- Excellent performance thanks to RK3399 SoC
- Android 7.1
- Plenty of RAM and storage onboard
- Firmware has issues
- No 5.1 Audio Passthrough
- 480p Netflix only
The Rikomagic MK39 is the latest Android TV box from the popular manufacturer. Packing the powerful hexacore Rockchip RK3399 processor and running Android 7.1.
In this review, we’re going to take a look at the device itself, video and gaming performance, as well as some benchmarks to answer the important question – is it worth your money? Keep reading my Rikomagic MK39 review to find out.
What is the Rikomagic MK39?
The Rikomagic MK39 is the company’s first Android TV box to feature the hexacore Rockchip RK3399. It’s got some impressive specs, with 4GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage, wireless AC, Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth 4.1.
As an Android TV box, you can watch videos using Kodi, stream movies from Netflix, play your favorite Android games and more.
- Runs Android 7.1 – A recent version of Android
- Powerful hexacore Rockchip RK3399 Processor with Mali-T860MP4 GPU
- External wifi antenna for improved range
Rikomagic MK39 Technical Specifications
|CPU||Hexacore Rockchip RK3399|
|Storage||32GB Onboard (expandable via micro SD)|
|Wifi||Dual Band Wifi b/g/n/ac|
|Operating System||Android 7.1|
What’s in the Box?
Rikomagic only includes the bare essentials in the box:
- The Rikomagic MK39 unit
- Power Adapter
- Infrared remote
Oddly, there’s no English user manual though I don’t think anyone reads them anyway.
Rikomagic MK39 Hardware
The Rikomagic MK39 is larger than I expected at 149x138x36mm. It’s still compact however, easily slotting into my home theatre rack.
The unit’s got a nice nice brushed metal look on top of the unit that does a pretty good job resisting fingerprints. All the ports are on the left and back sides of the device.
On the left side, we’ve got two USB 2.0 ports, USB Type C port and micro SD slot for expanding storage. Jumping around the back, we’ve got the (non-removable) wifi antenna, power in, optical out, 3.5mm headphone jack, HDMI out, a USB 3.0 port and Ethernet.
Speaking of the remote, it’s the same quality remote we’ve seen shipped with a number of other Android boxes in the past. Whilst its features are on the minimal side, there’s all the key Android and media controls available which should be fine for most users.
That said, I’d recommend picking up an air mouse for a better Android experience. See my picks for the best Air Mouse here.
Rikomagic MK39 Software
The Rikomagic MK39 ships with the same Rikomagic launcher we’ve seen on their other devices. It’s TV friendly, with large tiles that work well with a remote, but it’s showing its age. It’s just not as stylish as the sleek, modern-looking launchers we’ve seen from companies such as Zidoo.
There’s a few hardcoded shortcuts for the browser, Google Play store and a couple of folders for games and online video. You’ve also got a customisable row of shortcuts along the bottom.
There’s a few apps pre-installed including a file manager, iPerf, Netflix, YouTube and a Miracast app for screen mirroring. You can also install your favorite apps and games via the Google Play store. Kodi is surprisingly absent, though you can easily install this yourself using our Kodi install guide.
One thing that is unique is that Rikomagic have installed the TV-friendly version of the Google Play store which is more suited for remote use. However, app keeps suggesting using voice search (something that can’t be done using the included remote) making it a frustrating experience.
Speaking of frustrating, whilst the Rikomagic MK39 handles Android well, I encountered a few apps hanging or crashing whilst I was testing everything – including the OTA firmware update app. This is something that can likely be fixed in a future firmware update but its disappointing to have these issues out of the box.
Rikomagic MK39 Video Playback
Video playback was tested using Kodi 17.6 downloaded from the Google Play store.
After setting up Kodi, videos were played from a USB 3.0 thumb drive or streamed over wifi from my server’s NFS share.
If you’re planning on streaming movies and TV shows with Kodi, protect yourself with a VPN.
Why do you need a VPN for Kodi?
Anonymous online streaming
Bypass geo-blocks and access ALL Kodi add-ons
Prevent ISP throttling and tracking
Hide Your IP Address
The Rikomagic MK39 did a decent job playing back my video samples inside Kodi, including both 4K H.264 and H.265 videos.
Automatic framerate switching wasn’t supported which was expected but I’m still disappointed that Android boxes are still being released without this feature working.
|1080p 3D SBS H.264||V|
|1080p 3D ABL H.264||V|
|1080p High Bitrate H.264||V|
|4K 30FPS H.264||V|
|4K 60FPS H.264||X|
|4K 30FPS 8-bit HEVC||V|
|4K 30FPS 10-bit HEVC||V|
|720p Hi10p||!||Some dropped frames|
|Unencrypted Bluray ISO (Sintel)||V|
5.1 Audio Passthrough
Dolby Digital 5.1 passthrough over HDMI didn’t work at all – no matter what I tried.
After checking various formats, enabling audio transcoding in Kodi and even using the stock video player app, I couldn’t get anything aside from the odd buzz so there’s obviously a firmware issue here.
The Rikomagic MK39 isn’t Netflix-certified so streaming videos are limited to 480p (DVD resolution).
For more information about Netflix on Android TV boxes, check out my HD Netflix on Android guide.
Rikomagic MK39 Gaming Performance
Gaming performance was tested using using Crossy Road (Android) and Beach Buggy Racing (Android) using my GameSir G4S controller (read my review) via Bluetooth.The Rockchip RK3399 boasts a powerful Mali-T864 GPU so you’d expect solid gaming performance.
2D titles were no issue and 3D titles such as Beach Buggy Racing and Riptide GP2 worked well even when maxed out at 1080p (though the latter did benefit from turning down the settings).
Whilst it’s not as powerful as the Nvidia Shield, those wanting to do some casual gaming or play games using emulators should be pleased with the Rikomagic MK39’s performance.
Rikomagic MK39 Benchmarks
Should You Buy the Rikomagic MK39?
The Rikomagic MK39 has some solid hardware under the hood with its 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Gaming performance was excellent too but it’s inability to handle 5.1 passthrough, automatic frame rate switching or HD Netflix make the Rikomagic MK39 one to avoid for home theatre use.
I really hope that the Rikomagic MK39 continues to get firmware updates, as it has the potential to be one of the best RK3399 devices out there (though that’s not exactly difficult given some of the competition).