Kodi has become the go-to streaming media center for everyone from cable cutters, to anyone wanting a great media experience.
The basic requirements to run Kodi are listed as 3D capable GPU graphics hardware controller for all rendering, a Dual-core 2 GHz or better CPU, and 1 GB of RAM.
Of course it can be installed and used on slower machines but becomes laggy.
To give an example I have installed Kodi on a Raspberry Pi single core 900 MHz CPU with 512 MB of Ram and it does work although it does freeze up at moments.
The new Raspberry Pi 3 quad core 1 GB of Ram does a much better job of running Kodi.
But what about media boxes that already have Kodi installed?
When it comes to pre-installed Kodi boxes there are many to choose from and can vary wildly in hardware.
As listed above they should have at least the basic specifications to run Kodi, but ideally faster.
In 2017 the minimum hardware specification for a Kodi box should be at least 2GB RAM and a S905 CPU or better.
After reviewing Kodi android TV boxes for the last two years here is our picks for the best options. The units come in all shapes sizes and price ranges.
As always be sure to read reviews on Amazon, here, or elsewhere to be sure a unit is the right pick for you.
Our Picks For The Top Pre-Installed KODI Media Center Boxes
NVIDIA SHIELD Pro – 4K Ultra HD Streaming Media Player. Android TV. Great Gaming.
The NVIDIA Shield is a very popular Kodi android TV box that has many nice features.
It has a NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor, 3GB Ram, 802.11ac WiFi, and USB 3.0.
Two version can be bought 16GB and 500GB that give more internal hard drive space. Most Kodi boxes don’t give this option and have limited internal space. If you have a large video library you want to store and play a 500 GB hard drive version can be bought.
There is a new 2017 version of the Shield that is smaller then the old one and comes with a new redesigned controller.
While more costly than other options it is a nice box to run Kodi on. The NVIDIA SHIELD Pro combined with Kodi is definitely a cable TV killer.
WELLWIN T95N M8S pro TV BOX S905 quad-core 2G/8G/4K Android 5.1 KODI 16.0 Bluetooth 4.0 WIFI/Internet HD Fully Loaded
The M8S is a low cost unit with some good basic hardware.
It runs a S905 processor and 2GB of RAM. Like many low cost boxes the internal storage is low with a 8GB ROM, but expandable with a SD-Card or Flash drive.
In our test it handled Kodi and playing HD 4K videos well. The WiFi was lacking a bit which we maxed out at 14Mbps. The minimum needed to stream standard definition videos is 5mbps. Running a Ethernet cable may be necessary for 4K videos.
For the price it is a good buy and worth a look if you are on a budget.
Read Here for a Full Review of the WELLWIN T95N M8S pro
Tops MXV Android TV BOX Amlogic S905 Quad-core Mini PC Streaming Media Player DDR3 2GB/ROM 8GB
The MXV runs a Quad Core S905 CPU with 2GB of RAM.
One of the things that makes it stand out is it is cheap.
The box we had came with Kodi Isengard which we upgraded to Kodi Jarvis 16.1 and is still working great.
While not the fastest Kodi android box it does work quite well. If you are on a budget then it is worth a look.
Read Here for a full Review of the MXV Quad Core Kodi Box
GPD XD DroidBOX PlayOn Gamepad Handheld 5″ Touchscreen Gaming Tablet Android 4.4.4, Kodi Box, XBMC; 1.8Ghz Quad Core CPU, 2GB RAM 32GB
DroidBOX has made some nice Kodi units from projectors to portable all with good support.
The DroidBOX PlayOn is built as a portable Kodi box and game emulator.
It has roughly the same look as a Nintendo 3DS along with a nice button layout.
A HDMI cable can be conected to a TV to watch videos with Kodi or play games on a big screen.
The DroidBOX PlayOn is a great device for those traveling and needing an all around entertainment device, from playing games to watching videos with Kodi.
There is a built in battery which last 5-7 hours depending what it is being played.
Read Here for a Full Review of the GPD XD DroidBOX PlayOn Android Gamepad
Himedia Q10 PRO:QUAD CORE ANDROID TV BOX A53 CPU/MALI-720 GPU ANDROID 5.1 4KX2K@60FPS ULTRAHD VIDEOS WITH FLIPPING HD ENCLOSURE
The Himedia Q10 PRO is a high-end Kodi android TV box with many nice features.
The main nice feature is the ability to quickly snap in a SATA hard drive which makes it a good unit to store lots of videos, music, or games.
It uses the Hi3798C V200 chipset with a Realtek RTD1295 processors which is one of the best ARM based CPU’s available.
The Himedia Q10 PRO is not a cheap box and on almost the same level as the Nvidia Shield.
It also has dual band WiFi which can run on the new 5 GHz 802.11ac protocol. If you have a dual band router than than you will have no problems with a fast internet connection, at least to the router.
Read Here for a Full Review of The Himedia Q10 PRO
AKASO T95Z PLUS TV BOX 4K Pre-installed Android 6.0, Amlogic S912 Octa Core 2GB DDR3 16GB EMMC Flash, 2.4G/5G Dual WIFI Band 1000M LAN Ethernet Bluetooth 4.0 3D Streamming Media Player
AKASO makes this T95Z Plus which uses the new S912 Amilogic processor with 2 GB of RAM.
The S912 is a slight improvement over the S905 and a big improvement over the S805/S812 many boxes ship with, expect to see many new units being sold with a S912.
In testing the WiFi was fast and maxed out a 50Mbps Download, and 5Mbps Upload connection. It also can play 720p, 1080p, or the new 4K Ultra HD videos.
The S912 CPU, 2GB RAM, and 16GB internal storage will make it able to easily upgrade to Kodi 17 Krypton when the final release is done.
Read Here for a Full Review of The AKASO T95Z PLUS
Kodi android TV boxes have changed a lot in the last year going from 1GB of RAM to 2GB of RAM or more.
A box with 1GB of RAM will still run Kodi but is not ideal for future updates and cost about the same for a box with 2 GB of RAM.
The processors have also changed with older units mainly using the S805 and new unit using the S905, or better.
Many of the older boxes are still sold so be wary of these older boxes, especially since the new ones cost almost the same.
If you want the best one available than most would agree that the Nvidia Shield is currently the top box to get. It unfortunately is also the most expensive.
Many of the lower-end cheap boxes run Kodi well but do require some technicality.
For example during a major update with Kodi there will be almost no support, if any. Also many of them have less than desirable WiFi, so running a Ethernet cable may be necessary.
With that said and having reviewed many units they do work and continue to work. I know people who bought a cheap box 1-2 years ago and continue to use it daily.
Just keep in mind if a low cost box has a problem than you will need to get a bit technical. There are lots of YouTube videos and tutorials that can help.
Here is a video review of one such low cost box I recently made.
When buying a Kodi box read the reviews on Amazon to be sure it meets your technical ability. While any of these boxes will run Kodi they often come with some degree of setup that may not be for everyone.
This list is updated to reflect the current state of hardware requirements for Kodi. Older boxes that once were recommended are pulled and replaced with up-to-date versions.