review

EZcast MiniBox Review 2×2 MIMO Screen Mirroring Media Streamer

Monday, January 11, 2021

Besides the well-known Chromecast, Roku and Apple TV, there's other alternatives like EZCast's MiniBox for casting a phone screen to a TV. The EZcast MiniBox is capable of displaying 1080p and 720p at 60Hz, as well as 4K UHD at 30Hz and, it also supports Wifi 5 (802.11AC), dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks) and 2T2R (2x2) MIMO antennas. Thanks to the two antennas, the MiniBox can have two simultaneous data streams to two separate devices (i.e. laptop, smartphone) as long as those deices support MU-MIMO.
The EZcast MiniBox is, essentially, a mini wireless router, featuring two long and thick antennas protruding from both sides. The connectivity ports are all located on the rear and include a DC port, power button, reset pinhole, USB port, HDMI out and an RJ45 port.
There are four small status leds located on top of the MiniBox, while on the base there are four rubber feet and four gold-plated female threads to wall mount the MiniBox to a 50mm x 50mm VESA wall mount.
Because of Wifi 5 and MU-MIMO support, the MiniBox delivers stable wireless streaming and, thanks to wired Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, you can have two simultaneous high resolution streams. When streaming high resolution content, it's worth noting that MU-MIMO only works on the 5 GHz Wifi frequency because the MiniBox is a Wifi 5 device (only with newer Wifi 6 devices MU-MIMO works with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands)
The MiniBox works in conjunction with EZcast's software, which supports iOS, Android, macOS, Windows and Chrome OS, as well as Miracast, Airplay, DLNA and Chrome. Setup is straightforward by connecting the MiniBox to a HDMI TV or monitor display and downloading the EZcast desktop app to a computer or the EZcast mobile app to a phone so, you can configure the MiniBox with your Internet router wirelessly or via Ethernet LAN. Wired connection is quickest and easiest, although the wireless method works just as well via the QR Code functionality, which speeds up the setup process.
The EZCast app does not require an Internet connection when mirroring content. When configuring MiniBox with an android phone, you can screencast wirelessly (Mirror Mode) or via USB debugging connection.
As well as Mirror Mode and EZMirror Mode, you can use the Google Home app, Miracast app and AirPlay to cast YouTube videos to a TV. Both Mirror Mode and EZMirror Mode are designed for streaming from non-iOS devices. They both work the same way with the difference being EZMirror is able to output the sound of a phone onto the TV/monitor. For casting from an iPhone or iPad, there is EZAir mode, which also lets you cast screen and audio when selecting the "mirror only+streaming" option from the EZcast app settings.
You are able to screencast everything that you have stored on your phone, including pictures, videos and even the camera of your phone via the IP Camera Mode, which lets you live-stream in real time your phone's camera. You can do basic things such as zoom in/out, selfie mode and capture still pictures (video recording is not supported), which can then be captioned with text via a basic editor that lets you change the color of the text, text line thickness and opacity.
The default EZCast's home screen can also be customized with a wallpaper of your choosing (static or dynamic) via the USB link function. The EZcast app also integrates a few more nifty feature such as Portrait Mode (0 degrees, 90 degrees and 270 degrees) and EZChannel, which lets you search videos (using hashtags) from major social media platforms and create a playlist of them so, you can autoplay them.
The MiniBox supports the following resolutions: 1024x768 @70Hz (4:3 ratio), 1280x960 @85Hz (4:3 ratio), 1280x720 @60Hz, 1920x1080 @60Hz, 3840x2160 @30Hz, 1920x1080 @60Hz RGB and 3840x2160 @30P RGB when watching non-HDR content on a 4K TV. 
There is also power saving modes (30 mins, 1 hour, 2 hours, 6 hours or OFF). The MiniBox dimensions are 12cm long, 8cm wide and 2.5cm high. Taking the antennas into account, MiniBox measures 12.5cm high (with the antennas upright) and 13cm wide with the antennas flat. Weight is 189 grams.

A 10W AC power adapter is included to power the EZcast MiniBox, which requires 5V/2A input power. The power adapter comes with an interchangeable plug, a single USB port and a detachable (1-meter long power cord with usb-a to dc barrel connectors. When plugged into the mains socket, the power adapter measures 6cm high, 4cm wide and 4cm deep. The power adapter weighs 64 grams.
A short (22cm long) high speed HDMI cable (male to male) is included capable of handling 1080p and 4K (at 30Hz) bandwidth. Using the included cable is important because a regular HDMI cable can only deliver 720p at 30Hz. A 3 meter long cat6 flat cable (ROHS compliant) is also included.
If you plan to buy EZCast's MiniBox over the new Chromecast With Google TV be aware that MiniBox does not run Android TV nor does it have user storage on-board. The latest Chromecast with Google TV also has a faster clock speed (1908Mhz). That said, the EZcast MiniBox is more powerful than the first generation Chromecast, which only clocks 750 MHz versus MiniBox's 800 MHz SoC (Actions Micro AM8280). You can buy the EZcast MiniBox from amazon. Check out the review of the EZcast Beam V3 projector.

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