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Showing 1-10 of 44 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 56 reviews
on May 2, 2014
Unit comes with XBMC 14.0 Alpha1 (?), no instructions whatsoever regarding XBMC, so unless you're an XBMC guru at using a version of XBMC that I didn't even know existed, you will face challenges. Tried to set it up the way my laptop is using iStream, but everything is incompatible due to unmet dependencies. Been looking on the Internet but so far noob help is almost non-existent.

Finally found a post suggesting uninstalling the 14.0 version an installing the current stable. Went to 12.3 version, which works to a degree, but cannot get iStream to sink with XBMC library as it does on laptop and its very choppy when streaming most any HD material.

Just updated to 13.0 stable, and it appears to playback some HD material a bit smoother, but the main issue with playing HD appears to be slow WiFi. iStream still won't sink with XBMC library. I know that some of these are strictly XBMC issues, but since I bought this box strictly for streaming from XBMC, I'm going to address it.

Only supports 2.4 GHz WiFi? Pathetic 5-6 Mbs sitting 12' from the router; laptop logged onto 2.4 GHz at 150 Mbs sitting twice that distance. That's barely fast enough for HD. 5 Ghz is so common and A/C is here now. There's really no excuse for releasing a new product limited by older technology. 2.4 Ghz is not as good as 5 Ghz.

The product appears to be decent, but the WiFi performance is sub-par and appears to be limiting HD streaming which is what I bought it for in the first place. The forum solution, "Don't use WiFi" is not acceptable. I work a great deal and don't have time to waste trying to find the info needed to try and get this to work is some usable fashion. Currently, I am disappointed, but I remain hopeful that as time allows, I'll eventually learn how to make things work better. However, with no facilities for an external antenna to increase signal strength, I do not see a way around the wireless performance limitation.

Update 5/28/2014: Had to manually update to catch up on the two updates I've missed since the Auto-updating and updating via the web from within the UI don't work. Attempting to manually update produces an error. After updating to the latest (104K4) still getting same error.

Still comes with 'custom' XBMC version 14.0 again, installed by the manufacturer. Still no info anywhere, still unable to make it work at all. Update completely wiped unit with no warning (thanks a lot), go rid of partially working Gotham install, so back to ground zero. Thanks a whole lot.

Unit now reports stronger, faster connection to wireless router, but actual test speeds the same or less.

While I can't give up on it since I'm stuck with it now, I am most disappointed.
33 comments| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICEon November 19, 2014
The Vega S89 Elite is a great choice for a HTPC setup. I currently have three hard drives connected to it, and it runs XBMC and various emulators quite well. Of course, I did some tweaking to make it fit my needs, but the point is that the S89 encourages such tweaking, while other big-name Android boxes do not.

Of course, when using Android on a TV (or in my case, a projector) you run into some issues with some apps. The Amazon App Store and Google Play Store both do not play nice with standard remote input and require you to use the mouse function (they're geared toward touch input). Some apps have "swipe" or "drag" functions that are impossible to duplicate with the remote's mouse mode. The best solution is to connect a wireless or Bluetooth mouse, or to get a decent air mouse.

I've connected several controllers to the Vega S89 with varying degrees of success:
► Amazon Fire TV controller: Surprisingly excellent with most emulators and XBMC!
► Mad Catz C.T.R.L.r: Works, but triggers only work in PC mode, and then A & B buttons are reversed.
► Steel Series Free Mobile: Works fine, but has fewer buttons than others, so you're missing some in some emulators.
► MOGA Power A: Works, but needs either MOGA support from apps or a third-party app to make it accessible. Limited controls.
► Xbox 360 wireless dongle for PC: Does not work. Does weird things. S89 Elite didn't seem to like it at all.
► PS3 controllers: Couldn't get them to pair successfully. Gave up.
► Giotek SC-1: With the dongle installed, it does work but all the buttons are mismatched and some don't work for some apps.

I have yet to try a wired Xbox 360 controller. Mainly because I don't like wired controllers very much anymore.

I also put Finless ROM on the Vega S89 because the stock ROM was lacking in a few areas. While I don't like Finless's loading screen, I do like that it's rooted, makes app stores think the S89 is a Nexus 10 (which magically makes it compatible with a lot more apps!) and gives a bit more versatility when it comes to the launcher... Which, by the way, I also swapped out. Currently I'm using Nova launcher, but I can also recommend one called TVLauncher which gives you great big Metro-style panels. I find that Nova is better for my needs because you can always make the icons big and edit the home page however you wish.

I was also happy to find that the Vega S89 gets along well with my Logitech Harmony Smart Control Simple Remote. Every button was programmable and the IR sensor picks up signals from my Harmony Hub without a problem. I have yet to mess with using the Harmony app touch-screen controls to act as a touch/mouse, but I'll get around to it some day. My only programming problem was that I had to edit the on/off behavior with a delay, a press of "down", another delay, and then a press of "OK" to make it turn the S89 off properly, thanks to the S89's pop-up menu that asks if you want to suspend or shut off. It's a credit to Logitech that they allow this kind of programming for their remotes.

