A little over a year ago, we introduced you to the Probox2 Air Android TV box. Today we’re going to introduce you to its newer, superior brother: Probox2 AVA. Whether you’re a cord-cutter, thinking about cutting the cord, an avid mobile gamer or just someone who loves media, this Android TV box and HD recorder is for you.
The Probox2 AVA comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and also runs OpenWRT (NAS) simultaneously. This allows you to access Samba, DMS, FTP, AFP, and DAAP services.
For those with 4K televisions or monitors, you’ll be happy to know that the box fully supports “Premium 4K UHD contents [thanks to the] powerful 64 bit CPU and Mali-T820 GPU combination.” While I did not get to reap the benefits of this yet, it’s nice to know that once I do upgrade to a 4k display, the Probox2 AVA has full support for it.
It also offers 10-bit color as opposed to 8-bit which allows for a broader range of colors. Plus, you get HDR10 and HLG HDR processing, color, and saturation. As you can imagine, this creates even more beautiful, detailed, and realistic graphics. See for yourself below!
What’s in the Box
Inside the box, along with the Probox2 AVA, you’ll find a short HDMI cable, AC adapter, antenna, remote control and user guide.
Probox2 AVA Design
Most Android TV boxes are square, but the Probox2 AVA is rectangular. This seems to be due to the fact that you can insert a 2.5″ SATA hard drive inside of it.
It also has a digital display on the front that shows the time. While this is convenient, at night time the blue display can be a little distracting since it’s bright. In a completely dark room it stands out, so you may want to cover it or have it facing the opposite way.
As mentioned above, you also receive an external 5dbi dual-band antenna to help boost the WiFi signal. Trust me, it definitely helps!
On the back of the box you’ll find the following ports: antenna, DC in, SPDIF, Lan, HD in, HD out. On the side of the box you’ll find two USB ports (one 2.0 and one 3.0) and a slot for an SD card. On the bottom of the box is the firmware update hole button and access to the SATA hard drive slot.
Probox2 AVA Remote+
The Probox2 AVA comes with a remote control that features shortcuts, a directional pad, and a mouse (controlled by the arrow keys).
However, we were provided with the sleek Remote+ (pictured below on the left), which is a tailor-made media remote controller with an air mouse, gyroscope, gaming pad, built-in microphone, and directional pad. It has a USB receiver that plugs into the Android box.
The built-in microphone works well and is extremely helpful for YouTube and Web searches, among other things. Since typing is frustrating using a remote like this, it’s nice that you can use your voice. The air mouse is also much easier to use than the directional pad-controlled mouse.
The Remote+ can also be used as a gamepad (vertically and horizontally), which is a lot of fun for supported games like Asphalt 8, Grand Theft Auto, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Minecraft, and Modern Combat 5. You can easily switch modes by pressing the mode switching button (above the volume up button).
Probox2 AVA Navigation
Upon booting, which takes a few minutes, you’ll see that the Probox2 AVA uses the Apex UI Launcher; it’s really clean and organized. I love that it gives you access to all of the important things like Settings, Google Play Store, Task Killer, and Media. It also allows you to add your favorite and most-used apps so that you can access them more quickly.
My favorite thing about the launcher is the Task Killer because it does everything right on the Home screen. Once you select Task Killer, it pops up, closes out apps, frees up memory, and it’s done – in just a few seconds. If the system feels a bit laggy, or you’re having an issue with an app, this is the quickest and easiest way to get things back on track.
If you don’t like the Apex UI Launcher, you can use a different launcher, but honestly, why would you want to?
HDMI In Recording and PIP
Even though the Probox2 AVA Android box comes with 16GB of external storage, if you do need more, here are the various ways that you can add additional space:
- 2.5″ SATA internal hard disk
- External hard drive
- USB flash drive
- SD memory card
The biggest difference between the Probox2 AVA and the Probox2 Air that we previously reviewed is the fact that this one supports HD recording for any device connected via HDMI (using the HDMI in port). You can record to any of the supported storage options mentioned above.
It also has a cool PIP (picture-in-picture) mode via a floating window that lets you view an HDMI source while using other apps simultaneously.
Perhaps you want to play a game or use your laptop in PIP mode while watching a movie or YouTube video. You can do that and much more thanks to this impressive feature. You can also drag the floating window anywhere you want; it’s not stuck in just one location.
For testing purposes, I tried another Android TV box that I have in PIP mode and it works great. I was able to navigate and use the box as normal, just on a much smaller scale. Personally, I find that it’s perfect for playing my favorite Android game while watching videos.
Probox2 AVA Specifications
- CPU: Realtek RTD1295DD Quad Core 64bit Cortex A53 CPU
- GPU: ARM Mali-T820MP3 GPU (3-Core)
- Memory: 2GB DDR4
- Wireless Connectivity: 802.11ac, Dual Band WIFI (2.4Ghz / 5.8Ghz), Bluetooth 4.0
- OS: Android 6.0 + OpenWRT (NAS) dual system run simultaneously; supports Samba server, iTunes (DAAP) server, DLNA (UPnP) server, FTP server, AFP function (for Apple TimeMachine), and BitTorrent download function
- Video Input: HDMI 2.0 with HDCP2.2 input, support PIP, HDMI IN stream and stream output via UDP, etc.
- Video Output: HDMI 2.0a with HDCP 2.2 output, support 4K@60fps, HDR, HDMI-CEC Support 23.976 and 29.94
- Audio Output: HDMI 2.0a (support 7.1 HD Audio passthrough and downmix), optical SPDIF
- Power: DC 12V 1.5A adapter (CE, FCC, CCC Certified)
I can’t say enough great things about the Probox2 AVA. It has amazing video quality, top-notch performance (I haven’t experienced any lag or connection issues), and a plethora of features. Being able to record and use PIP for any HDMI device is the icing on the cake. Even with that, you would expect some hiccups in performance, but everything is still just as smooth. Plus, you can easily connect accessories via Bluetooth such as a speaker, mouse, and/or keyboard.
If you want an Android TV box that goes above and beyond the average budget box, definitely give this one a try.