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Beelink GT-King Pro review: the best TV box gets better

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    Beelink GT-King Pro review: the best TV box gets better

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    The good:
    Attractive design and great build quality.
    Top-end hardware and impeccable performance.
    Lots of connectivity options.
    Dual ESS ES9018 Hi-Fi DAC.
    DTS Listen and Dolby Audio support.
    Android 9 Pie.

    The bad:
    No Netflix or Amazon Prime Video in HD.
    32-bit version Android OS.
    The UI doesn’t match the design of the box.
    Much more expensive than the GT-King.

    Being the first TV box to run on Amologic’s most powerful S922X processor, the Beelink GT-King has attracted a lot of attention, but also stirred a bit of controversy among its users. The beefy chipset may have helped the box become the new benchmark and performance king, but software-related issues with this new SoC. weren’t solved until recent updates. Fortunately, after the latest firmware upgrade, the GT-King is finally performing steadily as designed.

    The recently released GT-King Pro is the upgraded version of the GT-King, and the latest addition to Beelink’s TV box lineup. The Amlogic S922X-H chipset (Hexa-core big.LITTLE CPU, Mali-G52MP6 GPU, 12nm manufacturing process) in the GT-King Pro is almost identical to the S922X inside the GT-King, the only difference being that the former has DTS Listen and Dolby Audio licenses. The Pro variant has a new metal case, a few more ports and most importantly, dual ESS ES9018 HiFi DAC which can drive headphones with an impedance of up to 600Ω.

    Main Specs
    Operating System: Android 9.0 (32-bit)
    Processor: Amlogic S922X-H chipset
    CPU: big.LITTLE Hexa-core CPU (4*[email protected], 2*Cortex-A53*1.8GHz)
    GPU: Mali-G52MP6
    RAM: 4GB LPDDR4
    Storage: 64GB eMMc Internal Storage, SDXC Card Support
    HDMI: HDMI 2.1 Output up to 3840*[email protected]
    Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.1
    Audio: DTS Listen and Dolby Audio
    DAC: Dual ESS ES9018 32bit audio DAC
    Internet Access: Dual-band WiFi 2.4GHz/5GHz, Gigabit Ethernet
    Ports: Ethernet port*1, DC-in port*1, SD card slot*1, USB 3.0 port*4, HDMI 2.1*1, RS232*1, 3.5mm audio jack*1
    Dimension: 119 x 119 x 17.9mm (L x W x H)
    Power Supply: 12V DC/1.5A
    Weight: 380g
    Chassis: Blue, aluminum
    Retail Package: TV box*1, remote controller*1, HDMI cable*1, power adapter*1, user manual*1, service card*1


    Retail Packaging

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    The Beelink GT King Pro comes with refined retail packaging, the highlighted skull on the front of the black box looks extremely cool.

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    In addition to the GT-King Pro tv box itself, inside the box you’ll find a 18W DC Adapter, an HDMI cable, a remote and a user manual. The user manual offers instructions in many different languages: English, German, French, Chinese and Japanese.


    Design and build

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    The GT-King Pro looks like a completely different device when lying side by side with the GT-King. With a more premium metal case and bright blue finish, the Pro variant has the form factor more of a mini PC rather than a TV box. Only the skull on the top side, which looks identical to the one on the famous Skull Canyon mini PC, reminds us of its relation to the GT-King model.

    Audio performance is a major selling point of the GT-king, so you can also find “DTS Listen” & “Dolby Audio” licenses on the top side.

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    On the box’s front side, you will find a black plastic bar, which looks very much like a display. Beelink’s brand slogan “Connect to a wonderful life” is marked here.

    A slew of interfaces can be found on the GT-King Pro. The front plays host to an IR receiver, which works well with the stock remote coming with the box. There’s also a tiny LED indicator, which will light up in white when the box is booted.

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    The left and right sides play host to 4 USB ports (3 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port with OTG), 1 SDXC card slot and some vents.

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    The back side of the box sports a DC-in port, an RS232 port, an HDMI 2.1 port, an Ethernet connector, and a 3.5mm audio jack. There’s also a beautiful red power button, just like the one found on some Beelink’s mini PCs.

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    The GT-King Pro measures 119mm x 119mm x 17.9mm and weighs 380g. The build quality is excellent. Not only does the box look extremely polished, but it also feels pretty sturdy, and may even survive some occasional falls.

