Kata Box Quick Review
For consumers who want to turn their regular TV into a smart TV, the easiest option is to get an Android-powered TV box. These devices are equipped with Wi-Fi and connect to your TV’s HDMI port, letting you install and run Android apps. One good example of such device is the Kata Box, priced at an affordable Php2,999.
Design and Construction
The Kata Box resembles the Apple TV in terms of looks. It’s small, squarish with curved corners and a flat top. It’s made of plastic with the top part having a matte finish while the sides are glossy.
At the front, we have a small pinhole which houses the LED indicator — red when plugged, blue when on. Found on the right is a USB port.
Take a look at the back and you’ll see the 3.5mm audio jack, another USB port, microSD card slot, DC-in, HDMI, and Ethernet port.
Right up top is the Kata branding while down at the bottom are four rubber feet and a pinhole for reset.
The Kata Box feels solid as it doesn’t creak or show any signs of caving in when you apply pressure on its plastic body. It’s light and relatively thin, making it easy to transport even in a small bag.
Included in the package is a remote which also looks like the remote found in older Apple TVs. Like the Box, it is also black with a matte finish. In addition, there’s also a wireless controller, which reminds us of the PS3’s. The build is okay, but don’t expect the same quality as the PlayStation’s.
Setup and Navigation
Setting up the Kata Box is easy as you just need to connect it to a power source then connect it to your TV via HDMI. The package doesn’t include an HDMI cable so make sure that you already have one.
The remote already has a replaceable battery while the game controller has one built-in which you can recharge via its microUSB port. Make sure to plug in the wireless USB adapter of the game controller before you use it.
When you turn on the Kata Box, you will be greeted by a simple layout of apps in a neatly arranged color-coded tiles. You can navigate through the UI via the remote using its directional keys which are simpler to use or via the game controller.
OS and Apps
Running the software side of the Kata Box is skinned Android 4.4.2 KitKat. It’s loaded with apps for entertainment (MegaVPN, Netflix, CBS, Fox, PBS, History, Discovery Channel, YouTube, Spotify), productivity (WPS Office, WPS Mail, Evernote), and a few games (Crossy Road, Super Soccer, BombSquad, and Air Attack).
Aside from the Google Play Store offering, there’s also the iTV App Store where you can download other apps and games. The Kata Box has 8GB of internal storage with only 3GB as usable. On the bright side, it accepts microSD cards for those huge video and music collections.
Performance and Benchmarks
The Kata Box is powered by a 1.5GHz Amlogic S805 quad-core CPU, Mali-450 GPU, and 1GB of RAM. It runs well when it comes to multimedia tasks like playing videos and music. On AnTuTu, it scored a not-so-impressive 16,915.
As a gaming device, it can run the pre-installed games mentioned earlier. However, there’s a lot to be desired as it’s not as snappy compared to other Android devices with more powerful specs. There’s also an issue with game controller compatibility as most apps in the Play Store are optimized for touch. We also encountered problems with the button configuration.
For example, we played Dead Trigger 2 which has support for game controllers. We were able to configure the buttons except for the right joystick which was hardwired to be a pointer while the A button is permanently fixed to be the select button. We also played Furious Racing but we can’t get the game past the player name input screen as it doesn’t pull up the on-screen keyboard.
On the bright-side, the Kata Box offers another option for playing games aside from the offerings from the Play Store. It supports emulators for Atari, Game Boy Advance / Classic / Color, N64, Nes, and Snes which work well with the game controller. It has a built-in marketplace where you can download ROMS for free, however, not all ROMS are fully functional, but you can still find some gems like Super Smash Bros. on the N64 and Contra for the NES.
The Kata Box is a cool device that can turn an ordinary TV into a smart TV without breaking the bank. It lets you play your local video and music collections and at the same time, allows you to stream content from the internet. It’s also a bit ambitious, too, by trying to be an Android gaming console. As a multimedia device, it works well, but as a gaming console, it’s a worthy effort but still has a lot to improve on.
Kata Box specs:
1.5Ghz Amlogic S805 quad-core CPU
8GB internal storage
microSD card support
2x USB 2.0
107 X 107 X 25mm
Android 4.4.2 KitKat
What we liked:
* Good build and form factor
* Comes with a game controller
* Clean UI
* Emulators for classic console games
What we didn’t like:
* Game controller is not always supported by apps
* Small internal storage