Android TV boxes provide a superior TV viewing, streaming and gaming experience. But between the super duper expensive options on sites like Amazon and the long list of off-brand names on eBay, finding a nice TV box that does all you want is something of a hassle.
That’s where AliExpress TV boxes come into the picture, and in this review, I’ll pull out the best AliExpress Android TV boxes you can buy right now, so you don’t have to go through the headache of searching for and making an informed pick.
Best overall – Vontar KK Max
The Vontar KK Max is probably the most powerful Android TV hardware you can get at an affordable price on AliExpress. With a robust quad core processor and options to go between 4GB – 8GB of RAM, this thing has all it takes to handle all your TV viewing needs seamlessly.
It’s super fast for the price, so navigating through menus, switching through channels, and everything else rolls off smoothly. That 4, or 6GB RAM chip onboard, paired with a hefty 32GB, 64GB or even 128GB of storage, gives you all the leeway to host or stream whatever kind of content.
And speaking of content, this box supports 4K and crispy clear 8K video. But note you’ll have to have a 4K/8K compatible screen to enjoy any of that extreme video detail. To connect to your screen, you get an HDMI output. For connecting to your smart home network, the Vontar KK max ships with an ethernet port and support for high-speed Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It’s everything you’ll need in an Android TV box and then some.
The OS from the factory is Android 11 – the most recent Android OS available. Vontar reskins the OS with its own custom UI, but you still get the full complement of Android TV-ready apps you’ll need – YouTube, Netflix, the whole works.
The only noticeable drawback with this setup is the lack of an air-remote controller for the base model. And I’m sure many won’t miss it or care for it altogether. If you do decide to spend a few more bucks, you can get one included in the package.
Overall, I’d say the Vontar KK Max is the closest you can get to a perfect Android TV box at this price. It’s excellent in design and feature packed to not lack anywhere important.
1st runner up – Mecool KM2
With its simple and minimalistic look, the Mecool KM2 is one of the more refined Android TV boxes on sale. It’s pretty much plug and play, as it’s one of the very few Chinese Android boxes that ships with Android TV OS (not just Android OS) out of the box. Android TV OS is more optimized for TV and generally easier to use than regular Android reskinned for TV, which is what the Vontar Max KK has.
All of that fluid UI is powered by a chunky Amlogic processor. You get 2GB of RAM as standard and a decent-sized 8GB of internal storage. Not the best numbers, certainly not up to par with the KK max intimidating 8GB/128GB configuration but still good enough to handle the average user’s streaming and video content viewing needs.
If you’re looking for a system to serve as a host for locally stored content, then you’re probably better off with the KK max, although it’s fair to note that the KM2 does ship with a MicroSD slot for expanding storage.
Video quality from the KM2 is excellent since it can spit out 4K footage. It can’t upscale to 8K, like the KK max, but you almost certainly don’t need 8K – most content for TV is produced in HD, some come out in 4K, 8K video is a rarity, and even then you need supporting hardware, an 8K ready TV to enjoy any of that glorious detail.
As far as connectivity goes, you get everything that’s necessary. High-speed Wi-Fi is standard, there’s no Bluetooth like on the Vontar KK max, but you do get the same ethernet port for LAN communication.
One place where the KM2 however outshines the KK max is with its inclusion of Dolby Digital audio and Dolby Atmos. These options allow it to provide a richer audio experience, emphasizing the refined nature of this Android TV box.
2nd runner up – Xiaomi Mi TV box
The Mi TV box is one of the real OG of Android TV boxes. Like the Mecool, this comes with Android TV OS out of the box. It’s super easy to set up and even easier to use. Plus, there are tons of apps preloaded and even more supported, so you never have to worry about accessing your favorite content.
It’s a pretty capable setup too. Again like the Mecool, this ships with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. Unfortunately, there’s no SD card expansion slot, so you’ll have to make do with 8GB of internal storage. Not a problem if you’re mostly streaming content, but if you plan on downloading your stuff, then this is a noteworthy limitation.
The Mi TV box can handle 4K content which is no surprise really, and like the Mecool, it also supports Dolby audio for a richer sound listening experience.
High-speed Wi-Fi is included. There’s no ethernet port so take note if you’re planning to tether this to a local area network. There’s also no Bluetooth support, and the USB port is a USB 3.0 interface.
These slight cutbacks on the connectivity front are why the Mi TV box falls behind the Mecool in this ranking. But that notwithstanding, it still is a highly capable setup that’s well thought out, easy to use and guaranteed to last a long while.
Third runner up – Ugoos X4 Plus
If you like to get down and dirty with your Android TV box and want something that allows you to customize practically everything, the Ugoos X4 is a DIY-friendly Android TV box at a very affordable price point.