I don't have a 4k/UHD TV or projector (yet) but the 4k app seems to work. I can say that every video I've thrown at this box has worked flawlessly. Everything from my 1080p MKVs with DTS pass-through, to Webm and Flash videos have worked brilliantly.

The S89 can read my NTFS-formatted hard drive with no problems. In the tests I've run I've been able to copy, move, and delete files on my NTFS drive, too. Your mileage may vary.

I had some issues with my USB hub and powering two portable hard drives on a single hub, but that was solved by using a desktop external powered drive on the hub along with a non-powered portable drive, and then putting the other portable drive on the S89's other USB port. The power from the powered drive seems to take the burden off the S89's USB port power output.

Plex Media Server works GREAT on the S89. Just make sure you configure it (in Plex's Settings) for TV instead of tablet. It's the same interface I was used to on my Amazon Fire TV, and it works BETTER than the one on the Fire TV (it seems to have no problem with audio in any of my files, unlike the Fire TV which balks at complex audio tracks in Plex).

I did try Kodi (Man, do I hate that name change!) and while it worked fine, it's still in beta and not supporting as many add-ons as XBMC Gotham. If you go with the Finless ROM, you're better off just using the XBMC that is included with that, as it's the same as the one on the stock ROM... At least until Kodi is ready to go for real.

The current version of Netflix for Android works well, but it does NOT play nice with the standard remote control, and will require mouse mode or an actual mouse/air mouse for decent interaction with their current GUI. Netflix is just not aiming their Android Netflix GUI at set-top boxes right now. Hopefully they get wise and change things a bit in the future.

Amazon Video Player for Prime works, but again, requires mouse input (and the Amazon app) to work properly.

Gaming is great. Most emulators run without much problem, and after installing Gamesome Front End and configuring it, I have access to everything from my main screen without needing to paste icons for every emulator on the main page.

Unfortunately, Hulu runs like any other Android device and demands you install Hulu Plus. Since I stopped paying for Hulu (too many ads) I can't give any opinion on Hulu Plus on the S89 at this time. There are plenty of XBMC plug-ins and network websites to take care of the TV shows I watch. Hulu is missing out by blocking standard Hulu access on Android devices.

Finally, a word about design: While I thought the round puck-shaped design was cool at first, I now find it a bit annoying. I causes the cables in back to "fan out" rather than collecting in a nice bundle in the back. As a result of this, I believe the Vega S89 takes up more space than it would if it were a simple cube or box. The rounded shape in back doesn't do any favors for cable management.

The included remote is surprisingly capable and sturdy, though I rarely use it.

I have had the rare, occasional hang-up or restart with this device, but I think most of that comes down to the behavior of individual apps. Still, when judging this as a set-top box compared to other set-top boxes, that's a negative and I'll dock a star from the review because this definitely means it's not for the layman or newbie. You're not going to set this up for your technophobe grandma and have her feel 100% confident with it, like she might with a Roku or Amazon Fire TV. There's a learning curve and occasional troubleshooting, but they're minor for anyone used to working with Android, XBMC, or home theater setups.

Final Verdict: One of the best set-top boxes on the market IF you're tech savvy and have time to tweak and set up to fit your needs. NOT for those looking for a simple media box, but it delivers way more features and app support if you can invest the effort into getting it all set up right.
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on August 7, 2014
Simply put....O.M.G.!!!! This is quite a cool invention. After installing the Tronsmart Vega and seeing it's potential for finding TV and Movies, I ditched the Roku. This device has XBMC, Netflix, you Tube Vudu, and many other apps you can install from the Play Store, just like you can do on your Android phone. I'm really pleased with this with one exception...the remote pretty much sucks. It works off of infared and you have to point it directly at the device. I had a very frustrating time getting it to do much of anything, sometimes trying to enter a simple command (such as moving the scroll up or down), as many as 20+ times! GRRRR!!! Okay, I admit I'm not the most patient person, but c'mon...this was ridiculous. Thankfully my son found a new remote, which in being shipped now. Had much better reviews, so I will update this when I get the new remote. Yes, it requires a little more investment, but worth it to me if it will work better without the frustration of the original remote. The new remote works off RF, so should be a big improvement. Too bad the makers of the Tronsmart Vega didn't put a little more effort in the remote. All in all, I would recommend the Tronsmart Vega. Having an Android device on your big screen is very nice! Also, I forgot to mention there is no play/pause button, which would be very helpful.
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on April 8, 2014
this device came out on Thursday, i bought it early Friday, and it was delivered by DHL in atl area on Monday from China...unbelievable!
as far as the device itself...
picture quality is good and stable...
no detectable lag, 1.2G ram free as shipped...
comes with XBMC pre-installed...had add-ons up and running in about 10 minutes...
remote was a little tweakish with the batteries, but i got it to work...
remote is very basic, but it does work...
you can use a android tablet with Yatse remote control program to control XBMC and enter text with virtual keyboard (free)...
also, unlike some previous devices, this box has standby hit the on button, and you are exactly where you left off...which is great :)
good bargain on the device, works well so far...recommended!

