Best Android TV Boxes for Gaming, Streaming, and Everything in 2022

by
Frederik Lipfert
Dr. Frederik Lipfert Founder, vpncheck
Updated on 27 Feb 2022

About Best Android TV Boxes

Android TV Boxes are versatile devices as they enhance the abilities of your television. Though an Android box is not as powerful as your PC, it is an affordable alternative that allows you to stream and download apps and watch free live TV channels

Now that you’ve probably decided that you need an Android Box to stream your favorite content on the big screen, you might be wondering about the best option available. When you start looking for the best Android TV box, you’ll come across numerous options, and at the start, you’ll feel like all the TV boxes are the same with slight differences in specifications. 

Though all Android TV Boxes run on the same technology, they offer different user interfaces and have varying operating systems. For example, the Amazon Fire TV uses Amazon’s operating system while the Apple TV works on the iOS system. So which one is the best Android TV Box for you? Here we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of our top picks for you to take Android on your big screen!

How to Choose the Best TV Boxes?

Android TV Boxes are available in various shapes sizes with a multitude of features. The choice of a TV Box depends on the type of services and features you’re looking for. The point is that all devices are not the same or suitable for everyone. There are a few ‘must have’ features that you should look for before choosing the correct TV Box. Following are the factors that you should consider to get the right one for yourself:

Operating System and UI

TV Boxes run on various operating systems, but here we’re talking about those that run on the Android Operating System only. The OS affects the performance and optimization of your TV box. It also affects the smart hubs that you might have at your place. For example, if you have Amazon Alexa at your home, it will take the best pair it with the Fire TV. However, if you have more smart hubs that run on iOS, Apple TV (iOS operating system) will be better. 

There are generic Android TV Boxes, too; they run on stock Android which is not the entire Android operating system. Though some apps will work fine on these TV boxes, some will not work at all.

CPU and GPU

The larger the device’s CPU, the more smoothly it can handle the apps simultaneously. An Android TV Box with a large multicore processor will perform significantly better and allow you to do 4K streaming. It would be best if you did not settle for anything less than a quad-core processor. In addition, look for a GPU that supports 4K resolution so that you get the best image quality on your screen.

RAM and Storage

Another main factor to consider is memory. The more memory a TV box has, the better it is. For streaming apps on the Android TV Box, you must ensure that the device has enough RAM to perform basic tasks. Some apps also run in the background, and if there’s less memory, they won’t be able to do so. We recommend going for at least 1.5 to 2 GB RAM; otherwise, buffering issues will occur. 

Moreover, if you’re willing to install large files and numerous apps on your device, you should consider going for one which has ample internal storage. Most of the Android TV boxes come with 8 GB internal storage, but if there’s an SD card slot, you can expand the storage capacity.

Dynamic Refresh Rate Switching

Dynamic refresh rate switching tells how quickly a system can process anything you’re viewing on the screen. The ideal value for dynamic refresh rate switching is 60 Hz. At this rate, the human eye can’t detect how quickly the computer is redrawing the images. However, not all videos are made to run at 60 Hz. Thus, you should make sure that the device that you’re using is equipped with dynamic refresh rate switching.

Ports, HDMI and Wi-Fi

The HDMI, Ethernet, and USB ports are also necessary for an Android TV Box. If you want your TV Box to work with USB storage devices, you must look for a TV box with more than one USB port—the most important ports are HDMI. Ethernet is also a vital consideration, especially if you’re streaming videos without buffering.

Avoid Roku, Raspberry Pi, and Apple TV

If you’re an Android OS fan, you must stay away from devices such as Roku, Raspberry Pi, and Apple TV. Though these devices can also run numerous streaming apps, they can’t run those apps that run on the Android OS.

Top Choices for Android TV Boxes

  1. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K 
  2. Nvidia Shield TV
  3. Nvidia Shield TV Pro
  4. MECOOL KM2 Android TV Box
  5. Chromecast with Google TV

Best Android TV Boxes Detailed Review

No matter what you are looking for in an Android TV Box, you will find all of the best Android TV boxes right here. 

