HK1 RBOX R1 5G WiFi Android 10 TV Box

HK1 RBOX

Before I delve into this new box from Banggood – let’s go back a step: I’ve had quite a number of Android TV boxes over the years and there are lots on the second-hand market. But something to consider… I just had to bin two boxes that were not that old, maybe a couple of years or so – my fault for not checking initially) as neither of them support 5G WiFi.

At the time, that didn’t bother me as they both had hardwired Ethernet – but things change and it is no longer convenient for me to put the box near hardwired Ethernet (that’s historical – July 2021 I’ve now gone back to hardwired). If you are not familiar with such TV boxes, most of which come in under €50 one-off-price (and no annual fee, for those who were talked into an annual “deal”, usually nothing more than a guy selling a similar box and charging for free software – boy are those purchases a rip-off), for best picture quality (given that you have fast enough Internet for HD or even 4K), 2.4G WiFi is not ideal so I would now suggest always looking for a box which handles both 5G WiFi and hardwired Ethernet.

HK1 RBOX Android TV Box

What else, looking back? I also eventually had issues with Netflix and Amazon Prime on the older boxes (I choose to subscribe to both services – I’m not suggesting they are mandatory) – which makes the boxes pretty useless for many of us – it seems almost as if these boxes have redundancy built in.

Just to be clear the HK1 R1 RK3318 5G WIFI Android 10 4K TV Box does not use the crippled “Android TV” software – but instead has the full Android 10 complete with Playstore and in this case a nice choice of wallpapers.

So – the R1 Box is curved and looks beautiful, it is small, has 2.4+5G WiFi, Ethernet and Android 10 – that’s a good start. Why am I calling it “R1”? That, apparently is the model number.

Digital and 3.5mm audio are standard, 4K-capable HDMI output along with 1 microSD slot, 1 USB3, 1 USB2 connector and the ability to handle H265-encoded video.. and obviously power in. My R1 unit came complete with (just) adequate instruction manual entirely in English (always a good start), the usual elementary IR remote control and EU-plug 5V 2A power supply.

IR Remote control

Before going further – as ALWAYS, the IR remote that comes with this R1 box is , well, basic and frustrating – the standard ones always are – here’s my favourite – just ordered another – often referred to as “Air Mouse MX3 Pro” – there’s a keyboad on the back. I deliberately avoided the white backlit version. Under a tenner from China or a rip at €18 from Amazon.es but I’m in a hurry… these remotes are good – not indestructable but good.

The R1 TV box comes with 128GB of storage and 4GB RAM, enough for most of us I would imagine, given that it accepts a microSD (or USB memory stick) for expansion. I tried the box firstly on one of my handy HD PC monitors and no adjustments were needed. On the main screen you see Netflix, Firefox browser, the Google Play Store and there are some presets along the bottom (AirScreen Airplay / Cast / Miracast / DLNA), Netflix, an APK loader, network/file handler and something called “Smart YouTube TV”. I decided at this point that setting up the WiFi might be a good idea 🙂

Connecting to my 5G WiFi took a couple of seconds.

At this point I thought I’d go see what other apps were installed and I changed the bottom preset menu to my tastes. There are LOTS of pre-installed APPS as it happens – including Prime Video, Mobdro, RKMC, Disney+ (which may need a subscription), CyberFlix (which was dead last time I checked on another box but which now seems to work after a quick upgrade), Chrome, YouTube, a Media Centre and much more.

I did notice that the installed APPS on my box are not quite the same as the list on the Banggood site – who’s ad looks like it was constructed for a USA audience but of course as the R1 has the Android Play Store and an APK loader, that’s not really an issue – there is bags of room for installing APPS.

Up to this point, everything seemed to work, when I tried YouTube I just got a rotating circle. I was about to get disappointed when I hit the back buton and my chosen “Norway in 4K” video came up in tremendous quality and very smooth – I simply cannot fault the sound or picture quality. There is a pre-installed file manager but that proved disappointing for any other than internal storage and to use – it is donate-ware – the creator wants coffee-money to allow you to turn on (for example) an FTP server. IMHO something that requires extra payment of any form should not be featured on the front panel but merely included as one of the available APPS.

I did notice one company selling this R1 box claiming it could be controlled by voice – but as there is no reference to that in the documentation or in Banggood’s ad so I’ll take that no further.

