Google’s $99 Nexus Player is now available for purchase and it should ship in early November. I’m just starting to test the TV box and while I really like the new Android TV user interface, until more third-party developers adapt their apps to the platform, there’s a relatively small number of things you can actually do with a Nexus Player.

But over the past few years hundreds of TV boxes running Android software have come out of China. Most use the same version of Android that runs on a smartphone or tablet. While that means some apps can be hard to use with a remote control, at least it means there are thousands of apps that you can try.

China’s Tronsmart is responsible for a decent number of those TV boxes… and now the company has released one of the first models with an 8-core Allwinner A80 Octa processor. It’s also one of the first I’ve seen that supports up to 4GB of RAM.

tronsmart aw80_01

The Tronsmart Draco AW80 Meta features Allwinner’s processor with 4 ARM Cortex-A15 CPU cores and 4 ARM Cortex-A7 cores and PowerVR GC6230 graphics.

Geekbuying is taking pre-orders for a model with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage for $149. There’s also a $199 model with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

You can also pick one up for a similar price at AliExpress.

Both models feature HDMI, AV, and SPDIF ports, 1 USB 3.0 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, an SD card slot, Gigabit Ethernet jack, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11ac WiFi plus an external antenna.

Another thing that sets this TV box apart from most other options is the SATA port that you can use to hook up an external hard drive.

Tronsmart’s latest TV box has more ports, a more powerful processor, and more RAM than most other devices in its class. But it also has a relatively high price tag… and when it comes to TV boxes, sometimes less can be more.

While it sounds nice to be able to run just about any Android app on your TV, the truth is that it can be tough to actually use some of those apps on your TV. The $99 Google Nexus Player may not be as versatile, but at least it doesn’t tempt you into downloading apps that won’t work properly.

On the other hand if you’re planning on dumping Android and installing Ubuntu, you’re probably much better off with a box like the Tronsmart Draco AW80… or a mini PC with an x86 processor like the ECS Liva.

Still, if what you’re looking for is one of the most powerful ARM-based TV boxes around, the Draco AW80 certainly looks good on paper. I haven’t had a chance to test this box yet though, so I can’t say anything about real-world performance.

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13 replies on “Tronsmart Draco AW80 TV box has octa-core CPU, up to 4GB RAM”

  1. Android-ARM boxes seem unattractive nowadays, with the Windows-Bay Trail offerings being so promising, even with high-end specs like this one, with 4Gb of RAM, it’s still difficult to justify going in that direction.
    I just wish they’d get moving with the Windows ones already. It’s been quite some time since we heard anything about that Mele PCG03 box, which was rumored to wholesale for $49, or those $70-$120 HDMI sticks with Bay Trail.
    A $50-$75 Windows machine would be a cataclysmic and unprecedented disruption in the PC market, but if they come in at around the same price as the similarly equipped tablets, you’d be better off with a $99-$140 8″ with HDMI-out.

    1. Don’t hold your breath for such low priced PCs with Windows which are capable of 4K video. We are years from such devices.

      1. A linux box, 2GB of RAM and HDMI 1080p output with Intel SOC for 100 $ will suffice for me 🙂
        Don’t need a 4k output….

    2. A $50-$75 Windows PC???

      How does a $50-$100 Windows OEM license fit into that price?

      I know that currently MS gives Win OEM licenses for cheap / low-powered machines for free but how long do you think that this will hold? Seriously?

      That price range is unrealistic for Windows-based systems for the long run. We may see it briefly as long as Intel gives away their Bay Trail SOCs for free to gain market share and Microsoft doing the same for Windows but will be eliminated once those two think they have enough market-share.

      Sustainably, those price ranges are only realistic for ARM based hw with Android and/or Linux.

      1. Microsoft offers Windows 8 with Bing for free for computers with price below $200. They would be out of business in two years if they didn’t do it. At the same time Intel is offering their Bay Trail processors below production costs to gain a market share in the mobile market. So this price is perfectly realistic.

        For TVs or tablets Android has much better applications and games, costs
        nothing and requires less processing power, disk space and RAM compared to Windows. If wintel wants to get into the mobile market they need to set the price of their products very low.

        The problem is that unless you are a computer expert, an Android powered box will do a much better job for you. And if you are a computer expert, you’ll probably want to install Linux on a x86 miniPC (that’s what I did with my Shuttle).

      2. Microsoft will very likely keep Windows very cheap, close to free, or possibly even in some contra revenue scheme, for selective companies involved in selective market segments. We will very likely see a dramatically polarized Windows monetization platform, one for the enterprise segment, and one for the consumer side, both of which will be approached by a new “access to platform partnership/license” for developers, much like Apple and Google are doing right now, without an upfront OEM license from the reseller/consumer. Having said that… it’s not like it’s lost on anyone, that everyone who can’t afford Windows,pretty much already has Windows anyway. {wink:wink}
        As far as Intel goes, you can rest assured, that as long as ARM Ecosystem Partners, can get a 4K playback capable SoC, for under $8, from a third party semiconductor fabricator, like Global Foundries or TSMC, each with it’s own bottom line, Intel with it’s own fabrication an various other technical and IP advantages, could easily undercut ARM offerings, for the foreseeable future. So as long as you’ll be able to buy something with ARM-Android, there will always be a similarly priced, equally or exceedingly powerful, x86 offering.

  2. It looks very similar, but with some superior specifications, to my MINIX NEO X8-H, which I spent $200 on a few weeks ago. The included remote also looks like a more featured version of the M1 Air Mouse, and I honestly don’t like the home and back functions using the same button on my remote.

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