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.
Inside the box I found:
- Freestream X8 media player
- Remote control
- Power adapter
- HDMI cable
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.
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.
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.
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.
I highly recommend using a 3rd party remote control such as the Rii i25 Mini.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
I ran AnTuTu Video Tester to determine media playback compatibility where it scored 1,009.
Running the Geekbench3 benchmarking app the Freestream X8 achieved a Single-Core score of 497 and a Multi-Score score of 960.
Testing the device with Vellamo saw the device receive a Metal score of 706.
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.
Where to Buy
If you are interested in purchasing the Freestream X8 you can do so over at the official Freestream website.