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    The supplied remote is predictably lightweight, and feels very well-built as well. The box responds quickly to its commands and the infra-red range are acceptably long and broad. The remote also comes with a 2.4GHz USB receiver, which seemed somewhat unnecessary at first. Then I realized that, with the receiver plugged in the GT-King pro, this remote can also be used as an air mouse, which is quite helpful when you use the box to browse webpages and do some productivity work.

    The remote also supports voice control, and allows you to ask the Google Assistant to launch apps, play videos, mount web searches simply by saying “OK Google” followed by your command.


    Setting it up

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    Setting up the Beelink GT-King Pro is as easy as setting up any TV box. Connecting it to a TV set (or projector) via HDMI, plugging in the DC power adapter and you are good to go.

    After being powered on, a skull will show up on the TV screen, with its eyes blinking in different colors. The startup is quite fast, as the familiar Beelink homescreen will show up seconds afterwards.


    System & Apps

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    The Beelink GT-King Pro ships with Android 9.0 Pie, with the very familiar Beelink skin on top. The launcher has everything laid out beautifully and is very easy to navigate. The date and time are located at the top left with the temperature widget below. In the center of the screen you have a link to the media center, internet browser and Google Play Store. There are also shortcuts to “clear memory”, app drawer, and settings laying below. To the right is an area where users can pin their favorite apps. Finally, at the bottom left you have shortcuts to power, volume, at the bottom right you have shortcuts to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB Mounted storage and Network Storage.

    The navigation bar at the very bottom is defaulted to be hidden, but you can bring it up with a mouse. It has many virtual keys, including a power button, a back button, a home button, a recent apps button, a screenshot key, a volume- button, a volume+ button and a hide-bar button.

    I’ve shared my opinion in the GT-King review, and I have to say it again: Beelink should design a set of skins and wallpapers more in line with the design of the device. The ASUS ROG phone, the Xiaomi Black Shark phone, and the nubia Red Magic phone all have themes in line with their looks. Even though developing a skin completely different for one device may not be cost-efficient for a small operation like Beelink, adding a few wallpapers won’t be much of a difficulty.

    Fortunately, the TV box allows you to set other pictures as wallpapers. I’ve just found some Skull images to customize the GT-King Pro.

    Like all Beelink tv boxes, the GT-King Pro doesn’t come loaded with bloatware, but there are some preinstalled apps. Besides the stock Google Play Store, Chrome and Gallery, you can also find Beelink’s very own App Store, Bee Files Explorer, Media Center, Movie Player and Bee Music in the app drawer.

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    The Google Play Store is the normal phone and tablet variant instead of the TV version found on many other Google certified TV boxes. Although there are more apps in the tablet-version Play Store, you won't get most of your favorite TV apps here.

    Still, you can install the TV version of YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video from Beelink’s very own App Store, those apps work better with a remote. If these are still not enough, there's always an option to directly install the .apk files of the apps you want.

    One thing I need to mention is that the GT-King Pro runs on the 32-bit version of Android 9 Pie. There are some apps which won't run properly on the device, but it is not a concern for average TV box users.


    Performance

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    The Beelink GT-King Pro is powered by the all new Amlogic S922X-H chipset, which contains 4 cores of Cortex A73 clocked at 2.21GHz, 2 cores of Cortex-A53 clocked at 1.8GHz, and a beefy Mali-G52MP6 GPU clocked at 846MHz. There’s also 4GB LPDDR4 RAM under the hood to handle multi-tasking.

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    In Antutu V7 benchmark test, the GT-King Pro scored 127,833.

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    In Geekbench 4 CPU test, the GT-King Pro notched 1,462 in single-core, and 4,072 in multi-core.
    Last edited by jupiter2012; 10-09-2019, 21:44.

    #2





    In the PCMark 8 Work 2.0 test, the GT-King Pro snatched 5,901, very close to the score of the mighty Nividia Shield TV.





    In the more graphics-focused 3DMark test, the GT-King Pro scored 1,582 in Slingshot.





    The Ice Storm Unlimited returned the GT-King Pro with a score of 22,753.



    In the Antutu video tester benchmark, the GT-King Pro scored 1094, out of the 30 tested items, only one video codec is not supported.

    As can be seen from the scores above, the GT-King Pro slightly edged the GT-King in all benchmarks. But the differences weren’t significant, and probably would not be felt when translated into real-life experiences. The GT-King Pro still offers less horsepower than top Android smartphones and tablets, but it has very few competitions in the world of Android TV boxes. Probably the only box more powerful is the Nvidia Shield TV, but it is more marketed as a gaming console and priced much higher than the GT-King Pro.




