It is a small black device that runs a modified version of Android 5.1 Lollipop and comes pre-installed with a great set of apps promising to give you unlimited movies & shows.
The folks at Element Technologies were kind enough to send me a unit. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and here’s my review.
Update: Element Ti8
Since the making of this video, Element has released newer versions.
They’re latest and greatest version is the Element Ti8!
Now, back to my original review…
The Ti5 has a quad-core 64-bit cortex-A53 processor with speeds up to 2 GHz. The GPU in it is a penta-core mali-450 that runs up to 750 MHz. It has 2 GB of DDR3 RAM and 16 GB of flash storage.
From a graphics and processing standpoint, this thing feels like it runs quicker and snappier than my ASUS VivoPC Windows HTPC. The Ti5 even says it supports 4K and 3D TVs.
The hardware of the Ti5 is quite nice. The small, thin profile with the glossy black top and an illuminating blue logo make it look well refined.
Looking at what you can plug in, it has power, optical, HDMI, ethernet, AV (headphones), 2 USB ports, and a Micro SD slot.
It also has built-in 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.
The setup of the Ti5 had moments of glee when seeing how fast it was up and running on the home screen, yet also had some moments of frustration.
Here are some of the frustrating points about the setup of the Ti5…
- Typing in your email address and password for all your accounts, like Google, Netflix, and Pandora, was not enjoyable to do with a remote control. It took way too long, and somewhere in the setup, it probably should have recommended that you plug in a USB keyboard to take care of all you account logins.
- Aside from the slowness of not using a keyboard, the real show stopper happened when the Next button on the Google login was not possible to click by using the remote control. I actually could not proceed beyond that point until I realized I needed to plug in a USB mouse to click on the Next button.
One thing I thought was interesting is that the packaging and the website showcases a Spotify logo and a Vimeo logo, however, neither of those were pre-installed, but I did go ahead and install Spotify from the Google Play Store.
USB Audio Support
One feature that I love to have in a TV box is the ability to listen using my wireless headset. That way, I can walk around and take care of things around the house, but don’t miss a word from being too far away from the TV.
I have a Logitech G930 wireless USB headset and it works great on a PC, but I was not expecting it to work on this Android TV box. But it did! It could even adjust the Android volume using the volume roller on the headset. The only issue I had was the max volume was bit low, so I have to turn up the volume amplification in Kodi’s playback settings.
Conclusion: A Great Android TV Box
The only headaches for me were in the setup when keyboard and mouse were required to proceed. But that’s nothing that a little messaging in the packaging or initial boot-up couldn’t solve.
Overall, the Element Ti5 is a pretty nice little entertainment center. It’s fast and snappy, Kodi runs very well on it, and I can install any other Android app I want. It’s small and portable enough to make it very easy to bring it over to a friend’s house, and it’s a great deal for under $100.
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