Android media players are slowly becoming a staple device to have as part of your home theatre setup at home. Thanks to the incredible flexibility of the Android operating system and the ability to run Kodi easily, Android boxes give you access to a world of online entertainment from the most popular TV shows to the latest movies. This is something that the Freestream Box is looking to simplify even further by creating a powerful yet simple plug and play Android box. Does the Frestreambox deliver on this promise? Let’s take a look in our Freestream X8 review.

Freestream X8 Review – What’s in the Box?

The Freestream X8 media player comes packaged in nice looking, matte white box this shows the Freestream X8 logo front and centre. The Kodi logo is shown on the front of the box along with the 4k ultra HD logo. On the read of the box is where the specifications of the device are displayed along with the URL for the product website.

The box was made of sturdy construction showed no signs of damage from shipping. Opening the box I found that all of the boxes contents were securely stored so that nothing would roll around during shipping which was great.

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Inside the box I found:

  • Freestream X8 media player
  • Remote control
  • Power adapter
  • HDMI cable

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The Product

The Freestream X8 – Familiar Design

The Freestream X8 looks similar to some other Android boxes on the market which is a good thing as I am a fan of the boxes design. On the top of the box you can see the big bold X8 logo as well as the power button. The box is made of a solid black plastic that did not feel flimsy at all. The device felt strong and sturdy and I did not feel cheap. As the Freestream X8 follows the familiar square style housing and sticks with a nice black colour the device should not have any issues fitting into your home theatre setup.

 

The Ins and Outs of it

As is common with Android boxes the Freestream X8 comes with a healthy range of input and output options that should fit most people’s needs. The front of the box is kept nice and clean with the power button being located on the top of the device.

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On the left of the X8 you will find 4 USB inputs which should provide you with more than enough ports to support multiple hard drives and keyboard and mouse. Next to the USB ports is where you will find the memory card slot.

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Turning to the rear of the device is where you will see the 2 WiFi antennas, CVBS/L/R, Ethernet, HDMI output, Optical audio and power. All ports on the device were housed nicely in the cashing and I had no issues with connection the cables.

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The Freestream X8 Remote Control

The included IR remote control is similar to the other stock standard remote controls that are included with most Android boxes today. You will need to maintain direct line of sight with the Freestream X8 in order for the remote control to register input. It would have been nice to see a Bluetooth remote control included so that you didn’t need direct line of site.

The remote control comes with common Android control buttons, navigational control pad, alpha numeric pad as well as basic TV controls.

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I highly recommend using a 3rd party remote control such as the Rii i25 Mini.

Specifications

  • Amlogic S812 Quad Core Cortex A9
  • Octo-Core Mali-450MP GPU
  • 2GB DDRIII
  • 8GB Flash
  • WiFi Dual Band 2.4GHz & 5GHz
  • OTA Freestream Video Manager
  • Android 5.1
  • Video Output: 4L, 2K, 1080, 720, 576, 480

Using It

Initial Setup, Dashboard and Using it

Setting up the Freestream X8 was a very simple process. Simply plug in your HDMI cable, connect to the TV and power it on. The boot time took around 24 seconds from starting up the device and being taken to the dashboard.

The dashboard is similar to the dashboards that we are used to with other Android devices, making use of the square tile grid with pinned apps located at the bottom of the screen. One thing I did like about the Freestream X8 dashboard was the nice design of the Freestream media center button.

On the right side of the dashboard you will find the buttons for the Google Play Store, web browser, my apps, interactive apps, media center and settings. Selecting the my apps button will take you to a screen which shows all the apps you have installed.

The settings screen is nicely laid out and its bery simple to use and navigate.

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Freestream X8 OTA Updates

The Freestream X8 supports OTA updates which is great. In order to update Android boxes you generally need to load the latest firmware on an SD card or USB and then manually flash the latest update. The issue with this is that its time consuming and there is always a chance you can brick the device.

