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Appeared on: Saturday, January 13, 2018
RikoMagic V5 Android Media Player review


1. Meet the Rikomagic V5 media player

Five generations now, Rikomagic has been very popular in the Mini PC on a stick market, and the company's latest generation V5 Android media player features the powerful Rockchip RK3288 SOC to deliver performance in the most demanding applications. The V5 promises to deliver rich multimedia content in up to 4K resolutions, advanced 3D graphics in the mobile device space and fast compute power in a very small form factor.

The Rikomagic V5 connects to a TV or screen via its HDMI connector and has wireless connectivity to allow connection to the internet and other wireless devices. The device runs the latest version of Google Android (Kit Kat) which gives you access to many apps, a bit like turning your TV into a giant Android tablet.

Rikomagic can be used as a media center to play HD films on a large display, it can also be used as a games console, desktop computer replacement or as a professional digital signage solution. The device is controlled by a wireless controller, simply plug in a wireless mouse/keyboard and you can browse the web, check emails, blast some zombies, listen to music or download a movie right from the comfort of your arm chair.

For gaming, the V5 features a Quad Core Mali T764 3D Graphics proccessor combined with the Quad Core A17 RK3288 SOC. The combination also power 4K content using the onboard hardware video decoders.

The Rikomagic V5 also comes with 2GB RAM / 16GB ROM . The micro SD card can be used to expand the storage further. The media player also comes with Gigabit Ethernet, 2 x Full Size USB Host (1 x OTG), RJ45 Ethernet, Android 5.1.1 (upgrade from 4.0), Wifi 802.11ac & Bluetooth 4.0LE and supports up to 4k 60Hz output.

Many of its main features are listed as below:

Specifications

CPU

Rockchip RK3288 quad core, 28nm, ARM Cortex-A17, up to 1.8GHz

GPU

Mali-T764, 3D GPU (OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 /3.0 and OpenCL 1.1)

OS

Android 5.1

RAM

2GB

ROM

16GB

WiFi

2.4GHz/5GHz Dual Band WiFi; 802.11 b/g/n

Ethernet

Support LAN 100M/1000M network

Bluetooth

Bluetooth 4.0

Expand Micro SD

T-Flash(Maximum support 32GB)

Power

DC 5V/2.5A

Software Performance

Android Market

Support downloading more than 600,000 applications from google play store.

UI

Attractive UI design for better user experience; Original Android UI can be settled by user as well.

3G dongle

Compatible with 3G dongle

XBMC

Preload XBMC

Protocol

Support Miracast, DLNA

Remote Control

Can be remote by 2.4G fly mouse/mini keyboard, even remote controlby mobile phone through APK

Interface

HDMI

1*HDMI 2.0

USB port

1*USB host, 1*USB OTG

Power

1*DC Jack

Micro SD

1*Micro SD slot,Maximum support 32GB

Network

1*Gigabit RJ45

Recovery

1*Recovery hole

Accessories

HDMI cable, USB Cable, Power supply, User Manual

Below you see the retail package for the Rikomagic MK22, which can be purchased online for ~$97. The price is vrey high considering the fact that it is powered by an older generation chipset, but let's hope that its pwerformance worth it.

Here is what 's included in the box:

1 x TV box
1 x HDMI cable (extended adapter)
1 x Power adapter (EU/UK/US/AU)
1 x USB Cable

As you see no remote control is included, since this device is meant to beplugged into your TV set. You can still control the device using either your TV's remote control or a special apk software.


2. Closer look, firmware update

The device is made out of environmentally friendly ABS and although it could fit into your pocket, it is a bit larger that we could expect for the category.

You can directly plug it into your TVs HDMI port - an HDMI connector is found on teh edge of the V5 - or use the included HDMI extender cable.

A backlighted USB OTG port, a microSD jack and the reset pinhole (useful for performing firmware update) are placed on the side of the device:

The 1Gbit LAN, USB2.0 input and the power jack are found on the other edge of the device:

The Rikomagic V5 came with 4.0.4 firmware installed. We tested the latest available firmware, which improved the data throughput perfrormance of the device.

