In the last article, we became familiar with Kodi in a friendly way for beginners. Now that you know more about Kodi, in addition to how you can use Kodi, I think it would be a good time to go ahead and learn about the many Kodi boxes available on the market that you can pair with your TV. Before we go to the best Kodi boxes, let’s see what a Kodi box really is and what to look for before buying one.
What is a Kodi Box?
A Kodi box is a standalone streaming device with Kodi installed which is always next to your TV to meet all your streaming needs. Most of these Kodi boxes are Android TV boxes with Kodi installed. Some of them may have Kodi pre-installed, while in others you may have to perform a manual installation.
While you can always run Kodi on your Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS devices, it’s not as convenient as running it on a standalone device, so you can stream whenever you need to.
Please keep in mind that there are a large number of cheap Chinese knock-offs available on the market that do work, but have many problems. Some of them come «fully loaded» with illegal add-ons and I would like to ask you to stay away from such Kodi boxes. Here, I will be covering only legitimate Kodi boxes.
Things to look for in a Kodi box
Kodi’s minimum hardware requirements are minimal, such as 1 GB of RAM. While you’re in the market for a Kodi box, make sure it has specifications well above those minimum requirements . Although Kodi can still run on relatively inefficient hardware, it may not play 4K videos or support Kodi’s advanced features, such as PVR.
Many people buy cheap Chinese imitations, but are disappointed when they don’t work as expected later. Most of Kodi’s inexpensive boxes have poor performance and almost zero after-sales support. If you are in the market to buy a Kodi box, look for the Support gives community and check that the company provides after sales service .
This may seem like a no-brainer, but try to buy a Kodi Box that receives appropriate firmware updates. Updates can add support for new streaming services and bring additional bugfixes. So, when you’re out to buy a Kodi box, check the manufacturer’s history of providing firmware updates.
That said, let’s take a look at the 7 best Kodi boxes that you can use:
The best Kodi boxes
1. Mi Box
The Mi Box is Xiaomi’s choice for the Android TV set-top box and comes with a quad-core Cortex-A53 processor clocked at 2GHz, Mali 450 GPU, 2GB RAM and 8GB of onboard storage. On the connectivity side, it comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI, USB port and a 3.5 mm connector and comes with a Bluetooth voice remote. The Mi Box ships with Android TV 6.0 and there is no solid news as to whether it will be upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat in writing. Android TV is the version of Android that is optimized for TV, so you may not see all the apps on the Mi Box Play Store as you would on a «normal» Android phone / tablet. However, you can always download applications on Android TV.
The process of installing Kodi on the Mi Box is similar to installing any other application from the Google Play Store. It has decent enough specifications to run Kodi hassle-free and still supports playback 4K video . You can also use a third-party Kodi fork like SPMC (Free, Google Play Store) to search for Kodi by voice using the Mi Box’s Bluetooth remote. For the price, the Mi Box is one of the best Kodi boxes you you can buy now.
Purchase ($ 69)
2. WeTek Core
The WeTek Core comes with an Amlogic CPU clocked at 2GHz, Mali 450 GPU, 2GB RAM and 8GB of onboard storage. It comes with WIFI, Bluetooth 4.0, an HDMI port and two USB ports. There is WeTek OS, which is based on Android 5.1 Lollipop and it also supports OpenELEC. If you want to install Android apps other than Kodi, the 8 GB built-in storage is expandable via a microSD / SDHC card.
WeTek Core comes with playback support 4K video, so you can easily stream high-quality Kodi videos to your big screen TV. Supports full-HD video playback on services like Netflix. It also comes with a remote control with Air mouse and microphone.
For support, there is an official community forum, so you can get help quickly on anything related to your WeTek device. In addition to the fact that it comes with an older version of Android, the WeTek Core is a solid Kodi box, albeit a little expensive.
Purchase ($ 127)
3. Amazon Fire Stick / TV Amazon Fire
Perhaps the most affordable of the lot, the Amazon Fire Stick (2nd generation) comes with a quad-core ARM processor clocked at 1.3GHz, Mali 450 GPU, 1GB RAM and 8GB of built-in storage. It supports Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi, but expandable or ethernet storage is not supported.
