Factory Reset after installing the new Firmware (whether by TF Card or OTA). You can do this by going to “Settings -> More Settings -> Backup & reset -> Factory data reset -> RESET -> ERASE EVERYTHING.”
Pros and Cons of the Probox2 Air
If you’re wondering whether this box is worth buying, here’s a rundown of the pros vs just a couple cons.
- Small in size compared to most Android TV boxes; doesn’t take up much space.
- Includes an antenna to help boost the WiFi connection; also includes an Ethernet jack for direct connection.
- Comes with a simple, clean, and easy-to-use interface; great for newbies and pros.
- Includes the Remote+ which can be used as an air mouse and gamepad.
- Gameplay is smooth and lag-free, as is video play after some tweaking (in Kodi) and a Firmware update.
- Features a “1-click swap UI” concept that supports most top launchers like Nova Launcher; you can learn more about customizing the UI here.
- Supports “adoptable storage” which allows you to set up a TF card or USB flash drive as internal storage.
- Does not include a standard 3.5mm audio jack; must use Bluetooth or optical audio device.
- “Settings” showed that everything is up to date even though it wasn’t. The firmware required updating by either OTA or TF card and not manually to fix a major change of “root access” and some configuration on Kodi, and a factory reset was then necessary.
Specs of Interest
- Amlogic S905X processor
- 100M LAN, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0
- HDMI 2.0b
- Supports HDR10 and HLG HDR processing
- 4Kx2K@60fps maximum resolution output
- UHD 4K 60fps HW decoding
- Supports multiple formats including H.265 10-bit, H.264, and VP9
- Main frequency up to 2Ghz
- 2GB DDR3 RAM
- 16GB eMMC flash memory
- Comes preloaded with Kodi 16.0
Probox2 Air Wrap-Up
I love that it has Android 6.0 on it along with a clean UI (thanks to Apex Launcher). Navigating through the home screen and settings menu is very fast and snappy. Resource-heavy apps like Kodi can be a little slower, but functionality and performance are not affected.
I’ve enjoyed the Remote+ and love that it’s much easier to connect (USB receiver) and use as opposed to Bluetooth gamepads. Due to this along with very smooth gameplay, I think the Probox2 Air is perfect for gaming – especially retro gaming.
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox