Meet the Tanix TX3 Max TV Box

Mar 9, 2018


The Tanix TX3 Max is one of the easiest ways to make your TV smarter for less than 40€.






Like its predecessor, the Tanix TX3 Mini, this new TX3 Max is built on the popular S905W chipset which makes it a very affordable (37.30€/45$) Android TV Box, but with a difference.

Unboxing


The tiny Tanix (LxWxH=10.5cm, ~150gr) comes complete with a 5V2A power adapter, one HDMI cable and an infrared remote, with numbered keys this time.
There's also a small leaflet, the kind that nobody reads.



The specifications are as follow:
OS: Android 7.1 with Alice UX
CPU: S905W up to 2.0 GHz, Quad core ARM Cortex-A53
GPU: Mali-450 penta-core, up to 750MHz+(DVFS)
RAM: 2GB DDR3 (a 1GB version exists but just don't bother...)
Storage: 16GB eMMC
Wifi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n (2.4Ghz)
RJ45 10M/100M (no Gigabit? bummer!)
Bluetooth: 4.1
SPDIF: Coaxial (Optical)
2 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x HDMI 2.0

The supplied remote is just good enough to cover the basic operations but, as for most TV boxes, it is really worth investing an extra 9€ in a fully featured Air Mouse with keyboard and back lit keys, like the excellent MX3, or the TZ-P3.


For the initial installation, I used my good old IS11-BT05 keyboard as a matter of testing the Bluetooth connectivity which has been added in the TX3 Max.


The first time setup is straightforward and gets you up and running in 5 simple steps. As expected TX3 Max could only see the 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi connection.


Beside the addition of Bluetooth, the main difference with the older TX3 Mini is the improved user interface, Alice UX.

Alice! (who the **** is Alice?)
[Smokie - Living Next Door to Alice]



As presented on Tanix web site, the user experience offered by the Alice interface is the big selling point that distinguishes the TX3 Max from similar boxes in this price range, like the Alfawise S95
While it does nothing revolutionary, it is really nice, well organized and easy to use.

Software and overall performance

This unit came with the ROM build 20171226 and (cold) boots into Android 7.1.2 in about 15 seconds.





According to Tanix, the Alice interface will self update independently from the system update.
During the few days of testing, 2 OTA updates were pushed via UPDATE&BACKUP. I skipped the first one as it suggested that some content would have to re-installed.


The next day, a new ota was available and I didn't loose anything - despite a scary message "applying factory reset" - at the beginning of the update operation.


Not only is the Android 7.1 rooted, but customizing the ROM is made very easy with the availability of the Xposed framework patch. Kodi 17.3 Krypton ("TV Center") is of course included in the factory ROM but a dual OS edition with Android and LibreELEC (a Kodi-dedicated OS) is also available.


The device performs well as a sub-40€ TV Box
It will run Kodi perfectly fine and play videos up to Full HD @ 60fps and run most Android applications and games flawlessly. Navigation can be sluggish during multitasking operations (e.g. while Kodi updates its libraries) due to the limited S905W chipset.



It is not: a 4K player.
Taxing advertising this a 4K-capable box reminds me of those cheap 4K sportcams hardly able to achieve the claimed resolution by interpolation but clearly not having the guts for that.
Everything in the TX3 Max warns you against proper 4K streaming:
- 10/100 Ethernet (no Gigabit),
- Wifi 2.4Ghz only,
- Benchmark scores (Geekbench: 481/1293),
- S905W chipset (by design limited to 4K@30fps max).

It is not: a gaming console.
The performance may be adequate for most games, but making this a gaming console was clearly not on Tanix to-do list. For instance, it can pair with a Bluetooth game pad but the TX3 firmware is not able to make any use of it in games. Some boxes can do it, some others don't.


If 4K playback and serious gaming are absolutely needed, do invest in a more expensive box with a more powerful chipset (like the S912), Gigabit Ethernet and 5.8G Wi-Fi, like the Beelink GT1 ultimate.


Conclusion:

If it was just for the hardware, the TX3 Max would be just another TV box lost in the ocean of models available.

But Tanix stands out from the crowd by being more creative on the software side, with the ingenious Alice UX interface, an also the customization options offered.

The factory firmware makes the best out of the modest S905W chipset and I could see that the OTA service was not a joke with Tanix.

For less than 40€ (37.30€/45$ at Gearbest), the TX3 Max is what it is meant to: an affordable "Kodi-box" and probably one of the best in its category.

Always consider a good air mouse to get the best User eXperience (like the TZ-P3 reviewed here).



Rooted
Great user interface
Easy to customize
Good performance for the use as TV Box)

 Basic remote
 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi Band only
 Not a good gamer




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