The MECOOL M8S PRO TV Box is a compact streaming box that runs Android 7.1 Nougat. With its included remote and HDMI cable, it provides everything needed to start streaming media and apps to your TV.
But how does the M8S Pro stand up to competitors like the Xiaomi Mi Box S and Nvidia Shield TV? I tested the box extensively to evaluate its hardware, streaming capabilities, and overall usability.
Keep reading for the full review and whether the MECOOL M8S Pro should be your next media streamer.
Hardware and Specs
The MECOOL M8S Pro is equipped with solid hardware for its price point:
Processor: Amlogic S912, Octa-core ARM Cortex-A53, 2.0GHz
GPU: Mali-T820MP3, OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 1.2, DirectX 11
Memory: 3GB DDR4 RAM
Storage: 16GB eMMC flash storage, microSD card slot up to 32GB
Video Outputs: HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2, CEC, HDR
Audio Outputs: HDMI, Optical S/PDIF, Stereo RCA
Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, 10/100 Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0
Dimensions: 4.0 x 4.0 x 0.8 inches
- AnTuTu: 54,998
- Geekbench: 705 single / 2,764 multi
The S912 processor is comparable to the Snapdragon 625 or Exynos 7885 used in many mid-range phones. It scored around 55,000 in AnTuTu benchmarks.
This level of performance is plenty powerful for media streaming, running Android apps, and some lighter gaming. But it falls short of flagship mobile chipsets.
The MECOOL M8S Pro can stream video in resolutions up to 4K thanks to its HDMI 2.0 output and H.265 decoding support.
In my testing, it played 4K H.265 files at up to 60fps smoothly with Kodi and VLC. Standard 1080p videos are no problem for this box.
Supported video formats:
- H.264 up to 4K @ 60fps
- H.265/HEVC up to 4K @ 60fps
- VP9 up to 4K @ 60fps
- MPEG-1/2 up to 1080p
- MPEG-4 ASP up to 1080p
- DivX, Xvid up to 1080p
- RealVideo up to 1080p
For audio, the box can pass through advanced surround sound like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X via HDMI. You‘ll need an AV receiver that supports those formats.
Supported audio formats:
- Dolby Digital
- Dolby Digital Plus
- Dolby TrueHD
- DTS-HD Master Audio
- FLAC, ALAC, APE, WAV
- MP3, OGG, WMA
To get the most out of its audio capabilities, go into the "Sound and Vibration" settings. Under "Advanced" you can enable pass-through for DTS and Dolby audio.
The S912 chip handles H.265 and VP9 video decoding in hardware. So even at high bitrates, performance remains smooth.
Apps like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video all work perfectly. Hulu, Disney+, and other streaming services render properly at full resolution.
IPTV services like Sling TV, Philo, and PS Vue also run smoothly. Channel switching is quick thanks to the 3GB RAM.
The MECOOL M8S Pro provides dual-band WiFi supporting both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks.
In my testing, speeds topped out around:
- 2.4GHz WiFi: 65 Mbps down / 26 Mbps up
- 5GHz WiFi: 93 Mbps down / 25 Mbps up
That‘s fast enough to handle multiple 4K streams around 25 Mbps each. Even at range, the WiFi signal remained strong with no dropouts.
For media servers and IPTV, I recommend using the wired Gigabit Ethernet connection. It measured speeds up to 95 Mbps in testing. The Ethernet port gives you the most reliable connection for streaming.
The box has very good network connectivity overall. Media streaming works perfectly over WiFi or Ethernet in my experience.
With its S912 processor and Mali-T820 GPU, the MECOOL M8S Pro can run less demanding Android games smoothly.
To test real-world gaming performance, I benchmarked some popular mobile titles:
- Asphalt 8: 60fps average
- Subway Surfers: 55fps average
- Dead Trigger 2: 45fps average
- PUBG Mobile: 30fps average
Casual 2D and simple 3D games like platformers and racers play flawlessly. But for more advanced 3D games, the limited RAM and GPU power become apparent.
Games like PUBG Mobile are playable, but won‘t match the buttery smooth frame rates of high-end phones or the Nvidia Shield TV.
