TV box or TV dongle: which would you choose?

ByGB Blog Official 2017-09-28 21639

Both a TV box and TV dongle can easily transform your TV set into a powerful entertainment center. But which one do you choose: the classic box or the compact dongle? In this post, we go through the key differences between the two devices as well as the pros and cons of each.

Size & Portability

The first obvious difference between a TV box and a TV dongle is size. A TV dongle is much smaller and lighter than a TV box and would be a better fit for someone who prefers to travel with their own entertainment. The compact size is a major advantage in this case — while a TV box, though not big in size, is bulkier and heavier.

TV dongle is light and small


When it comes to processor speed, TV boxes and TV dongles are quite similar. In general, you will get the maximum speed of 2GHz on both types of devices — like with the Original Xiaomi Mi TV Box ($69.90) and the H96 Pro TV Dongle ($44.99), both clocking at 2.0GHz. This is enough for a smooth viewing experience of your media files as well as some nice gaming sessions. Thus, when it comes to a speedy performance, both a dongle and a TV box can deliver.

play game with Xiaomi Mi TV Box

Storage space

Naturally, an Android TV box has much more physical room for a bigger hard drive. Most TV dongles will give you up to 16GB of storage like H96 Pro TV Dongle, while TV boxes can offer up to 32GB like the Beelink GT1. What's more, most TV boxes will also allow you to expand the storage further (up to 1 terabyte or even more) via an SD card.

Connectivity & OS

Both TV dongles and TV boxes are typically compatible with a wide range of devices: via Bluetooth, WiFi, Ethernet, USB, HDMI ports, etc. Thanks to their bigger size, TV boxes can come with all of these built-in options, while TV dongles may be missing some of the ports. With that said, high-end TV dongles may offer extended connectivity.

TV box connectivity

Most TV boxes come with Android operating system — and are pretty much independent devices that let you use the familiar interface on the big screen. With a TV dongle, you have the option of getting one like the H96 Pro TV Dongle with Android OS or go with AnyCast M2 ($12.99) — a Miracast & Airplay WiFi dongle that will let you project your phone's or tablet's screen onto your TV display.

Related: Anycast M2 Dongle Guide | Connect any phone to your TV

Miracast & Airplay image to TV


Apart from all the specs and functionality, there is the price that may guide you in this or that direction. Generally speaking, a TV box would typically be more expensive than a dongle — but this, of course, depends on a number of factors: tech features, components, extras (remote control, keyboard, mouse pointer, etc.). As with most devices, you will have a choice of budget models (like the SCISHION V88 Mars II TV Box, $25.99 or the AnyCast M2 ($12.99) and more high end devices (like the R - TV BOX R10 at $94.19 or the above mentioned H96 Pro TV Dongle at $44.99).

So, TV dongle or TV box?

In the end, it all comes down to your priorities. With no significant difference in performance and functionality, it all comes down to portability. If you are looking for a compact device to move around with, a TV dongle is the perfect choice. If you will place the device next to your TV and leave it there — you might as well benefit from a complete set of features of a TV box.

 You may also want to read:
 What’s the best Android TV box you can buy right now?
 Best smart WiFi dongles for TV - better home cinema
 What is TV box and how does it work?


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