The firmware upgrade procedure is straightforward and easy. The official MK902II Android 5.1 FW_170808 software update package includes all the essential firmware files along with information about the upgrade procedure. Rikomagic has also released the V5 Android 5.1 FW_170626 firmware but we chose to install the MRK902II, which is the latest one. Just follow the update instructions and wait a bit for the proceedure to finish. Have in mind that upgrading the firmware will erase all the data on the V5, so it' better to do this as soon as you get your hands on your new device. There are also more firmware versions available in order to experiment wit hthe device, but the latest official firmware is the most stable.

The CPU-Z Android app provides some first information about the player. The player came with firmware 4.0.4 that we later upgraded to the latest v5.1.1. The firmware comes pre-rooted.


3. User interface

Once the device is pluggged into your TV and boot up, you'll see a possibly already familiar Rikomagic GUI, which is generally easy to use and understand.

The player comes with many apps pre-installed. Pressing the "+ "icon will allow you to add shortcuts from installed apps.

The built-in File Manager looks handy and and supports network SMB folders:

The player is running on the Android 5.1.1 OS:

The "Settings" section includes options for almost everything:

Under "Diplay" section you can set the resolution of the video output. The device supports up to 4K @ 60Hz (our A/V receiver outputs only 30p, so the highest option is not displayed)

Under "Sound Devices Manager" section you can select the PCM downsample or HDMI bitstream options, in case you want to leave the sound sound decoding job to your A/V system:

Both 2.4G and 5G Wi-Fi networks are supported:

Following the instalation, you will be left with 9.81GB of free space to get any new apps installed:


4. KODI

The pre-installed KODI provides many add-ons -including the well known Exodus- which can be used to watch online material (Movies, Series, etc).

The pre-installed KODI is based on the 16.1 RC3 build, dated June 6 2016.

Having too many add-ons installed could lead to incompatibilities. We experienced an annoying "Search Error" message, something you can fix my disabling Twitter Addon under the Running Services menu.

Under "Video settings" there isa RKMC tab, with all options enbaled:

Under the "Sound settings" there are options to enable Dolby Digital (AC3) DTS, TrueHD or DTS-HD:

If you want to use any other KODI build, its suggested to get the FTMC (fork for Kodi and provides hardware acceleration and more features on the Rockchip rk3228 chips). Normal KODI wouldn't possibly have hardware acceleration enabled:


5. Audio and video playback tests

For all the Audio/Video tests we used the following setup:

For testing the device we picked up audio/video files from the KODI Wiki.

The Rikomagic V5 was connected to our Yamaha RX-775 A/V receiver through an HDMI cable.

Below are our test results with both the included media player (app called Movie Player) and the KODI version:

Audio HD Tests
HD Audio Kodi 16.1 RC3 Build FTMC 16.2.31
LPCM 5.1
PCM (2.0) at A/V Receiver PCM (2.0) at A/V Receiver
LPCM 7.1
AAC 5.1
AAC 7.1
Dolby AC3 5.1
Yes 5.1 Yes 5.1
Dolby Digital
Plus 5.1
Yes 7.1Yes
(Digital + on receiver)
Yes 5.1
Dolby Digital
Plus 7.1
No Sound
Dolby True HD 5.1
Yes, 5.1 TrueHD at A/V Receiver Yes, 5.1 TrueHD at A/V Receiver
Dolby True HD 7.1
Yes, 7.1 TrueHD at A/V Receiver No Sound at most clips, Yes at other
Dobly True HD 7.1 Atmos
DTS-HD HRA 5.1
No Sound No Sound
DTS-HD HRA 7.1
DTS-HD MA 5.1
DTS-HD MSTR (5.1) at A/V Receiver
DTS-HD MA 7.1
DTS-HD MSTR 7.1 at A/V Receiver
DTS:X 7.1
Flac 5.1
PCM (2.0) at A/V Receiver
Beck - Sea Change (DTS-HDMA 24-192Khz 5.1)
DTS-HD MSTR 5.1 at A/V Receiver No Sound

Although the Rikomagic V5 uses an "older" RK3288 chipset, it performed very well. The player succesfully passed the HD Audio through the HDMI when we used the KODI 16.1. Most test files were playable, except from the DTS-HD HRA files, which were not audible. We also experienced some minor issues with DTS:X 7.1 test files (some files didn't produce sound). On the other hand the FTMC 16.2.3.1 player didn't return very good results, so we would suggest you to stick with what's is included.

