You’ve probably heard of MyGica before – especially if you live in Canada. They’re one of the most popular Android TV boxes for Canada.
MyGica is one of the most popular manufacturers of Android TV boxes in the True North. Like most companies, they’re based in China, but unlike most of the others, they’ve made their Canadian customers a top priority.
They were nice enough to send me a sample of their flagship device, the ATV 1900 Pro, to review and tell you about.
Unfortunately, here’s the part where I need to apologize. You see, they sent me the box back at the beginning of January and, here we are in May and I’m only just now hitting “publish” on this review.
So why the delay?
Well, I bought a house at the very end of 2016, and if any of you are homeowners, you know how much work your first house can be.
To try to make it up to you (and to MyGica), I’ve gone all out with this review. It’s hands-down the most in-depth single device review I’ve ever written – almost 3000 words long.
So, sit back, get comfortable and let’s find out just how good the ATV 1900 Pro really is.
|AmLogic S905, ARM Cortex A53 quad-core CPU
CPU frequency up to 2.0GHz
|2GB RAM & 16GB EMMC
|4x 2.0 ports
|TF Card up to 128GB
|802.11ac Dual band WiFi & Gigabit ethernet (10/100/1000)
|MyGica KR41 2.4G AirMouse with keyboard
Unboxing and First Impressions
Depending on where you live, you might see something very unfamiliar when you pick up the ATV1900’s box: French.
If you’re Canadian, like me, that probably elicited a “ho hum” response from you. We’re pretty used to seeing multilingual packaging. But South of the border, it’s a lot more uncommon.
That being said, the packaging for the MyGica ATV1900 feels…solid. The cardboard box is heavier, with raised, glossy images and super-bright orange lettering. It gives the packaging a more professional, higher-end feel to it. Once inside, the box continues the orange overdose. But, at least it’s not that boring, recycled cardboard, right?
There are three pieces of documentation with the MyGica ATV 1900: the warranty card and two quick-start guides. I’l get into more details on the warranty card in a little bit. The quick start guides (one in English, one in French) walk you through the initial setup process of hooking up the ATV1900 and running through the configuration steps. It will also cover changing some basic settings, adding apps to the favorites section, performing a reset and some basic Kodi setup information.
The rest of the box’s contents fall pretty much in-line with what you’d expect from a major TV box. You’ll find the power adapter, HDMI cable, remote control and two AAA-batteries.
Remember that sheet with the big red stop-sign? That had the MyGica warranty information, and you’ll want to hang on to it.
MyGica gives a one-year fix or replace warranty with every device that covers both software and hardware. If the unit breaks and can’t be fixed, they’ll replace it for you. Accessories like the power adapter and remote are covered by a 30-day warranty. Even the HDMI cable has it’s own warranty, although, they’re cheap enough that you can just replace a faulty cable for cheaper than shipping.
The warranty won’t cover things like obvious abuse or neglect, so don’t get too abusive with your device. Still, it’s nice to see them trying to take care of their customers and making sure that they love their devices.
OK. Maybe not “unlimited.” But, one of the game-changing features that the MyGica ATV1900 Pro has is that it can connect a SATA hard drive for additional storage. It’s not a unique feature to the ATV1900 PRO, but it’s certainly not a common feature either.
One small screw on the bottom of the device will get you easy access to a compartment large enough to hook up a 2.5 inch SATA hard drive. As with most of the Amlogic S905 based devices, this uses a USB 2.0 to SATA controller. That means you shouldn’t expect blazing performance, but you’re still going to get enough bandwidth to stream your videos in HD quality.
How many times have you seen a really nice TV box but they include some cheap generic remote control. Why? Just so you’ll pay to upgrade it. It’s an easy way to get an extra $10 or $20 out of you at checkout.
That’s not the case here. MyGica didn’t skimp on the air-mouse remote that they included with the ATV1900. They included their KR-41 air-mouse remote.
First of all, let’s get the obvious out of the way: its an air-mouse, not just a static remote control. If the remote is sitting in your hand its an easy stretch to hit the button on the top-right hand corner of the remote to toggle between airmouse and D-pad configurations.
Speaking of sitting in your hand, the remote has a pretty good feel to it. It doesn’t have any ergonomic curves to it, but that’s because there’s a full QWERTY keyboard on the back side. The keys have a soft feel to them, like the front buttons. There’s a quiet click to them as you press down. From a tactile point of view, the keys feel good and solid. I just wish there was a backlighting option that you could enable, just in case you’re trying to type in a dark room.