Amazon Fire TV (2nd generation) is the big brother of Amazon Fire Stick and comes with a quad-core ARM processor clocked at 2GHz, a PowerVR GPU, 2GB of RAM and 8GB of built-in storage.
The official Kodi app is not available on the Amazon App Store, but you can run Kodi on both devices with a little bit of setup. We have already covered how to install Kodi on the Amazon Fire Stick. Although there is an obvious hardware difference between these two devices, as a form factor and specifications, let me highlight the disparity between these devices in relation to Kodi: THE Fire Sticks only supports Full HD video playback while Fire TV supports 4K videos.
If you are looking to use only Kodi and can do without 4K support, the Fire Stick is a very affordable and capable device. If you are planning to play some games in addition to using Kodi, you may want to go to Amazon Fire TV.
Amazon Fire Stick: Buy ($ 39, 99)
Amazon Fire TV: Buy ($ 89, 99)
4. NVIDIA Shield Android TV
The Nvidia Shield Android TV (2017) comes with NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor, 256-core Maxwell GPU, 3 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. It supports WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, USB ports, Gigabit ethernet and comes with the latest version of Android, the Android 7.0 Nougat.
Installing Kodi is quite simple: just go to the Play Store and download Kodi. To be honest, I was a little reluctant to include Nvidia Shield Android TV in this list because of one reason: although it can run Kodi, it is competing in a completely different league (read: gaming). NVIDIA Shield Android TV is an absolute streaming beast with support for video playback 4K video . It also includes Plex and Netflix by default.
As any sane person would advise, go for the NVIDIA Shield Android TV only if you are looking to make some games, as buying it just for Kodi would definitely be overkill. If you’re willing to pay a premium price, NVIDIA Shield Android TV easily outperforms all devices on that list.
Purchase ($ 199)
5. Minix Neo U1
The Minix Neo U1 comes with a 64-bit quad-core processor, Mali 450 GPU, 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet, USB ports, 3.5 mm connector and comes with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop .
Minix Neo U1 comes pre-installed with a custom version of pre-installed Kodi, although you can replace it with the Play Store version if you want. It supports The reproduction 4K video, so pixel-hungry people can rejoice. My only complaint is that it comes with an older version of Android and the manufacturer should have provided an update to the latest version of Android. In addition, the Minix Neo U1 is a very capable Kodi box.
Purchase ($ 119.90)
6. Nexus Player
The Nexus Player comes with a 1.8 GHz quad-core processor, a PowerVR GPU, 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of onboard storage. It comes with WiFi, Bluetooth and a micro-USB port and comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop .
You can sideload Kodi in Nexus Player easily. It is important to note that it only supports full-HD video playback, so no you will be able to watch glorious 4K videos on Kodi.
It was officially discontinued last year, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of a Kodi box. It originally sold around $ 99 at launch, but you can still find it at around $ 60 or less on eBay, BestBuy or Walmart.
Purchase ($ 60)
7. Raspberry Pi 3
There seems to be no limit to what can be done using the Raspberry Pi 3. The Raspberry Pi 3 comes with a Broadcom processor with 1.2GHz, VideoCore GPU, 1GB RAM – specifications decent enough to run the Kodi. It does not come with ready Kodi support and will require quite a bit of adjustment, of course. This method is recommended only for DIY enthusiasts and if you are looking for a friendly way to set up a Kodi box, give it a pass.
If you’re still interested, you can turn your Raspberry Pi into a Kodi box using the OpenELEC or OSMC Linux distribution.
Pro Tip: If you swear by a different single-board computer, you can also use Kodi on most Raspberry Pi 3 alternatives like Odroid-C2.
Buy ($ 35)
What is your favorite Kodi box?
So, this was my list of some of the best Kodi boxes that you can find on the market right now. With so many options to choose from, you can easily find the Kodi box that best suits your needs. I would like to know which one is your favorite and why. Also, if you think there is another one worthy of mention, let me know in the comments section below.