With OTA updates you can simply click the check for updates button and if there is an update simply hit the download and install button and the Freestream X8 will take care of the rest.

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Media Playback

For media play back I used Kodi which is what I use for all of my media playback on my different media players. Kodi is available on the Google Play store for free.

Launching the Kodi app was trouble free and I did not notice any issues such as lag or stuttering. Navigating around the Kodi app was a smooth experience and media playback was great.

One of the best things about the Freestream X8 is that Kodi comes fully loaded with all of the apps that you need to be able to stream TV shows, movies and sports etc. Under each of the main menu items you will find a list of Kodi addons that are installed that allow you to stream content. Some of these apps include SALTS, Exodus, 1Channel, Sports Devil, Cartoon8 and many more. I was able to stream content very easily and I found the experience very enjoyable.

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I ran AnTuTu Video Tester to determine media playback compatibility where it scored 1,009.

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Running the Geekbench3 benchmarking app the Freestream X8 achieved a Single-Core score of 497 and a Multi-Score score of 960.

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Testing the device with Vellamo saw the device receive a Metal score of 706.

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Network Performance

The Freestream X8 is connected to my home network via an Ethernet cable and my internet connection is running on 100mb Fibre. Network performance on the X8 provided stable speeds both up and down which will allowed me to enjoy buffer free streaming. I received stable speeds for download of 87.42Mbps and upload of 5.76 Mbps.

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Where to Buy

If you are interested in purchasing the Freestream X8 you can do so over at the official Freestream website.

Freestream X8 Review
The Freestream X8 is a great little Android box which is a breeze to setup and configure. During my time using the X8 I did not notice any issues with lag or crashes and the system seemed nice and stable. The fact that Kodi comes pre-configured with all of the addons you could possibly need to access streamed content means that the Freestream X8 is a good option for the average home user that does not want to spend hours setting up the box and simply want to plug it in and start watching TV shows and movies. In regards to pricing the Freestream X8 is quite heavily priced at $229 which is a bit hard to swallow when you can purchase the powerful Nvidia Shield TV which is generally considered the best media player on the market for $199.
Design
Features
Performance
Usability
Value
3.9Overall Score

26 Responses

    • The Streaming Blog

      Hi Mike, if you would like to use Netflix you are required to pay for a subscription. If you are using Kodi you can install a wide range of addons that allow you to stream content for free.

      Reply
      • Jeffrey Friedman

        Dear streaming blog,
        You don’t answer the question, you just make a vague statement, Why is the content from Netflix free with Kodi, all you state is “you can install a wide range of addons that allow you to stream content for free”, but don’t answer why.j

      • The Streaming Blog

        Hi Jeffrey, thanks for your comment. I thought my answer was ok, so my apologies if it was not clear enough. Netflix is a paid service which requires you to have an active subscription with them in order to stream their content. This is due to the licensing arrangement that Netflix has with media companies. There is no possible way to stream Netflix for free. There are however alternatives to Netflix thanks to various addons available for Kodi. These addons that you can install for Kodi from various repos allows you to stream online content for free (not from Netflix). This content includes TV shows, Movies, Music and Sports etc. Now, some addons are completely legal and others tread a grey area so you use them at your own risk. Some of the popular addons include ITV, BBC, Crunchyroll, Exodus, SALTS and Sportsdevil etc. As mentioned some of these to tread a fine line in terms of legality so once again use them at your own risk.

    • The Streaming Blog

      There are addons for Kodi that will allow you to stream a number of sports for free. One popular addon is sportsdevil however there are a large number of them out there.

      Reply
  1. Jill

    how do I get to hallmark or Hallmark movies and mysteries? is there a list on how to find your fav channels? I see adds for stations on my other TV but can’t find them like me tv and I can’t find Hallmark

    Reply
  2. Marc

    Do you know the instructions for a ‘hard reset’ for this box? The one when it won’t boot up completely and goes to a blank screen. NOT a factory reset where you go into settings. I need to fix my mother’s asap!

