RKM DS03, review: an Android TV-Box for digital signage with 4G-LTE

RKM DS03, review: an Android TV-Box for digital signage with 4G-LTE


RKM DS03 is a new Android Box from the Rikomagic brand whose analysis or review we present today, a product similar to the previous RKM DS02 but with a much more powerful processor.

Given its focus on the digital signage this TV-Box has special functions such as automatic or programmable ignition, system of screen rotation control and also optionally has a modem 4G-LTE so you can use it anywhere without a network connection. This Android TV-Box stands out externally for its metal box and the large external Wi-Fi antenna. Let’s see in our review how this device behaves and how it defends itself against its rivals.

  • The new RKM DS03 can be purchased at Official RKM Store on AliExpress for some 159 € ($189) with shipping included in its version with Wi-Fi connectivity, optionally the version with 4G-LTE modem can be purchased.


PRODUCT DETAILS

Description

The TV-Box RKM DS03 It comes in a metal box designed to withstand shocks and to be disassembled very easily where we only have to unscrew the four screws on the back to remove the entire plate. Among the accessories we have an IR remote control, 12V/2A power adapter, external Wi-Fi antenna and HDMI cable. On the front we have another hole prepared to add another optional external antenna for the 4G-LTE modem.

In the audio jack we have the update button in case the firmware needs to be updated. On the motherboard we can see the chip Wifi aC + BT 4.1 that has an external Wi-Fi antenna and optionally another output for a possible 4G antenna. The refrigeration system it’s basically a small aluminum heatsink.

On the same plate we can see the hole for the card modem 4G-LTE that has the external antenna connected, if we want to use the wifi module we have to reconnect the cable. On the back of the board we have the card reader SIM.

  • Remote control: Command IR
  • alternative control: It does NOT have its own control app or we can use Cetusplay from our smartphone.

SYSTEM AND PERFORMANCE

Android environment and system

We plug the RKM DS03 and starts automatically, we arrive at a simple launcher with a very basic style. It is valid for use with the included remote control, it has a lower bar and an upper notification curtain. In the installed apps stand out shutdown which helps us to control scheduled ignition, in the bottom bar we have icon rotation control for the screen, we can hide android bars without the slightest problem. performance of Android 9.0 it is enough for what is expected from a TV-Box for commercial use.

  • Launcher: If we can change the launcher / Android UI it renders at 1080p.
  • Multitasking and access: Multitasking available / Notifications available.
  • Languages ​​and app store: Spanish and all international Android languages ​​/ Google Play App Store.

In the system we have the application Shutdown which helps us to control scheduled on or off, it is very simple to use. We also have in the bottom bar we have icon screen rotation control, if we want to control it directly we have a specific setting in the system for it.

  • On and off: From the app Shutdown we can control time of off or on.
  • screen rotation: In the bottom bar of the system we can change directly or in settings.
  • navigation bars: We can hide both the bottom bar and the top bar.

System

We check the system data and the options that it includes regarding root and we also observe what ignition systems this device allows us. This TV-Box has updates via OTA to correct possible bugs, at least for now.

  • Version and root: Android 9 (64 bit) / SI Root  / NO selector Root / CPU r0p2 (RK3399) / Model DS03.
  • Medium: Firmware can be requested from RKM / Web Support RKM.

Network, storage, RAM and ports

The TV-Box RKM DS03 has memory 16 GB eMMC for internal storage + memory 2 GB RAM DDR3, From USB ports, micro SD card reader and reader SIM. In the network section it has a wireless adapter Wifi ac + BT 4.1 and port Ethernet Gigabit. As we can see in the tests the results are good, the Wi-Fi reaches good speeds and the range is correct for a model with two internal antennas.