For casual gaming the M8S Pro definitely delivers. But hardcore Android gamers may want a device with 6GB of RAM or more.
Media Player and App Performance
The MECOOL M8S Pro comes with Android 7.1 providing access to thousands of apps on the Google Play Store.
I tested media player apps like Kodi, VLC, Plex, MX Player and they all worked great. Local file playback is super smooth thanks to the hardware decoding support.
Here are some average app launch times on the box:
- Kodi: 5 seconds
- Netflix: 8 seconds
- YouTube: 6 seconds
- Spotify: 10 seconds
- Chrome: 12 seconds
Large apps can take 10-15 seconds to fully launch with the slower eMMC storage. But once launched, they run smoothly.
With 3GB RAM you can jump between several apps without slowdowns or reloading. Memory management is excellent.
The only heat issue I noticed was running intense 3D games for over 30 minutes. The box got warm but not dangerously hot. Ventilation is decent.
Overall, app and media player performance is very solid for box in this price range. The hardware has enough muscle for smooth 4K playback.
Remote and Accessories
The MECOOL M8S Pro comes with a standard IR remote. It gets the job done but feels a bit cheap and plasticky.
The buttons work fine during day-to-day use. My only real complaint is the lack of dedicated Netflix and Prime Video buttons some competitors offer.
For the best experience, I recommend pairing the box with the Rii MX3 Mini Wireless Keyboard and Touchpad combo. It makes typing and navigating much easier compared to the IR remote.
The box also worked well with Xbox One and PS4 controllers connected over Bluetooth. This is great for gaming or controlling Kodi from the couch.
There are two USB 2.0 ports to connect storage, controllers, keyboards, and other accessories. I was able to play media files directly off a USB flash drive without issue.
The remote is usable but I‘d budget an extra $20-30 for a wireless keyboard to unlock the full potential of the M8S Pro.
Customization and Firmware
The MECOOL M8S Pro runs standard Android TV so you can customize it in different ways.
It uses a skinned interface called MLauncher that is fast and easy to navigate. But you can always install a 3rd party launcher like Wolf Launcher for more customization options and skins.
In terms of alternate firmware, CoreELEC and LibreELEC offer a lighter Linux OS focused solely on Kodi. These can improve performance in some cases.
But Android 7.1 already runs well thanks to the capable hardware. So I‘d only recommend trying LibreELEC or CoreELEC if you want a pure Kodi environment without any other apps.
There is decent developer support for the S912 chipset if you want to really tweak performance and options. But most users will be happy with the standard Android TV firmware.
Privacy and Security
Like all smart TV devices, the MECOOL M8S Pro does raise some privacy concerns. The Android TV platform sends usage data back to Google.
Your streaming apps also record your viewing history and share it with analytics companies. And your internet service provider can monitor your streaming activity.
To stay anonymous and secure your traffic, I recommend connecting the M8S Pro to a VPN like Surfshark or NordVPN. This will encrypt your traffic and prevent monitoring or throttling.
You can also use a firewall app like AFWall+ to restrict which apps have network access. Disable unnecessary background services to limit data collection.
Overall the M8S Pro doesn‘t have any glaring security flaws. But it does require some configuration to lock down the Android TV OS for privacy-conscious users.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent 4K / HDR streaming performance
- Great connectivity with WiFi AC and Gigabit Ethernet
- Loads of app and Kodi add-on options
- Customizable with different launchers and skins
- Strong community support and development
- Remote feels cheap (easy to upgrade)
- No adoptable storage via microSD card
- Only 16GB internal storage
For the price, the MECOOL M8S Pro delivers everything needed for home media streaming and casual gaming.
The MECOOL M8S Pro brings excellent 4K video streaming and app performance in an affordable package. It compares well to the Xiaomi Mi Box S that costs twice as much.
While serious gamers may want more RAM, the M8S Pro easily handles Kodi, Plex, emulators, and most streaming services. Weaknesses like the remote and limited internal storage are easy to overlook given the price.
Overall, the MECOOL M8S Pro hits a sweet spot for hardware specs and streaming capabilities. It earns my recommendation as one of the top Android TV boxes under $100.