Unblocktech (UBox) Gen2 Box Review – TVPad Alternative

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Edit (Jan, 16, 2016): At the present time we do not recommend the UBox as a TVPad replacement due to stability issues with the streams and other customer service issues.

With the recent outage of TVPad, people are looking for a reliable alternative to TVPad. The Unblocktech box packs a powerful specs wise compare to TVPad but is it enough to dethrone the king? Lets find out.

Presentation

The unit is packaged nicely. The overall un-boxing experiencing feels pleasant. Everything is packed very tightly and nothing feels cheap from the moment you opened the package. I would say the presentation rival if not better than the TVPad4 experience.

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The unit itself is about 25% bigger than TVPad 4. Comes in a clean white colored casing, nothing too special jump out on the design. However I’m definitely not a fan of the red LED/IR receiver at the front of the box. Overall nothing to complain about.

The package comes with

  • warranty card
  • instruction manual
  • power supply
  • the unit itself
  • hdmi cable
  • AV cable

 

 

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 Starting up

Everything is plug and play as an Android box should. Most people shouldn’t have issue hooking this unit up. The back of the unit is nicely lineup, nothing cluttered.

Performance

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The box boots up quick. Way faster than a TVPad. Once booted everything is feels snappy. No real complain here. However will need to note the remote is like any android box and need direct line-of-sight for it to properly register a function. If you are used to a TVPad remote the no problem.

Content, Content, Content GALORE!

This is obviously the most important factor, so lets get into it.

WOW! It’s my first reaction when started the Live channels. The bundled live TV app is impressive none the less. At the time of this review (Dec, 17, 2015) the default Live TV app has 92 (12 channels per page) pages of channels! Yes you heard it right. 92 pages of channel (1100 Channels)! If you are a content whore, this alone is well worth the price of admission. There are obviously some channels that don’t work but those are far in between and some repeated channels but nothing major to nitpick about.

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Here is a breakdown of each category

Cantonese – 3 Pages

Taiwan – 7 Pages

Mainland – 7 Pages

Sports – 6 Pages

Movies – 4 Pages

Reality – 3 Pages

Kids – 2 Pages

News – 4 Pages

Japanese – 4 Pages

Indian – 13 Pages

Korean – 6 Pages

Italian – 2 Pages

Vietnamese (Beta, none of the channels I tested worked) – 6 Pages

Malaysia – 6 Pages

Arabic – 27 Pages

The absent of European and North American channels is noticeable. So if you are looking for primarily English content you need to look somewhere else.

For the HKers, the standard affair of TVB, TVB HD, J2, Peral, TVB News, ATV, ATV HD are all there. A nice addition is the HKTV Live channel. The quality is good, comparable to TVPad streams.

The channel lineup is none the less impressive. A lot of channel resembles of SunRay/Season TV.

The device is perfect for the people who need a box to watch live Japanese / Korean TV.

Video on Demand

For those people who can’t always catch live streams, VoD is definitely one of the top priority on a lot of people’s list. And this is where I feel the UB box is a BIG let down.

Out of the box, the unit doesn’t have any VoD app installed. You would need to get into the UB app store and get one installed. Although not a particular hard task, I still rather have the necessity installed.

IMG_20151217_0243310[1]I have installed this particular app call “Drama”. This app ensembles the “Hong Kong Fast Watch” VoD app on the TVPad. This app contains different recorded shows on TVB in different category. Such as drama, variety, kids, animation, news, sports. When playing a show, it gives you the 4 quality of playback options; Smooth, SD, HD, 1080P. HOWEVER… I could not get any show to play! Tried all the quality options. NOTHING WORKED.

For the Mandarin speakers, there are a few apps to download for VoD. Unfortunately I don’t follow the Mainland stuff, so I didn’t really play with it.

For the Japanese and Korean content seekers. There is one option here. This app can be installed from the UB store. I played around with the app a bit and it there are a bit of content in there. Although it’s worth noting that this app takes content from public sources like DailyMotion for example. With that in mind, I don’t feel the content available in this app is reliable. However I’m happy to say that all the content that I tried playing with this app worked.

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Timeshift & Replays

Unfortunately this is where the UB Box lacks. There isn’t any native Timeshift app (For Cantonese at least), so if you are user of that feature on TVPad. You are out of luck here.

Edit: The Reply app will continue onto the next show if no other is selected. So that does compensate for the lack of Timeshift!

Fortunately there is a 7 Days reply on both Cantonese and Mandarin Channels. They do work as advertised, the interface similar to TVPad’s but is a little harder to navigate.

