IconBIT Toucan Stick 4K review: top-end HDMI-stick on AllWinner A31

I was waiting for opportunities to get acquainted with iconBIT HDMI sticks no less than gifts for the new year. Because I’m going to get a decent TV in the very near future and stop watching TV shows and movies on my 24-inch monitor, even if it’s very useful almost right in front of the bed. As far as I know, among Russian brands iconBIT almost in splendid isolation pays serious attention to what is hidden in the “Mini PC” section on the website of this manufacturer. In fact, there are almost a dozen definitions of the gadget, which we will talk about, but it is the “HDMI stick” that I like the most. In total, the passive is the desire to get a TV and expand its even pre-installed smart-functionality with something like iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K. In the asset - directly this model and the ability to evaluate,

In total, the current line of iconBIT Android players includes a dozen models, of which eight are directly HDMI sticks, the rest are “boxed” devices, let's say, for desktop placement. The most affordable model is the iconBIT Toucan Stick HD for about 1,500 rubles (~ $ 42). The top solutions include four products with 4-core processors - three HDMI sticks and one “stationary” in the face of the Toucan Smart 3D Quad. The iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K reviewed in the review costs about 5,000 rubles (~ $ 142).

Obviously, many have now thought of some well-known alternatives from some online stores in neighboring countries. I can immediately say that the localization and “sharpening” of the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K for Russian services turned out to be excellent. And at least the average consumer will like much more completely “bare” Android in any MK 809III. This doesn’t stop Habrahabr reader from installing a lot of online TV aggregator tools from Google Play. In contrast, iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K offers a proprietary "Media Center" with a unified interface of almost three dozen online services, and the absence of special "sores." In general, it turns out the classic confrontation of supporters to get confused by creating a media device based on mini-PCs and those who want to get the product completely out of the box “out of the box”.


The iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K comes in a high elongated box that looks nice and does not tend to artificially inflate its size. On the contrary, everything is packed more than compactly. The sides introduce us to information about ports / connectors (as on the boxes with almost any device of the brand) and specifications. At the same time, the presence of an “air” mouse remote control is mentioned in the kit.

There is very little paper production inside. In my opinion, for such a device for a wide audience, it was nevertheless necessary to prepare a more detailed “offline” manual, and not be limited to a brief help-brochure. There are few cables, this is a small HDMI-cord and a network charging unit, into which a complete USB-microUSB wire is inserted.

The last one on the list is a wireless remote control, which I will talk about in more detail below.

Appearance, connectors and controls

To such a small thing as an HDMI stick, in principle, the concept of “design” is hardly applicable. But still, the slightly oval upper and lower platforms plus rounded corners in the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K seemed to me more attractive compared to the too “regular” features of the MK 809III. Overall dimensions of the model - 100 x 38 x 12 mm, weight - 31 grams. Information is not the most important, because the device is still completely hidden from the eyes, you only visually contact it when you connect any peripherals or external drives.

The assembly of the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K didn’t cause any complaints, there are no micro-cracks at the joints, the “moans” of the case are heard only when squeezed to the point of deformation of the plastic. The only weak point is the junction of the folding Wi-Fi module, but I can’t imagine how to contrive in order to hook it and break it.

An HDMI plug is located on the conditional front, no other methods are naturally expected to be connected :)

From the opposite end we see a full-fledged USB connector, where we connect peripherals and all kinds of flash drives. The microUSB port is intended for charging. In general, one USB port is not enough, since it immediately deals with the remote control signal receiver. It turns out that an attempt to connect any external drive results in the need to purchase a USB hub.

This drawback is partially offset by the presence of a microSD card slot, next to which is located the reset button. Supported cards up to 32 GB. I just had a 32 GB Toshiba card on hand from one terribly expensive registrar, the interaction test was successful, there were no hiccups or errors in reading files.

Reclining external Wi-Fi antenna - for better signal reception.

By default, the main control is assigned to the wireless remote. Frankly, I did not immediately understand how to connect it to the stick and even turned to the instructions, and then to the World Wide Web. Still, it’s difficult to guess without prompts that the USB receiver is hidden under the lid, next to the battery compartment.

Before acquaintance with iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K I have never used such remotes, in which we direct the cursor on the screen with the direct direction of the “bar”. The impressions of the process remained the most rosy, this method showed itself well both in general when navigating through the interfaces, and in a fairly quick typing from the virtual keyboard. If I brought myself to an uncomfortable position of the remote control, you could always press the button with the green robot to “freeze” the process, direct the remote control as I needed - and from there point the cursor further. As such, the control buttons are two plus a round four-way key with a central "OK" element. I didn’t use the circle at all, the left button (aka “action”) and the right button (exit, return to the previous window) were enough.

The iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K is doing pretty well with optional accessories. In particular, if you do not have enough Ethernet-connection, the issue is decided by the purchase of the iconBIT LAN PORT adapter, which at the same time is not averse to acting as a USB hub.


Long before the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K arrived in my hands, the model caught my attention with hardware. More precisely, in the quad-core AllWinner A31 (ARM Cortex-A7, 1.2 GHz) there is nothing special, but 2 GB of RAM is a valuable moment, taking into account the voracity of modern games, “especially clear” films, and multitasking as such. The graphics processor PowerVR SGX544MP2 is responsible for processing the graphics, and 8 GB is allocated for data storage, of which a little more than 5 GB is actually available. Apparently, a little bit of iconBIT was reinsured in the event of particularly voluminous updates.

