Best Android TV Boxes to Buy in 2021

A good Android TV box is a must-have for anyone wanting to improve their TV viewing experience.

The only problem is:

How do you know which Android TV box is “good?” There are so many products to choose from!

Well,

New Nividia 2019 Shield Tv Pro

To help you pick the right one, I’ve reviewed the top-rated Android TV Box on the market, and put together this benchmark!

TOP-RATED ANDROID TV BOXES OF 2021

Preview
Editor's Choice
NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Pro 4K HDR Streaming Media Player; High Performance, Dolby Vision, 3GB RAM, 2x USB, Works with Alexa
Best Alternative!
Best Android TV Boxes in 2019 - 2020 3
Best TV Stick
Fire TV Stick 4K with all-new Alexa Voice Remote bundle - includes Ethernet Adapter and 2-Year Protection Plan
New Streaming Device
Fire TV Cube | Hands-free streaming device with Alexa | 4K Ultra HD | 2019 release
Product
Nvidia Shield TV Pro 2019
SkyStream Pro 8K
Amazon Fire TV 4K
Amazon Fire TV Cube
Storage
16 GB (expandable via USB)
32 GB
8 GB
16 GB
Memory
3 GB RAM
4 GB RAM
1 GB
2 GB
Editor's Choice
Preview
NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Pro 4K HDR Streaming Media Player; High Performance, Dolby Vision, 3GB RAM, 2x USB, Works with Alexa
Product
Nvidia Shield TV Pro 2019
Storage
16 GB (expandable via USB)
Memory
3 GB RAM
Best Alternative!
Preview
Best Android TV Boxes in 2019 - 2020 3
Product
SkyStream Pro 8K
Storage
32 GB
Memory
4 GB RAM
Best TV Stick
Preview
Fire TV Stick 4K with all-new Alexa Voice Remote bundle - includes Ethernet Adapter and 2-Year Protection Plan
Product
Amazon Fire TV 4K
Storage
8 GB
Memory
1 GB
New Streaming Device
Preview
Fire TV Cube | Hands-free streaming device with Alexa | 4K Ultra HD | 2019 release
Product
Amazon Fire TV Cube
Storage
16 GB
Memory
2 GB

1. Nvidia Shield TV (Pro) – Best Android Box for Gamers

The Nvidia Shield TV Pro is, without a doubt, the best Android TV box for 2021! With a 25% faster Tegra X1+ processor and 4K upscaling, Nvidia leaves its closest competitors far behind.

Let’s take a closer look at the upgrades.

The Best Streamer Just Got Better.

Forbes

Highlights

  • New, 25% faster processor
  • AI upscaling for visibly sharper images
  • Still the best Android TV box for gaming

Features & Specs

The old Nvidia Shield TV was already a top-notch product, but the improved Tegra X1+ chip and upgrades in its software make it the best of the best when it comes to streaming media players.

The new X1+ processor is 25% faster compared to its predecessor, although the old X1 chip still beats everything else on the market. The box comes with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.

The 2017 Shield TV Pro had 500GB onboard storage, so you might say that 16GB is actually a downgrade. The 2019 Pro comes around $100 cheaper though, and you can extend storage via one of the USB 3.0 ports or through network-attached storage.

The box runs on Android version 9.0 Pie and is the only one out of the two third-generation Shields that can be used as a Plex Media Server.

The most significant upgrades in 2019 are in its software:

  • Shield TV now supports Dolby Vision HDR (on supported equipment) on platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix to offer the best audio-visual experience you can get.
  • The AI-powered “upscaling” feature turns lower-quality 720p and 1080p resolutions into visibly sharper 4K-like images.

Besides being one of the few devices that are allowed to stream Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video in 4K, it’s still a Diamond Sponsor of Kodi/XBMC as well.

Being an Android device, the Shield gives you access to the Google Play Store that you can use to download all of your favorite apps, including games. It works both with Google Home and Amazon Echo in selected languages and countries.

It is still the best Android TV box for gaming as well as it offers seamless game-streaming and access to Nvidia’s GeForceNOW service for free.

Setting Up and Updates

Setting up the Nvidia Shield is super easy: just plug your unit, turn it on and set it up using your Google account. You can do that either through your Android phone, tablet, or the Nvidia remote.

Because the Shield is known as “the streaming device for gamers,” there are some sharing and gaming aspects to consider. Other than that, the interface is very easy to use, more so now after the latest OS updates.

Naturally, being a premium Android TV box that it is, updates are automatic and offered OTA (Over the Air).

Specs

ProcessorNVIDIA® Tegra® X1 with a 256-core GPU
Android OSAndroid 9.0 Pie with Chromecast 4K
Internal Storage16 GB (expandable over USB & micro SD)
Memory3 GB RAM
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K HDR playback at 60 fps
WiFi ConnectivityDual-Band 802.11ac MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
EthernetGigabit
H.265 Video DecodingYes
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes & 7.1
UpdatesSHIELD Experience Upgrades directly from NVIDIA
USB2 x 3.0
HDMI1 x 2.0

Design

While the standard Shield TV takes the shape of a small compact tube (more on that later), the design of the 2019 Shield TV Pro is unchanged from the previous version.

