Wednesday, February 19, 2014

G-Box Midnight MX2 Review!

OK! So we've had about a week or so to play with this box and get a feel for it to give a somewhat accurate review. I'm going to do my best to explain what exactly it is, and how simple it is to use here...there are a billion youtube videos on this thing, so I haven't bothered taking any photos of the actual UI, but I did get what I feel are the important parts.

There is the box it arrived in. Honestly, it is less sketchy than I had assumed, considering what this box does.

Here are the contents...ugh, get an HDMI cable. That is an average Bic lighter for scale.

This little box is much like a Roku or an Apple TV, but offers more freedom because it is Android based. It includes an SD slot, 4 USB slots, an HDMI and AV out, built in WiFi and/or Ethernet, and a power adapter spot. It is running a simple OS called XBMC. XBMC is an open source media center software that allows you to stream from local as well as internet sources. Technically, this can be put on any PC, but at ~$100 for the G-Box, it is much more simple and effective to just pick up one of'll be smaller than anything a hobbyist can build.

Upon booting up the box you're met with a relatively simple UI, and I had little to no trouble setting up my wifi. The remote is kind of a pain to type on, but you can get a keyboard remote for under $15 if it hassles you that much (or attach a USB keyboard!). I just choose to boot directly into the XBMC screen. Mine unfortunately didn't come with any preinstalled add-ons, but they are extremely easy to find. Actually, once I tried to install one, a bunch auto-installed for me...I'm not sure if I was just impatient, or if that triggered the download.

It has add-ons for everything you could ever want, but the most interesting I'll show you here -

Icefilms - this is much like Netflix, but doesn't require you to pay a monthly fee to use. You can search through thousands of movies and TV shows ("Most Popular" listed here) and it is all for free, so long as you maintain  your internet connection.

1channel - Very similar to Icefilms, but seems to be updated quicker and have TV shows faster than Icefilms. At the time, this was the Walking Dead episode that had aired 2 days prior to me getting the box.

Veetle - a collection of custom channels people are streaming across the web...the only "live TV" app I have really bothered to check out so far, but it had a lot of things I enjoyed.

I didn't get much further into the add-ons available...simply because these ones are exactly what I was looking for. There are and Pandora add-ons, and Netflix (as if you'll need it anymore...), and hundreds of other ones I haven't looked into just yet.

I got this for my mom for her birthday because she is always complaining that there is nothing on the cable that she pays for. I grabbed this for her in the hopes that she'd actually bother to try to learn it. The setup was a little bit difficult...I'm a fairly technologically inclined person, but I'm not sure she would have been able to do it herself. Actually, I'm pretty positive she wouldn't have. The navigation on the actual box is extremely simple...if you don't want to do very much more than watch streaming movies or TV, you won't need to figure out any more than 10 buttons on the remote, or navigate across more than 3-5 screens to get where you'd like to be. There are excellent favorite options and you can get very customized if you feel inclined...I don't. I just enjoy watching things and cancelling my Netflix subscription. If you look at it that way - this pays for itself in less than a year.

As you select an episode or a movie you'd like to watch, it brings up a list of sources. Some things had as many as 20 listed, some had only 3-4. I had trouble finding anything I just couldn't  get to work, except one really obscure TV show from the early 80's...and even then, it was only a few episodes I couldn't get to load. If one source doesn't work, you'll need to try the next one, and so on. Fortunately there is a counter next to each one stating how many views each source has had...indicating which ones are more reliable. This may sound like a hassle, but really, it just takes an extra 30 seconds maximum.

If you are a regular torrenter, this will save you the effort of downloading things and risking the safety of your PC. It is really almost effortless, and anyone with even the slightest interest should pick one up. At $100, you'd be crazy not to. On the extremely off chance you DON'T like it, or can't use it...these things hold their value very well despite being used.

Other than a few dead sources and some iffy/sketchy looking foreign add-ons, this box is a must have. If you have and regularly use Netflix, do yourself a favor and get this box instead. Every single TV show or movie I could even think of to type in was available to me instantly, neatly categorized and broken down into "SHOW>SEASON>EPISODE" format. I'm extremely impressed with this box. The only complaint coming from family members is that they couldn't simply "flip through the channels"...personally, I never sit down and do that. I know what I'd like to watch. If not, you can browse through the Popular lists, or lists by Genre and find something very easily...but these were older family members who don't regularly use Netflix.

So long as the sources this little box uses remain active...I can't imagine going back to not having it now. Everything about this thing is awesome, and it is WELL worth every penny. Sketchyness and dead sources aside, I'd say for the price this thing gets 99/100 in my book. Money well spent.

A few new additions coming main purchase was my new phone (Galaxy S3), but keep an eye out for my super rad Kidrobot stuff coming in tomorrow...should be posted by next week! Thanks for reading- feel free to ask me any questions about this G-Box you might not have had answered here on my Facebook page -

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