The YAGALA Android 9.0 T95Z TV Box is yet another great choice in the line of the affordable Android TV boxes we have been reviewing over recent weeks. Available for less than $70, it is a powerful piece of hardware that can deliver 4K in up to 60 frames per second.
But, like most of the affordable TV boxes on the market, it is missing a few key things that most users will be willing to pay extra for. Principal among these features are the ability to unlock the major streaming services in 4K, the capacity to deliver Dolby Digital sound, voice control, and the possibility to integrate with the latest smart home system.
So, our verdict is that this is a great, affordable TV box, which is a great choice for anyone looking to upgrade their basic home setup. However, if you have the latest 4K TV and sound system, you will probably want to pay a little bit more for a more powerful and sophisticated TV box.
Read our full review below.
It is a good basic TV box with sophisticated hardware for the price. It also comes with a better remote control than most other affordable TV boxes, but we’re not sure it is worth the extra $15 for the remote when you can get pretty much the same hardware minus the remote for less than $50.
On top of this, the YAGALA option has the same drawbacks as most of the affordable TV boxes on the market these days. That is it won’t unlock the major streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in 4K. For this, you do need to invest in one of the big name, more expensive boxes or an Amazon Fire Stick 4K (more on this below).
You will also miss out on Dolby Digital sound, voice command, and smart home integrations if you choose to go for an affordable rather than a premium TV box, and this is true for this option from YAGALA.
- Android 9.0 Operating System
- Amlogic S905X3 Quad-Core Cortex A53 CPU
- ARM G31 MP2 GPU
- 4 GB RAM
- 32 GB ROM
- USB 2.0
- H.265 hardware decoding
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 2.4 and 5G Wi-Fi
- Gigabit Ethernet Connection
- 4K at 60 frames per second
- Remote and Wireless Keyboard
The basis of this Android TV box is good. It uses the latest Amlogic quad-core and the Android 9.0 operating system. While this is not the most up-to-date Android operating system, it is one of the most stable when it comes to streaming devices.
Combine this with the H.265 hardware decoding and you can expect 4K image quality at 60 frames per second, which is as good as you can expect from any streaming device that costs less than $100.
It has a top of the range Wi-Fi connection for smooth streaming. But if you want the fastest connection, take advantage of the gigabit ethernet port and plug the box straight into your router. This way, you won’t lose any bandwidth.
The hardware set-up isn’t good enough for a smooth experience if you want to use your box as a games simulator. But really, if that is your priority, you need to be looking at one of the premium options.
You also get 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of ROM, which is pretty generous for the price. But it does mean you can’t double up the box as your home media hub. You will want to be storing your entertainment library elsewhere.
We were also disappointed to see that it does not feature USB 3.0, only USB 2.0. This means slower file transfer if you do want to plug your own media files in to stream.
One of the things that sets the YAGALA apart from other affordable Android TV boxes is that it comes with both a standard remote control and a mini-keyboard. This can make searching and navigating a lot easier, especially if you are typing in titles.
However, the box doesn’t come with the voice remote you get with more expensive systems, and a voice remote is a much easier way to navigate your way around the variety of media available.
As an extension of this, it also doesn’t integrate with smart home systems, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. So, you can’t ask your smart speaker to search for the latest episodes of your favorite show while putting the finishing touches on dinner.
The other major drawback with this box is that, while it can deliver 4K streaming, it won’t unlock 4K content on the major streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
This is nothing to do with the technology, and everything to do with authorization. To date, these streaming giants have only authorized access to their 4K content on devices from the big name hardware manufacturers such as Sony and Samsung, as well as Fire TV. So, this is a problem you will encounter with pretty much all “affordable” Android TV boxes.
While we don’t render this as a criticism of the YAGALA box, because this is a problem for the streaming services to solve, it is still a gaping hole in what you will be able to do with the box. For many people, this is what they are looking for when investing in a 4K capable Android TV box, so it can’t be overlooked.
