Top 5 Devices for Kodi and Ones to Avoid
Kodi is an all in one home entertainment open source software which can be used with your TV. Using Kodi you can download add-ons, builds and repositories giving you access to most popular media known to man.
But before you get excited, you’re going to need to find a device to put Kodi on and plug into your TV.
When thinking about what box to pick you should bear in mind the following:
Your processor is the brains of your computer, allowing it to complete actions in a faster time. From typing something out, to pointing and clicking on a title. Also, it means your Kodi box will start faster, load Kodi faster and generally do everything quicker. Better processor, better speed.
The bigger the RAM the more tasks you can do it at the same time, also the quicker it can transport data to and from the CPU. Bigger RAM is great as Kodi is primarily used for streaming movie which is graphically complex and requires a lot of short-term memory. Better RAM means a smoother picture and graphics.
Most boxes will support 1080p, which is the same as say your laptop. A few will support 4K which is only important if you have a 4K TV. This requires a greater number of pixels and colors for a richer picture. Don’t worry about boxes with 4K unless you need to match it to your TV.
Kodi boxes vary widely in price. With some less than $50 and others over $200. This is primarily down to the processor and RAM the box has. Luckily cheaper boxes won’t compromise you streaming, but it may mean starting up and navigation are slower and less smooth.
Once you get a Kodi box you will never go back. Find a box that is going to be durable as you will be using it a lot. Always read the reviews on Amazon or wherever you buy it from and beware of boxes which are great to start off with, and then quickly fall apart.
Here we look at our top 5 choices for Kodi including 1 to avoid at all costs.
Nvidia Shield has been the top choice for Kodi for some time, though if you are looking for something with a budget price you are better off looking at getting an Amazon Firestick.
Running on Android 8.0, the Shield differentiates itself from its competition by giving you some serious processing power. Remember that a better processor and RAM will generally mean a faster stream, smoother graphics and a quicker interface.
The Shield has a Tegra X1 CPU, alongside 3GB of RAM, which considering you are just using it for Kodi is more than enough. You can store up to 16GB on the disk, giving you lots of space for any Live TV you want to record or movies you download while out. Of course, more space isn’t necessary as anything extra you can always download onto a 1TB+ external hard drive.
The Shield comes Kodi ready and support 4K HDR, with a quick processor and sizable RAM it also makes it great for streaming and gaming. As with Nvidia you also get a GeForce GTX graphics card, the Kind of all graphics cards.
You also get Google Assistant built into your remote control, making it super easy to browse and play.
Best for those who want the high end Kodi Box experience.
Amazon offers a wide range of TV Android boxes, which pack quite a punch and won’t break the bank. The Amazon Firestick is the basic model, but you can upgrade to 4K, Firestick TV or Firestick Cube.
Just bear in mind that the Firestick doesn’t come Kodi ready, you will need to get your hands dirty and load and install it on your computer for it to work.
The Firestick supports up to 1080 p and has a Quad Core 1.3Ghz processor, while the Firestick 4K will support 4K HDR and come with a 1.7GHz processor. Considering the budget price this is pretty impressive.
Understandably RAM is reasonable small at 1GB with 8GB of internal storage. But what makes the Firestick great is that it has a simple plug and play design so is a great starter kit, and of course comes with Alexa built into the remote to give you voice activated controls.
If you want to stick with Amazon but want something comparable to the Nvidia Shield you can break the bank and go for an Amazon Fire TV Cube. Packing a Quad Core 1.5Ghz processor and 2GB of Ram. As well as 16GB of storage and Dolby Atmos support.
Best for those new to Kodi and on a budget. The most popular device for Kodi streamers.
Considering the Kodi was originally designed to give Xbox users the ability to stream media on their gaming console it should come at no surprise that the Xbox makes our list.
This is one that can swing a hardcore game from PlayStation to Xbox, but at our most expensive Kodi Box by some margin, we don’t advise this for anyone who doesn’t also intend to use the Xbox for gaming as well. That just makes no sense.
Dubbed as the “world’s most powerful gaming console” The Xbox One X is a monster. With an 8-core custom AMD CPU 2.3GHz processor, 12GB SDRAM and 1TB of storage, you are going to get the very best streaming experience money can buy.
Best of all the Xbox One X comes with the latest version of Kodi built in, leaving you only to get connected with a VPN like IPVanish and start streaming. If you still want Kodi and gaming but don’t want to pay as much, then the Xbox One will do just fine as well.
Though nowhere near as fast as the Xbox One X, the Xbox One still has more than enough firepower to give you a great streaming experience. With an 8 Core custom AMD 1.7GHz CPU, 8GB DDR3 Ram and 500GB of storage.
