IconBIT Toucan Smart 3D Quad Media Box Review: Multi-Slot Entertainment Center

    Not so long ago, I shared my impressions of the HDMI-stick iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K , the most advanced model in its category in the assortment of the brand. Along with this gadget, I tested the "more stationary" iconBIT Toucan Smart 3D Quad, which will be discussed in this review. The device is primarily interesting by the abundance of connectors, at the first glance it becomes clear that behind the creation of a strong entertainment center - this is for him. Here you can also connect serious acoustics via S / PDIF, and there is no shortage of USB connectors, and there is much to add an Ethernet cable. I’ll mention prices right away - Yandex.Market shows at least 4,817 rubles (~ $ 134) and a maximum of 5,390 rubles (~ $ 150). It seems to be more than acceptable for such a “harvester”.

    Now the iconBIT asset, in addition to the iconBIT Toucan Smart 3D Quad itself, has two more similar models: Toucan Manta 3D and Toucan Duo Plus mk2, in both cases dual-core processors are installed. If you open the “Archive” tab on the brand’s website, it becomes clear that iconBIT has solid experience in the production of all kinds of Smart TV set-top boxes. Specifically, the hero of the review is the successor to the single-core Toucan Smart 3D. Externally, the models are similar as twins - the differences lie in the set of connectors and, of course, hardware stuffing.


    The device comes in a colorful box on which iconBIT, by tradition, gives the main characteristics of the model, and at the same time shows the purpose of the connectors on the case. This is for dummies, more experienced users are unlikely to need explanations.


    The kit has everything you need: a charging unit from the mains, a good length (about a meter and a half), an HDMI cable, an instruction manual, a remote control and a plastic case for 2.5 ”hard drives. In more detail about the last two I will tell a little below. As you can see, there’s no special need to buy anything for the iconBIT Toucan Smart 3D Quad, although looking ahead, I’ll say that I would change the remote control. Yes, and you will have to get an Ethernet cable if you connect the set-top box directly to the router.

    Design and controls

    The iconBIT Toucan Smart 3D Quad case looks attractive and is clearly not designed to hide away from the user's gaze. Exact dimensions - 175 x 115.5 x 45.5 mm, weight - 393 grams. The prefix looks presentable, but the glossy panel is better not to “paw” once again, fingerprints are collected instantly. On the other hand, from the front there are no “active" buttons or connectors. The front panel is covered with a protective glass, in addition, by default, a protective film is glued on top. At the top right, we see a familiar robot and a talking signature, just below - the brand name and a couple of inscriptions. It seems to me more reasonable to indicate the full name of the model here, and not on the right side. In the lower left corner is a diode that lights up red in standby mode and blue during the operation of the console. In a couple of millimeters to the right is an IR receiver.

    The main body material is plastic, matte and glossy texture. Only the "bottom" of the device is made of a metal plate. Rubberized legs are attached to it, so that the case does not slip, you can safely put it on an inclined surface. There are no complaints about the assembly, with all the desire to find fault with the cracks at the joints or the frank traces of the "hack" I did not find. If you try hard, the case will begin to creak when squeezed, but for a hollow inside the gadget I think this is normal. In general, I would not be afraid for the performance of the iconBIT Toucan Smart 3D Quad, dropping the console on the floor from the table. But of course I didn’t check it in reality - I was not asked to do a targeted crash test :)

    I liked the solution with connecting 2.5 ”hard drives. For their "packaging" is attached a plastic box in which the drive is rigidly fixed. Then on the top of the console, click on the elongated cover, open the sash and insert our "cumulative" design. The connection interface is called Seagate GoFlex, sorry, I won’t say anything special about it. But I note that the exact same approach was implemented in the predecessor, Toucan Smart 3D.

    The main set of connectors is located on the rear panel. From left to right it is an audio output of 3.5 mm, microUSB, an input for power, HDMI (1.4), a LAN port, two USB and an optical S / PDIF.

    Another USB-connector is located on the left side, we immediately see the slot for SD / SDHC memory cards and the on / off button of the device.

    The right side is unremarkable, with the exception of a plastic insert with the full name of the model. In general, it is clear that there are no problems at all with connecting peripherals, audio components and external drives. With this iconBIT Toucan Smart 3D Quad, I liked the much more iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K, in which a single USB port immediately becomes occupied by the receiver of an air mouse. Yes, and the iconBIT Toucan Smart 3D Quad receiver is not required, the signal is transmitted via infrared.

    Since I mentioned the remote control, I’ll tell you more about it. The remote control is very large, outwardly it is extremely close to its colleagues from TVs. Rubberized buttons have a slight soft stroke. Perhaps the explanation of the functions of all the keys is the most useful part of the paper instructions. Compared to the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K, both options have their pros and cons. In the “quad”, the playback control buttons came in handy - pause, go between files, control sound. However, I would exchange these "buns" for direct cursor control in the Toucan Stick 4K.

    Moving the pointer in the Toucan Smart 3D Quad is done after turning on the “mouse mode”, then you need to show the direction with the central joystick. I repeat, this is a matter of personal preference, someone will surely like the abundance of function keys. In the end, the purchase of the same "air" mouse on all well-known sites is a question of $ 10-15, three USB ports do not really care about one busy connector. By the way, on the iconBIT website, under the Options section, I counted three remotes, from my favorite mouse (~ $ 22) to the options with a physical keyboard. ($ 27-60).

