Introducing the Tanix W2-A TV Box: A deep dive into its features
In this post, I’m going to delve into the world of Tanix and their latest offering, the Tanix W2-A. This TV box is packed with features, but as always, it has its pros and cons. So, let’s take a closer look at the Tanix W2-A in this extensive review.
Unboxing the Tanix W2-A
Let’s kick things off with the unboxing experience. The Tanix W2-A arrives in a standard package, and inside, you’ll find:
- The W2-A model itself.
- An infrared remote.
- One HDMI cable.
- A 5V 2A DC power adapter.
- And a user manual.
The design of the W2-A is sleek, featuring a plastic body adorned with the Tanix branding. It comes equipped with a variety of ports, including HDMI 2.0, non-gigabit ethernet LAN, optical audio, AV, DC power, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and a microSD card reader. There’s even an LED display on the front and antiskid rubber feet on the base, though it lacks ventilation holes.
The Tanix W2-A: A Quick Overview
Now, let’s move on to the heart of the matter. The Tanix W2-A runs on the Amlogic S905W2 chipset and boasts the unique Alice UX interface. In this review, we’ll explore the various aspects of this TV box, from its interface to gaming capabilities.
Alice UX: A Tanix W2 Unique Experience
The Tanix W2-A introduces us to the Alice UX interface, a one-of-a-kind system that you won’t find on any other branded model. This interface is exclusive to Tanix, either through patents or copyrights.
Alice UX is built on the Android 11 mobile version and offers a distinctive experience. It differs from the traditional leanback launcher with a left main panel and a pop-out recent apps panel. You can navigate it using a direction pad or a mouse pointer. However, it lacks a navigation bar, a status bar, split-screen functionality, and drag-and-drop shortcuts.
One advantage is that it has root access, which means you can install the menu button alternative navigation bar to enhance your experience. With Alice UX, you can access the mobile version of the Google Play Store and Play services, giving you access to your app purchases and saved game data.
Netflix and Prime Video Considerations
While you can run Netflix and Prime Video on this TV box, there’s a caveat. The lack of Google Widevine level 1 and HDCP protection means that these apps are limited to 480p resolution, even if you have an HD subscription. For those seeking high-quality Netflix and Prime Video experiences, you might want to consider a box with Android TV certification, like the Homatics box R 4K.
Customizing Your Launcher
For users who prefer a mouse cursor to navigate their launcher, Alice UX lacks a navigation bar. You can install alternative launchers like the ADW 2 launcher, which provides features like long-click menu pop-ups and drag-and-drop shortcuts. However, note that live wallpapers are not supported, and screen rotation requires a box restart.
Exploring Tanix W2 Hardware and Performance
Now, let’s dive into the hardware and performance of the Tanix W2-A. This model comes with 2GB of DDR4 RAM and 16GB of internal storage, with a quad-core Cortex A35 processor clocked at 1.8 GHz in 32-bit mode. The ARM Mali G31 graphics processor with OpenGL ES version 3.2 support powers its display and graphics.
The TV box supports dual-band 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz Wi-Fi and offers a range of decoding capabilities for video and audio, including H.264, HEVC, AV1, VP9, Dolby Digital ac3, and DTS HD. However, it lacks Dolby Atmos EAC3 and Dolby Vision decoders.
The Tanix W2-A can deliver up to 4K 2160p@60 Hz display with HDR. It also features an adaptive HDR function that activates HDR when needed. HDMI CEC options, screen savers, and energy saver settings are available, along with various language options.
YouTube and Miracast
The preinstalled YouTube app is the Android TV version, but it might have some issues. It’s recommended to update it or install the mobile version from the Play Store to enjoy YouTube videos in 4K 2160p with HDR. The TV box also comes with the official version of Miracast, which works surprisingly well, allowing you to cast your Android devices in HD quality.
4K HDR HLG AV1 Video Playback
So in my testing it played HDR10, HLG, and HDR 4K videos. It failed to play audio from some of the 4K formats such as HDR10 plus and Dolby Vision, and it also struggles with some with surround sound audio. When connected to my AV receiver via HDMI passthrough configuration it could only output Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Surround. In spite of having all the DTS decoders, it could not decode any DTS formats.
CoreELEC: An Alternative Operating System
For those familiar with CoreELEC, it’s like an operating system based on Kodi that utilizes the full potential of your hardware. The Tanix W2-A can run CoreELEC, which enables playback of all 4K HDR video formats and various surround sound audio formats. However, CoreELEC cannot replace Android as it doesn’t run Android apps and games.
Bluetooth Connectivity and Gaming
The Tanix W2-A supports Bluetooth connectivity. Pairing a Bluetooth gamepad is quick and stable, offering a responsive gaming experience. However, it’s essential to note that this is a 2GB 16GB model, and it may struggle with resource-intensive Android gaming.
During gaming, the TV box maintains a temperature of around 74°C, which is reasonable given its lack of ventilation. For monitoring the CPU’s temperature, you can use an app like “CPU temp.”
Tanix W2 Performance Benchmarks
To provide a comprehensive overview of the Tanix W2-A’s performance, let’s take a look at some benchmark results:
- RAM copy speed averages at 3243 MB/s.
- Internal storage boasts an average read speed of 110 MB/s and a write speed of 29 MB/s.
- With a Samsung 1 TB M.2 SSD adapter connected to the USB 3.0 port, the TV box reaches a read speed of 33 MB/s and a write speed of 24 MB/s.
- In terms of network speeds, the 5 GHz Wi-Fi band delivers the maximum speed of the network, while the 2.4 GHz band averages around 40 Mbps. The LAN port, however, is not a gigabit port, capping at around 93 Mbps.
- In CPU benchmarks, the Geekbench 5 CPU benchmark registers a score of 99 for single-core and 297 for multicore. These scores reflect the TV box’s lower CPU clock speed and limited RAM.
- Unfortunately, the TV box struggles with GPU performance, as evidenced by its low score of 177 in the 3DMark gamers benchmark, with an fps of 1.06.
- In the Antutu benchmark, it achieves a score of 70,555, positioning it at 95th place on the TV box ranking chart.
Pros and Cons
In conclusion, the Tanix W2-A offers a budget-friendly option for streaming movies and TV shows. Its unique Alice UX interface, Bluetooth connectivity, and compatibility with CoreELEC make it an attractive choice for some users. However, its limited hardware resources and struggles with critical video and audio formats might deter gamers and cinephiles.
The 2GB 16GB model, as reviewed here, has its limitations. If you’re considering this TV box, it’s advisable to opt for the 4GB 32GB or 64GB model for better performance. With a price point of only $23, the Tanix W2-A remains an accessible choice for those seeking an affordable TV box.