A game controller is no longer included in the package, but both Shield versions come with the new and improved remote.

It’s got a modern pyramid-shaped body and automatic backlighting, which makes it comfortable to hold and use in the dark.

The lack of buttons on the old remote made it pretty annoying to use, but that’s not an issue anymore:

The new one comes loaded with buttons like volume, play/pause, forward/rewind, back, etc. There’s a dedicated one for Netflix and another one you can program for a variety of functions on it as well. It runs on AAA batteries and can control things like power and volume via infrared and HDMI-CEC on compatible TVs.

The best thing is the new lost remote finding function that you can activate from the new Shield mobile app on your phone, the Shield unit itself, or asking Alexa/Google Home to find it.

As usual, the back of the Shield Pro is loaded with ports: two USB 3.0s and an HDMI 2.0 port plus wired Gigabit ethernet.

Support

Of course, Nvidia is also the best when it comes to customer support. The website is full of useful information with descriptive FAQ pages and an active online forum where fellow Nvidia owners and tech experts help with any technical issues you may face.

Verdict

The 2019 Shield TV Pro is the best Android TV box for 2021 for those who want a top-notch streaming experience in their living room!

It runs on the new, lightning-fast Tegra X1+ processor, comes with the new AI upscaling feature that visibly improves 1080p images, can be voice-controlled by both Google Assistant and Alexa, and it is still one of the few devices allowed to stream Netflix in 4K quality. Compared to the standard Shield TV, it gets more RAM, advanced Android gaming support, and the ability to transcode lower-quality streams when used as a Plex Media Server.

WE DON’T LIKE

  • No HDR sound for YouTube
  • Only 16GB of storage compared to 500GB of the 2017 model

2. Nvidia Shield TV – Best Android Streaming Box

The standard Shield TV is the second new device Nvidia launched at the end of October. It’s got all the same cool new features as the Pro version but is more geared towards the mainstream audience.

Let’s see what’s different between the two new devices and what has changed since 2017.

Highlights

  • New compact design
  • Superfast performance
  • Comes with the new remote

Features & Specs

One of the major differences between Shield TV and Shield TV Pro has always been the storage capacity. The standard Shield still comes with 8GB of storage while the Pro now comes with 16GB of space. The Pro has two USB 3.0 ports that you can use to expand the storage, but the standard Shield only has a MicroSD slot for that.

Although both the standard Shield and Shield Pro can run the Plex client app, only the Pro can act as a Plex Media Server too. If you’re a die-hard Plex user, you might want to invest in the Pro version.

Other than that, the standard Shield TV is just as great as the Shield Pro:

  • Uses the new 25% faster X1+ processor
  • Now also supports Dolby Vision HDR on platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime
  • AI-upscaling significantly improves video quality
  • Plays Amazon and Google Play Music straight from the box
  • You can use Amazon Echo or Google Home to control it hands-free
  • Streams Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video in 4K HDR

Specs

ProcessorNVIDIA® Tegra® X1 w/ 256-core NVIDIA GPU
Android OSAndroid 9.0 Pie w/ Chromecast 4K
Internal Storage8 GB expandable via microSD
Memory2 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps
WiFi ConnectivityDual-Band 802.11ac MIMO 2.4 GHz,5 GHz Wi-Fi
EthernetGigabit
H.265 Video DecodingYes
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes & 7.1
UpdatesDirectly from NVIDIA
Voice AssistantsBuilt in + Google Home + Amazon Echo
USBNone
HDMI1 x 2.0

Design

The second significant difference between the two devices is in the design:

While the 2019 Shield TV Pro still looks like a classic set-top-box, the new standard Shield TV comes in the shape of a tube. At over 6 inches long, it’s too heavy to be a self-supporting dongle, so the best location for it is somewhere behind your TV.

The different ports are located at both ends of the tube:

The HDMI port, MicroSD slot, and remote finder button on one side, the Gigabit Ethernet port and power connector on the other.

The standard Shield doesn’t come with any USB ports, so it seems to be aimed more towards the general audience. The USB ports come in handy if you want to plug external hard drives for things like running the Plex Media Server, but you don’t really need them if you’re an average user wanting to stream shows and movies from Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The standard Shield TV comes with the new and improved remote as well:

  • Built-in mic for voice search and voice commands
  • Automatic backlit buttons (motion-activated)
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • IR blaster for volume and power control on compatible TVs and soundbars
  • Remote locator for lost remote

Support

Of course, Nvidia is also the best when it comes to customer support. The website is full of useful information with descriptive FAQ pages and an active online forum where fellow Nvidia owners and tech experts help with any technical issues you may face.

Verdict

The standard 2019 Nvidia Shield TV is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a simple yet premium-quality streaming device. With high-end features like Dolby Vision/Dolby Atmos surround sound, AI-powered image upscaling, and the new and improved remote, you get the best elements of the top-of-the-line Shield TV Pro at a lower price.