    System and Services

    The iconBIT Toucan Smart 3D Quad has Android 4.2.2 installed, which in theory should ensure normal compatibility with new Android programs. And the presence of officially supported Google Play stimulates the expansion of the "park" of programs.

    The studied firmware is an almost complete copy of what I saw in iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K, but there are also differences. So, in order, I’ll tell you about services, as well as points that I might have missed in a previous review.

    The main shell window contains a horizontal row of shortcuts surrounded by additional information. Above left is the date and time. If the network is connected, the weather widget is displayed in the center top. Moreover, you can manually assign your city. Details on absolutely all connected drives are displayed at the bottom left - shared memory, free space, in percent - the occupied part. Again, if there is Internet access, we will see the IP address of the iconBIT Toucan Smart 3D Quad.

    For the settings of the displayed image, you should go to the appropriate settings tab - there is a resolution, brightness / contrast options and other useful points.

    The first two items in the main menu are the online cinemas IVI.RU and MEGOGO. Both services have completely identical interfaces for the authorship of iconBIT. There’s nothing to complain about, there are enough settings, control is available for understanding the “clear” user.

    The YouTube client has a user-friendly interface, but it is surprising in two ways. Firstly, authorization is not supported - if you please use it as an unknown user. Secondly, the maximum resolution of the clips is 720p, which is also not entirely clear. Therefore, for maximum capabilities, please download the official video service program from Google Play.

    ViNTERA.TV is a powerful TV platform with a huge number of channels. The figure in the upper right corner clearly hints that there will be a hundred reasons to find video content that interests you. The pop-up panels are available for switching to other channels, as well as the announcement of the next programs.

    The “proprietary” file manager surprised me with its meager options back in the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K. However, the brand specifically limited the functionality and aimed the program only at the basic interaction with media files.

    The alternate manager is different from what I saw in the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K. The application is nicely designed, basic features such as copying available.

    “Media Center” - “our everything”, so to speak, contains popular Internet broadcasting services, from sites like CarambaTV to various radio stations. Plus, you can add M3U playlists with channels, the file should be placed in the “playlist” folder.

    In a standard browser, I was most interested in the normal operation of Adobe Flash - I checked on a dozen sites such as oper.ru and yaplackal.com, "the flight is normal."

    Let us turn to the launch of pre-installed Android programs - there are no special differences from that in iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K.

    Google Play is fully supported, I did not notice the concealment of any programs and games. Another thing is whether all applications will start. For example, Quadrant after starting the test was limited to a black screen in both of the iconBIT models I tested.

    Stuffing, performance and video

    The hardware platform of the model is the AllWinner A31 chipset with a 4-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor at a frequency of 1.5 GHz. The graphics accelerator - the notorious PowerVR SGX544MP2, complements the set of 1 GB of RAM. For storing data, 8 GB is built-in, of which about 5.2 GB are actually available.

    AnTuTu Tester rated the console's performance quite average, a little more than 11,000 points by today's standards are comparable to an entry-level smartphone. Amazingly, the difference in glasses with the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K is almost twofold. This is despite the fact that in the HDMI stick, the frequency is less (1.2 GHz), only RAM - two, not one gigabyte.

    If we talk about my general impressions of the performance - there are problems, periodically in the menu the system likes to "stupid". Not to say that this is truly critical, since thoughtfulness does not appear directly when playing a video or working with programs. However, the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K functioned noticeably more smoothly. I note that iconBIT regularly supports its products with firmware updates, so it is quite possible that in the future a couple of months the stability of the system will improve by an order of magnitude.

    AllWinner A31 is known for “sharpening” for playing almost any video, regardless of resolution, up to 4k. In addition, hardware-based decoding of Blu-ray ISO images (including 3D) is supported. For "warming up" I used a personal archive of Full HD clips and films of various formats. The maximum bitrate was 15 Mbps. Everything went well, except that the experiments with the software mode in RockPlayer 2 were not entirely successful - nevertheless, it is the hardware decoding that the player manages best. What is more likely a plus device, whose users will not need to in principle learn about the existence of several playback modes.

    The “heavy artillery” was the three LG demos in 4k resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels, 24 FPS and 124 997 Kbps), which I previously watched on an HDMI stick. Discover America did not work, iconBIT Toucan Smart 3D Quad convincingly coped with three contenders for the title of "fly in the ointment." I note that in the Chekanov Lab review, the player successfully played 45 of 46 video files, including Full HD at 43.4 Mbit / s and 59.88 FPS, as well as 4k at 40.5 Mbit / s.


    After meeting the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K, I thought it was my definite choice, but as a result of studying the iconBIT Toucan Smart 3D Quad, I’m not so categorical anymore. With comparable capabilities and good work with video, “quad” I really liked the abundance of ports and the pre-thought out possibility of “integration” of the hard drive. Yes, and S / PDIF "for growth" does not hurt. In general, it turned out to be an exemplary media center by the standards of 2014. I’d take only two points to the minuses - I liked the control from the “air” mouse more, in addition, iconBIT would not hurt to work on improving the stability of the system. The issue price was announced even before the kat - from 4,817 rubles (~ $ 134) to 5,390 rubles (~ $ 150) depending on the seller.

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