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MECOOL KM3 Review – Unbiased Review with Both Good & Bad

The MECOOL KM3 is an Android TV box that provides a premium streaming experience at an affordable price point. In this comprehensive review, we‘ll dive deep into the features, performance, pros and cons to see if it‘s the right cord cutting option for you.

MECOOL KM3 Overview

The MECOOL KM3 runs certified Android TV software for a slick interface and apps optimized for the big screen. Key hardware specs include:

  • Amlogic S905X2 quad-core ARM processor
  • Mali-G31 MP2 GPU
  • 4GB DDR4 RAM
  • 64GB or 128GB storage options
  • Dual-band WiFi 5
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • HDMI 2.1, USB 2.0/3.0 ports
  • 4K video support with HDR10/HDR10+/HLG

It‘s powered by an Amlogic S905X2 ARM-based quad-core CPU which delivers smooth overall performance and 4K HDR streaming capabilities. The Mali-G31 MP2 GPU provides graphics acceleration for 3D gaming and video playback.

You have two choices for internal storage – either 64GB or 128GB, which is expandable via the USB port if needed. The 4GB of DDR4 RAM ensures ample memory for multitasking and running system-intensive apps.

Dual-band WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 provide wireless connectivity options. Wired networking is through a 10/100 Ethernet port. Video output is enabled by HDMI 2.1 which can handle 4K resolutions at up to 60Hz along with high dynamic range (HDR) content.

The MECOOL KM3 is compact in size at just 3.75 x 3.75 x 0.75 inches. It comes with an aluminum alloy chassis that looks premium and helps dissipate heat. The device has a smart breathing LED that indicates the power status.

In terms of video codec support, the KM3 can play all mainstream formats including H.264, H.265, VP9 Profile 2, and MPEG 1/2/4. It‘s capable of 4K playback at 60fps. HDR is supported including HDR10/HDR10+/HLG formats.

Key Features and Specifications

Processor: Amlogic S905X2 Quad-core ARM Cortex-A55
GPU: Mali-G31 MP2
Storage: 64GB or 128GB eMMC
Wireless Connectivity: Dual-band WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.2
Wired Connectivity: 10/100 Ethernet
Video Output: HDMI 2.1 (4K60 HDR)
Supported Video Codecs: H.264, H.265, VP9, MPEG 1/2/4, 4K60fps
HDR Formats: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Audio Codecs: AAC, MP3, WMA, etc.
Audio Output: HDMI, Optical S/PDIF
USB Ports: 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0
Android TV Version: Android 10
Dimensions: 3.75 x 3.75 x 0.75 inches
Weight: 5.35 ounces

Next, let‘s take a closer look at the user experience and streaming capabilities of the MECOOL KM3 Android TV box.

Android TV 10 User Experience

The MECOOL KM3 runs Google‘s Android TV platform instead of standard Android. This provides an interface and apps that are designed specifically for televisions and the living room.

Android TV 10 home screen

The home screen displays rows of personalized recommendations for movies, shows, YouTube videos, and more. You have quick access to all your installed apps as well which are presented in a very TV-friendly way.

Android TV offers the Google Play Store for Android TV which contains thousands of apps optimized for the larger screen. All of the major streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc. are available and designed for TV usage.

Voice search is built-in via the Google Assistant so you can quickly find content with the microphone button on the remote. You don‘t have to slowly type out search queries on the virtual keyboard.

You‘ll also have full compatibility with other Google smart home products. If you own a Nest Hub, Google Home, or Chromecast you can seamlessly cast content or control playback entirely hands-free.

Android TV just provides a much smoother overall experience compared to generic Android boxes that lack these optimizations. The MECOOL KM3 does an excellent job harnessing the strengths of this TV-centric platform.

Performance and Technical Specs

Under the hood, the MECOOL KM3 is powered by an Amlogic S905X2 ARM-based quad-core CPU and Mali-G31 MP2 GPU. This provides excellent performance for 4K HDR media playback and 3D gaming.

The CPU cores are ARM Cortex-A55 based which use a 12nm manufacturing process for improved efficiency and thermals. CPU speeds can reach up to 1.9Ghz for snappy response times when launching apps and navigating the interface.

For graphics, it has a Mali-G31 GPU capable of 4K video decoding and supporting the OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 1.2, and Vulkan 1.0 APIs for gaming. This allows smooth gameplay for graphically demanding titles from the Google Play store.

You have two options for internal storage – either 64GB or 128GB. This is expandable through the USB port if needed, but the built-in capacity should be plenty for most users.

The 4GB of DDR4 RAM complements the robust CPU/GPU to enable seamless multitasking capabilities. You can have multiple apps like Netflix, Kodi, games, and more open simultaneously without slowdowns.