WE DON’T LIKE

  • Only 8GB of storage
  • No USB ports
  • Can’t be used as Plex Media Server

3. SkyStream PRO 8K – Best Alternative to Nvidia

SkyStream PRO replaces the already powerful SkyStream THREE, which was one of the most popular streaming media players of 2019.

The new SkyStream PRO was released a few months ago and it is a bit cheaper than the Nvidia, making it a great alternative!

Highlights

  • Up to 8k streaming resolution
  • Android 9.0 Pie OS
  • Excellent price

Features & Specs

Skystream is out again with a new and improved streaming media player!

The Skystream PRO replaces the wildly popular Skystream Three and Three Plus, and brings even faster streaming, up to 8k streaming resolution, and lightning-fast Wi-Fi.

The new SkyStream box comes with Android 9.0 Pie – an upgrade from Oreo 8.1 of SkyStream THREE. The new line is significantly faster than the old one using the lightning-fast S905X3 chip by Amlogic.

One of the main differences between the PRO and Three Plus is their storage capacity – surprisingly, the new box only has 32GB of internal memory compared to 64GB of the THREE. I guess they had to cut corners somewhere to maintain a decent price.

That’s not a problem though as you can use one of the three USB ports or the mini SD slot to plug external storage options. System memory stays the same at 4GB.

All Skystream boxes have always been perfect for using Kodi as it comes pre-installed on it. Naturally, the PRO also supports 4K streaming, which is pretty much the standard these days.

But the new PRO takes the meaning of “high-quality” to another level:

It is the first streaming media player with 8k streaming capabilities on supported devices, bringing you seriously rich and clear picture quality.

The PRO still comes with the WideVine certification as well, which allows it to stream YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video in HD.

New Remote

Skystream PRO also comes with a new and updated airmouse that pairs with the box automatically via Bluetooth. The new remote has a range of about 30 feet.

Like the previous model, Google Voice Search is built-in and you can access it by holding down the microphone button.

What makes the remote super convenient are the shortcut buttons for Netflix, YouTube, the Google Play Store, and your selection of apps.

Specs

ProcessorAmLogic S905X3 Quad Core @ 1.91 GHz
Android OSAndroid 9.0 Pie
Internal Storage32 GB
Memory4 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 8K Super Ultra HD at 24 fps + [email protected] fps
WiFi ConnectivityDual-Band 802.11 b/g/n/ac (MIMO) 2.4 & 5 Ghz
EthernetGigabit
H.265 Video DecodingYes
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes + Dolby Digital
Expandable storageOver USB; mini SD
USB1 x 3.0; 2 x 2.0
HDMI1 x 2.1

Setting It Up & Updates

Setting up SkyStream PRO is super easy: just plug the HDMI cable to your Android box and TV, plug the power cable, and you’re ready to get started.

Like all modern set-top boxes, SkyStream too looks for updates automatically, and everything is done Over the Air. You can also use the SkyStream Updater app if you want to be sure your box is up to date but remember to update the app itself regularly as well.

Like with SkyStream THREE, the Updater App lets you choose between two versions of Kodi – Adult or Family Friendly.

Support

SkyStream has one of the best customer support teams available. For one, there are a Facebook support group and FAQ pages that address all the most common issues. Secondly, SkyStream’s customer service team is based in the US, so you can contact them at any time through a toll-free hotline.

Verdict

There’s a lot to love about the SkyStream PRO: it’s even faster than before, it’s powerful, and it is the first streaming media player on the market with 8k streaming capabilities! On top of that, it comes at an excellent price.

Rivaled only by the Nvidia Shield TV, the SkyStream PRO is definitely a great alternative TV box today!

WE DON’T LIKE

  • No 4K streaming for Netflix or YouTube

4. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K – Best Android TV Stick

If you’re new to the world of streaming media players, then the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K might be just what you’re looking for. It’s very easy to use and offers high-quality 4K streaming for Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video – all at an unbeatable price!

Highlights

  • Great price
  • Streams content in 4K, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube
  • Voice control by Alexa

Features & Specs

Just to be clear, the Fire TV Stick 4K is not Amazon’s newest product. The company released its second-generation Fire TV Cube in October 2019.

So, why is the Fire TV Stick 4K still on this list?

Because it’s still a great product to buy! It’s got all the same specs as the more expensive 2019 Fire TV Cube:

  • 4K streaming
  • HDR10
  • Dolby Vision
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Alexa support

You can use it to access almost every streaming service and it even comes with the native YouTube app!

So, which should you choose?

Well, if you already own an Amazon Echo Dot, you’ll be fine with the more-than-twice-cheaper Fire TV Stick 4K. If you want to have Fire TV and Alexa built into the same box, go for the 2019 Fire TV Cube. It’s that simple!

And now to the review.

As mentioned, The Fire TV Stick supports 4K streaming, and that includes Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The YouTube app is finally back on all Amazon devices after a year-and-a-half-long feud between Amazon and Google.