The presence of the AllWinner A31 upon closer examination interested me at least in that it diversifies the army of HDMI sticks with Rockchip RK3188. Installing AllWinner A31 on Android players is quite logical, since the chipset at the hardware level supports video decoding up to 4K, as well as H.264 1080P encoding at 60 FPS. I think the owners of the AllWinner A31 tablets are familiar with Retina models such as the notorious Ainol Novo 9 Spark.

Unfortunately, I was not able to fully appreciate the gaming capabilities of iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K - to control the remote control in Modern Combat 4, you know, is not too convenient. Nevertheless, I launched Robocop, Frontline Commando 2 and Dead Trigger 2. And what I saw allows you to not really doubt the ability of the stick to play the role of an Android game console. I’ll immediately note that iconBIT xPAD is available separately, which at the same time can be both a mouse and a remote control.

The thing is notable first of all for the guaranteed absence of connection problems. As practice shows, those who are concerned about choosing a gamepad first have a question about which, in principle, joysticks normally connect and function with Android devices. So, iconBIT xPAD has a complete order with this. Now I expect delivery of IPEGA PG-9025 - it is a pity that the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K could not be tested with it. Just in case, I will again show the official video review of the joystick.

19,020 points in AnTuTu Tester say very eloquently about the abilities of iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K, an extremely decent result, I will also give points for Vellamo. Quadrant is installed, on launching the test successfully issued a black screen. In fairness, I note that the same effect was seen on the iconBIT Toucan Smart 3D Quad.

Systems, video and all-all-all

The iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K software base was Android 4.2.2.

The shell is made in the style of utter minimalism, which in this case is only a plus. Because TV is a “common home” thing and is intended not only for “advanced” users, but also for their parents, and even grandparents. The main window of the system contains a single scrollable line with a set of shortcuts. When installing new programs, the tape does not change at all, any item must be added manually if necessary. It is possible to change the background image. The date and time are displayed as additional information.

By default, the main programs and service clients are displayed in the line - IVI, YouTube, file manager, access to settings, etc. First of all, we are offered to use the IVI and MEGOGO bases. Good visual design - there is nothing to complain about, plus there are enough additional settings.

The YouTube client also does not show a tendency to elements of masochism in the interface, the shell is properly adapted to control on a large screen.

Behind the label ViNTERA.TV is a broadcast platform that is designed for a wide range of devices from televisions with SMART TV to set-top boxes and all kinds of mobile devices. A huge number of channels, a pop-up switching panel, as well as the output of a TV program - everything is great. If anything, ViNTERA.TV is also on Google Play.

"Media center" - so to speak, the "brain" of the device, the name speaks for itself. Let me provide a description from the official forum page (http://forum.iconbit.ru/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=21598&p=195865#p195865): “Play IPTV (UDP / RTP multicast), online TV (HTTP / RTSP / RTMP), Internet radio and audio / video files from local and network resources (FTP and SMB) from M3U and XSPF playlists. ” By the way, the installation APK-file is available at the same link, but it works only on iconBIT devices. The complex came out great, something similar and you expect primarily from a TV-oriented product like iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K. There are enough settings, for each channel / service, an individual choice of the preferred player for video playback is allowed.

Web surfing is not very different from that on a tablet or smartphone. In this case, Android is attracted by the ability to choose one of the many browsers from Google Play. Special thanks to iconBIT for the preinstalled Flash Player, although without this plug-in such a device is difficult to imagine.

And here is the classic list of programs in which the ears of the not quite sleek shell are stuck in the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K - Dev Tools could have been hidden.

I don’t quite understand why it was necessary to preinstall two file managers. Moreover, the one that was presented in the start menu, at first, I was genuinely struck by the limited functions - it cannot even be performed with a file other than “Open” in it. The brand itself positions this manager as a means of viewing media files. It is believed that the "unprepared" user is not confused.

The second manager I liked both the design and the options. However, you yourself understand, if you already have preferences for this type of program - download from Google Play and enjoy.

In the meantime, I’ll indicate that Google Play works fine, AllWinner A31 does not hide programs and games.

In the system settings, I did not notice anything special, except for the expected items related to displaying the image on the screen.

Now about playing "custom" video. For an in-depth test, I still propose to turn to the review of the Chekanov Laboratory . Since it was already clear that to identify playback problems in the chipset, which was originally perfectly adapted for video content, and even on Android with its codecs and software modes in the players ... In short, you understand me. What really interested me was checking 4K videos. For this purpose, three LG demos (4K LG UHDTV Garden Demo, etc.) with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, 24 FPS and 124,997 Kbps were downloaded. I won’t discover America - class, with the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K it’s not scary to wait for the era of ubiquitous 4K video to draw near.

I would like to say a few words about the overall stability of the stick. Despite the fact that the case of the device was significantly warming up, the hangs “tightly” were never seen. Of course, I did not set the goal to conduct a round-the-clock stress test, the maximum of uninterrupted work was three hours while watching Wolf from Wall Street. It was noticeable that attempts to actively wander around the system after three hours did not greatly please the stick, but it did not come to explicit delays in the execution of commands.


My fears did not materialize - in iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K there were no serious shortcomings, except for a shortage of USB-connectors. I liked the modest, but “understandable” stick shell, the abundance of Russian TV services and Android with all its software freedom. The price of 5,000 rubles (~ $ 142) doesn’t look the smallest, especially if you are aware of oriental online stores, but here I already pointed out the pros and cons at the beginning of the review. In my opinion, the price tag of the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K is justified considering that the model is made “for growth” and will be relevant (no matter how impudently it sounds) for many years to come. The device’s performance is enough for all kinds of video and 3D games, and the extreme compactness for many makes the iconBIT Toucan Stick 4K a more attractive option compared to desktop media consoles. On the other hand,

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