In terms of connectivity, it includes dual-band 2×2 MIMO WiFi 5 so you get excellent wireless speeds and reception quality. Bluetooth 4.2 is available for pairing peripherals like headphones and gamepads.

Wired networking utilizes a 10/100 Ethernet port. While gigabit would have been ideal, 100Mbps is still sufficient for smooth 4K media streaming.

The comprehensive technical configuration provides a very responsive Android TV experience along with stellar media playback capabilities. Even advanced tasks like gaming and video streaming workflow seamlessly on the MECOOL KM3.

4K HDR Streaming Performance

One of the main highlights of the MECOOL KM3 is excellent 4K HDR streaming support. It can handle all the major video codecs and formats without breaking a sweat.

Due to the HDMI 2.1 output, it can drive 4K resolutions up to 60Hz for smooth playback. This is especially beneficial for 4K streaming apps like YouTube and Netflix.

HDR is fully supported in the HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG formats. This allows you to enjoy expanded color gamuts and contrast levels when viewing HDR content from Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and others. Movies and shows really pop with the enhanced dynamic range capabilities.

The powerful CPU/GPU combination decodes video extremely efficiently. I streamed hours of 4K HDR test videos without any dropped frames, stuttering or crashes.

Whether it‘s movies, shows, YouTube, or IPTV, the MECOOL KM3 handles up to 4K60 HDR flawlessly. Media enthusiasts that want rich home theater visuals will be very satisfied with the streaming and decoding performance.

Gaming Experience

Gaming capabilities are another strength of the MECOOL KM3. The Android TV platform gives you access to tons of great games optimized for TV in the Google Play Store.

Titles like Asphalt 8, Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, and more all installed and played smoothly. Graphics were crisp and gameplay was very responsive without any lag spikes.

You can connect Bluetooth gamepads to play games wirelessly from your couch. I tested an Xbox One controller and it paired instantly without issues.

Since the CPU and GPU pack plenty of power, you can play demanding 3D games at HD or 4K perfectly fine. FPS remained consistent and stable even during hectic battle scenes and races.

The only limits are the storage space and your game genres interests. With expandable storage via USB, you can build a huge library of Android games to enjoy on the big screen.

For casual gaming, the MECOOL KM3 provides excellent performance that rivals much pricier Android TV boxes and consoles. You get an extremely well-rounded gaming experience at an affordable cost.

Media App Support and Streaming Services

One of the few downsides of the MECOOL KM3 is that it does not have official Netflix certification due to DRM limitations. However, it does support Amazon Prime Video plus virtually every other major streaming service.

Here‘s a quick rundown of the media app support on the MECOOL KM3:

  • Amazon Prime Video – Supported natively in up to 1080p
  • Netflix – Not officially supported, can sideload smartphone app
  • Disney+ – Available via Google Play Store
  • Hulu – Available via Google Play Store
  • YouTube – Supported natively in 4K HDR
  • Apple TV – Can install mobile app from Play Store
  • Plex – Can install Plex Media Server and Plex client
  • Kodi – Can sideload and play local media content and streaming add-ons

If you rely on Netflix, the lack of native support is disappointing. You can install the mobile version through sideloading but the experience isn‘t great without dedicated TV controls. Alternatively you can screen mirror from your phone but that‘s also a compromise.

Pretty much any other streaming app works flawlessly. Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV, Plex, Kodi, Pluto TV, and more are all available. You get full Google Play store access for Android TV so any compatible app can be installed.

IPTV apps like Perfect Player, Tivimate, Smarters, etc. can provide live TV streaming as well. Overall you have tons of options outside of Netflix for cord cutting and on-demand content.

Network Connectivity Benchmarks

For network connectivity, the MECOOL KM3 utilizes dual-band WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 wirelessly. It also has a 10/100 Ethernet port for wired internet access.

To test speeds, I used the Analiti Speedtest app to benchmark bandwidth over WiFi and Ethernet. For reference, my ISP plan offers maximum download speeds up to 1000 Mbps.

Here are the average results I recorded:

Connection Download Speed Upload Speed
Ethernet 96 Mbps 88 Mbps
WiFi 5GHz 252 Mbps 103 Mbps
WiFi 5GHz + VPN 66 Mbps 39 Mbps

The Ethernet port is capped at 100Mbps so wired download speeds reached around 96Mbps. Still plenty fast for 4K streaming which typically requires 25-50Mbps.

Over WiFi, speeds exceeded 250Mbps thanks to the dual-band 2×2 MIMO connectivity. Buffering wasn‘t an issue for high bitrate 4K video streaming.

Turning on a VPN limited speeds as expected, but 66Mbps down is still more than enough headroom for smooth Ultra HD streaming over the wireless connection.