The operating system for the Fire TV Stick is Fire OS 6.0, which is based on Android 7.1 Nougat. Because of this, there’s no access to the Google Play Store, which means you are limited when it comes to apps you can download. You can use the Amazon App Store to choose between 7000+ apps and games.

The 8GB Fire TV Stick comes with an Alexa Voice Remote, which is one of the best things about it:

You can use your voice to search for shows or movies to watch, play music, control volume, check the weather, control smart home devices, and so much more.

Specs

ProcessorMediaTek MT8695 Quad Core @ 1.7 GHz
Operating SystemFire OS 6 based on Android 7.1 Nougat
Internal Storage8 GB
Memory1.5 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps
WiFi ConnectivityDual-Band 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO /td>
Ethernet10/100 Mbs
H.265 Video DecodingYes
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes & 7.1
Expandable storageNone
USBMicro USB for power only
HDMI1 x 1.4

Setting It Up & Updates

The Fire TV Stick 4K is not exactly a box, it’s got the shape of a memory stick, and it plugs straight into your TV through an HDMI port. (To improve Wi-Fi reception, Amazon recommends to plug the stick into an HDMI extender.)

Once that’s done, attach the USB cable and run it to the nearest power outlet to get it up and running. 

Updates are not complicated either:

As long as your device is connected to the Internet, it will search for software updates and install them automatically.

Support

Amazon’s got a great reputation for providing good customer service for third-party items they sell as well as for the items they produce themselves. You can contact them by calling or emailing the customer support team or by initiating live chat.

Verdict

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is a good product if you’re looking for an easy to use streaming device with modern features. You can watch all of your favorite shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video* in 4K (on compatible TVs) and use your voice to control it with the Alexa Voice Remote. It is the best choice for anyone on a budget!

* To watch Amazon Prime Video, you need to be a member of Amazon Prime, a paid program that gives you access to TV-shows, movies, music, videos, e-books, free shipping, and other Amazon services.

WE DON’T LIKE

  • Can only be used for streaming content
  • No access to Google Play Store
  • No USB or SD card slots

5. Amazon Fire TV Cube – Best Streaming Box

Amazon’s first Fire TV Cube was released at the end of 2018, and despite it being a 3-in-1 product (a streaming device, universal remote, and Alexa speaker), it lacked one very important feature that its cheaper competitor Fire TV Stick 4K had – Dolby Vision HDR.

Highlights

  • Comes with Dolby Vision and HDR10+
  • Faster and more powerful processor
  • The YouTube app is back along with YouTube TV

FEATURES & SPECS

The 2019 Fire TV Cube is running on Fire OS 7, which is based on Android 9 Pie. The interface is pretty intuitive to use, and the home screen offers quick access to TV shows and movies you have recently watched , even if they’re not available on Amazon Prime Video. You can also make your own Watchlist of shows and movies you want to watch across different platforms.

The Fire TV Cube heavily promotes Prime Video content, which can be annoying for some users. The interface also features large banners on the home screen, cluttering it up and making it a bit too messy.

The device comes with 4K streaming on supported platforms like Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, and more. The YouTube app has been back on all Amazon devices since July, and the 2019 Cube now comes with support for YouTube TV. It can also run media servers like Kodi and Plex.

The second-generation device has an ultra-powerful Hexa-core processor (with speeds up to 2.2GHz) compared to the 1.5 GHz Quad-core one on the original Fire TV Cube. The new processor can stream 4K UHD and Dolby Vision content at up to 60 fps.

At the back of the new Cube are an HDMI port, power, a Micro USB port for the Ethernet adapter, and an input for the IR extender (both included). It comes with a thin IR extender cord for devices that are out of sight, but it doesn’t include an HDMI cable necessary for set-up.

The best feature of the 2019 Fire TV Cube is its built-in speaker with eight far-field microphones that allows you to give voice commands without using the remote. The Cube is basically an Amazon Echo device that lets you control your smart home devices over Wi-Fi and home theatre equipment directly over its IR emitters with just your voice.

Some basic voice commands are executed much faster than before, thanks to the Cube handling them directly instead of going through Amazon’s servers. Most still lag, though, as the Cube needs to check with the cloud for a lot of the commands.

Specs

ProcessorARM Mali G52-MP2 Hexa-core @ up to 2.2 GHz
Operating SystemFire OS 7 based on Android 9.0 Pie
Internal Storage16 GB
Memory2 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps
WiFi ConnectivityDual-Band 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO /td>
Ethernet10/100 Mbs
H.265 Video DecodingYes
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes & 7.1
Expandable storageOver Micro USB
USBMicro USB
HDMI1 x 1.4

DESIGN & SET-UP

The Cube comes in the shape of… you guessed it, a cube at 3 x 3.4 x 3.4 inches. The shape and dimensions are the same as the first model, and so is the layout of eight far-field microphones and buttons on top. The device connects to your TV via HDMI (not included!) and the entire set-up process takes place on the TV itself.