The front of the remote has all of the usual buttons that you need on a TV box remote: Home, Back, Menu, Volume Up and Down, Play\Pause and Stop. There’s also a Page Up and Page Down button to help make scrolling a bit easier. There’s no microphone on the remote, however. Any voice activated commands that you’re used to using won’t work.
Since the KR-41 air-mouse remote can be used with several different devices, even ones that aren’t MyGica branded, you’ll have to plug in the USB adapter before using it. The adapter is stored neatly in the battery compartment when it’s not in use. Powering the remote are two AAA batteries, which are included.
Let’s start with this: Most Android TV box launchers look very similar to each other. If the box is running Google’s official Android TV interface then it’s got the vertical scroll with your recommendations, apps and settings at the bottom. If the box is running a mobile version of Android (this is most of the boxes out there, btw), then it’s going to have a side scrolling format with your main apps on the first page, major settings on the second page and a third section that will show all of your apps at once.
The MyGica Launcher falls into the second category, meaning there’s a lot of competition from other TV boxes.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’ve used any Android TV box before, then you’re going to feel right at home with the MyGica ATV1900 Pro.
The main screen (shown above) puts content front and center. MyGica puts large, colorful icons in two horizontal rows which act as shortcuts to your favourite apps. Interesting to note is that both the Google Play Store and the MyGica Market app are included prominently. I’ll get into the MyGica Market more in a later section.
Unlike some of the other boxes I’ve seen lately, Kodi isn’t given the front-and-center primary spot. MyGica went for a more universal direction and used that main spot to get you to all of your apps (image left). Don’t worry. Kodi still has a special place in the very first spot in the top row.
Personally, I like this direction. There’s more to using a TV box than just Kodi. Some manufacturers hide their “All Apps” section, so it can be difficult to get to an app that’s not on your home screen. This layout takes care of that issue.
A quick swipe to the right will get you to the main settings screen. The MyGica launcher takes a queue from Google’s Android TV operating system. It’s got the familiar large, material design icons to help change your Wi-Fi, Display, Date & Time settings. It’s also where you’ll be able to update the software in the MyGica ATV1900 Pro.
All-in-all, the MyGica launcher provides an easy to use, seamless interface designed to be used comfortably by experienced users and new users alike.
One of the cooler features of any MyGica streaming device is the MyGica Market.
You might be thinking…why would I need another app store?
Normally, I couldn’t blame you. The Google Play Store is installed by default in just about every single device I’ve ever tested. And for good reason. It’s got the largest number of apps that are guaranteed to work on your device. And that’s part of the problem. The apps have to be certified to work on your device, so if you’ve got a less popular device – say, a generic TV box, for example – then you might not have a good selection of apps.
That’s why it’s popular to sideload Android apps like the Amazon App Store, which give you access to thousands more apps. The MyGica Market blends the best of both those ideas. You’ll get apps which are guaranteed to work on your device, but not certified on any specific device.
Let me explain: All of the apps on the MyGica Market will work on any MyGica streaming device. They’ve been specifically chosen because they work. But…you’re not going to be locked out of specific apps just because the app store thinks you have the wrong device. Anything you find on the MyGica Market will install, without the hassle.
As a bonus, you can also find some apps that you won’t find on the Google Play Store, like the Amazon Instant Video app.
I always have to start the benchmarks section by saying that great performance in a benchmark doesn’t necessarily translate to great performance in real life.
Put simply, benchmarks are a good starting point, but there’s more to a great streaming device than great benchmarks.
Overall, the benchmarks for the MyGica ATV1900 Pro fall in line with where I expected them to be. The major competition for the ATV1900 Pro is the MINIX NEO U1 and the SkyStream One. Both are based on the exact same chipset: the AmLogic S905.
The most common overall benchmark test for Android devices is the AnTuTu benchmark. Here the MyGica ATV1900 Pro scored an impressive 36,354 in the overall test. By comparison, the SkyStream One scored 36,454 and the MINIX NEO U1 scored slightly higher at 38,378. It’s worth noting that the NEO U1 was on an older version of AnTuTu, so the scores aren’t necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison.
