MyGica ATV1900AC review
As I mentioned on the unboxing a while ago, ATV1900AC was supposed to be one of the first devices to ship with Android 5.0.
There was a long delay between the device was announced and the day it was ready for shipping and meanwhile RK3368 devices appeared and they seem to get all the attention now.
But as you can see on the benchmarks below, the "old" S812-H SoC gets close to or even better results on most benchmarks and has a better ranking on AnTuTu Video Tester, so Amlogic S812-H it's not ready yet for retirement.
Using a SoC that is not brand new should mean that all inherent bugs were ironed out and that the
device should be stable, right?
We should also see some improvements from the OS update as the first S812-H devices were launched with Android 4.4 and now we have Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Let's find out just how well it performs in our MyGica ATV1900AC review.
Setup and first boot
MyGica ATV1900AC is very easy to setup : just need to add some batteries to the remote, insert the
remote adapter in one of the 4 USB slots found on the right side, connect HDMI and the power adapter
and you can start enjoying it.
When powered on the red circle next to the power button turns green and on the right corner the brand name "MyGica" lights up.Very neat!
The remote is very simple (just 9 keys and the arrows) but I found it to be very easy to use even
when you need to type things, as it's very responsive. There's a built-in microphone that can be
used to send voice commands and which seems to work OK (although it prefers to redirect the search
through google.co.jp for some reason when it doesn't recognize the search term).
Voice search needs an internet connection to work, and it can be used to start apps just by saying their name.
It's not an airmouse (as I originally thought when I saw the USB dongle that came with it), but you do have a "mouse mode" that uses arrow keys to move the cursor on the screen.
The remote range is excellent, it works from anywhere in the room - much better than most if not all remotes I tried.
But all these cool features come with a price: not being an IR remote there's no way to boot from a full power off just by using the remote so the ATV1900AC cannot be powered off! When you press the "Shutdown" button it just goes into a Standby mode. I wish Geniatech would have added an on/off button on the back of the device, it's far more convenient to use such button instead of unplugging the power adapter.
The good news is that you can probably use the remote for other devices - since it comes with it's own adapter (didn't work on the Windows 10 PC, must try with another Android device later).
First thing you notice is a Lollipop logo and a nice animation logo. After around 35 seconds, the mini PC finishes booting and you can chose from the two launchers ("Mygica Android 5.0" and the "Home Screen").
Both launchers are TV-friendly, the "Home screen" even reminds a bit of the Android TV.
When connected to the internet the box promptly downloaded the OTA update and after a few minutes the unit restarted and the update was completed.
You might look for a firmware upgrade on their forum as well as you could download a firmware and
install it manually if needed.
I've saw people complain that an OTA upgrade wiped out their settings but that didn't happen to me (or maybe I didn't noticed, as I only had the Google account setup and the wi-fi settings, which were both preserved).
Manually upgrades are not very complicated: you just need to copy the files to an SD card (yes, it must be an SD card, not an USB stick) and boot into recovery mode by pressing the reset button for 10 seconds when you power on the unit.
Just before publishing the review I received a beta FW from MyGica which fixed some bugs that were on the original review text - like the Google Play apps incompatibility which initially prevented me from installing trivial apps like Vellamo. They also re-arranged the "Settings" menu, which was confusing before.
MyGica ATV1900AC benchmarks
As with any review, I spent a lot of time with the benchmarking apps. And it was all worth it as
I've learned that ATV1900AC's stability and the coolness (as in lack of overheating) might be
the fact that the maximum CPU frequency is set at ~1.61 Ghz.
You might think that setting the maximum frequency to a lower value would affect the performance, but compared with other devices that run Android 4.4 ATV1900AC performed even better (thanks to the Android 5.0 it runs). So Geniatech engineers found that sweet spot that allowed them to get better performance and at the same time improve stability.