    When it comes to day-to-day TV box tasks, the GT-King Pro is more than capable. Even when the HDMI output was set at 4K, I still experienced almost no hiccups, lags or delays.

    As a pure media streamer, the GT-King Pro does as well, if not better, than most competitions. I played many video clips of different formats in Kodi, the GT-King Pro never struggled with anything I threw at it. The GT-King Pro supports Dolby Vision, Advanced HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, and PRIME HDR, with the right videos and a nice TV, it is capable of delivering satisfying video playback experiences.



    Streaming 4K videos in the YouTube TV app was also extremely smooth.



    Unfortunately, although the GT-King Pro supports Widevine L1, you won’t be able to stream HD videos in Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, the highest resolution you can choose is 540P. Looks like Beelink still hasn’t got the licenses from those two streaming services yet. This might be a deal-breaker for many devoted Netflix fans.



    The GT-King Pro is by no means just a streaming box. It has more than enough power for most of the graphic-intense games you can find in Google Play Store. I tested Asphalt Extreme, Defender III, Snowboard Party and World of Tennis, all of them ran smoothly at maximum settings. But a joystick is necessary if you want to fully enjoy gaming with this TV Box.



    Browsing the web was also a nice experience. With multiple image-heavy webpages loaded in Chrome, and the box remained smooth and responsive.



    The device is obviously designed as an entertainment hub, just like the Nvidia Shield TV, but it’s not impossible to use it for some lightweight productivity tasks. With a keyboard and the right apps, it is easy to write Emails, and even edit some photos and documents on the GT-King Pro. But I would not recommend anyone to use this as your main PC, unless your computing needs are very basic.


    Audio



    One of the major improvements on the GT-King Pro is the audio performance. The dual ESS ES9018 HiFi DAC offers DNR up to 135dB, –120dB THD+N, and enables the box to support headphones and speakers with high impedance (up to 600Ω). I plugged in my Panasonic HD605N headphones and listened to a lot of music during the 7-day break (China National Day), the sound coming from the GT-King Pro was significantly better than the sound from my Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

    The S922X-H processor has DTS Listen and Dolby Audio licenses, and the box is compatible with 7.1 audio systems. Although the SONOS Playbase speaker in my living room doesn't support DTS decoding, my non-audiophile ears still heard the differences. The GT-King Pro offered a much broader soundstage and better separation compared to average TV boxes. If you have an audio system certified by Dolby, you will be able to enjoy even more discrete surround sound from DTS-encoded movies.


    Connectivity



    The GT-King Pro offers even more connectivity options than the GT-King. It supports 2.4GHz/5GHz dual-band Wi-Fi. Although without an exposed antenna, the device still has solid reception, it could pick up more Wi-Fi hotspots than most of my other TV boxes and mini PCs. The Ethernet jack also comes in handy when you want more stable connection via a cable.

    There’s also Bluetooth 4.1 on board to take care of local data transfer and connecting with audio and input devices. I connected the GT-King Pro with the Creative SoundBlaster Roar Pro speaker and they worked fine together. Although Android 9 naturally supports high-quality codes such as aptX, aptX HD and LDAC, this TV box can only stream audio in SBC and AAC, which is clearly a little disappointing, given that audio is such a major a selling point of the device. One thing worth noting is that, if the box is connected to my Harman Kardon Aura speaker before it is shut down, it will boot up automatically afterwards. It is quite annoying since I must make sure the Aura is turned off earlier than the King Pro. I’ve also experienced similar issues with the Vifa Helsinki speaker, but Beelink promised to solve this problem in the next firmware upgrade.

    The HDMI 2.1 port on the GT-King Pro can output videos up to [email protected], and should support most TV sets, monitors and projectors. In comparison, the Nvidia Shield TV and many other TV boxes are still using HDMI 2.0 or HDMI 1.4 ports.

    The box comes with 64GB built-in storage, which is plenty of room for apps, games and media files. If that’s not enough, the SDXC card slot has no problem reading my 128GB Samsung card, and the reading and writing speeds were decent, too. In addition, the 4 USB ports support external USB storages of up to 4TB. Data transmission was reasonably fast with the three USB 3.0 ports, as I was able to play high bite rate 4K videos from my mobile drive smoothly. In comparison, the Nvidia Shield TV only comes with 16GB built-in storage, no memory card slot, and only two USB ports.