3DMark has been creating gaming benchmarks for as long as I can remember building my own PC’s. They’ve brought out a couple of generic benchmarks that will work on multiple platforms like Ice Storm, which have become a staple in the Android community.
Here, the MyGica ATV1900 Pro pulled in an overall score of 4307. By comparison the SkyStream One scored slightly less at 4194, while the MINIX NEO U1 scored slightly higher at 4317.
As I mentioned, the performance difference between the three leading AmLogic S905 devices is negligible, which I think is a good thing. If there was a large difference in one of the devices, then I’d be questioning whether one of the manufacturers was tweaking their firmware in order to artificially game the system. Since that didn’t happen and there were no surprises, we can focus on more important things like features and video performance. 🙂
Speaking of video playback…
Kodi v17 Krypton comes standard with the MyGica ATV1900 Pro. Unlike many other devices, this is a bare-bones installation so it lets you setup Kodi however you’d like. The new interface looks familiar to anyone who’s used Netflix or Plex, but it may take some getting used to from long time Kodi users. If you want the old look back, you can always change back to the Confluence skin fairly easily.
Video performance in Kodi is good. It was able to play my network files fairly easily, with only a couple of hiccups with the larger files. 4K movies are fairly large files, so it’s easy for a network to become congested and slow down the playback. In my case, most of my house is hardwired with 100 Mbps Ethernet, but I am wireless to my testing area. 1080p and lower resolution videos worked extremely well. The challenges were when I tried to watch 4K videos of longer than a few minutes. This problem isn’t unique to MyGica though. Anything short of the NVIDIA Shield TV will usually have issues with uncompressed 4K video files.
I’m a fan of Plex. Why? Because Plex always works beautifully – mostly due to how Plex handles video playback. If you’re not familiar with Plex, I’ll give you a little summary here. My Plex server will automatically convert the video file to a resolution that the playback device can handle. It doesn’t matter if the playback device is a mobile phone, a PC or an Android box. The goal is for the end user to have seamless video playback at the best resolution that the device can handle.
Specifically for the ATV1900 Pro, playback looked great with only a couple of seconds of buffering at the beginning of the video. The interface was slick and smooth, just what you’d expect from a polished streaming platform.
Like most other Android boxes, Netflix on the MyGica ATV1900 Pro has its limitations. You won’t be able to get true 4K or even full HD resolution. That has more to do with Netflix certification restrictions than with MyGica though.
The included Netflix app was easy to operate. As I was testing on different size screens, the picture became more and more distorted as I moved up in screen size.
Even though Netflix is being stingy with their certifications, MyGica was able to get several major DRM certifications. One of those is Google’s Widevine certification which lets you watch 4K YouTube videos on the MyGica ATV1900 Pro.
I watch a lot of YouTube video, so this was really important to me. Most of what I watch are the official clips of shows like The Late Show or on Comedy Central, so I don’t have to worry about the actual production quality of the videos. So it’s great when the ATV1900 Pro was able to accurately reproduce the video without any loss of quality. Those particular clips are in HD, but I also fired up some amateur 4K videos of nature shots, which looked amazing.
One of the nice things is that the Amazon Prime video app usually looks terrific, no matter what device you’re on.
The MyGica ATV1900 Pro was no exception.
I watched a few Amazon Prime videos as a test…cough…OK…I binge watched for an entire weekend.
The quality was great. For every video, the system seemed to quickly determine my network speed and set the maximum resolution accordingly. There was minimal buffering on the front end while this happened, and no stoppages during the shows. Everything I’d expect from a premium streaming service. Click here for a free trial of Amazon Prime Video.
You can’t really go wrong with the MyGica ATV1900 Pro. It’s a really solid streaming device based on the AmLogic S905 chipset. That means you can tell two things about it right off the bat. You know that the performance is going to be stellar, and you know that it’s going to have the best compatibility with media centers like Kodi.
But what sets this device apart is the ability to add an extra SSD hard drive to really bump up the storage capacity. Let’s face it, storage is the Achilles heel of most devices…and I’m not just talking about Android boxes. If you’ve outgrown those 16GB boxes, then the ATV1900 Pro is the next logical step. It’s also pretty nice having an official custom app store filled with apps that you know will work because MyGica put them there.
If you’re looking for a great streaming device that gives you the flexibility to add additional storage all for a price that is at, or even cheaper than its main competitors, then I’d recommend checking out the MyGica ATV1900 Pro.