Video Bitrate Tests

For this test we used test file available in this page. The file includes up to 400Mbps files so we tested the media player at its limits using all connectivity methods:

Maximum Perfect Playable File with KOD 16.1
  USB LAN (1GBit) Wifi (802ac)
Jellyfish H264 files 110 110 35
Jellyfish H265 files 100 100 25

The Rikomagic V5 showed a very good performance when we used both USB and LAN connections. On the other hand, the player's Wifi performance was poor, no matter if we streamed under a 5G network. But don't worry, the majority of files you will find out there are encoded at less than 100 MBps, so you'll probably don't have any issues with your playbacks.

4K Tests x264 (AVC)

Test Clips Kodi 16.1
4K 10-bit H.264 video sample @ up to 160 Mbps Only Sound
4K-HD.Club-2013-Taipei 101 Fireworks Trailer (AVC, High@L5.1, 29.970fps, 2 Channels AAC, 100mbps bitrate) Yes
4k_QHD_RoastDuck_30p (AVC, High@L5.1, 29.970fps, 2 Channels AAC) Yes
big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_30fps (AVC, High@L5.1, 30 FPS, 2 Channels Mp3) Yes

big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_60fps
(AVC, High@L5.1, 60 FPS, 2 Channels Mp3)

A/V Not In Sync
Ducks Take Off [2160p a 243 Mbps] Jerky Playback
linkin_park_ultra-hd (H264, 50-60fps) Jerky Playback
NoiseRed-25fps-SlowMotion-120mbs (AVC, High@L5.1, variable FPS) Yes
Ducks Take Off [2160p a 243 Mbps] Jerky Playback
Sony_Alpha_7R_II_video-test-4K (H264, up to 30fps)
Yes
Snow Monkeys in Japan 5K Retina 60p (Ultra HD) (2160p 30fps) Yes
BluRay 1080p AVC DTS-HD MA 7.1 x264 file (AVC, High@L4.1, 6 000 Kbps, DTS-HD MA 8 Channels) Yes DTS-HD MTR on A/V Receiver
[1080p][16_REF_L5.1][FLAC_5.1]Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu BD OP Yes

The RikoMagic V5 had a good H264 playback performance, despite some issues with specific media files.

4K Tests x265 (HEVC - 8 Bit)

Test Clips Kodi 16.1

Astra-11112_H_22000-Fashion TV UHD Demo 42.6 Mbps bitrate (8Bit HEVC)

Yes
Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4 Closes after 2sec
DivX-HEVC-UHD-4k_QHD_RoastDuck_30p Yes
Fifa_WorldCup2014_Uruguay-Colombia (8Bit HEVC)
Not perfect playback
Hispasat-10730_V_30000-Hispasat 4K HEVC 65.3 Mbps bitrate (8Bit HEVC) Not perfect playback
Sintel_4k_27qp_24fps_1aud_9subs (8Bit HEVC) Yes
LG Demo DolbyVision Comparison Yes

The H265 format caused some problems to the player, and we had not a perfect and fluid playback with some demanding test files.

4K Tests x265 (HEVC - 10 Bit)

Test Clips Kodi 16.1

Astra_10994_H_22000-Astra H265 Tests 53.3 Mbps bitrate

Not supported, wrong colours
Astra_11023_H_23500 Test2 H265 51.2 Mbps bitrate
Astra_11112_H_22000-Fashion TV UHD Demo 42.6 Mbps bitrate
Astra_11479_V_22000-Canal+ UHD Demo 42.6 Mbps bitrate
Astra_12343_H_30000-Insight UHD Pearl TV 4K UHD 59.4 Mbps bitrate
Chappie 2015 (4K 2160p Web x265 HEVC 10bit AAC 7.1)
Samsung_UHD_7Wonders_of_the_World_Italy (H265 10bit, 50-60fps)
Samsung_UHD_Dubai-10bit-HEVC

The 10bit files are not supported with the Rikomagic V. The player returned video with just green and blue colors.

4K VP9 Tests

Test Clips Kodi 16.1
4K Hawaii Sunset _ GoPro Hero 4 Black 4k@30fps (2160p_30fps_VP9 LQ-128kbit_Vorbis) Jerky Playback
4KHD_VP9TestFootage
Eye of the Storm 4K Ultra HD (2160p)

The 4K VP9 files are also a no-go for the Rikomagic V5.

