X96 MAX Plus review

by MaddOx
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We love our gadgets at FULLSYNC, whether they be robotic vacuum cleaners or a fancy projector for watching the big football games like Liverpool’s FA Cup final triumph against Chelsea this month. Well, today we have our latest bit of tech to check out, the X96 MAX Plus Android box.

Now, many people will have seen Android boxes like the X96 MAX Plus, but may not actually know what they are or how they operate. Well, simply put, they can turn your standard TV, as long as it has an HDMI input, into a Smart TV. Offering you access to services like Disney+, Netflix and YouTube.

However, they are also used by many people for installing what have commonly become known as KODI apps. KODI is a multimedia player application, that others can build and share plugins for as it is open-source. These plugins can do everything from changing the display of KODI to providing you with content. Usually, content that isn’t legally sourced or paid for. Things like the latest movie releases in the cinemas, or boxsets from premium TV channels or streaming providers.

They can also be used for installing software for receiving IPTV services such as Tivimate. Tivimate is another similar app to KODI, in that it is just a media player. But, others can create playlists and upload content to those playlists from their own servers. This allows people to get everything from Premier League 3 PM kickoffs that aren’t televised in the UK, to all the premium movie channels and even foreign channels such as SuperSport from South Africa, Fox from the US, and beIN Sports which originates from Singapore.

But, we’re not here to discuss KODI apps and IPTV today, we’re here to evaluate our experience with the X96 MAX Plus Android box. So let’s see how we got on with it.

X96 MAX Plus TV Box with remote

The Specs

To kick things off, let’s take a little look at the specs of the X96 MAX Plus:

Hardware and Software

  • OS: Android 9.0
  • CPU: Amlogic S905X3
  • Core: Cortex A55 Quad Core
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Connectivity: 5G WiFi, Bluetooth, LAN, USB

As mentioned, the X96 MAX Plus is an Android box. So to see an Android OS on there was no surprise, but what was, is that it’s a rather older version of Android at 9.0 when you think we are now at Android 12.0. However, that may be due to the operational limits of using this software for a TV box rather than for use of a mobile or tablet. It had no real effect on the performance of the box though because it all ran quite smoothly. Although the display was slightly different, so clearly this was a modded version and not stock OS.

In terms of CPU, the Amlogic S905X3 is pretty standard across most Android boxes similar to the X96 MAX Plus. This is because they provide great value for money. They’re one of the cheaper processors on the market, but actually perform quite well compared to other CPUs. In fact, the only two that we found outperformed them were the Nvidia Tegra X1 and the Amlogic S922X-H, both of which operate at faster speeds of 2GHz and 2.2GHz respectively, compared to the S905X3’s 1.9GHz.

As for RAM, the processes that the X96 MAX Plus will undergo, are more than suitable for what is needed. If you took the box apart, you would be able to swap out this 4GB and upgrade it for something larger if you wanted. But it really isn’t necessary. Likewise, the 64GB storage is more than enough to have a whole host of apps and games installed, although will begin to fill up over prolonged use. But this too can be expanded upon through the TF Slot and USB ports on the box. But regular maintenance keeping unwanted apps and files off the box will maintain smooth operation without the need to expand.

X96 MAX Plus Expansion Slots


When it comes to the actual performance of the X96 MAX Plus, we were impressed for the most part. There were a number of apps pre-installed, some of these you may want such as Netflix, others you may not and these can be uninstalled through the settings. Getting to the settings can be a bit confusing, because although the layout of the home screen is clearly designed for a TV Box, once you start navigating, for us, it wasn’t an ideal version of Android because windows came up as if we were on a mobile phone.

It’s just the uniformity missing through every area of the box. However, it doesn’t really affect the performance and navigation is familiar because of this making it incredibly easy to find, as long as you’re used to Android devices anyway.

We tried using the Google Play Store to download apps, with pretty much all apps available, as long as they’re compatible with Android 9.0. This includes popular games like Fortnite and now Apex Legends Mobile too, and other applications for entertainment as mentioned such as Disney+. Even over WiFi, the speeds for downloading were as quick as they would be on my mobile phone, which for reference, is a OnePlus Nord. However, some of the apps didn’t run as well in high settings.

Games work fine on the X96 MAX Plusas long as you play low-mid settings, even the big titles we mentioned. You may get a bit of an issue with frames skipping in some emulators too, but, quite often, these emulators are not perfect, and the issues are normally related to them, not the hardware. That said, they did handle them rather well. And with Bluetooth connectivity, you can connect a Bluetooth controller to the box, which makes playing the games much better, because if you tried playing them on the included remote, it’d be shocking.

We couldn’t sadly put the 8K capabilities to the full test, as we don’t have an 8K display, but we did our best when it came to the 4K videos. We used a variety of streaming services in order to test it with some extremely demanding films. And we didn’t have a single issue with the visuals, but what we did have issues with were the X96 MAX Plus’ heat it generated and the audio capabilities. It got very hot over prolonged use, and when you open the box, there is not a lot of space inside. It could probably do with some extra vents added for better airflow, which could be done without affecting the aesthetics too much.

In terms of audio, it was like the box limited any device you were connected to. Once you plugged it in, you would use the included remote to turn the volume up and down, but it was like it couldn’t get louder than a small Android mobile. Even when we were turning the TV volume up too, it still sounded extremely quiet. The only way we successfully combatted this was by adding an external speaker, which, luckily, we had a few of lying around. This then made the box feel like it could do a job turning your standard TV into a Smart TV.

Value for money

So, is the X96 MAX Plus good value for money? Well, it is priced similarly to many Android Boxes in the budget end of the market, but it probably performs better than most. The biggest named device it could be compared to is the Fire Stick Lite, and it has a similar price to that as well. Currently, you can pick this box up for around £30.

In fact, there is a discount currently available to anyone interested in purchasing one at GeekBuying.com. Using the code 6F0M1ERF will lower the price to just £29.41 at GeekBuying.com and with UK stock available, it’ll arrive in 2-4 business days with free delivery. It is honestly, the lowest price we’ve seen on the site for some time.

If you’re happy with your non-smart TV, the X96 MAX Plus is definitely a worthwhile way of getting an upgrade without forking out hundreds on a brand new TV. It’s not going to give you any better visuals than you already receive, but it will add a whole bunch of extra features that you won’t have had access to traditionally, opening up a whole new world of content for you.

X96 Max Plus overall thoughts

Our overall opinion of the X96 MAX Plus was positive. It is a great entry into the budget market, offering more than many other Android TV boxes. However, the fact the modded OS isn’t fully optimised for a TV display, and the audio capabilities of it being limited are let downs. Would I purchase this for a 4K TV that had most features on already? No, I’d stick with my Fire Stick 4K instead, as it feels more responsive, powerful and generally feels better to use. But I have put this to use on one of the old TVs we stuck in one of our spare rooms, and it works a treat there.

You can definitely do much worse than the X96 MAX Plus, especially at the price point. But there are better options out there if you are willing to spend the money.

If you wish to purchase this yourself, do so HERE at GeekBuying.com using the code 6F0M1ERF for a nice little discount. If you liked our review of the X96 MAX Plus Android TV box, you can check out more of our hardware reviews right HERE.

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