If you are searching for an affordable TV box to “smartify” your TV and start streaming your favorite content, then you have probably come across the T9 Android 9.0 TV Box.
This is a highly affordable box that you can purchase for under $35. It’s simple to use: plug and play, and you will have a smart TV through which you can stream all your favorite media content.
However, if you have a 4K TV set up, we don’t recommend getting this box. While it can deliver 4K at 30 frames per second, you don’t need to pay much more for a box that will deliver even better picture and sound quality via your set up. Also, it won’t unlock 4K on any of the major streaming services, which is what most people with a 4K TV are looking for.
But if you don’t have a 4K TV, and you just want an affordable Android TV box to make your set up smart, this product is an excellent choice.
It is a good solid box that will keep most basic users happy, and you will struggle to find a better box at such a competitive price. So if you don’t have a 4K TV setup at home, then this is one of the best and most affordable ways to “smartify” your entertainment system.
If you do already have a 4K set up, pay an extra $20 and you can get your hands on a box that should probably be considered a generation ahead of this one and will deliver better image and sound quality.
Also, while most basic 4K users will probably be more than happy with this box, and don’t need the next generation, there is one glaring problem.
While the box can deliver Ultra HD 4K image quality, it won’t allow you to access this content on major streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. So you will find yourself watching their 4K content in 1080P, despite having a box powerful enough to deliver more.
This is a problem with “the system” for authorizing boxes to unlock this content, rather than an issue with the T9 TV box itself. Nonetheless, it is still a problem that can’t be overlooked.
Considering the price tag, we are pretty impressed with the specifications of this device.
- Android 9.0 Operating System
- Ultra HD 4K at 30 frames per second
- RK3318 Quad-Core CPU
- Mali-450MP2 GPU
- 2GB of RAM
- 16GB of ROM
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Wi-Fi 2.4 / 5.0 G
- USB 2.0
- USB 3.0
- TF Card Slot
- 100M Ethernet
- H.265 processing
The hardware on which this box is built is solid. It is not the most powerful core on the market, but it is more than enough to do the job of streaming, as long as you are not planning to use your TV box for gaming as well.
The T9 Android 9.0 will deliver full Ultra HD 4K image quality at 30 frames per second. However, it doesn’t seem to match this with its sound quality, as there is no indication that the box uses any of the latest Dolby sound features.
Ths box is not yet using the latest Android 10.0 operating system, but the jury is still out on whether Android 9.0 or 10.0 delivers a better experience when it comes to streaming. The 9.0 OS was developed specifically with streaming in mind, and does it well, so there is not much in it when choosing between 9.0 and 10.0.
The box only has 2GB of RAM for processing, which again should be enough if you aren’t gaming, especially as it uses H.265 processing to minimize the amount of RAM needed.
We are impressed to see 16GB of ROM on such an affordable box, and that it offers both USB 2.0 and 3.0. USB 3.0 offers file transfer ten times faster than 2.0. There is also a TF card slot if you want to expand the box’s storage capacity.
The T9 also competes with next-generation boxes in terms of its WiFi and Bluetooth specifications. You should be able to connect more than one device to your box at a time using Bluetooth 4.0. We also like to see that it has an Ethernet option, so that you can make the most of your bandwidth.
But aside from the absence of Dolby sound features, there are two other big things missing from this box.
First, there are no voice remote options. So you will need to navigate the on-screen keyboard with those fiddly directional arrows rather than just telling the box what you want.
As an extension of this, the box is not designed to integrate with smart home systems, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. While this is only a nice-to-have feature, it is pretty much standard with most higher-end TV boxes these days, and it is something that some users will miss.
The other big problem is that despite having the specs to stream in 4K, the T9, like most affordable TV boxes, won’t let you watch content from the major streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, in full 4K.
This is not a problem with the specs of the box. Rather, the streaming services have limited 4K access to approved devices. And while the list includes all the major brands such as Samsung, Sony, and Fire TV, it does not extend to the smaller and lesser-known brands, such as T9.
While T9 can’t really be blamed for this problem, if streaming from major services in 4K is something that is important to you as a user, then this box is not for you.
You can read more about how Netflix authorization for accessing their 4K content works here. You need an authorized device, and you also need to pay extra for a premium account.
- Highly affordable option for converting a standard home entertainment system into a smart system.
- Good hardware and operating system for streaming, though it probably won’t support optimal gaming.
- Good amount of storage for the price, and USB 3.0 for stable, fast file transfers.
- Can deliver Ultra HD 4K at 30 frames per second.
- Uses the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology
- Does not offer the latest Dolby audio features
- No voice command
- Does not include smart home integrations that will allow it to work with Amazon Alexa or Google Smart Assistant
- Does not unlock Netflix or Amazon Prime Video in 4K
Overall, we think that this balance of pros versus cons supports our analysis of 3/5 stars, and our recommendation that this affordable box is only really suitable for people who want to “smartify” a non-4K set up on a budget.
If you have invested in a 4K TV, you probably also have a pretty good sound system, so it is worth paying the extra $20 for a box that also delivers Dolby audio.
Also, if you have a 4K TV, you probably also want to watch your favorite shows on Netflix in the same bandwidth, and this box just won’t let you do so.
While new streamers might not be overly concerned about voice control and smart home integration, anyone who is accustomed to using these services will notice their absence.
Cost And Buying
This Android TV Box from T9 definitely falls into the “budget” price range, as you can get your hands on one from Amazon for less than $35. You won’t find a cheaper box of this quality elsewhere.
However, if you are looking for a device that will give you access to Netflix and Prime Video in 4K, and has that fun voice control functionality, then for an extra $15-20 you can get the Fire TV Stick 4K.
However, when you go with a Fire TV device, the sacrifice that you are making is that you have to work with the Fire TV operating system.
This is frustrating as, unlike with the Android system, you can only download apps from the Amazon app store, which has a more limited range than the Google Play Store. If there is an app that you really want, you can sideload it to your Fire TV device, but this is not a workaround that everyone wants to deal with.
The other big frustration with Fire devices is that they always return Amazon-related search results first. This means that it might return an Amazon search result that you have to pay for above a free search result from a subscription service that you already pay for. Again, this is not an insurmountable problem, but it is annoying.
You can read our complete review of the Amazing Fire Stick 4K here.
If you are looking for a pure Android TV box that can unblock Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in full 4K, then you are looking at quite a big price jump in order to get your hands on something like the NVIDIA Shield. You can read our review of the NVIDIA Shield here.
The T9 is remarkable for just how good the hardware is for less than $35, but this box is not ideal for everyone.
This product is a great choice if you want a cheap way to turn a basic home entertainment system (one that is not 4K-ready) into a smart system.
But if you have a 4K setup and you want to make the most of your audio system and your 4K streaming subscriptions, then this box will not deliver what you need.
When it comes to choosing the right streaming box, know what you need and what is important to you, and then finding a box that can deliver it.
The T9 is a good choice if you are just looking for an affordable way to upgrade a TV for smart streaming, and you aren’t interested in 4K, Dolby audio, or fancy voice control or smart home integration.
Do you have a T9 Android 9.0 TV Box? What do you think of it? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments section below.