In AnTuTu, ATV1900AC got ~34500 points, which is better than the score we've seen
for other Amlogic S812-H SoC devices (with Android 4.4) and very close to the score got by the
octa-core Rockchip RK3368 device we tested earlier.
CPU-Z is spot-on (Amlogic S812-H is a matured platform, after all).
In Vellamo, ATV1900AC got 1576 points for multicore, 924 for metal, and 2404 for browser, which is a better result on all fronts when compared to a just few weeks ago on the same device.
In 3DMark, ATV1900AC got 8230 points for Ice Storm Unlimited, 5975 for Ice Storm Extreme and 7839 points on Ice Storm - better results than the ones got by the octa-core RockChip RK3368.
Kodi and video playback
ATV1900AC comes from the factory with Kodi 14.2 but after the current upgrade (Oct. 2015) Kodi was bumped to 15.2.
Testing various file forrmats takes a considerable amount of time - and this is where AnTuTu Video Tester comes to the rescue. ATV1900AC was very close to get a perfect rating in AnTuTu Video Tester, with just one unsupported file format (a rmvb file, something I could live without). Final score was 1047 points.
MyGica ATV1900AC as a gaming device
I wouldn't say that ATV1900AC is a gaming device, but surprisingly the little remote can be used to
enjoyably play games : for instance I installed 3D Pool from MyGica store and I was able to play it
without any issues just with the provided remote.
Other games like Beach Buggy Racing or the "old" Angry Birds are also enjoyable.
One thing about games (and every other app) is that they load very fast on MyGica ATV1900AC compared with other devices - Android 5.0 really shines on ATV1900AC.
Network speed: here's where ATV1900AC really impresses: the device is very fast on both wi-fi (including 802.11ac) and Ethernet. This allows fast file transfers and makes it possible to play files directly from a network share.
Built-in "cast feature"/AirPlay/MiraCast - you can "cast" to MyGica ATV1900AC from
exactly as you would with a Chromecast device (see this
Bluetooth: although there's a Bluetooth option on the settings, I was unable to turn it on, most likely the ATV1900AC does not have a Bluetooth chip and probably the option is there so we can use an unnamed external BT device.
UVC camera: after connecting an UVC camera I was able to use Skype for a video call.
MyGica store: in the (unlikely) event that you cannot access Google Play for some reason, ATV1900AC comes with an Aptoide-powered app store, which works as you would expect.
Youtube works beautifully on ATV1900AC and Netflix app comes pre-installed (but not available on my country, so I couldn't test, sorry).
MyGica ATV1900AC is a stable device which benefits from good hardware. The revised Amlogic S812-H
SoC really shines on ATV1900AC, and Geniatech didn't cut any corners or attempted to reduce the
BoM cost : the device uses fast eMMC manufactured by Toshiba
and a better wi-fi chip.
And this is reflected on the actual performance: ATV1900AC is more responsive and has very good 802.11ac performance (same with Ethernet - the performance is way better than the average TV box).
The device runs cooler as well - it only gets warm when in full load and I didn't experienced any freeze or unexpected reboot due to overheating.
But the lack of DTS licenses might cripple the otherwise good hardware, making it less interesting for high-quality movie fans.
But the device itself is perfectly capable of decoding it, so it's only a licensing issue - which may or may not be fixed in the future.
The RF remote control with voice control is also excellent, works from any angle and from a long distance and it's quite easy to use.
The benchmarks revealed a SoC that beats the very popular RK3368 SoC on almost every test, which says that S812-H has still some juice left.
MyGica ATV1900AC was priced initially at ~$160 ($180 on Amazon), which was a rather steep price.
But at ~$110 (the current price on the Chinese retailers websites), ATV1900AC is a good alternative.
I would like to thank MyGica North America for providing the review sample. They have the ATV1900AC and several other interesting devices on their store.
Unboxing the MyGica ATV1900AC Mini PC from GeniatechMyGica ATV1900AC packs some impressive specs (1 year ago)