Other formats

Test Clips KODI 16.1
sample_sorenson (Mov) Yes
Big_Buck_Bunny (DivXHD Format) Jerky Playback
Hellboy2-Xvid (Xvid) Yes

Iron Man-Divx5 (DivX 5)

Yes
VC-1_23.976_sample TrueHD sound Yes
VC-1_29.970_sample DTS Sound Yes
[Underwater] H264 Hi10P 720p Yes
[Underwater] H264 Hi10P 1080p Jerky playback
1080p_Step_into_Liquid (WMV) Yes
Blu-Ray ISO Menus were not stable
DVD-ISO

As you see above, the player had generally no issues the most of the test files, exceprt from the DivXHD and the H264 Hi10P 1080p files. In addition, the player had issues showing the Blu-Ray and DVD menus using KODI 16.1.

3D Clips KODI 16.1
Full MVC 3D ISO Wasn't able to output 3D content
Full MVC 3D ISO #2 with 3D Subtitles
Full MVC 3D ISO #3 for Pop-out & Depth Evaluation

Full MVC 3D MKV

HSBS-3D (HSBS (side-by-side)
HTAB-3D (HTAB (top-bottom)

Finally, the KODI 16.1 doesn't support playback of 3D content.

Benchmarks

Benchmark
Score
AnTutu 7.0.2
49230
AnTutu Video Tester v2.0
432
AnTutu Video Tester v3.0
benchmark could not complete
PCMark (Work 2.0 Performance)
2925
GeekBench 3 (Single Core)
786
GeekBench 3 (Multi-Core)
1183
BaseMark OS II (overall score)
161
GFXBench ( T-Rex)
5.8 FPS

The V5 reurned an overall average performance in the benchmarks. It scored 49230 with AnTutu 7.0.2 and very poorly at the AnTutu Video Tester 2.0. The Antutu Video Tester 3.0 benchmark kept returning error messages so it could not complete. The GFXBEnch score was also rather low.

Read and Write tests

We measured the following data transfer rates during read/write tests using an 716MB test file though the ES File Explorer:

Source
Performance (Mbps)
USB To Device 10.00
Device to USB 9.50
Wifi (5.4Ghz) to Device 8.00
Device to Wifi (5.4Ghz) 1.20
Lan to Device

7.50

Device to Lan 4.10

As it was expected, the device performs better when a HDD is connected to the USB port. The LAN performance was also very good, but using the Wi-Fi should be your last choice when you need to playback media files from your local network.


6. Summary

The Rikomagic V5 is an Android media player based upon the RK3288 chipset designed to be attached to your TV set. The basic disadvantage of the V5 is actually its high price ($97) , compared with other media payers. A price range of around $50 would be a better fit the Rikomagic V5. On the other hand, we area actually dealing with an HDMI stick armed with many features - 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM, 1Gbit LAN and Android 5.1.1. 4K @ 60hz playback, 7.1 passthrough HD Audio.

In terms of performance, the RK3288 quad core chip performed very well with most of 4K H264 test files. Most currently available media files come either in 720p or 1080p formats, so the V5 will most probable handle them

However the newer H.265 format and especially the 10bit files won't be playbacked, at least at a respectable frame rate.

The included KODI comes with many addons pre-installed and manages to bitstream Audio of up to 7.1, depending the format. We also liked to see two USB2.0 ports and a microSD slot on the device.

Positives

* Supports HDMI 2.0, up to 4K @ 60hz
* Playback of 4K H264 files up to 110Mbps
* Good picture quality with 2K, 4K, HD content
* Supports HDMI-CEC
* Wifi 2.4G/5G and Bluetooth 4.0
* 1Gbit LAN
* Includes 2x USB2.0 devices and microSDHC/SDXC slot
* Included KODI has many pre-installed addons and works great
* It support Miracast, DLNA
* The player has (by default) root

Negatives
- No OTA firmware function
- No 3D playback & relaible H.265 playback
- RK3288 doesn't support 10bit encoded files
- Poor Wifi performance even under 5G
- Doesn't support automatic frame rate switching either with KODI or the default media player
- DVD/Blu-Ray menus aren't supported correctly using KODI
- No "fake" Wi-fi option under settings, needed for some apps to work when LAN is used



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