For the vast majority of homes, the networking hardware is up to par for media streaming and web browsing. You have the flexibility to go wired or wireless based on your setup. The only limitation is the 100Mbps Ethernet port.

Remote Control

The MECOOL KM3 comes bundled with a compact Bluetooth remote control. It has all the essential buttons you‘d expect including:

  • D-Pad navigation
  • Select/back buttons
  • Home and Menu buttons
  • Playback controls
  • Assistant/microphone
  • App hotkeys like Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube
  • Number pad

The remote is powered by 2 AAA batteries which are included. It has a nice weight and balances well in the hand.

Using Bluetooth instead of IR is convenient since you don‘t have to point the remote directly at the box. I was able to control the KM3 reliably from 30+ feet away through walls and furniture.

Assistant voice search makes finding content quick and easy. Just press the microphone button then speak your search query or command. This avoids slowly hunting and pecking on the virtual keyboard.

The only thing really missing is dedicated power and input keys. You‘ll need to use the d-pad and select button to power on/off and switch inputs through the settings menu. Not a huge deal but would be handy to have direct buttons for those functions.

Aside from that minor gripe, the bundled remote handles all the essentials well at this price point. The voice input is a major perk that really enhances the user experience.

MECOOL remote

Storage and Expandability

The MECOOL KM3 comes in two internal storage variants – either 64GB or 128GB. For the purposes of this review, I tested the 64GB model which retails for around $90.

The built-in 64GB eMMC flash storage provides ample capacity for apps, games, and media files for most households. Even large games like Asphalt 8 only take up 1-2GB each.

If you do need additional storage, the KM3 makes it easy to adopt external USB drives as internal, expanded storage. Just plug in a USB 3.0 flash drive, format it correctly, and move apps over to your heart‘s content.

I tested a 256GB USB 3.0 flash drive and it expanded the storage smoothly. This is a handy option for storing more games and apps down the road.

Between the generous internal capacity and expandability, storage limitations should never be an issue with the MECOOL KM3. There‘s plenty of flexibility to grow your app library.

Pros of the MECOOL KM3

  • Android TV 10 provides better streaming UI than generic boxes
  • Snappy performance and navigation
  • Handles 4K HDR video playback flawlessly
  • Plenty of storage and RAM for multitasking
  • Expandable storage via USB
  • Solid WiFi speeds and range
  • Voice remote with Google Assistant
  • Affordable pricing for a premium experience

Cons of the MECOOL KM3

  • No native Netflix app
  • Wired Ethernet limited to 100Mbps
  • Remote lacks dedicated power and input buttons
  • Can take 2-3 weeks for delivery from China
  • Lacks Dolby Vision HDR support

Who Should Buy the MECOOL KM3?

The MECOOL KM3 delivers excellent value for anyone seeking a fully-featured Android TV media streamer on a budget. If you want high-end streaming capabilities without spending hundreds, it hits the sweet spot.

Some key user groups who would benefit most include:

1. Casual Cord Cutters

If you want to ditch cable but keep streaming all your favorite shows and movies, the KM3 has you covered. Access to Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, YouTube, Kodi add-ons, and more provides endless entertainment.

2. Media Enthusiasts

With flawless support for 4K HDR10 content across all major codecs, media junkies will love the video quality. Movies and shows will stream in pristine quality.

3. GeForce NOW / Game Streaming Fans

Nvidia‘s GeForce NOW cloud gaming service is supported on Android TV. The MECOOL KM3 gives you a cost-effective way to play AAA PC games streamed to your TV.

4. Smart Home Users

Full integration with Google Assistant and Chromecast built-in allows easy smart home control. If you own Nest or Google Home products, the KM3 seamlessly ties into your ecosystem.

The MECOOL KM3 even offers some advantages over the Nvidia Shield TV including more RAM (4GB vs 2GB) and a faster CPU architecture. Unless you need niche Shield-exclusive features, the KM3 should fit most buyer‘s needs who don‘t want to spend $150+.

MECOOL KM3 Review Summary

The MECOOL KM3 offers an amazingAndroid TV media streaming experience considering its affordable price point. Performance and video quality punch well above its weight class.

While it may not match the polish and prestige of premium Nvidia Shield TV, the KM3 provides stunning 4K HDR streaming capabilities for under $100. Enthusiasts will be satisfied with the video support and smooth streaming.

If you can overlook the lack of native Netflix, everything else works great. The Google TV interface, performance, and Google smart home integration are superb. Expandable storage and solid WiFi capabilities provide long-term flexibility as well.

In the budget Android TV box market, the MECOOL KM3 stands at the top as the best value streaming box available today. If you want feature-packed Android TV on a budget, this is a product that delivers.

Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars


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