The following are our top picks for the best Android TV Boxes:

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K - Best for 4K Streaming

Amazon Firestick Settings menu with Settings icon highlightedIt has an excellent interface; even beginners can start with it right away. The voice remote has lots of controls, and it allows you to search for your favorite content without typing. You can download various apps by searching them on the Amazon app store. If some apps aren’t there, you can sideload them on your Firestick. For example, Kodi can easily be sideloaded on your device through the Downloader app.

Specifications

  • Operating system: Amazon Fire OS
  • Processor: Amlogic Quad-core 1.7 GHz / ARM 4xCA53
  • Resolution: 4K (Dolby Vision, HDR10)
  • RAM: 1.5 GB
  • Storage: 8 GB
  • Voice Assistant: Amazon Alexa
  • Price: $49.99

Pros

  • It is very affordable
  • Easy menu navigation
  • Quick Wi-Fi streaming
  • 4K resolution with Dolby Vision and HDR10
  • Advanced hardware

Cons

  • Storage space isn’t upgradable

Nvidia Shield TV - Most Powerful Android TV

Nvidia Shield TVThe Nvidia Shield TV is one of the best Android TVs. It is 2nd on our list because it’s pricey. Otherwise, it would be our first choice.  The device offers excellent fast-loading 4K video content and endless streaming opportunities for all the gamers out there. It uses its company’s custom Tegra X1+ chipset and AI upscaling feature that improves the overall streaming experience. 

Nvidia Shield has a user-friendly interface- it organizes the content into rows, and you also get to access your favorite apps easily. The device offers thousands of amazing apps, including Netflix and Amazon Prime. Moreover, the setup is effortless as you get to use the best voice remotes available on the market. Overall, it is a great and powerful device, but it’s expensive. 

Specifications

  • Operating system: Android 11
  • Processor: Nvidia TegraX1+
  • Resolution: 4K (Dolby Vision, HDR, HDR10)
  • RAM: 2 GB/ 8 GB
  • Storage: 8 GB
  • Voice Assistant: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
  • Price: $149.99

Pros

  • Fast rendering of UHD content
  • Upscaling and Dolby support
  • Smooth game-streaming
  • Numerous excellent apps
  • Frequent updates

Cons

  • A bit expensive

Nvidia Shield TV Pro - All in One Android TV Box

Nvidia Shield TV ProThe Nvidia Shield TV Pro is a fancier version of the Nvidia Shield TV and the more expensive one. It has almost all the features of the Nvidia Shield device with the addition of some USB ports, RAM and storage, and Plex integration. The Nvidia Shield Pro is much faster than other Android TV Boxes as it is equipped with the advanced and latest AI-enhanced 4K upscaling. 

The device allows you to access almost all the available software on the Google Play Store. With Plex pre-installed in it, you can also get Kodi on your device to stream more content. Moreover, it has substantial onboard space, which you can expand using a USB 3.0 drive. The device is equipped with an advanced GPU and a robust wireless connection that takes your gaming experience to the next level. The best feature of this device is that it offers a fantastic lineup of Android games designed especially for the Nvidia Shield TV Pro.  

Specifications

  • Operating system: Android 11
  • Processor: Nvidia TegraX1+ (quad-core, ARM Cortex A-53, 16 nm)
  • Resolution: 4K HDR-ready, HDR10, Dolby Vision HDR, HDR10+
  • RAM: 3 GB/ 16 GB
  • Storage: 16 GB
  • Voice Assistant: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
  • Price: $199.99

Pros

  • Built-in Chromecast
  • Excellent gaming features
  • Powerful streaming
  • Superb AI-Enhanced 4K Upscaling
  • 500 GB storage space
  • Advanced CPU and GPU

Cons

  • Very expensive

MECOOL KM2 - Netflix Certified TV Box

MECOOL KM2The Mecool KM2 provides good streaming performance- it is Netflix certified and offers various Google features like Google cast and voice control. The device supports 4K streaming and allows you to access Netflix, Amazon Prime, Play Store, and Disney+ Services. The Android ten is fast and efficient, and it offers excellent compatibility with almost all the latest apps. 

The remote control has integrated Google Assistant to control various functions with speaking. The graphics processing is also sound and allows you to play games at 1080p. Overall, it is a superb Android TV Box that offers all major TV streaming apps. It has a fast launcher and a good storage capacity that allows you to stream and enjoy thousands of movies and TV shows. 