Conclusion

The UB Box Gen 2 definitely does what it advertised to do and it does do it well… well to some degree.

The device is perfect for cord cutters who would like to watch Asian contents occasionally.

As for a device that serve as a primary Asian viewing device, there are some caveats.

  1. Some vital app doesn’t work, for example the Cantonese VoD app
  2. Some channels don’t work (not too many but I have noticed a couple while surfing)
  3. Since the Box is Android based, the interface can be AND will be hard to navigate for many. (especially for elders). This is the major one for me.
  4. No timeshift (Major for some people) Replay app will continue to play

With the recent demise of TVPad, a whole lot of us is seeking for a reliable replacement. At this price point (I bought one for $114 from Aliexpress) it’s not a tough decision to make. Since it does do majority of the things well.

With that said, this device is definitely not a direct replacement for a TVPad. Reason being (at least for me) is TVPad was designed to be easy to use and navigate, similar to a Apple ATV. With Android OS in the mix, the UB box definitely would be prone to some problems. Whether it be configuration or an app just stop working. This is also an apparent problem with Moonbox.

With the future of TVPad up in the air, finding a replacement is a must for a lot of sons and daughters. The UB Box Gen 2 is a good cheap alternative (not a replacement) for TVPad. I hope that Unblocktech could make the interface for this box a little easier to navigate, or at least design a Easy Mode GUI that is geared towards elderly. Let’s face it, our parents don’t need more than 5 apps…

 

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Photos taken with BlackBerry Priv
Video taken with XiaoMi Yi Camera
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  • Tomato123

    On the video around 5.25, I saw the Unblock TV apps’s VOD seems to have TV drama VOD tab on the bottom. Can you double check if that works?

    • Padman

      The ones in that one are a mess.

  • Thanks for the review… I was wondering if the SkySports channels are working?

    • Padman

      No go. A bunch of the sports one don’t work

      • Padman

        Some channels came back. SkySports works.

  • maks215

    My husband just bought it in HK hkd680. It is so-called gen2 plus (第三代) which is newer model. Seems some apps like vod & replay are already installed. I will test it once I have it at X’mas & return to you all. Remark: my husband has to queue up to buy it as many people are buying to overseas. They all asking info abt unblock or moon box. Seller said unblock is enough & cheap. If you want to surf around apps, moon box is good but not worth.

  • Kelvin

    In this better than moonbox overall? How’s the asian content like in comparison?

    • Padman

      I think both device are basically the same. Both have non-existent community.

      Except this device is roughly only 60% of Moonbox’s price. So if you plan on getting a moonbox, you could get 2 of these.

  • gdaroza

    So you don’t think TVPad will fix their mess? They have such a large customer base globally and they are willing to let their name/company go to the dogs, a pity but cannot expect much from mainland companies.

    • Padman

      I think they will fix it, just because the sheer amount of dollar amount here. Just the matter of how.

      However, with the cost of TVPad 4 and their recent business decisions, it’s a hard thing to get past.

      • gdaroza

        To me it seems you have done and still do much more for the TVPad community than TVPad. When all these issues started that company did not even send a single work to users, their website had disappeared and they didn’t even try to put out notice to users. I, for one, will never trust them anymore. Having said that, the people in their customer service were actually very helpful when I first bought my TVPad, not the management though. Once again, thanks Padman for everything you are doing.

  • Dave

    Can you post the exact link from aliexpress of where you bought it?

  • GQone76

    Thanks for the very good review, it seems they update the channels frequently, one pic I’ve seen on ebay only had 4 page of Korean channel, your review was 6, but mine has 8, although it does seem actual channels are 6 pages and rest are “standby” channels, not sure what those are for perhaps incase other streams doesn’t work

  • J. W.

    Can you sideload android apks on this?

    • Padman

      Of course, it’s android

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  • Feng Huang

    I just bought 3rd Generation Unblock TV box on July 19th 2016. The channels of this box are down or just hang up after watching a few minutes and this happens a lot. Do Not Buy. It is junk. Don’t waste your money.

    • Padman

      Absolutely agree. The Unlock boxes are very unstable. Wouldn’t recommend for using as the primary device.

      • BennyKoh

        It depend dude… My TVPAD3 really sucks… Small 7 always up and down the server being ddos … so far UBTV for me is the best ….. I ahve otehr boxes too like zidoo x6 pro , xiaomi pro … and others one too… but those without free 1200 IPTV channel.. Anyway still I can’t demand more of it… even like I have DEke Tv paid iptc 1 year also lagging ..

        • Padman

          What you mean by your tvpad 3 really sucks ?