Compared with NVIDIA Shield TV and Beelink GT-King, is Beelink GT-King Pro with Hi-Fi Worth Buying?
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Compared with NVIDIA Shield TV and Beelink GT-King, is Beelink GT-King Pro with Hi-Fi Worth Buying?

Advantages:

Superior hardware and unrivaled performance;

Various ports and excellent connectivity options;

Two ESS ES9018 32-bit Hi-Fi DACs;

DTS Listen and Dolby Audio support;

Android 9.0 operating system.

Inadequacies:

Some apps are incompatible with the 32-bit system;

The UI and the STB design do not match;

It's much more expensive than regular GT-King.


The recently released GT-King Pro is the upgraded version of the GT-King and the latest addition to Beelink's TV box lineup.

The Amlogic S922X-H processor in the GT-King Pro is nearly identical to the S922X in the GT-King in terms of the CPU and GPU architecture. The only difference is that the former supports DTS Listen and Dolby Audio decoding.

Additionally, the GT-King Pro has also upgraded its appearance. For the first time, the set-top box is made with a full metal case, a few more extension ports, as well as two ESS ES9018 Hi-Fi audio decoders, which can drive headphones with an impedance of up to 600 ohms.



Design and workmanship

The design of the GT-King Pro is quite different from that of the ordinary GT-King.


With the new aluminum-alloy body and bright blue matte spray, the Pro variant looks more like a Beelink mini PC, making it more visually high-end than the ordinary version.

Audio performance is a significant selling point of the GT-King Pro, so "DTS Listen" and "Dolby Audio" licenses can be found in the lower-right corner on the top.


Measuring 119mm * 119mm * 17.9mm, the GT-King Pro is considered average size in terms of set-top boxes.

But because of its metal case, a weight of 380g means it is heavier than most similar products. The box is exceptionally polished and feels very sturdy, giving it an upper-class look.




It's worth mentioning that the remote control can also function as an air mouse, which is very convenient for browsing the web or using non-TV apps.


The remote control also supports voice control.

You can wake up Google Assistant by merely saying "OK Google" and then ask it to launch apps, play videos, or mount network searches. Google Assistant is smarter and has a higher voice recognition rate than Siri on iOS.



Setting it up

Although it looks like a mini PC, the GT-King Pro is still just a set-top box. You only need to connect it to a TV set (or projector) via HDMI, connect it to the power supply and turn it on to use it.

After being powered on, a skull will appear in the middle of the TV screen, with its eyes blinking in different colors. It takes less than 10 seconds to enter the main interface of the STB system.



System and apps

The GT-King Pro is equipped with Android 9.0. In the top left of the UI home page is a widget showing the time and weather. In the bottom, left are a "clear memory" button and an app drawer. In the center of the home page is the media center, internet browser, Google Play Store, Gallery, and Settings (from top to bottom).

To the right is an area where users can add their favorite apps.

As you can see, Beelink's UI is the same as that of most mobile phones and tablets, with apps at the core.

The status bar at the top and the control bar at the bottom are hidden by default, and you can drag them out using the air mouse.


The GT-King Pro doesn't have too many pre-installed apps.

Besides the standard Android software such as Google Play Store, Chrome, and Gallery, you can also find Beelink's very own File Manager, App Store, Media Center, Movie Player, and Music Player.


The Google Play Store is the normal mobile phone and tablet variant instead of the TV version usually found on such TV boxes. The phone and tablet version of the Play Store contains more apps than the TV version.



It is worth mentioning that the GT-King runs on the 32-bit version of Android 9.0. In theory, some apps won't run properly on the device, but I never experienced this.


Performance

For ordinary set-top box apps, the GT-King Pro is perfect. Even when the image output was set at 4K, I still experienced almost no lags or delays.

As a media streamer, the GT-King Pro performs as well as, if not better, than its competitors. I played many 4K videos, and the device never struggled.

