Kata Box Review - Is This The Android TV Box For The Masses?

Over the past decade more and more media is being consumed via personal computers, via mobile devices and via the internet. As a result, the television has seen better days. Android TV, a version of android specifically designed to bring its smart features to living room was announced several years prior and has since been penetrating homes via Google's home brew TV plug devices like the Google Chromecast! Kata aims to bring an improved experienced with their Kata Box!
Kata Box Review! Is This The Android TV Box For The Masses?
Minimalism

Kata Box Specs

CPU: 1.5 GHz Amlogic S805 quad core processor
GPU: Mali 450
RAM: 1 GB
ROM: 8 GB expandable via micro SD card slot
OS: Android 4.4 Kitkat
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 2x Standard USB port, HDMI, A/V port, Ethernet, DC input
Others: Free game controller, remote control
Dimensions: 107 x 107 x 25 mm
Price: 2,999 Pesos


Kata Box Review! Is This The Android TV Box For The Masses?
The box, the remote control and the power adapter!

Over the past decade more and more media is being consumed via personal computers, via mobile devices and via the internet. As a result, the television has seen better days. Android TV, a version of android specifically designed to bring its smart features to living room was announced several years prior and has since been penetrating homes via Google's home brew TV plug devices like the Google Chromecast! Kata aims to bring an improved experienced with their Kata Box!

Design / Build Quality

Kata Box Review! Is This The Android TV Box For The Masses?
Microphone on the side
Kata Box Review! Is This The Android TV Box For The Masses?
AV Port, USB Port, DC Port, HDMI Port and the LAN port
Kata Box Review! Is This The Android TV Box For The Masses?
USB Port
Kata Box Review! Is This The Android TV Box For The Masses?
The bottom has dimples!

The Kata box is built from premium polycarbonate materials that is evident when you see and touch the box and the remote control for the first time. On top, you will find the Kata logo while at the bottom are the four black dimples that serve as the box's feet, the serial numbers and the factory reset slot. On one side is the microphone and on the other is a single USB port. The last side contains another USB port, AV port, DC port, HDMI and LAN port.

Audio Quality


Sound processing and fidelity is top notched. Most videos I played on our Samsung TV were brilliant this is in part to the sound processing of the box in combination with a good TV audio system.

Performance (connectivity)



Performance varies between intensive apps and non-intensive apps. It can handle HD Youtube Videos well. There were instances though that made the whole box stutter and eventually shut down. This was after watching ten minutes of HD youtube content.

Simple non-intensive games like crossy road and Duel work wonderfully because the apps are optimized for directional keys and for game controllers. Other apps on the google play store however didn't play as nice.

In fact across the board if the app isn't part of the home-brewed app store, chances are it will crash or will not be compatible with the remote or game controller.

There is also the missing Bluetooth which would have helped other people who only have Bluetooth mouse and keyboards for better user experience.

Kata Box Review! Is This The Android TV Box For The Masses?
Directional Keys are frustratingly limiting on a touch based OS!

Software - Kata Modified Android TV to their strengths by showcasing their home-brewed Entertainment Services Apps, Maintenance Apps, VPN service App and third party Video On Demand Services.

The home brewed entertainment services is basically an App store for optimized app for use with the Kata Box. Most apps work well and are able to deliver on its promise. There were however cases when playing video where the box stuttered, and eventually stopped and shut down. This happened every now and then. It isn't that often but frequent enough to annoy you.

User Interface - The difficulties of translating a touch focused Operating system to a TV is difficult because you have all that real estate to tap or hold which makes tapping what you desire a breeze. Kata however decided to focus on using either the remote control with simplified directional keys, select button and some quick search button which makes navigating a nightmare for simple things like going to the Youtube app. This is even worse when typing or searching for the TV show or channel you want to watch.

I wanted to love the interface and I think the best way to remedy this is to plug a USB mouse and Keyboard or they could have included a small trackpad/touchpad on the remote to make it easier. Frustration was the key enemy here.

ProsHomebrewed apps work well, easy to set up, VPN service works well but with a fee, Video On Demand apps work well, sound reproduction is very good
ConsApps from the Google Play store are a hit or a miss, no Bluetooth, other Video on Demand apps don't work despite the VPN service being on despite being heavily marketed

Verdict

Hardware is good except for the lack of bluetooth. Most of our gripes are the software support and user interface. For its price, we can't complain too much, but we would hope that the user experience could be more refined.

GIZ Rating: 3/5 Stars
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