    Reply
    • The Streaming Blog

      Hi Marc,

      I have been doing a little research for you to see if a hard reset is possible on the Freestream X8 and it does not appear that there is an option for this. It looks as though you can only reset the device via the settings menu. Have you tried creating a support ticket with Freestream to see if they know of a way to do it?

      Reply
  3. mike

    When I go into to channels, sports, shows, news, ect… inc kodi. I get error no connection, my wifi is working fine on my phone, I checked all the connections an rebooted my computer an router Please help ! thanks

    Reply
    • The Streaming Blog

      Hi Mike, thanks for your comment! I have not been able to replicate the issues you have mentioned im sorry. It does seem very odd however. Have you tried doing a factory reset of the media player to see if that fixes the issue?

      Reply
  4. Joe Lamere

    I have to old version of freestream and I couldn’t get it to work anymore so I did a factory reset, and it’s showing a different screen that seems to be blank of content. How do I restore my old version?

    Reply
  5. Stephanie

    Hi I have this. Box I’m in Canada but my Bluetooth remote/keypad doesn’t work all of a sudden how will I use my box now or where can I buy a new remote the location I bought it there gone thanks

    Reply
    • The Streaming Blog

      Hi Stephanie,

      You should be able to purchase any bluetooth or wireless remote online from sites such as geekbuying and gearbest. Brands such as Riitek, Minix and Mele make great remotes that are nice and cheap as well.

      Reply
  6. Dave

    Hey folks I recently purchased a tickbox for streaming media. Just wondering if this one would be a better option. It has kodi presintalled as well but I notice that the servers it selects for tv shows have at most hd 720 and when I watch same shows on hulu etc they are in 1080p does this box stream tv shows in 1080 or is 720 the norm

    Reply
    • The Streaming Blog

      hi Dave, thanks for your comment! The most popular addons that people use for Kodi are Exodus and SALTS as they seem to have the most reliable sources available and have a large range of HD content etc. The box itself does not determine if you watch something in 720 or 1080 as most boxes support 4k, it all comes down to the source that is streaming the video.

      Reply
  7. Constantine Coffinas

    Free stream Customer Service, there is none. If you have a problem with one if their boxes you have to see your local distributor. Well, here’s the problem, most of the Local Distributors no Jack Sh** about the boxes, programming or fixes, so your on your own! As far as their OTA update on their box, mine never work since day one. If you expect help from Customer Support via EMail/text, forget it, I sent request three days ago with no avail. So, in closing, why would I buy another Free stream Box when there are other boxes out there at 1/2 the price, plus Customer Support that works. By the way, my Box is a Model X8 about two years old, running 4.4.2 kit kat, and Kodi 16.1 that cannot connect to streams anymore. I have upgraded firmware to 6.0 marshmallow, but now it won’t allow me to uodat Kodi to the latest 17.3 krypton……..Totally disgusted.

    Reply
    • Omar

      Hey quick question. How did you manage to update the firmware? OTA update on my box is not working either and I am trying to figure out how to update the firmware since Im also using 4.4.2. Thanks!

      Reply
  8. Elena

    Freestream has the worst customer service that I have ever experienced. My friend told me to give it a try so I did and I regret the waste of time and money. Right now there is a pop up box on the screen demanding that I enter my credit card credentials to pay $19.99 per month for Freestream updates and customer service but there is no way to bypass it.

    Anton Sterling and an owner named Justin in the Dallas area have told the sales team that customer service is their lowest priority and I have screenshots from their salesman to prove it.

    Save yourself the hassle and buy yourself an Amazon Firestick with Kodi! I still have Xfinity. Freestream is no consistent nor reliable enough to replace your cable!

    Reply
  9. alex

    My freestream X8 stopped to work. It just shows a blank screen. How can I make a hardware reset to restore its factory setup?

    Reply

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