Updated January 2021
Back in 2015, the MINIX Neo X8-H Plus was my go-to TV box, so I always keep an eye on their new releases. I have to say I am impressed by the new MINIX TV Android TV box that they released in 2019. It is a powerful little machine at a reasonable price-tag, though there are a few things missing, which means it will not be becoming my new go-to box any time soon.
If you are considering investing in this new MINIX device, read my complete review below to help you make your decision.
We’ll also compare it to a few of the other top Android TV boxes to put your choice in perspective.
About The MINIX Neo T5
The Neo T5 is the latest Android TV box produced by Hong Kong company MINIX and it was released in October 2019, so you can expect a high-spec box. It delivers 4K at 60 frames per second and has Dolby Audio, and the box does it all pretty smoothly with the use of Android 9.0 Pie operating system for Android TV.
The interface is sleek and very open, allowing you to download what you want and customize your way without too much effort.
The black mark against this box is that, like many Android TV boxes from smaller brands, it is not authorized to let you stream Netflix or Prime Video in 4K. As this is one of the things that most streamers are looking for, this is a big problem.
Streamers looking to do more complex things, such as gaming, will also be disappointed as it’s just not quite up to the task.
For this reason, I would give this box a 3.5 out of 5. It does the job, but it is hard to overlook the Netflix problem and won’t impress anyone looking for something a little bit more powerful.
MINIX Neo T5 Specs
So, what exactly can you expect under the good of a MINIX Neo T5. Here is a list of the top-line specs.
- Quad-Core Cortex A53 Processor (64-bit)
- Mali-G31 MP2 GPU
- Android TV 9.0 Pie
- 2 GB of ROM
- 16 GB of RAM
- Dual-Band Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.2
- Gigabit Ethernet connection
- HDMI 2.1
- Dolby Audio
- HEVC hardware decoding
- HDR 10+
- Micro SD card reader
- USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports
- Voice remote with Google Assistant
- Google Certification
- Chromecast Built-In
MINIX Neo T5 Review
OK, so that is a nice looking list of specs, but what does it all mean when it comes to performance? Let’s take a look.
This machine is mid-range when it comes to processing power. Its Cortex A53 quad-core processor is good and is more than up to the job, but it is nothing compared to the Tegra X1+ that you’ll find in the NVIDIA Shield or the AMLogic quad-core in the SkyStream Pro 8K.
The MINIX also only has 2 GB of ROM, where you can expect 4 GB from most modern boxes. But it is enough to do the job thanks to smart processing, such as HDR10+.
This means it can still deliver top-quality 4K image content at 60 frames per second. It also pushes out Dolby Audio if you have the right audio set up.
It uses the Android Pie 9.0 operating system that is specifically designed for Android TV. This means the smoothest possible running for TV formats, possibly even better than Android 10.0.
But, the big downside with this box is that it won’t unlock Netflix or Prime Video content in 4K. While the hardware is good enough to do it, the MINIX is not on the list of approved Android TV Box to stream this content. So, this is an admin issue rather than a technical issue, but it is still an issue and will be a deal-breaker for some streamers.
It has a good chunk of storage with 16 GB of RAM and there is an SD/TF card slot, which allows you to significantly extend the memory.
This is good news for anyone who wants to personalize their system, as it has space. The Android 9.0 operating system also means your setup is very open, with no restrictions like you see, for example, with Amazon Fire products.
The dual-band Wi-Fi is top of the range, and it also has a Gigabit Ethernet connection, which means you can plug it directly into your broadband for the fastest internet connection available to you.
The remote control is not as attractive as some remotes, but it does have Google Voice Command, which functions well.
It also has Chromecast built-in, so if you prefer to send things directly from your smartphone rather than use the remote, you can do that too!
The MINIX box is also authorized by Google to act as the hub of a Google Smart Home set up, so you can use your box and your voice remote to control all of the Google-enabled smart devices in your home.
So, all in all, while it might not be the most advanced or powerful Android TV box you can buy, it is a good box that will do everything you need with the exception of unlocking Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in 4K. This might just be one thing, but it is a pretty important one.
Anyone who wants to do more with their box than stream, for example, do gaming, will also be disappointed, as the MINIX simply isn’t designed to handle that kind of content.
MINIX Compared To Other Android TV Boxes
You can buy the MINIX Neo T5 on Amazon for $75, which means it is about mid-range when it comes to the Android TV boxes.
Most of the other Android TV boxes you will get at this price-tag have very similar specs to the MINIX and the same problem. While capable of delivering good quality 4K content, they aren’t authorized to unlock 4K on Netflix or Prime Video.
If you want 4K authorization on these streaming services, you often need to invest in a more expensive device, such as the NVIDIA Shield or the Amazon Fire Cube.
MINIX vs NVIDIA Shield
The NVIDIA Shield is quite a bit more expensive, costing at around $200 for the full player and $150 for a light version. But, for your extra dollars, you not only get access to the major streaming services in 4K, but you get the Tegra X1+ processor and a platform designed to support serious gamers.
It also integrates with both Google Smart Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you can use whichever smart home system you prefer, rather than being restricted to Google.
MINIX vs Amazon Fire Cube
For $120, you can get the Amazon Fire TV Cube. It also has the capability to deliver Netflix and Prime Video in 4K, but it doesn’t have anything for the gamers. It also runs a more locked-down version of the Android operating system, which blocks some downloads and personalization, which can be frustrating.
Also, when you search on Fire TV, you always get Amazon options first, even if the content you are looking for is available on another streaming service that you subscribe to. But the bonus with the Amazon Fire Cube is that it is also a fully-fledged Amazon Alexa speaker, so you can set it up as your smart home hub.
MINIX vs Fire Stick 4K
For about the same price as the MINIX, you can get the Fire TV Stick 4K, which is also authorized to unlock Netflix and Prime Video in 4K. It is more affordable than the Cube, but it doesn’t have an Ethernet connection and can’t act in the place of an echo speaker.
So, it doesn’t have the same level of internet access as the Cube, unless you buy an extra connection, and while it works with Alexa, it can’t act as a home hub.
MINIX vs Best Budget Boxes
But, for about half the price, you can find a budget Android TV box that almost delivers the same. I’ve recently reviewed both the Pendoo T95 and the Transpeed 10.0, both of which cost less than $40. For this, you get almost the same specs as the MINIX, but with the same problem of no Netflix in 4K.
The other thing that is missing is that you can’t use either of these devices as your Google Smart Home Hub. But if that is not something you are looking for, then these boxes offer a lot better value than the MINIX.
Overall, the majority of people who have invested in this new MINIX device are pretty happy. Around 75%of purchases score the box four stars or above.
Comments mostly include that it is easy to set up and get started and that the remote control is intuitive and simple to use. Quite a few noted that it also runs cooler than other boxes that they have used, so there are fewer worries about overheating.
Negative reviews pretty much all relate to the fact that it does not unlock Netflix in 4K, something which MINIX makes clear in their advertising.
The MINIX is a good quality Android TV box, and if you have one at home, you are bound to be happy with it. But it just isn’t quite good enough to be very competitive on the market.
It doesn’t unlock Netflix or Prime Video in 4K, which is a big problem for some streamers. And, if you are willing to live with this, you can get a box with almost the same specs for around half the price.
The only reason you might decide to pay a bit more for the MINIX is that it can also act as your Google Smart Home Hub and you can use the voice remote that comes with it to control all of your Google Smart devices. If that is what you are looking for, then it is certainly worth it.
Do you have the new MINIX Neo T5 at home? What do you think of it? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments section below.