You can read more about how Netflix allows access to their 4K content here.
Our final complaint about the YAGALA box is that it doesn’t deliver any of the latest Dolby Digital sound technology. So, if you have a great home sound system, you won’t be able to make the most of it. This is another drawback of most of the affordable Android TV boxes when compared to premium options like the NVIDIA Shield.
Pros & Cons
- Android 9.0 operating system
- Amlogic quad-core
- Gigabit Ethernet connection
- 4K at 60 frames per second
- No voice control
- No smart home integrations
- Does not unlock major streaming services in 4K
- No Dolby Digital sound
Well, it is a good, affordable Android TV box, and it is a great way to add easy streaming to a basic home media set up. By this we mean a setup that doesn’t include a 4K set or sophisticated sound system.
Even though the box can stream 4K, we don’t recommend it if that is what you are looking for. This is for the simple reason that you won’t be able to stream movies and programs from the main streaming services in 4K, and you will need to settle for 1080P.
It also doesn’t have the Dolby Digital sound that makes the most of a good sound system.
So, if you have a 4K home setup, you probably want to spend a bit more on a box that does deliver these two things. It will probably also give you voice control and smart home integrations, which are nice-to-haves that you also don’t get with the YAGALA.
If you are considering the YAGALA as an affordable, non-4K option, then bear in mind that it is a bit more expensive than comparable cheap boxes. For example, you can get the latest Magicsee box for less than $50, and it matches the YAGALA in all its tech. With the YAGALA, you get the mini-keyboard remote, but it is up to you whether that is worth the extra $15 to $20.
The YAGALA Android 9.0 T95Z TV Box is available on Amazon for less than $70. It doesn’t come with Prime delivery options, but you do get free returns if you aren’t happy with the unused product for any reason.
We have already suggested that the Magicsee Android 9.0 TV box is a cheaper alternative to the YAGALA if you do decide you are happy with a basic Android TV box without all the bells and whistles. It is available for less than $50.
However, if you want those premium features that are missing from the YAGALA, but you don’t want to pay a lot more for it, then your best option is the Fire Stick 4K. It is also available for just less than $50. That doesn’t include an ethernet connection, like you get with the YAGALA, but you can buy that separately for an extra $15.
While the mini Fire Stick is less powerful than the YAGALA, it comes with Dolby Digital sound, access to the main streaming services in 4K, the Alexa voice remote (worth $30 alone), and integrates with Amazon Alexa smart home systems, but not Google Assistant.
But if the Fire Stick 4K is so great, why doesn’t everyone just use that? Well, there are serious drawbacks. The most important is reflected in the fact that the Fire Stick doesn’t integrate with Google Assistant. Fire TV uses its own Fire operating system, which is very locked down.
Unlike on a standard Android TV box, you can’t go to the Google Play Store and download whatever you like. You are limited to what is available in the Amazon store. You can get around this by sideloading apps, but most basic streamers won’t want to get into this.
The other major problem with the Fire Stick is the search function. Whatever you search for and whatever streaming services you subscribe to, Fire will always return Amazon products first. That means you can see a movie that you will need to pay for to stream on Amazon before seeing the same movie you can stream for free via another service that you also use.
Yes, you can work around this, but it is very annoying.
So, when it comes to choosing the best affordable Android streaming device for you, it is about deciding what is important, what inconvenience you are willing to live with, and making your selection.
If you are considering the YAGALA Android 9.0 T95Z TV Box as an affordable TV box solution, then it is a good choice, and it comes with a better remote control than most affordable TV boxes.
But do weigh it up against your other options.
If you aren’t worried about the mini-keyboard remote, then you can get the same tech for less. If you want to be able to stream Netflix in 4K, then you need to be looking at a premium TV box or compromising on a Fire Stick 4K.
Have you used the YAGALA Android 9.0 T95Z TV Box? Share your experience with the community in the comments section below.