You’ll love that it comes with a robust processor and up to 4GB of RAM if you want – there’s a 2GB, 4GB version as well. Likewise, onboard storage can be bumped to a sizable 64GB, which is mostly enough to handle the storage needs of the everyday user – if that’s not enough, there’s an option to expand storage via an SD card slot.
Thanks to its beefy processor and a Mali-450 GPU, this thing is as smooth as can be, so much that you can compare it to the Vontar KK max. Unlike the KK max however, this is more oriented toward the DIY user. So you don’t get that easy to run UI straight out of the box.
Instead, you get a barebones menu that you can pretty much customize to your taste. Instead of Google Play to download the apps this ships with the APKsure Appstore, and given that it is made to be customization-friendly, I’d say that’s a good move.
With APKSure, you’re open to a larger selection of Android apps, cracked and off-grid pirate apps included. While I don’t condone piracy, I can see how this works to the benefit of anyone who plans to stream premium content for free on their Android TV boxes.
To enable streaming and smart home connection, the X4 Plus comes with both Wi-Fi and an ethernet port. Even better, you can set this box up to serve as the server and local file host for your smart home network.
4K video output is standard, and you also get Bluetooth support as well as USB 3.0 and practically every other usual addon. The X4 is packing on all fronts, and the only reason it sits further down the ranking on this review is because it needs a hands-on approach to work properly.
Fourth runner up – Mecool KM 2 Plus
If you love the original Mecool KM2, you’ll love the KM2 Plus even better. It’s in every way an upgraded box compared to the original. While the KM2 sports a dual-core processor, which holds its own well, by the way, the KM2 Plus houses a faster quad-core processor.
Storage is also bigger – you get 16GB from the factory compared to 8GB on the KM2. Bluetooth tech is better as well, 5.0 vs 4.2, same thing for RAM tech – DDR4 vs LPDDR4 on the KM2.
The sum effect of these upgrades is a faster, more intuitive and super fun-to-use android TV box. The KM2Plus takes all that was good about the KM2 and makes it better by a mile. Remember, this ships with Android TV OS from the factory, so it’s basically plug and play.
So why does it fall down below the KM2 on this list? Well, it’s simple, the KM2 is cheaper and, by all stretch, still a good enough Android TV box to work with.
Since the KM2 Plus is still a new release, it still has a premium price, although that will change with time. Until then, you can safely stick with the KM2 and enjoy a delightful viewing experience for cheap.
What matters in an Android TV box – how we made this pick
Android TV boxes are basically mini PCs running Android software. They allow you to use many streaming and video apps to access content online or on a storage device.
Many will connect to a smart home network for even better functionality – so you can have them function as a smart hub (the Ugoos X4 is perfect for this) or as a digital assistant since most support Google assistant straight out of the box.
All that said, here’s what matters when choosing one:
The spec sheet
Because an Android TV box runs Android OS, it needs solid hardware to run smoothly. At the very least, you want an Android TV box with a dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM. Quad-core processors are the standard for optimal performance right now.
As you’ll see, most boxes in this review of the best Android TV boxes on AliExpress come with a quad-core setup. The amount of internal storage is not too impactful, so there’s more leeway in that regard.
Provided you don’t plan on downloading and hosting most of the content you watch, you should be fine with anything with at least 8GB of internal storage. even if you did want to store and watch downloaded content, just make sure your box has an expansion slot for memory cards.
Much of the content you’ll consume on android TV boxes will come from online streaming platforms. You want a box that has dual-band Wi-Fi (all of the boxes in this review have this) and maybe Bluetooth and a LAN port for added effect.
These connectivity options make it so that your box can connect seamlessly to the internet and if you’re running a smart home to your smarthome network.
Operating system – OS
The default OS for most Android TV boxes is, as you would guess, the Android OS. Note, however, that many of these boxes, including some on this list, come with generic Android OS and not Android TV OS, which is designed specifically for Android TV boxes.
It’s not a make or break factor, but Android TV boxes with Android TV OS are easier to set up, use and troubleshoot.
Some manufacturers who use generic Android reskin it to make it fitter for TV, case in point Vontar with the KK. Sometimes the reskin is good enough, and other times, generic OS is more DIY-friendly since you can get to the underpinning of the OS architecture.
AliExpress is a literal goldmine to find Chinese Android TV box gems. In this guide, I’ve done well to outline what’s perhaps the best box setups available on the platform right now. I’ll update this list as time goes on.
To close with a piece of advice. Don’t get swayed by some of the extremely cheap boxes you’ll see once you log on to AliExpress. As it is with most other platforms, you get what you pay for.