This GT-King Pro supports multiple protocols, including Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, and PRIME HD. With the right videos and a nice TV, you can get a great video playback experience.


Watching 4K videos on the YouTube TV app was also incredibly smooth.



Because the hardware performance is much more powerful than an ordinary set-top box, the GT-King Pro has no problem running most 3D games found in Google Play Store.

I tested games with high requirements for hardware performance, such as Asphalt Extreme, Defender III, Snowboard Party, etc., all of which ran smoothly. If you often play games, it is necessary to buy a wireless game controller to enjoy the experience fully.


Browsing the web was also an excellent experience. Even with multiple large websites loaded in Chrome, the box remained smooth and responsive.



The GT-King Pro is for entertainment, but it can also be used for some productivity tasks with a mouse and a keyboard.

Thanks to the reliable built-in chip and the large storage space, the response speed of the GT-King Pro is also very fast when sending and receiving mail, editing pictures with Lightroom, and completing other tasks.


Audio

The most significant improvement to the GT-King Pro compared to the normal GT-King is the audio performance.

Two ESS ES9018 32-bit Hi-Fi DACs can realize 24-bit/192Khz decoding, with signal-to-noise ratio up to 135dB and total harmonic distortion of as little as - 120dB.

Beelink claims that the GT-King Pro can drive headphones with an impedance of up to 600 惟.

I tested my own Panasonic HD605N and HiFiMan HE-300 headphones, with which the GT-King Pro had no problems.

The box supports DTS Listen and Dolby Audio decoding, as well as 7.1 channel audio output.

First of all, compared to average set-top boxes, the GT-King Pro offered a much broader soundstage, more rounded configuration, and better separation of sounds.

If your audio system supports DTS or Dolby Audio, you will get better separation and more discrete surround sound when watching DTS-encoded movies.



Connectivity

The GT-King Pro offers even more connectivity options than the GT-King. The new device also comes with an additional USB 3.0 port and an RS232 port. Additionally, the TF card slot has been replaced with a more stable and high-speed SDXC port.

The GT-King Pro comes with 64GB built-in storage, which is plenty of room to install large apps and games, and it also supports SD card expansion.


The NVIDIA Shield TV, by contrast, has only 16GB of built-in storage and does not support memory cards. Although NVIDIA later launched a 500GB version, the price was too high, and it wasn't available to buy in many countries and regions.

The GT-King Pro has a total of 4 USB ports (2*USB3.0+1*USB2.0) to support the external hard disks of up to 4TB. All kinds of USBs are supported. In this respect, it is much more potent than the Shield TV with only two USB interfaces.

The box supports 2.4GHz/5GZz dual-band Wi-Fi. Although there is no exposed antenna, the device still has a reliable reception.

The GT-King Pro supports Bluetooth 4.1, not the latest 5.0, but it can still effectively connect with speakers and input devices within a broad range.

The HDMI 2.1 port on the GT-King Pro can output videos up to 4K@75Hz and should be perfectly compatible with most monitors, TV sets and projectors.



Summary

With four-core Cortex-A53+2GB storage, their performance of the GT-King Pro is undoubtedly superior. The addition of the air mouse also improves its practical use. Users can explore other apps besides those available on the TV version of Google Play Store. It can even be used as an HTPC, game console, or Hi-Fi audio player.

The high-end feel of the all-metal body is enough to outshine most ordinary set-top boxes and even mini PCs.

For ordinary users who are not so keen on games, the GT-King Pro can replace almost all other application scenarios of the NVIDIA Shield TV. It is even better in aspects such as audio, built-in storage, scalability, etc.

But if the metal body design, Hi-Fi, and Dolby Audio are not your things, the lower-priced regular GT-King would be a better choice.











Beelink GT-King Pro Hi-Fi Lossless Sound 4K TV Box With Dolby Audio Dts Listen Amlogic S922X-H 4GB RAM 64GB ROM Android 9.0 Voice Remote Control


$169.99


$139.99





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