You can set your Fire TV Cube up to control your soundbar, TV, cable box if supported, and receivers. The Cube can also select the right HDMI input if you’re switching between things like Blu-ray players or game consoles.

VERDICT

The 2019 Amazon Fire TV Cube is the best choice for you if you have a smart-home setup or just want to try the streaming device slash digital assistant 2-in-1. It’s fast, supports a wide range of popular apps, and can stream content in lots of standards, including Dolby Vision.

WE DON’T LIKE

  • Doesn’t come with an HDMI cable
  • No voice control support for YouTube content
  • You still need the remote to execute certain tasks
  • Only worth it if you already don’t own an Echo device
  • Some users find the interface cluttered and messy

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ How to Set Up an Android TV Box?

Setting up your new Android box is super easy. First, plug all the cables as instructed and then connect it to the Internet via WiFi or Ethernet (basically the same process as connecting your phone to your network).

Next, check for software and firmware updates if they don’t launch automatically. Then, you’re ready to start installing apps and games from the Google Play Store and/or Amazon App Store and media players like Plex and Kodi.

For additional information, please read your manufacturer’s instructions.

⭐ How to Use an Android TV Box?

Android TV boxes are very similar to Android phones and tablets, so they work in the same way. If you haven’t used this operating system before it will take a bit of getting used to, but it’s very easy and straightforward to use. Depending on your TV box and the Android OS it runs, the interface may differ.

Besides downloading apps from the Google Play Store, you can also use Android boxes to watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, play games, browse the Internet, and so much more.

⭐ How Does an Android TV Box Work?

An Android TV box runs on an Android OS and works just like a tablet or smartphone would. Compared to mobile phones, it has better input/output options and the ability to connect other devices such as a keyboard, air mouse, speakers, wireless remote, etc.

You first need to connect the box to your TV via an HDMI cable and then to the Internet via Ethernet or WiFi. After set-up is complete, you can start downloading games and apps.

⭐ Which is the best Android TV box to buy?

The best Android TV box for 2020 is the Nvidia Shield TV. It’s also available in a Pro version, and both come with Nvidia’s flagship Tegra X1 processor, Android 9.0 Pie, and are capable of streaming Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube in 4K UHD quality.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is the best “easy set-up” and also cheapest android box. It is suitable for those who only want to watch movies and TV shows in 4K quality.

Things To Consider Before Buying An Android TV Box in 2021

Before getting to the reviews, there are a few key features you should consider when deciding which Android TV Box to buy.

Let’s start with brand reputation.

The choice of streaming media players today is seemingly endless, but don’t think that all companies you come across are reputable. There are many ‘brands’ that buy generic TV boxes from Chinese wholesalers, slap their logos on, and sell them at five times the price. My advice is to stick to only well-known brands, which you will find from our Android TV box chart below.

Secondly, make sure your chosen box has:

An Operating System of Android 9.0 (Pie) or higher.

2-3 USB ports for plugging things like wireless keyboards/mouse or external memory devices. Ideally, at least one of them should be USB 3.0, especially if you plan on streaming lots of content from an external drive.

HDMI 2.0 if you want to stream lots of 4K UHD content. Streaming platforms like YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix already support 4K streaming on certain devices, but you’ll only get smooth buffering-free quality if your Android box supports HDMI 2.0 too.

7.1 audio passthrough if you have set up a home theatre system and want the full “home cinema” experience.

Decent customer support, whether in the form of a forum, Frequently Asked Questions pages, or over the phone/live chat/by email. There are lots of generic devices on the market that come with seemingly good specs but non-existing customer support. That may be an issue if you pick a TV box you have to set up and customize yourself! (Nvidia and Skystream have excellent support teams according to their customers.)

Finally, there are 3 things to consider in terms of connectivity:

  • Make sure your Internet connection speed matches what’s required to stream content in your desired quality:

To stream standard definition content, you need at least 3Mbps of download speed. Streaming HD content requires a minimum of 5Mbps, and for 4K UHD streaming, your connection needs to be at least 25Mbps.

  • Depending on your chosen TV box model, you either have to hook it up to an Ethernet cable or use WiFi to get it to work.

Streaming higher resolutions requires a faster Internet connection, but video quality can still vary greatly if you stream it over WiFi vs. an Ethernet cable. The best option is to use the cable, but if this is not an option make sure your WiFi box comes with a dual-band router for more power.

  • If you’ve got the latest Gigabit Ethernet router and you want to plug your ATB into it, make sure the box actually supports Gigabit Ethernet. Although the newer boxes do (Both Nvidia models and the SkyStream Pro), some models still only support speeds from 10 to 100Mbps.

Wrapping It Up

As you can see, there are definitely a few things to look at when choosing your streaming box. Since some of them are pretty expensive, you certainly want to make sure you buy a device that lasts longer than a couple of months.

I hope these reviews were helpful and you now know which Android TV box is the best choice for you. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section below.

Last update on 2021-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Fred is a 30-year-old blogger who loves writing about new technologies, spending time outdoors, traveling, and music. He launched this website with Karen after growing tired of looking for reliable information about new products to buy.