Specifications

  • Operating system: Android 10
  • Processor: Amlogic S905X2-B
  • Resolution: 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 8 GB
  • Voice Assistant: Google Assistant
  • Price: $76.99

Pros

  • Fast operating system
  • Chromecast and Google Home
  • Nice BT remote
  • Numerous useful apps pre-installed
  • The streaming experience is smooth and stable

Cons

  • 4K resolution have delays

Chromecast with Google TV - Excellent streaming services

Chromecast with Google TVChromecast with Google TV is a great streaming device. It gives good value for money and is packed with handy features to cater to your entertainment needs. The device works smoothly with most Android TVs and comes with Google’s first Chromecast remote. It is an excellent option if you’re looking to buy something like Nvidia Shield at a low price. 

It offers broad AV standard support and has HDMI 2.1. Though the storage is not much, you can still use many apps with this space available. The interface is minimalistic and straightforward and comes with Google’s new UI skin that improves the user experience. Overall, it’s an excellent streaming device that is affordable and offers 4K HDR streaming. 

Specifications

  • Operating system: Android 10
  • Processor: ARM Cortex-A55
  • Resolution: 4K/60 fps (HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision)
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Storage: 8 GB
  • Voice Assistant: Google Assistant
  • Price: $49.99

Pros

  • Smart home features
  • Variety of streaming services
  • Built-in Google assistant
  • 4K HDR with Dolby vision
  • Superb selection of apps

Cons

  • Poor formatting of Google searches

Use VPN to Stream Safely on Android TV Boxes

Before we conclude this article, we would like to remind you that streaming content without any protection can be troublesome or even dangerous. Whatever you stream online is tracked by ISP and the government, and in such cases, if you mistakenly stream any illegal or copyrighted content, you can also face legal issues. When you stream content without any protection, you are also vulnerable to hackers and spyware. To keep yourself protected while using any app, use a VPN. Fortunately,  ExpressVPN can help mask your identity and allow you to stream content anonymously. This way, you can hide your streaming activities from ISP and the government and keep yourself protected. ExpressVPN is safe, fast, and easy to install. We don’t recommend streaming illegal or copyrighted content. Still, it is imperative that our readers know how to protect themselves from hackers and other types of nuisances such as data theft. 

Before you start streaming, it is recommended that you install ExpressVPN on your device. In this section, we’ll tell you how to install ExpressVPN on your Amazon TV Firestick.

Step 1: Go to Find > Search on your Firestick home screenAmazon Firestick Find menu with Search highlighted

Step 2: Type ExpressVPN in the search bar and click on it when the suggestion appears. vpncheck-spectrum-searching-expressvpn-on-amazon-firestick

Step 3: Click on the ExpressVPN iconAmazon Firestick Express VPN highlighted on home screen

Step 4: A screen will appear that shows the description of the app. Click on download for the process to start.ExpressVPN installation option on Firestick

Step 6: After the installation process is complete, you’ll see that the Download option has changed to ‘Open.’ Click on it and launch the app. When you launch the app, you’ll get a screen that requires sign in:Sign In option on ExpressVPN

Step 7: Enter the email address and password that you used to subscribe at ExpressVPN on the web. After you’ve successfully logged in, you’ll get a prompt telling you about the VPN monitoring your traffic. Click Ok to proceed.Amazon Firestick connection request screenStep 8: Now you’ll see the home page of ExpressVPN. You can connect to it by clicking on the power button:ExpressVPN home screen with Connect button highlighted

If you want to change server locations on the VPN, click on the highlighted server. You can choose any server location you want to:ExpressVPN VPN Locations screen

Once you’re connected to ExpressVPN, you’ll be protected from ISP throttling. You can now stream content on any app on Firestick without worrying about the potential dangers.

Conclusion

There are numerous options when it comes to TV Boxes. However, an Android TV Box is the best option if you’re looking for a flexible and powerful option for streaming. Android is an open-source system and allows you to enjoy many options in a customized way. Whether you’re looking for a powerhouse streaming device or a budget-friendly version, all of the streaming devices in this guide are among the best on the market.