For quite some time, I noticed that I start to watch less and less standard TV and the cable bill becomes a totally unnecessary expense. My main sources of entertainment are becoming Youtube and streaming movies directly from the internet. That is why I started researching about the TV boxes. The main advantage of a TV box is that it can turn any ordinary TV into a smart TV and more like a powerful computer with a huge screen. I talk more about the benefits of TV boxing here.
After long research and many comparisons, I came across the Mecool M8S PRO L.
One of my main criteria when looking for a TV box was to be powerful enough - to have very good specs so I could use it for at least a few years. Good specifications for me were an 8 core processor and 3 or 4 GB of RAM. My other criteria were to be able to stream Youtube in 4K quality and Netflix in at least FHD (1080p) quality, and of course, be at a budget price. The combination of these three things proved to be the most difficult to find. Most budget TV boxes that are based on Android operating system do not support Netflix streaming at a resolution higher than 480p and, accordingly, if they support the higher resolution, it is at the expense of Youtube quality. I also wanted the TV box to support the so-called "cast" or streaming from a phone or computer to a TV. Mecool M8S PRO L TV box was able to cover all my criteria.
Mecool M8S PRO L - is a rather modern TV box for a model from 2 years ago. It has an 8 core OCTA S912 processor, which has very good performance. And it comes with the powerful video card MALI T820, which is installed in quite expensive TV boxes. The Mecool M8S PRO L has 3GB of DDR3 RAM and comes with 2 internal storage options - 16GB and 32GB. I personally chose the 16GB variant because I was looking for a budget solution, and the TV box itself has a slot for a Micro SD card which can expand the internal memory if needed. The same can be done through both USB ports, which are located right next to the SD slot. The Mecool M8S PRO L TV box supports Youtube at 4K resolution and Netflix at FHD (1080p) resolution, a combination that is very difficult to find on a budget TV box. Mecool M8S PRO L also supports the other important criterion for me - casting from different devices directly to the TV. The TV box comes with AirPinPRO and MiraCast installed - two programs designed specifically for this purpose. Unfortunately, this TV box does not support Chromecast - if this is important for you you will need to look for another option.
Voice commands and voice search
Micro SC expantion slot
|CPU||Amlogic S912 64 bit Octa core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU up to 1.5 GHz|
|GPU||ARM Mali-T820MP3 GPU up to 750MHz (DVFS)|
|WiFi||Built in 2.4G/5G WiFi Support IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|Video decorder||H.265 4K @60fps 10btis, VP9 Profile 2, H.264 4K @30fps, AVS+ 1080P @60fps|
|Video encorder||H.264 1080P @60fps|
|HDR||HDR 10, HLG HDR|
|Decoder format||HD MPEG1/2/4,H.265/HEVC, HD AVC/VC-1,RM/RMVB,Xvid/DivX3/4/5/6, RealVideo8/9/10|
|Photo format||HD JPEG/BMP/GIF/PNG/TIFF|
|Network Function||Miracast, Air play, Skype chatting, Picasa, Youtube, Flicker,Facebook, Online movies, etc.|
|Language||Chinese, English, Germany, Japanese, Korea etc. 24 languages|
|OTA||Support OTA update|
|Port||1 x HDTV output 2.0 4K x 2K @ 60Hz|
|2 x High speed USB 2.0, support U DISK and USB HDD|
|1 x TF CARD Support 1~32GB|
|1 x 3.5 Phone out CVBS&L/R output|
|1 x RJ45 LAN Ethernet 10M/100M|
|Power Supply||DC 5V/2A|
The design of the Mecool M8S Pro L is standard for a TV box. I would not say that it is extremely impressive, but we cannot expect much for this price range. It is generally smaller than other similar TV boxes, which is a plus if you need to put it in a smaller space. All ports are easily accessible and the front panel of the Mecool M8S Pro L has an LED light indicating whether or not the device is on.
More interesting is the design of the remote, which has a lot of improvements from previous models. It has a much more modern and minimalist design, largely copying its competitor XIAOMI MI BOX S, which has generally set the standard as a TV box remote control design. The remote works with 2 AAA batteries and there are only a few buttons that are enough to navigate through the menu. At the top, there is a microphone for voice commands and a button that activates this functionality.
Mecool is a Chinese brand that is focused on the production of TV boxes. I could not find exactly which company makes the devices for this brand, but in recent years there is a huge variety of this brand on the market. The strongest characteristic of this brand is a good value for money. Usually, the company strives to offer very good features but in a budget version.
Overall the quality of the materials is of a good level and from my research, I did not find any complaints about the quality of the internal components installed in Mecool M8S Pro L.
As I mentioned, the Mecool M8S Pro L has all the functionality I was looking for in a TV box. The 8 core processor opens each application in seconds. On top of all this, the big advantage is that this device is based on the Android operating system. This actually means that whatever programs and applications you use on your phone (if you use an Android phone, of course), you will also be able to use it on your TV. I guess everyone is aware of how huge the variety of Android applications is on Google App Store.
NB! It's important to mention that not all programs can be downloaded through Google Play on the TV itself. Because despite the fact that TV box is based on Android there is little difference. The Mecool M8S Pro L comes with the official Android TV operating system, for which only applications made specifically for this operating system are available by default. To install another program you liked from the Google Play Store on your phone, you just need to download and install it to your TV box using a USB flash drive. The application you want will work seamlessly on your TV.
Another important feature is voice search and voice commands. With the built-in microphone, you can execute almost any command that would otherwise take you a lot of keystrokes. For now, voice recognition works only in English, but as soon as Google starts to support voice commands in Bulgarian on the Android operating system, you will certainly be able to use them on the TV box as well.
The standard menu that comes with the Mecool M8S Pro L is very convenient, and much of it can be optimized to your liking. All other settings are just like on an Android phone. If you have one, the usage of the TV box will seem very simple to you. By default, the device comes with Youtube, Netflix, MX player and many other programs preinstalled.
I guess there is no need to mention that you can watch any movie downloaded directly to the TV box itself through a flash drive. The Mecool M8S Pro L supports resolutions up to 4K at 60 frames per second.
Another important feature for me is that the Mecool M8S Pro L supports external Bluetooth keyboards / remote controls, such as the i8 Wireless Keyboard, for which I will do a separate review. Overall, the combination of a TV box with a remote keyboard has proven to be an incredible upgrade. Using such a remote / keyboard makes your TV a real PC.
My personal impressions of the Mecool M8S Pro L are great. Really for 35 USD (as of 30/11/2019) you turn your regular TV into a smart TV with many features. And the combination with the wireless mini keyboard makes the TV a very powerful computer with a huge screen.
All programs and applications load very fast and without problems. Problems that are inevitable with standard smart TVs. I talk more about them here. For almost 4 months of use, I have had no lag whatsoever when using the Mecool M8S Pro L. All commands and programs respond super fast.
Connecting the device is also super easy - a simple HDMI cable to the TV, an AC adapter and that's it.
Controlling the standard remote is also pretty easy for most things. Voice commands (unfortunately only in English) are a big help here. Unless you don't know English some of the commands will take you a little longer - especially typing on the on-screen keyboard.
The only big problem I had and mentioned above is when working with cable internet. If you connected the Mecool M8S Pro L to your router with a cable through the LAN port, the device for some reason does not connect to the Internet when it is turned off and then turned on. You need to turn it off and then on again for it to work. I personally solved this problem by connecting the TV box to the internet via WiFi only and gave up using the LAN port.