86 thoughts on “Best Android TV Boxes to Buy in 2021”

  1. Hallo Fred

    Did go through your reviews and it does make sense to stick to well known brands, they might cost a little more but after sales service is so much worth.
    Best is read about as many about products specially about whats not good because those are the stuff that you will regret.
    Thanks for all the reviews and the answers to the people, that is worth a lot for buying confidence.

    We did buy the Skystream 8 Pro so i will let you know what i think of it here in SA.
    “Lock Down”…

    The guys from Skystream did immediately let us know about our order, which i find really good.

    Regards
    Adriaan Büys
    Pretoria
    South Africa

    Reply
        • Hallo Fred

          We just get a message about our Skystream 8 Pro that because of the Corona Virus that we can only get it after both America and South Africa can get postal orders.

          We still want it so we will wait till then. We will still let you know what we think of it.

          All the best!

          Regards
          Adriaan Büys
          Pretoria
          South Africa

          Reply
  2. Can you put a list of legit quality Android boxes? The Skystream Pro ticks all of the boxes, but I’m not sure if the RAM is DDR4, which I’d prefer, and I would like 64GB of storage.

    Reply
    • Hi there and sorry for the late reply. This article is only about legit quality Android boxes ;). That’s why you won’t find any generic ones from this list! Regarding the Skystream PRO, I checked with the team, and yes, it comes with DDR4 RAM. Unfortunately, your only option for getting 64GB of storage is if you extend the internal one via USB or Micro SD. It’s a bit of a hassle, but the price is worth it I think.

      Reply
  3. Hi Fred !

    Did you have the chance to review the SkyStream PRO 8K yet ?
    At firste glance, seems like a great box for me…
    But what would you suggest to an older guy from Canada who dosen’t game
    but needs easy access to locals tv channels, Youtube and movies…
    (I have unlimited 30mb internet)

    Best regards,
    Dan

    Reply
    • Hi Dan, sorry for the late reply. Just updated the article with my review of Skystream PRO 8k. Yep, it’s an excellent box and sounds exactly what you need! It’s got a great price too!

      Reply
      • Hi again, my turn for a late reply ; 0 ))

        Thank-you very much for your answer and updated review,

        really appreciated it… Keep up the good work !

        Dan

        Reply
  4. The big problem with these cheap Chinese android boxes is cooling; they don’t put enough testing into them to realize they aren’t using enough cooling. Nvidia knows the trick. They realized that these things run longer than 10 minutes, and as you go, they get hotter and hotter.

    Reply
  5. Hi, just read your article, it is very useful. I`m not very experienced in Android boxes but I want to make a present for my husband. I would choose the Nvidia but I don`t know where to buy it. Can you advise me?

    Reply
  6. Hello!

    I want to buy a present for my boyfriend, ANDROID TV BOX, but I don’t understand them! Which device ANDROID TV BOX is best for 2020?

    Reply
  7. I was advised of many TV boxes, but I don’t know which one to choose. What do you think of this site at the expense of SwitchOnShop mag box? I do not want to spend money on some trash.

    Reply
    • Hi Maximus, as I advise in this article, you should go with well know brands like Nvidia or Skystream. There are too many generic Chinese android boxes out there that I wouldn’t trust anything else than recognized brands. That is, of course, if you are looking for the best product and best support.

      Reply
  8. I have to congratulate you Fred on your detailed responses to the many questions being thrown at you! I’m wondering if there is an android tv box with a recording feature, or is there another way to record live TV… some football games are on pretty late. Thanks.

    Reply
  9. Just a follow-up note. The MeCool MS8 Pro L mentioned above is a Chinese box that may have minimal support. Likely ALL of the boxes are made in China though. If you can handle researching hiccups on your own a bit the MS8 Pro L may be your box. Unlike nearly all the others mentioned it DOES support 4k streaming of Netflix and YouTube. Just my thoughts… Thanks for listening.

    Reply
  10. Hi Fred, what do you think about Android 5.1 TV Box, Xiaomi Hezi Mi Box 3S Pro Enhanced Version with 2GB DDR3 RAM 8GB ROM CPU MT8693, GPU Power VR GX6250. It’s great price performance too.

    Reply
  11. Thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge. It is so helpful to newbies to Android boxes like me.
    I am in Canada & know that they have a boycott against the use of Android boxes. I’ve been told to use a masked internet address. Do you know anything about that?
    I need to dump my $85/month BASIC cable! Rates are nuts in Canada
    Thanks for your help.

    Reply
  12. Hi,
    I’m from South Africa. I have a 4Mbps line and want to stop my DsTV subscription. What Android box would you suggest for Netflix. I was looking at the H96, but you rejected it earlier on.

