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This cheap Android TV tuner soundbar is flawed, but we like the concept

(Image credit: Mecool)

Integrated systems, whether in computing, printing or hi-fi, almost never bring together the best available parts. Integration is often seen as another way to cut costs, rather than improve performance.

The Mecool KS2 falls into the same trap. The concept is an interesting one; a soundbar that doubles as an Android box with a built-in tuner. It's also certainly affordable, coming in at just over $63 at Aliexpress, but reeks of false economy upon closer inspection.

The soundbar is nice and compact at 51cm, and the aesthetic inoffensive. It's what's inside that makes us cringe: a quad-core CPU with 1GB of RAM, 8GB onboard storage and Android 5.1.1, which came out almost five years ago.

Mecool KS2 Android Sound bar - $63.12 at Aliexpress

For $63, you're getting a usable device that has a tuner and a very decent sound subsystem (in theory). You should be able to access Youtube without much trouble, so if your needs aren't too extensive, the KS2 should be a good match.View Deal

There’s also a DVB tuner, a LAN port, two USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI connection, an external Wi-Fi antenna, a microSD card reader, and a plethora of legacy ports, but sadly no SPDIF connector.

The audio subsystem consists of two speakers (2.5-inch, 15W drivers) and a single subwoofer (3-inch, 15W), which should be far superior to anything found inside a television.

We like the integrated concept, but can’t honestly recommend the device because of the obsolete parts it ships with. So, proceed at your own risk.

That said, we’d love to see another vendor come out with a similar product with an updated OS and hardware, and a webcam and Google Assistant to boot - why not?