Note in the above photo I’ve already re-arranged the standard presets (bottom line above) to get rid of some nonsense and to add in Curiosity Stream and other APPS.

From the Playstore I added my Wireguard VPN, BBC iPlayer, Curiosity Stream and Magellan TV (the last two are subscription documentary channels – but cheap) so now I’m happy. Overall, compared to my (good) 2020 H96 MAX TV box, the R1 seems to have a lot more going for it (but the Android 9 equipped H96 Max plays EuroNews App more smoothly for reasons beyong me). Both boxes work with 5G WiFi.

About the only thing that initially concerned me about this unit is the ABOUT message in settings. This appears as a relatively new Android 10 device – yet in “about” there is a clear message that “Regular updates have ended for this device” – the last system update was May 5 2020. But then that no doubt accounts for the attractive price and very few of these TV boxes ever get the kind of ongoing operating system support you might expect on a decent phone.

It is (IMHO) important to ensure you get the full Playstore with such boxes – I understand that Huawei and some other Chinese manufacturers have trouble with Google on that front.

Up to now then – a winner – and I have more news channels than I know what to do with 🙂

As an aside, we thought it might be nice to make Skype calls on the TV… so my spare Logitech camera has just found a home on the R1 – tested – working.

July 2021 Update Progress and End of Life?

Lets get the ugly bit out of the way first, like most if not all such boxes, operating system updates are no longer available for this box. And unlike my other Android box, this one tends to buffer a little on EuroNews – no idea why but it’s annoying.

And now the good news. The box comes complete with KDMC which CAN be updated. As you may know, KDMC (KODI) tends to be full of plug-ins that no longer work. Well, I’ve (easily) added two – THE CREW and THE AUTH and together they offer more movies and channels than you could imagine – most of which work. We’re talking all the major networks and some not-so-major networks – and stuff that goes from current, in some case back to the turn of the century. Many, many hundreds if not thousands of episodes – on on network alone I found the entire Stargate set – all series, all episodes, all variations (Altantis, Universe etc). I’m REALLY excited about that.

In fact, right now, these two add-ons are so good you may be wondering why you’d need anything else. The same runs on a Raspberry Pi 4 (I have the 2GB version) which unlike previous RPis is now fast enough, particularly in the graphics department to make a great TV box – but if you still want to keep Netflix, Amazon APPs and several other Android APPs (Curiosity Stream, Magellan TV etc), perhaps Android boxes like the HK1 are a better choice?

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13 thoughts on “HK1 RBOX R1 5G WiFi Android 10 TV Box

  1. The problem with these boxes are they don’t update them.
    Netflix is normally the first app to stop working .
    I would sooner pay more and have updates than learning how to use a new tv box ,and another remote.
    FiveG has never been a problem as I always preferred to use wire .I’m sure most wife’s don’t want to relearn it either ,I certainly don’t want to show my wife how to do anything 🤣
    It really is craziness to throw away a tv box every couple of years ,unless your names Pete and you change your box every three months 🤣

    1. No such thing as TV boxes which get long-term Android updates – or phones for that matter – even the big brands like Samsung are not that good at regular Anroid updates – which is why I swear by Xiaomi – my Poco F1 received updates just a few weeks ago. Manufacturers want to sell the latest model – and most folks want the latest thing – so it seems there is no market for continuous Android updates. Don’t confuse that with Netscape… I’ve no idea why my older boxes refused to accept Netscape (which is just an APP) updates – can’t help thinking there’s something deliberate involved.

      1. Not QUITE that simple Antonio… on more than one occasion when I’ve come to update Netflix, where previously it was fine, the Playstore will report something like “not compatible with your device” and you can go no further.

        On the learning front however, most Android boxes are basically the same – if you buy an IR handset like the one I detailed in the blog, you can transfer it from box to box. I don’t know why manufacturers go for the cheapest possible handset but they all do it. Maybe they get them for 50 cents/pence…

        There’s nothing more annoying than entering multiple accounts/passwords without a decent keypad.. I’m not sure how typical I am but I generally have dozens of APPS that need setting up on a new box and it’s a pain with those simple black handsets and the onscreen keyboards.