Due to the specification of the Xbox and the games it plays you get 4K HDR resolution as well as 1080p, and Dolby Atmos.
Best for gamers who want Kodi as well.
Xiaomi Mi Box S
Xiaomi has taken the world by storm with their phones in Asia and increasingly in Europe and the US. Offering similar speeds and capabilities at a fraction of the price of their competitors like Apple and Samsung.
The Mi Box has won international acclaim and numerous awards and can be bought at prices similar to the Firestick though coming in a tad more expensive.
Under the sleek hood is some serious power with a Quad Core 1.7GHz processor, 2GB DDR3 RAM and 8GB of storage. You can get up to 2.0Ghz of CPU if you upgrade to the 4K version.
Just like the Firestick you will need to sideload Kodi, as it won’t be accessible through their application store.
The box does come with a Bluetooth voice remote, but it is nowhere near as sophisticated as Google Assistant or Alexa. You will find some of the functions lacking in the Chinese box.
But speed is not one of them, some have compared it to the Nvidia Shield in terms of responsiveness and start up speed. But a word of warning. If you are going to buy a Mi Box, avoid cheap Chinese knockoffs and off brand pre-loaded boxes. Pre-loaded boxes with Kodi Builds and Add-Ons installed may seem like a good idea at the time. But it’s better to do it yourself, then have precious little space crammed with useless add ons you are never going to use. Also, of brand boxes tend to lack support and updates so over time will begin to stop working.
Best for performance on a budget.
Samsung Galaxy Tab
You may not have thought that a Samsung tablet would make for a great Kodi box, but actually this and many other Android tablets offer good processing power and RAM to be able to meet the demands of resource intensive application, games and streaming.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab will set you back almost as much as the Nvidia Shield, but unlike the Shield when you’re not using Kodi you can use the Tablet for other things, so it gives you the option of being multi-purpose. The same as the Xbox.
Even for a reasonably basic tablet it packs a punch with a 1.3GHz quad core processor, 1.5G of RAM and 8GB of storage, with Samsung you can also take advantage of the SD Card Holder and give yourself up to an additional 128GB of Ram with a cheap SD card.
One thing to bear in mind with the Tab is that it runs on Android KitKat or version 4 (the current version is Android 8) which means the interface can be outdated. However, you can root it and install the latest version of Android by looking it up online.
You’ll get good speed but no 4K compatibility of Dolby Atmos.
If you want to get a cutting-edge tablet you can invest in a Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, but that will set you back almost as much as an Xbox One X. Alternatively there are other great cheaper options from Huawei, Samsung, Lenovo and Asus.
Something else worth considering is that if you have an Android phone that can be used to cast Kodi to your TV. As often the most powerful computer we own apart from our laptops or desktops is actually our phone.
For example, my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 which was released in 2017, has a 2.3Ghz Octa Core CPU, 6GB or Ram and 128GB of storage. Pretty blowing almost anything else on this list away. Amazing when you think that it’s now 2 years old.
Best for users who want more than just a Kodi Box.
One to Avoid –Matricom G Boxes
Released in 2017, the Florida based Matricom company promised that the G Box was going to change the way that we stream. Quite a tall order considering the stiff competition within the market.
The box itself is nice to look at, and under the hood it has a similar processor and RAM to most Android boxes. An Amlogic Quad Core 1.5Ghz Processors, 2GB DDR3 RAM and 16 GB Flash drive. Considering they price themselves between the Amazon Fire Stick and The Nvidia Shield what we are getting is not exactly revolutionary. But it’s good enough.
You also get a Bluetooth remote control and a number of separate add-ons you can buy through Matricom’s website.
So far so good.
Where Matricom really comes unstuck is that it is not an Android TV Box. This is a special version of Android custom designed by Google to make sure that the Android interface looks nice on your TV, works well and is snappy. The same goes for what Amazon did with their proprietary software on the Fire series of devices.
Both companies have the money and resources to design custom software that means you get the best user experience. For some reason Matricom didn’t.
Instead they use standard Android which treats your TV like it’s a giant tablet. Which means everything is stretched to fit and not proportionate.
One to avoid.
So, there you have our 5 top picks with 1 to avoid. Getting the right Kodi Box means you are going to get the best out of your user experience. If you are looking for sheer single-minded power and being really damn good at one thing. Pick the Nvidia Shield which will really give you the best Kodi experience.
For those on a budget, or maybe if you don’t plan on using Kodi all the time then save yourself some money and get a Kodi Firestick, look out for the regular special offers that Amazon run which mean you can get the Firestick for a fraction of the Shield’s price while still offering a great user interface and good operating capacity.