Beelink GT1 Ultimate TV Android HD Box review - Gadget Victims

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Beelink GT1 Ultimate TV Android HD Box review

The Beelink GT1 has evolved into a Ultimate version which adds more storage and memory to an already very successful Android TV Box.

The GT1 Ultimate TV box (Gearbest: 70.28€) is a square of 96mm (16mm thickness) like its predecessors, with the black diamond pattern as the only visible difference from the previous generation.

No fancy colored stripe glowing, no time display, the minimalist design includes only a discrete LED at the front as unique sign of life.

Every connector (1 x Power, 2 x USB, 1 x Optical audio, 1 x HDMI, 1 x  gigabit Ethernet, 1 x microSD card slot) is easily reachable and the "Operation Guide" is the shortest of its kind, showing basically where to plug what.
Of course, the wireless connectivity includes Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac,2.4G+5.8G) and Bluetooth 4.0

The GT1 uses the popular Amlogic S912 Octacore CPU with a Mali-T820MP3 GPU and what makes it a Ultimate variant is the 3GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB of internal storage (vs 2/16 previously). The storage capacity can be extended up to 64GB via the Micro SD card slot.

The IR remote provides has a good range and works well but does not offer the convenience of an Air Mouse with keyboard such as the M3 2.4G Wireless Remote. This is really a worthy 10€ extra to consider with your purchase!

First run...

The initial setup of the GT1 Ultimate consists in selecting the language and a Wi-Fi access point, unless you're using the gigabit Ethernet connection (preferable option when possible).

Once configured, the device boots in around 22 seconds, almost twice as fast as the older Amlogic S905.

Unlike previous Beelink boxes, the unit provided by Gearbest came with the bare minimum selection of apps to be functional as a generic media player.
Below is the exhaustive view of the application drawer. The only fantasy is a game called Fishing Joy ...and you'll certainly want to uninstall this thing straight away.

The launcher is simple and ideal for use with a remote control. The most important functions are directly accessible with a section to add the favorite apps. Different backgrounds can be selected with the menu button on the remote. The movie player shortcut may look odd but it's dedicated to Kodi in the pre-loaded versions.

A very good point for Bee-Link is the presence of a forum on their web-site which includes a firmware download area.

Hardware and performance

The box runs on a rooted Android 6.0.1 Build GT1_311M0 and has a S/N starting with G912, which I assume indicates a recent hardware revision (there are A912 and S912 also). In this case, the eMMC chip is from Kingston and the Wi-Fi chipset is a Longsys LTM8830 on a PCB marked GT-F-V10_20161015. Knowing your hardware components may be important when picking one of the custom firmware available for this device.

I didn't encounter any Wi-Fi issue and the connection has been very solid even with the distant routers, in 2.4 and 5.8GHz.

The 3D Mark score was 5516 and GeekBench 4 gave 553 (Single-Core) / 2346 (Multi-Core). These figures are only here for the score freaks and, in my view, do not reflect the true user experience:  
The box boots fast, gaming performance is excellent (Badland, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Beach Buggy Racing, ...) and it played smoothly the video samples I tried in various compression and resolutions  with no drop outs or excessive heat from the box.

Where is Kodi? 

The Gearbest product page states "the product supports KODI, but you need to install it by yourself"

Selling a clean TV Box is a wise decision in a context where the perfectly legit Kodi app is tagged as "evil" by the authorities in the UK due to the wide spread provision of unofficial add-ons allowing illegal streaming of copyrighted material through Kodi.
The problem has grown to proportions only comparable to the ridiculous and constant price inflation of sport channels subscriptions in this part of the world.

This will also let you perform a clean install of the latest Kodi version from the Play store, while, most pre-loaded TV boxes still come with an older version.

It's then up to you to include the official or third-party add-ons of your choice.

Other must-have apps: Plex, MX Player and DS Video (if you own a Synology NAS).

Conclusion: Solid specs and sober design

The Beelink GT1 Ultimate is a mighty TV Box hidden in a humble-looking casing.

It may not be as eye-catching as my other beautiful M9S Mix (2/16GB) with its glowing multi-coloured glowing stripe, but it offers a more comfortable RAM and storage capacities for the same price.

I like the simplicity of this box and this hardware version has proven very stable so far.

It is currently available from Gearbest for 70.28€.

Special thanks to Kylie @ GearBest for providing this sample.

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