    2. I’ve had my box for 5 years I don’t worry about updating it and have no problems but I do not use Netflix, but my Kodi works just fine

      1. If all you want is Kodi – that’s fine – but then that also begs the question, hoq much TV are you happy with. I’m one of those awkward typess qho have never forgiven the BBC for scrapping Start Trek after Series 1 – and providing platforms for Saville and others.. Hence I tend to watch Netflix, Amazon, Hulu etc and Sky – but see today’s timely update to this blog.

  2. All Android boxes similar to this are so poorly supported by their manufacturers, my take is that they’re living on borrowed time from day one heading for landfill. Sometimes their lifespan is not long at all.

    When no longer usable for their original purpose one hope might be that it is possible to repurpose one of these boxes to do something else completely different i.e. run Armbian

    Need an Android box with very good support, a lifespan in the order of 5 years+, decent UX performance and apps that will keep working -> go for an Nvidia Shield Android TV box.

    1. Good morning Joe

      At £199 from Amazon.co.uk I don’t think so – £30 for maybe 2 years cheap and cheerful versus £200 for maybe 5 years NVIDIA? I’m generalising of course, I’ve seen and/or owned Android boxes from £29 to £79. On pricing I note the Nvidia at $199 – but as is often the case with USA pricing I’m sure that’s plus tax, also somehow despite an exchange rate of 1.37, somehow $199 on Amazon.com ends up as £199 on Amazon.co.uk – which contributes to my general preference for Chinese suppliers – and in Spain things get even worse, as buying from the nearby UK is now becoming less interesting thanks to Brexit- dumbest move in a generation IMHO.

      On re-purposing – must admin I’d not really thought of that.. yes given a known processor and plenty of RAM and storage, that might appeal to some – I should have done that with the boxes I just binned – oh dear – I should know better.

      Of course there are two different markets here as those after a plug-in TV box may well not have the foggiest notion of the difference between Android and Armbian never mind how to actually implement the change.

      In this particular case I sit in one room during the day, tinkering with all manner of hi-tech kit, endlessly re-inventing the wheel – but at dinner time all I want is effortless, quality 4K (or as near as I can get) with as many channels as possible for the least cost and effort.

      UK performance – well, there’s another discussion… “UK performance” inside the UK and outside of it. The latter is more complex than the former – as getting iPlayer outside of the UK not only really requires a VPN (a discussion in it’s own right) but a little more though as to speed – VPNs tend to slow down connections. Inside the UK it is simply a matter of making sure the box will support iPlayer and third party Apps (which any box worthy of discussion, of course, will). Not sure our European readers are at all concerned about iPlayer and American readers will be m,ore concerned about getting their favourite channels – so everyone has different requirements.

      On this current box the only thing I’ve not succeeded in getting to work are a couple of local USA news stations (a Chicago news channel being one of them) which I assume are geo-restricted and I don’t have a USA VPN. iPlayer runs perfectly – of interest despite being in the EU (we now can’t lump in the UK) I do have a valid UK TV licence – I also have valid Netflix and Amazon subscriptions.

      For anyone looking in and wondering what this is all about – there is a lot involved in streaming TV and movies depending where you live, not just the choice of box. Artificial geo-restrictions don’t help and you need consider the speed of your Internet connection, if downloading is under 10Mbps, you possibly can’t join the 4K club no matter what box and TV you have or what promises the dealer made.

      1. When I mentioned UX I was thinking UX as in User eXperience.

        The best thing that could happen with these cheap Android boxes is for manufacturers to open source every piece of their Android ROMs and drop that into Github to enable the community to continue to support these devices the millisecond after they leave the factory, which is the point in time that manufacturers disown these things. It won’t happen because the business model is to ship more plastic landfill forever.

        1. Agreed. Normally I’d get on a soalbox about companies creating more landfill – but right now that’s not our top worry – we’re disappearing like flies thanks to the virus – and just to make things more interesting, North Korea is pumping out missiles and improving launch capability (you’d never think there was a pandemic). May as well enjoy our gadgets while we can (someone, somewhere once said “you can’t take it with you”) – that’s my optimistic thought for the day. If any of our governments or companies actually gave two hoots about recycling – we’d be making all gadgets upgradeable, enforced by international law – but don’t hold your breath waiting tor that to happen.

  3. Say I want to connect to this box via FileZilla, do I need any extra software on the box or does it have a default username like Root or HK1R and if so whats the default password.

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