The time has came for me to upgrade my home Openelec PC setup. I spent enough time reading about different options in different forums & websites. One thing was clear that ARM CPU Amlogig S905 does pretty good job. Based on my preferences for the design, I ended up with two candidates. One of them is Q Box TV Box, while another is Wetek Play 2S.
The HW&SW of Q Box TV Box
There are different Chinese manufacturers of Q Box TV but typically the Q Box TV comes with CPU Amlogic S905 2.0GHz (Cortex-A53) and GPU Mali-450. It is equipped with Android version 5.1. It looks that there are two variants of the Q Box TV. 1st version is with 2G of RAM and 8G of flash and 2nd is with 2G RAM and 16G flash. The rest of specs is the same for both.
They support Dual band WiFi 2.4GHz and 5GHz plus Bluetooth 4.0 and they have 1xRJ45 connector with 10/100M/1000 Ethernet. Each device has 2xUSB ports and 1xHDMI 2.0 connector with HDMI CEC protocol support (what makes your life a bit easier). Plus there is one optical SPDIF to connect to your audio amplifier trough audio DAC. It sound not that bad as for Android system.
Performance of Q Box TV
The guys on XDA forum performed video tests with Q Box TV by using different video sources like WiFI, RJ45 and USB drive. Briefly we can summarize the results.
There are some differences depending which video source is used. The list of the sources is sorted in degrading order USB->RJ45->WiFi. The conclusion is such that local video files are played the best.
One interesting aspect is the ability to play 4k videos of this device. Practically speaking, it is still quite far away from getting a lot of 4k video content but it shows the systems potential & video computational power and how long you can live with that system 😉
One conclusion, which we can make, that 4k videos play fine the videos with bitrate less than 120 mbps and the bitrate of 200 mbps starts to shutter but that is probably fair enough. You can get it on for less than 70USD or equivalent either on Amazon or eBay websites.
The HW&SW of Wetek Play 2
Basically, it has the same CPU: Quad-core (Amlogic S905H), I am not sure what is the letter of the CPU in Q TV box. The same GPU Mali MP-450 Penta core is also installed as in Q box TV. The RAM amount (2 GB DDR III) and Flash memory (8 GB eMMC) equals the 1st version of the Q Box TV.
It also supports the modular tuners: DVB-S2 (satellite), DVB-C/T/T2 (cable/terrestrial) and ATSC (North America, South Korea).
Both wireless standards are also supported 802.11 B/G/N (2.4GHz) and 5 Ghz.
Rest is the same as for Q Box TV except the USB ports and Micro SD (MicroSD: 1x, USB 2.0: 3 External, 2 Internal). Likewise, it has a serial debug port.
The hardware decoding of different audio or software codecs should be the same for both Q Box TV and Wetek Play 2.
Another difference is that Wetek gives 2 years warranty. I am not sure how it is handled but most likely you would have to send it to closest support center.
The price on eBay is ~160 Eur, the official Wetek website shows this device as Sold out.
Let’s conclude the differences
The hardware is practically the same except small differences like USB ports and Micro SD support. I do not know the difference of soldering but that can hardly translate into 50Eur price difference 😉
However, there are some differences for the software. Well, not about supported Android version itself but who writes the software. In Wetek case, the software development is done by well established Kodi TV team, which have released already many different releases of Kodi or OpenElec. That might mean also longer support of the device compared to Q Box TV 😉 Of course, there is a chance that the images (firmwares) for Wetek might work on Q Box TV boxes too. Last difference – you get 2 years warranty from Wetek (which you might or not use).
At the end, probably both options remain quite attractive depending on your preferences – either price tag of Q Box TV or potentially better written (and longer support?) software.