    Reply
  13. So I got a t95× about a year…just wanted it for kodi to watch movies….but it kept buffering (wired connected) after doing all the downloads (ares wizard) it had no Ram and buffered worse ….I even upgraded my internet speed to 175 mbps….what would u recommend best box for the most RAM and zero buffering to just watch movie….I dont care about gaming….thanks

    Reply
  14. Hi
    Thanks for very helpful page!
    What do you think / know about MINIX NEO U9-H ? It seems to be a big upgrade from U1 reviewed on this site. It has octa-core CPU and Android 6. Do you know if it supports Netflix streaming in 1080p / 4K ?
    How would you rank it overall on this list? I suppose higher than U1 is rated 🙂
    Would you still recommend Shiled over this one ? (I need to be able to install Android TV compatible app, stream Netflix in 1080p, connect external HDD, get it visible in home network to access those HDDs).

    Thanks in advance!
    Vadim

    Reply
    • Hi Vadim, sorry for the delay in my reply! The Neo-U9 definitely supersedes the U1; I might write a review about it soon. Regarding your questions, you can stream Netflix in HD with U9, but it still doesn’t support 4k resolution. Netflix is just super picky about which devices can access 4k content. I’d say it’s a great alternative to Shield though. If you’re not that into gaming, this could be a good choice for you. That said, if you’re looking for the best of the best, nothing beats Shield TV. 🙂

      Reply
  15. Thanks a lot for your help.
    I attached the Hdd to the router and use the fire stick 2, so far I’m happy maybe the shield will be my next Invest.

    Reply
  16. Hi Fred, what do you think about Android 7.1 TV Box, BPSMedia TX9 Pro TV Box with 3GB DDR3 RAM 32GB ROM Amlogic S912 Octa Core A53 Processor, it has very good reviews on Amazon, but I would like your opinion. I just need a android box mostly for movies, live tv and tv shows.

    Reply
    • Hi Isabel, sorry for the late reply! The specs of the TX9 look great, but unfortunately, it’s one of those generic TV boxes that I just can’t recommend. The problem with these boxes is that they don’t offer any customer support. If anything goes wrong, you’re on your own. Check out Beelink GT1 instead. It’s also a generic device, but comes with the exact same specs as the TX9 AND has an active support forum plus updates are done over the air.

      Reply
  17. Hi
    I’m looking for a box to play movies from a external HDD. Which boxes support >=2TB?
    Kodi should run on it too. Also I like to use for internet browsing.
    Which one would be best.

    Thank you

    Reply
  18. Hi again

    Does Amazon fire stick work internationally? I live in Barbados.

    I had someone order the regular stick for me, only to realize they now have a new, higher priced Basic Edition for international customers.i have Amazon Prime.

    Seems I ordered the wrong one. Can you shed a little light on this?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  19. Hi!

    I would like to have the Google Play, Netflix, Amazon Prime video as well as the Showbox applications. I do not need 4k. Is there a TV box that will let me install all this?
    Thanks

    Reply
  20. Hello Fred,

    Which is the top two 4K Android Boxes to buy.Live in Toronto,Ont.
    I do not play games, just watches Sports and Movies.
    Have a 4k TV with HDR.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Naresh! I’d say the Nvidia Shield TV or Skystream TWO. Since you have a 4k TV, I’d definitely choose the Shield. It’s one of the only devices that can stream Netflix in 4k!

      Reply
  21. Hi there,

    I’m no gamer or anything like that. Which device would you suggest if I just wanted to access Netflix and perhaps Amazon Prime content with good quality for my family?

    Would you suggest the Shield devices?

    Also I understand that navigation can sometimes be cumbersome with the included remotes for some devices. Which are easiest to navigate?

    Reply
    • Hi Ava! If all you want to do is stream content from Netflix and Amazon Prime then the Amazon Fire TV Stick is enough for you. The Shield is the best that there is, but it’s useful if you’re also interested in gaming, etc. Navigation should be ok with the TV Stick. If you have problems with pairing it, then just do a Google search and you’ll find loads of information on how to fix it.

      Reply
  22. Hi Fred. I’m looking at buying an android box to replace my old one and was wondering what you could suggest for around the £75 Mark? My father has the trongle x1 pro which seems to work just want to buy the best that I can afford 🙂 thanks very much Mathew

    Reply
  23. Hello,

    Will the Amazon Fire work in Canada? If so, are there any special accommodations that must be made? It is the only one of the recommended devices that is not available for sale in Canada.

    Reply
  24. Hello Fred,
    Thanks for the enlightenment on the Android tv.I am just new to it.which Android box can support logitech c920 external camera?
    Which of the tv is compatible with Android Tv Box? Do i need to buy any smart tv for Android Tv Box.i will be glad to read from you

    Reply
  25. So far I used three different box ( H96 pro plus, mecool M8S pro and Beelink GT1) and according to my experience beerlink GT1 is the best by considering its price and build quality. What do you think ???

    Reply
    • Hi Masud. All the boxes you mentioned are cheap Chinese knock-offs but Beelink GT1 does seem to be the best out of the three. If not for anything else then for the online support and OTA updates it offers.