    Verdict

    Priced at $139.99, the Beelink GT-King Pro is not cheap. But its beautiful metal case, impeccable performance and support for high-quality audio can still make most buyers feel like they are getting more than they have paid for.

    Gaming enthusiasts may find the Nvidia Shield TV more appealing, as it has a much more powerful GPU under the hood, and even supports streaming PC games from the box. For average users who want more than just a video streamer, the GT-King Pro is a solid and more affordable alternative to the Shield TV, and even betters the latter in certain departments. But if metallic build and audio are not things that you care about, the original GT-King, which costs $30 less, will be a more sensible choice for you.
    Last edited by jupiter2012; 10-10-2019, 08:34.

    Comment


      #3
      is this box rooted?

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by jean-louis View Post
        is this box rooted?
        No, it isn't.

        Comment


          #5
          so Titanium Backup will not work on it, I guess. Is it rootable? Which way and is it easy?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jean-louis View Post
            so Titanium Backup will not work on it, I guess. Is it rootable? Which way and is it easy?
            I asked Beelink Official, the box is actually pre-rooted.

            Comment


              #7
              Why no mention of the Ugoos AM6 which has the same CPU in the comparison charts above ?
              It seem the AM6 outperformed the GT King in tests.
              Thanks.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by maryann View Post
                Why no mention of the Ugoos AM6 which has the same CPU in the comparison charts above ?
                It seem the AM6 outperformed the GT King in tests.
                Thanks.
                Maryann the Ugoos AM6 has only 2gb of memory and 16 gb of storage. I use boxes of 32gb of storage and sometimes i feel rinning out of storage space as I install all my apps on the local storage and therefore easily have around 15 to 23 gb used for apps. Also 2 gb of memory is in my opinion on the low side, unless you just use one application at a time. I easy use between 2,5 and 3 gb of memory thus leaving 1 gb free for occasional use. My next boxes must have at least 64gb of storage, for me that is a must. If you just use a few apps at a time 2 gb of mem can be enough.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by maryann View Post
                  Why no mention of the Ugoos AM6 which has the same CPU in the comparison charts above ?
                  It seem the AM6 outperformed the GT King in tests.
                  Thanks.
                  haven't got that device yet.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by jean-louis View Post

                    Maryann the Ugoos AM6 has only 2gb of memory and 16 gb of storage. I use boxes of 32gb of storage and sometimes i feel rinning out of storage space as I install all my apps on the local storage and therefore easily have around 15 to 23 gb used for apps. Also 2 gb of memory is in my opinion on the low side, unless you just use one application at a time. I easy use between 2,5 and 3 gb of memory thus leaving 1 gb free for occasional use. My next boxes must have at least 64gb of storage, for me that is a must. If you just use a few apps at a time 2 gb of mem can be enough.
                    I understand about the memory & storage but it was really the cpu performance & software I was referring to.
                    Ugoss have an AM6 pro now as well.
                    4Gb Ran & 32Gb memory but tests I've seen say it's not as fast at the standard AM6 even though it has the same cpu.
                    There's an interesting comparison here which some might be interested in. It involves the GT King as well.
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3IwY75d-Qg&t=1s

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by maryann View Post

                      I understand about the memory & storage but it was really the cpu performance & software I was referring to.
                      Ugoss have an AM6 pro now as well.
                      4Gb Ran & 32Gb memory but tests I've seen say it's not as fast at the standard AM6 even though it has the same cpu.
                      There's an interesting comparison here which some might be interested in. It involves the GT King as well.
                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3IwY75d-Qg&t=1s
                      I asked ugoos to offer me a sample for testing, but it seems they are not interested in my request, I wouldn't really spend money on something I won't use afterwards.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        The Ugoos AM6 is inferior in all aspects, and they even dare to price that device as high as the GT-King Pro, what a joke.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by jupiter2012 View Post
                          The Ugoos AM6 is inferior in all aspects, and they even dare to price that device as high as the GT-King Pro, what a joke.
                          Did you test it against the Beelink ?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by maryann View Post

                            Did you test it against the Beelink ?
                            Not really, just specs wise, that thing is inferior in all aspects.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by jupiter2012 View Post

                              Not really, just specs wise, that thing is inferior in all aspects.
                              Thanks for that.
                              For anyone interested here is a comparison chart from another site.

                              http://tvboxstop.com/tv-box-stop-2019-tv-box-ranking/

                              Comment

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