This hybrid STB also comes with a TV and Satellite tuner. Powered by Android 6.0 it has great specs but where should you buy the MECOOL KIII Pro TV box?
It's the first time I have reviewed a hybrid Android media player like this one so I was quite interested to see what the benefits would be when adding TV and Satellite tuner ports.
The on-board specs on this box are impressive enough that's for sure. The Amlogic S912 SoC is a proven and stable workhorse and it's a good combination when coupled with ARM Mali-T820MP3 GPU.
But should you buy from Amazon, Gearbest or Geekbuying?
Gearbest and Geekbuying both have Flash Sales on right now and there's no difference in the price but the Geekbuying Sale will run for 3 days more. Read on for best place to buy.
MECOOL KIII Pro Hydrid Media Player Review
Best Price: $112.89
Product size: 5.12 x 4.72 x 1.26 inches
Weight: 0.26 kg
Connections: Ethernet, WiFi, DVB-T2, DVB-S2
Guarantee: 1 year
Who are MECOOL?
The manufacturer is based in Shenzhen, China and they have a good reputation when it comes to Android TV boxes and Mini PCs. I previously reviewed the MECOOL BB2 Pro and it received a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.
The company employs specialist hardware engineers, software engineers and technicians who have varying levels of professional qualifications and experience in TV, radio and film.
The box casing has a matt finish and feels very well made. It has 4 feet on the underside with ventilations slots for heat dissipation. There is a power on/off button which lights up when it is on.
It comes with a speical remote control which allows you to access all the features including an EPG function if you are using the FreeView tuner for TV or Satellite.
What's in the box?
This hybrid box was benchmarked on AnTuTu and returned an overall score of 41,600 which is very high-end for the S912 SoC. I think the other specs are helping to push the performance higher.
This box is just awesome when it comes to playing 4K files. It handles all with ease and without any flicker. It will also play 1080p YouTube videos perfectly. I was really impressed with the playback quality.
Gaming is also bang on the money, probably due to the 3GB of RAM and the CPU/GPU combination. It also comes with the Pro version of Airpin which is a casting app. You would normally have to pay for the Pro version but MECOOL have included it. Casting works well without any obvious lag.
When you connect an antenna to the DVB-T2 tuner you will be able to get local Free-to-air channels. It doesn't support ATSC tuner so you won't be able to pick up digital channels in the States.
When viewing the TV channels via the tuner, you can access the EPG function on the remote. This will show you the TV guide for all channels. There is also a PVR function so you can record programs as you watch. Only one program can be recorded at any time.
Pros and Cons
MECOOL KIII Pro on Amazon, Gearbest and Geekbuying
The box has a price of $148.89 on Amazon at the time of writing. Clearly, it's cheaper to buy from Geekbuying or Gearbest but these Flash Sales won't last forever so it's worth checking out all 3 stores to get the latest price.
Amazon are hugely popular in the States and the UK and this is partly due to a great customer service and refunds policy. Also, they have a great delivery service due to a large inventory.
Geekbuying and Gearbest are fairly new kids on the block and ship most of their stock from China so you may have to wait a bit longer to receive any purchases.
However, you can pick up a good bargain with them in these flash sales if you are prepared to wait for your item. They also deliver Worldwide unlike a lot of the sellers on Amazon.
It's not clear what price the KIII Pro will be after the flash sales have ended so it's worth checking out all of them.
Check Latest Prices
Using a VPN with MECOOL KIII Pro
Why use a VPN?
If you plan on using this hybrid STB to access live TV channels via free TV apps like Kodi then you should be aware of the legalities of accessing certain content.
A good VPN will mask your IP address and allow you to stream with confidence. They can also bypass bandwidth throttling if this is practiced by your ISP. It does happen in some cases.
There are some things that I define as pre-requisites. These are:
Two companies that practice all of the above are PureVPN and IvacyVPN. Right now the cheapest option is with PureVPN and they have a promotion on at the moment for $3.25 / month. Ivacy VPN will cost you $4.08 / month.
A free VPN won't really cut the mustard due to limitations on bandwidth or servers.
Alternatives to FreeView TV
It's great being able to get free TV especially with the tuners that are included with this box but sometimes you may want to get Premium Channels.
There's a few things you can do to reduce buffering but in some cases it will be unavoidable. I tend to use free TV apps for VOD content which is more reliable and I use my IPTV service for live TV.
The MECOOL KIII Pro is a great TV box and even if you don't plan on taking advantage of the TV or Satellite tuners, it is still a very powerful media player.
Would I recommend it?
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