Beelink GTQ Media Center Details
Unlike media players such as WD TV Live and Roku which incorporate proprietary operating systems, the Beelink GTQ builds off the popular Google Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop) open-source OS. As illustrated by the images below, Beelink GTQ uses Android to deliver a colorful desktop with a vibrant display of apps tiled along the lower tray.
Beelink GTQ comes equipped with several key apps from the factory, but by using Android as the foundation there are thousands of free and paid applications on the Google Play Store for installation on the media player, either on the integrated 8GB eMMC storage ROM or optional Micro SD memory card. GTQ utilizes Google Android TV (formerly Google TV) and Kodi 15 “Isengard” (formerly XBMC) to deliver a dedicated media player experience.
Beelink GTQ includes (or has access to) some of the most popular streaming and playback software, but like most Google Play Store apps they’re typically designed for Android smartphones equipped with a touchscreen interface. GTQ comes with an infrared remote control that includes all the same buttons you’d find on an Android phone, but a directional pad and pointer require some experimenting with some apps. It’s not impossible, but certainly noticeable.
Inside each Beelink GTQ Media Center is a high-performance 600MHz quad-core Amlogic S812 CPU. This SoC includes an ARM Mali-450 MP6 graphics processor built with 6 Pixel Processors plus 2 Geometry Processors, and hardware support for HEVC/H.265 decoding of 4K Ultra HD (2160p) content.
While 4K media playback is one of the core selling points for the Bellink GTQ, there are some caveats worth mentioning. GTQ utilizes HDMI 1.4 output, which can transmit 4K video at up to 30 FPS. This is adequate for most video, however fast-moving screen objects would benefit from a higher frame rate. HDMI 2.0, which is already available on other media players, would have allowed 4K to playback at up to 60 FPS.
Adding to limitations on playback bandwidth is the use of IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n technology, which yields maximum transfer speeds to 40 Mb/s. The current standard is IEEE 802.11ac, which is also available on other devices and would have raised transmission rates up to 120 Mb/s for high-performance broadband users streaming 4K content.
Other aspects of the Beelink GTQ Android TV BOX Media Center need a bit more polish, such as a few menu interfaces with poor English translations. While it’s still quite easy to understand the implied meaning, it reduces the professional appearance of this otherwise quite impressive media player. Fortunately these are few in number.
Overall, the Beelink GTQ offers a very customizable platform for multimedia enthusiasts. Android ‘Lollipop’ is the most current version of Google’s OS, so expect to get plenty of product life our of this media player. Having Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity means you can easy pair this device to any other Bluetooth enabled hardware… which is a long list.
In the next section I offer my conclusion and give a final rating to the Beelink GTQ media player…