      Reply
    • Hi Igor! The specs of Mecool M8S look great, but the box seems to be just another generic Chinese product. If you want to take the risk, then go for it, but I would definitely prefer to give my money to a brand I know. 🙂

      Reply
    • Hi Todd, you can download the Sling TV and WWE apps through the Google Play Store on all of the Android TV boxes on our list (except the Amazon Fire TV). You might have difficulty finding the WWE app though so you’ll have to search for different combinations: WWE, WWE Network, Network, etc. As always, the Nvidia Shield TV is the best of the best in my opinion.

      Reply
  26. Hi there
    Im looking at getting something and dont want to pay silly fox money.i know there is far better out there.dad has minix but he doesnt use it correctly and i would like to know if when its used correctly is it good or is there better out there than minix.and whats the cost as long as its worth paying it.i use android devices. Thank you for your help in advance.

    Reply
    • Hi Louise,

      Minix is definitely one of the best Android TV boxes out there, the only one that can top it is the Nvidia Shield TV. (I’ve reviewed both of them in this article.) If money is an issue, stick with Minix as it’s much cheaper than any box from Nvidia.

      Reply
      • Hi, you done a great job, I am not quite sure as you said to buy a box with android marshmallow and then you suggest minix

        Reply
        • Hi Marcos. You’re right! I am recommending Minix even though it’s running an older version of Android. I considered removing it from this article when I updated the Buying Guide, but the truth is Minix just performs spectacularly well! It’s super fast, even compared to many of its competitors who are using newer hardware. 🙂 Besides the Neo U1, other boxes with Android Lollipop aren’t really worth considering in 2018.

          Reply
      • If the Minix is so good, why isn’t it Google Certified ? I’m running into issues where previously working apps are no longer supported due to lack of certification

        Reply
        • Hi Deon,

          You’re right, some companies have decided to make the newest versions of their apps only available on Google Certified devices (i.e. Netflix), but you shouldn’t have a problem when you sideload them. I’ll reconsider keeping Minix on this list though.

          Reply
    • Hi Sean,

      From what I can see, the Kingbox is just a generic Chinese box that anyone can slap a brand logo on. Sure, the newest model comes with all the latest specs, but I wouldn’t go for it just for the lack of a reputable company behind it. For that price range, you could go for the new Amazon Fire TV (reviewed above) instead.

      Reply
  27. Have you reviewed The Evampo T95Z? It has an octacore with Amlogic S912 . How does it compare to the others on your list?

    Reply
    • Hi Stephane, thanks for your comment. We’ve had a look at the Evampo T95Z, but we found that people are complaining about it a lot for many different reasons. Bad customer support, the product did not fit the description (2G/16G instead of 3G/32G), problems during configuration (it reverts to Chinese after restart…).

      So we didn’t find it suitable for our “Best Android TV Box” article as it is not one of the best ones on the market. If you are looking for the best TV box I’d advise you to go with the Nvidia Shield or the brand new SkyStream.

      Reply
    • I had a MAGICSEE TV BOX , I smashed it on wall because I was unable to upgrade the hardware, the box start misbehaving and no option for upgrade. Please I need your suggestions, which one will you advise me to buy. I need the one to watching high end movies and surfing the internet. Which product will you recommend for me, thanks

      Reply
      • Hi Jef, I am not even surprised by the troubles you had with the Magicsee TV Box. We get this kind of feedback every day about the Chinese android boxes. You should go for a well know brand like Nvidia or Skystream, with real and efficient support.

        Reply
  28. I read you article and very nice info. There pro and cons on all. I ask you what do you think is the best for about $100 to get. I would like to get the Android 7.0
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Ron! I’d go for the Amazon Fire TV 2017 edition. Great specs, great price, great customer support. Alternatively, check out the Beelink GT1 – it’s running Android 7.1 and the fastest processor currently on the market (Amlogic S912), supports 4k streaming and comes with 32 GB storage. I’ll probably be doing a review on this soon!

      Reply
  29. There is another box that comes with 3GB/32GB like the SkyStream two. It’s the H96 PRO Plus KODI 17.3 Android 7.1 Amlogic S912 TV BOX 4K 3GB/32GB 802.11AC WIFI 1000M LAN. Can you give a review on this one. It can be bought on E-bay for $75.00.

    Reply
    • Hey, thanks for your comment! I took a look at the H96 as you suggested, but unfortunately, it doesn’t fit my criteria for the best Android TV box. Thanks for the suggestion though!

      Reply
        • Hi Big-G, if you want an affiliate link, here it is.

          Now, if you read the article, you probably noticed the part where I recommended only to go with reputable brands. The H96 is just a generic Chinese Android box that somebody slapped their logo on. From my affiliate stats, these kinds of boxes get returned 3 times more often than the Nvidia Shield or Skystream Three. So when people are looking for the “best Android TV box,” I tend to give them the best answer possible.

          Reply
    • I purchased this box about 7 months ago and it just died one day. It has other small issues that I was able to deal with/work around. Probably wont buy this one again.

      Reply
  30. You may also want to point out that the fire stick rev.2 benchmarks higher than any of the other models besides the nvidia shields. Great article though very detailed.

    Reply

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