If you are looking for an affordable Android TV box to make streaming your favorite content to the big screen in your living room possible, then the Magicsee Android 9.0 N5 Max TV box, which has been around since 2019, should still be on your list to consider.
For less than $50, you can get a box capable of delivering 4K at 60 frames per second, which is significantly faster than a lot of the other affordable TV boxes on the market. It also has a powerful CPU for the price tag and a stable operating system that will keep most viewers happy.
But despite all this, it has to be said that this box is basic. It is great for making a daily basic TV set up smart, but if you have invested a lot in your home entertainment system, it won’t be up to scratch.
In particular, it doesn’t deliver Dolby sound, it doesn’t have voice control, it doesn’t have any smart home integrations, and it won’t unlock the major streaming services in 4K.
So, our verdict is that if you want to turn a basic, non-4K, home entertainment system into a smart system, this box should be one of the first you consider. But if you are looking for an Android TV box to act as the streamer at the center of a sophisticated 4K system, you are unlikely to be satisfied with this box.
Let’s take a closer look.
It is a very good, affordable Android TV box with a powerful CPU that will let you watch your own 4K content at 60 frames per second. You won’t find better tech under the hood for the same price tag.
But there are some important things missing, which means the box loses serious points! You will find all the details in our full review below.
- Amlogic S905X3 64 Bit Quad-Core CPU
- G31 MP2 GPU
- Android 9.0 OS
- 4K at 60 frames per second
- 4 GB RAM
- 32 GB ROM
- USB 2.0 and 3.0
- Wi-Fi 2.4 and 5 GHz
- Ethernet connection
- Bluetooth 4.1
The Amlogic quad-core that powers this TV box is good. There are better CPUs out there in premium boxes, but this is more than powerful enough to manage standing streaming activities without any irritating delays. It won’t be powerful enough for anyone who is thinking about using their TV box as a game emulator as well, but those users really should be looking at a premium box.
The box runs off the Android 9.0 operating system, which users should be happy with. While there are some affordable TV boxes out there that are already running off Android 10.0, it is actually debatable which one is better. While 10.0 is your most up-to-date operating system, 9.0 was designed with Android TV in mind, so it is still one of the most stable operating systems for your TV box.
The result is a box that uses H.265 10-bit decoding to deliver 4K picture quality at 60 frames per second. This is faster than many of the other affordable Android TV boxes on the market that are only offering 30 frames per second.
The available 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of ROM is pretty generous for a machine of this cost, and it will provide a stable system that shouldn’t run out of space for most streaming activity. You wouldn’t want to make this box your home media storage hub, but you can connect directly to an external storage device holding all your personal media using the superfast USB 3.0 connection.
But considering how good all of that sounds, why don’t we recommend this box for everyone with a 4K set up?
First, while it promises great picture quality, it doesn’t live up to the delivery on sound. The box doesn’t deliver any of the latest Dolby Digital Sound technology. So, if you have invested in a good quality sound system alongside your 4K TV, you are going to be very disappointed with the performance you get through this box.
Next, while you will be able to watch all of your own content in delightfully good quality 4K, what most streamers want is to be able to watch content from their favorite streaming services – yes, we’re talking about Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in 4K. You won’t be able to do it with this box.
The problem is not the technology, but rather that these streaming services have not authorized these boxes to access their 4K content. These services have an interest in ensuring that their 4K content looks good when it is delivered, so they do not stream it to just any device. Instead, they have a list of devices authorized to access this content.
Technology providers have to apply to have their boxes approved, and all the boxes from the big names such as Sony, Samsung, and Fire TV are approved and on the list. But boxes from small manufacturers, like this one, struggle to get on the list. Whether they can’t afford the process or whether the streaming services aren’t really interested in approving them is unclear. But either way, you aren’t getting the content.
You can read more about how Netflix allows access to their 4K content here.
If this is not a deal-breaker for you, then the other thing to consider is how you control the box. Most of the sophisticated TV boxes these days come with voice remotes. This means you can just ask the box for what you want, rather than using the fiddly navigation. This is especially useful when it comes to spelling things out on the onscreen keyboard.
There is no voice remote for this machine or indication that it would integrate with a voice remote if you decided to buy one separately.
As an extension of this, it also does not integrate with any of the smart home systems, like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. So, you can’t ask your smart speaker to load up your favorite program for you while you are finalizing things in the kitchen.
While these both feel like “nice-to-haves” rather than necessities, anyone accustomed to using these features will feel their absence.
Pros & Cons
- Powerful Amlogic quad-core
- Stable Android 9.0 operating system
- 4K at 60 frames per second
- USB 3.0 connection
- No Dolby Digital sound
- Does not unlock major streaming services in 4K
- No voice control
- No smart home integrations
But there is no escaping that it is missing a few of the essentials that most streamers are looking for these days. Specifically, there is no high-end sound delivery. You won’t get access to 4K content on the major streaming services. There is no voice remote. And you can’t use the TV box with your smart home set up.
That is why we say, if you have a basic home entertainment set up and you want an affordable TV box to make streaming a breeze, then this box is a great choice that has a lot to offer.
But if you have a high-end system with 4K image quality and a nice surround sound system or if you use a smart home system, this box will be a disappointment.
You can get your hands on the Magicsee Android 9.0 N5 Max TV Box for just $50 on Amazon, and it comes with free returns if you aren’t happy with the unused product for any reason.
What’s your alternative?
If you are looking for an alternative that fills the gaps in what the Magicsee offers, the only choice is the Fire Stick 4K, which you can get for the same price.
While it is a bit less powerful than the Magicsee, it has all of the things it lacks. You get Dolby Digital sound, access to streaming services in 4K, and the Amazon voice remote. It also integrates with the Amazon Alexa home entertainment system.
The downside with the Fire Stick is that you have to use the Fire operating system, which is much more locked down than the standard Android operating system. There are certain apps that you are restricted in downloading. You can get around this by sideloading apps, but this is not something everyone wants to be bothered with.
Also, when you use the Fire search function, it always returns Amazon items first, even if you have to pay for them, even if you already have access to the content from another one of your subscriptions. This is frustrating, but perhaps worth it to get access to the other features at the price.
The Magicsee Android 9.0 N5 Max Android TV Box is one of the best affordable Android TV boxes on the market. It is powerful with a great CPU. It is stable and operates on the Android 9.0 system. The Magicsee can deliver 4K in 60 frames per second. It is hard to believe you can get so much for less than $50.
But whenever you choose an affordable Android TV box, you are making sacrifices. Affordable TV boxes tend to be missing three key features.
First, there is no voice remote. Second, it doesn’t integrate with smart home systems. Third, and most importantly, it is not authorized to access major streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in 4K. You will have to settle for 1080P.
So, it is really a choice between an affordable TV box or paying a little bit extra for the features that make streaming worthwhile.
Have you used the Magicsee Android 9.0 N5 Max Android TV Box? Share your experience with the community in the comments section below.