It's the way of the world, every new device has to be faster and more powerful than its predecessor. This philosophy doesn't just apply to smart phones and tablets, even Android media streaming boxes follow the same strategy. This brings us to Tronsmart's Draco AW80 Telos TV Box that is powered by an Octa-Core Processor. Yes, you read correctly, there are eight cores providing the necessary muscle to watch your favourite digital content. Tronsmart say this is the world's first (Android powered) media player with an Octa-Core processor.
Let's dive into the hardware specifications. The Draco AW80 Telos TV Box is powered by an Allwinner A80 Octa-Core CPU, featuring a Big.LITTLE configuration. This consists of 4 high-powered Cortex-A15 cores and 4 lower-powered Cortex-A7 cores clocked at up to 2GHz that reach an impressive benchmark of 55106 on Antutu that places it well above the HTC One M8T and Galaxy S5. The device can playback 1080p H.265 and 4K H.264 content at 30fps. It should be noted that you need a 4K capable television to see the benefit of 4K content. Graphics are provided by the 64 Core Imagination PowerVR G6230 GPU, and the 4GB of RAM present should be more than ample for whatever task is thrown its way. There's 32GB of internal storage along with the option to expand this thanks to the included SD card slot on the rear of the device.
Connectivity-wise we find support for Dual-Band WiFi (2.4GHz & 5Ghz). And regardless of whether your router kicks out a signal in a/b/g/n or AC format, the Draco AW80 Telos TV Box is compatible with them all. If you prefer not to use WiFi, there's a Gigabit ethernet adapter on the rear to connect the device directly to your router. Bluetooth 4.0 support is also present and accounted for, and you can also stream your content to the Draco AW80 Telos via AirPlay or Miracast, as well as via your DLNA setup or SMB share. Tronsmart says that if you hook up an external USB webcam, you can also use Skype or Google Hangout's to chat to your friends and family via video. In the box you will receive the Draco AW80 Telos TV Box, a power adapter, HDMI cable, USB cable, a SATA Cable and also the remote control.
On to the Software, and here we see that the Draco AW80 Telos TV Box is running Android version 4.4 KitKat out of the box with the ability to update the software via OTA(Over-The-Air). And because it's running the normal Android OS, it means you get to experience the full power of Android on your TV. The Google Play Store is pre-installed, along with common media apps such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Plex and XBMC amongst others. Of course, if you are the adventurous sort who likes to tinker with their devices, you can also install the Linux OS on the Draco AW80 Telos TV Box. The first Linux beta images should be made available to flash by the end of November.
The Tronsmart AW80 Telos TV Box media player is priced at $199 (£125), shipping after November 25th and available to order from here. There is also a 2GB/16GB version called the Meta that can be purchased for $149 (£93). Regardless of which version you choose, its a little more expensive than the Amazon's Fire TV or Google's Nexus Player, but it does offer a different experience thanks to the full Android operating system that is pre-installed.
When it comes to getting our favourite digital content in to our living rooms, everyone has a favourite type of device. Some people swear by their Roku box, others by the Amazon Fire TV, with others believing that their gaming console offers the best compromise while others have fallen in love with Google's Chromecast. Some even prefer to have a fruit machine underneath their TV. Does the Tronsmart AW80 Telos TV Box sway your vote? As always, let us know in the comments below or at our Google Plus page.