btw i did have it not turn on after long periods on standby a couple times...i looked, the only ventilation holes are on the bottom
so i put it on a small plastic rack so air could get throught and it hasnt happened again :)
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on January 1, 2015
The device worked fine for about a 2 weeks. I updated XBMC to the latest version. Tronsmart freezed while watching a movie.
When i rebooted the device it freezed on the Tronsmart logo. i managed to recover the device by reinstalling the firmware. After a month of not using it i had a day off so i relaxed and watched 2 movies on it. The device freezed again. But this time trying the recovery method did not work. The only stupid way to rest this thing is to

(– Insert a match or a toothpick to reset button – you will feel a click. (the reset button is in the AV hole in the back)
– Power on the vega s89 box by inserting power cable, while holding the match in the reset hole. )

This device will freeze guaranteed , All media devices freezes eventually, For any device to freeze and not have no way to recovery it easily is not worth bying. I recomment only buying name branded media player like the one from amazon or Google. They have been in the game for a while so they make it easy to recover your device in case of a bad crash.

The bad
Very hard to recover device is it crashes, Do not unplug device power cord at anytime, it will damage the device. Hold down the power button until device shuts down. Device runs out of memory. and will run slow.

The good
Worked well for a few weeks.TheTronsmart is also very fast.
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on August 1, 2014
*****UPDATE 1 YEAR LATER 8/27/2015*****
This is a powerful little box. No issues with the hardware at all. I can play most games without issues.... I replaced the slow and ugly launcher that came on the box with the Smart Launcher from Google play store. Stunning HD video and graphics. Bluetooth works fine, I use a Ethernet connection for internet, but I use the Wi-Fi hotspot feature and I can access internet throughout my house. There are some quirks... Like out of the box XBMC has an audio sync issue. This was corrected with a firmware update, but that is annoying. Some apps/games look only for a Wi-Fi connection, so if you have it connected via Ethernet, too bad won't work, and of course many games/apps that require touch and won't work with a mouse, but that is an app developer issue. Would love to see a game controller mapping app pre-installed, or maybe if they were able to increase the pixel selection area of the mouse to like a 15x15 or 20x20 that could bypass the issue with the apps that refuse to work with the mouse.
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on September 30, 2014
The product came in Dead!!!
Actual performance of the product is supposedly very good but this rating is just for GeekBuying and Amazon! There are other people who have had similar issues and GeekBuying doesn't give a dime about all this basically because whatever Amazon is doing to prevent them from selling faulty products is not good enough. I blacklist GeekBuying and will buy with caution from Amazon! Congrats for tarnished image!
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on November 10, 2014
Must have been a bootleg box didn't even have the 4k options.Box is new but yet parts already in plastic open. The default setting for movie playback would keep changing after I had set.The box kept going to pages I didn't click on. I don't know why there's not all the same, but there not. Hope the next one stands up to it's reputation as reviewed on you-tube.Maybe you can't believe everything you see on You-Tube.If I was given the box I may be more positive than negative about the box.Some cool tech rated it the best box he had tested yet.Took everything he throwed at it,ran liquid smooth,yea right.Not all can do that,I'm living proof.Maybe the boxes have a few glitches to get fixed If it ain't right send it back.
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on November 10, 2014
Tronsmart Vega S89 Elite Android TV Box TV Set-top Box Mini PC Stream Media Player 2GB RAM and 8GB Storage;

the Tronsmart unit described above was ordered with the seller Hipster Market;

the item received was "dead on arrival" after plugging it in; "No Signal was displayed on TV;

the item was unplugged and restarted again; as well as double checked that all was correctly plugged in;

the unit was turned on and "No Signal" was once again displayed on TV;

unplugged it, read the instructions again, plugged it back in again and;

turned it on and "No Signal" is still displayed again on TV; this device is still "dead on arrival";

conclusion is that the device is an obviously defective item that needs to be testied before its shipped out;

a defective Tronsmart Vega S89 Elite unit that is unable to display video to the TV;

indicating the item shipped as verified as being defective; check ones merchandise upon receipt to make sure its working; in my case it had to be returned for refund.
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on May 12, 2014
Its not too difficult to set up but definitely not for novice users...but if you're looking into one of these dedicated streaming boxes you already have some know how on the potential of theses devices..that said....the device is packed with features and set up would be nice if not set in Chinese by default with no way to change your location. I got this box for XBMC exclusively and while running it was okay... the single band wifi caused streaming to be sub par at best. The interface is very clean and nice, loved that it came packed with Android Kit Kat but if i can't stream without lag and getting around the browser in Chinese...well its NOT worth the pricetag...there are other devices not with such advanced features as this box that do a better job right out the box...the Gbox MX2 is gold!.....there are suppose to be firmware updates for this device in the future to maybe correct some bugs and whatnot but I'm living in the now....and the Tronsmart is not quite there yet.....
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