  • Storage: Total 32 GB – Free 27 GB eMMC / SI expandable by USB or SD.
  • RAM: Total 4 GB – Free 3 GB / DDR3.
  • Network performance: correct speed with Wi-Fi internal antenna / Scope 38 dBm, OK / Bluetooth OK.
  • ports: USB-C OTG / micro SD / On external USB drives it is only possible to read data.
  • We recommend reading our Tutorial on SAMBA Networks on Android to play or serve files on our local network.


power and performance

In terms of performance, the TV-Box RKM DS03 it defends itself quite well and can run any Android app or game, the SoC Rockchip RK3399 It has a Hexa core configuration with 2x Cortex-A72 + 4x Cortex-A53 up to 1.8GHz. In the graphic section we have a Mali-T860 MP4 GPU. This SoC is manufactured in 28 nm and it has a low consumption, but it is not very efficient. The temperatures are low thanks to the heat sink and its metal case, the processor manages speeds correctly and drops to its minimum speed while idle.

  • CPU performance: Min. 0.4 GHz / En uso 1.2 GHz / Max. 1.8 GHz.

  • thermal: Maintains performance up to 100% / Low surface heating / 0db of noise
  • Games and emulators: NOT compatible with games like PUBG with medium details / Emulators up to 16 bit / Does NOT support Vulkan.
  • Controls: Compatible con Gamepads por cable o bluetooth.

VIDEO AND AUDIO TESTS

playback test

We perform several tests on the RKM DS03, this hardware is somewhat limited in performance by the SoC Rockchip RK3399 that has a VPU compatible with only some of modern video formats like h.265 and VP9, we do not have HDR support in the system, although support reaches up to [email protected] it is recommended to stay in formats h.264 a 1080p. In this TV-Box we can use popular players like MX Player install it code from Google Play without the slightest problem.

  • Video settings: NO image quality adjustments / NO RGB modes / HDMI-CEC NOT available, see manual / NO refresh rate change
  • audio settings: HDMI 5.1 Audio / Stereo Jack

video results

Formats Result
h.264 / 1080i / 8bit Correct
h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bit Correct
h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime) Frame Break (SW)
h.265 / 1080p / 8bit Correct
h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime) Correct
h.265 / [email protected] / 8bit Correct
h.265 / [email protected] / 10bit HDR Frame Break (SW)
VP9 P1 / 4K @ 24fps / 8bit Correct
VP9 P2 / [email protected] / 10bit HDR Frame Break (SW)
VP9 P2 / [email protected] / 10bit HDR Frame Break (SW)
AV1 / 4K @ 24fps / 10bit Frame Break (SW)
Max. Bitrate 60 Mbps = 7,5 MB/s.
  • The maximum bitrate depends on the port used to connect or the limitations of SAMBA Networks.
  • SW = does not have HW acceleration and may have some jump, since the decoding is done by Software.

audio results

Audio Formats Result
Dolby 5.1  = Core / Plus,TrueHD, Atmos = PCM
DTS 5.1 = Core / MA, HR, X = PCM
  • PCM – Stereo only downmixing from DD or DTS.
  • Core – Only the core of the format is reproduced with what we pass to the Dolby or DTS base system / More info.

CONCLUSIONS AND PURCHASE LINK

Opinion

Once we have tested the TV-Box RKM DS03 we can say that we are dealing with a product undoubtedly intended for professional use, specifically a device that is designed to digital signage. This device has several important points for this purpose, on the one hand the scheduled ignition that allows us to start it in a specific period of time and on the other hand we have the screen rotation control which is ideal for any signage that we want to project horizontally or vertically.

Optionally you can buy the RKM DS03 with a modem 4G-LTE that allows us to connect remotely independently to any network, so we can have full control of the Box and send data to update its content. We can mount an external antenna for Wi-Fi and another for the 4G-LTE modem that we will connect or not depending on the use we make of the system. The hardware is sufficient for the professional use for which it is intended.

After testing it we can say that the RKM DS03 is a TV-Box valid for use of digital or industrial signage, the options of power, rotation and the optional integrated modem give it some unique features highly valued for this purpose.

Where to buy

  • The new RKM DS03 can be purchased at Official RKM Store on AliExpress for some 159 € ($189) with shipping included in its version with Wi-Fi connectivity, optionally the version with 4G-LTE modem can be purchased.

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