Hands on overview of Walmart’s $30 Onn 4K Android TV streaming box

Walmart has released the Onn UHD Streaming Device, which is their first 4K Android TV streamer using their Onn house brand of electronics. The most impressive thing about it is its price, which is $29.88, making it the least expensive 4K streaming box from a well-known company. Even more impressive, considering the price, is that it comes with the Google-designed “G10” remote that has voice capabilities and TV controls. Check out my unboxing video above, where I compare the remote to numerous other popular remotes from Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, and more. Then read on for a full overview of Walmart’s first attempt at streaming hardware.

The streaming box itself is quite small at 2.75 inches square, making it a tiny bit larger than the box portion of Amazon’s 3rd-gen Fire TV pendant. Included in the box is the aforementioned G10 remote, a pair of AAA batteries, a 5V 1A micro USB power brick, an HDMI cable, and the streaming box. It’s impressive that Walmart included an HDMI cable at such a low price.

There isn’t much going on in the way of ports on this streamer. You just have the HDMI port and the micro USB power port. The micro USB port does support OTG adapters, so you can use it to connect things like an Ethernet adapter, which I did verify worked fine. The only other thing on the box itself is an LED, that is lit white while the device is on, and a small button for remote pairing.

Under the hood of the Onn UHD Streaming Device is an Amlogic 1.8 GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU and Mali-G31 GPU. I suspect the Soc is either an Amlogic S905X2 or S905Y2, but I haven’t been able to confirm that yet. Update, it does have an Amlogic S905Y2. There is 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, of which only about half is available to use. It has 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac MIMO WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2. It’s running Android 10 with a slightly old security patch from January 2021. It supports HDR10, but not Dolby Vision or HDR10+. It supports Dolby surround sound audio, but not Dolby Atmos.

The remote that comes with the Onn streamer is Google’s new generic Android TV remote. This remote, called the G10, is a reference design created by Google that is manufactured by TW Electronics. Get used to this remote because Google seems to be pushing manufacturers to use this remote instead of making their own, so there are going to be a lot of Android TV devices released with this remote in the near future.

Overall, it’s a pretty good remote, but it’s not without some issues, which are mostly software-related, that I’ll get into momentarily. It feels good in the hand with good buttons and I prefer it to the remote that comes with the 2020 Chromecast with Google TV. It’s easily the most Fire TV-like remote I’ve ever seen for an Android TV device, which is a good thing, thanks to its nearly identical size and very similar button placements.

Along the top are power and input buttons that are supposed to be able to control your TV. Below those is a button with a flag, that seems to act as a menu button in most places of the UI, a voice button, and a settings button. Then there is a navigation circle with a center select button, a back button, a home button, and a button with a TV icon. Pressing the TV icon button loads YouTube TV, if you have the app installed, or the appstore page for YouTube TV if it’s not installed. I couldn’t find any way to select a different app for this button to launch.

The bottom half of the remote has volume buttons, a mute button, and channel up/down buttons. The Channel buttons did work in some apps, like Sling TV, to change channels but were useless in most apps. Along the bottom are 4 app buttons for YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max. This G10 remote seems to always come with YouTube and Netflix as the first two app buttons, but the bottom two seem to change by device manufacturer.

My issues with the remote are that its TV buttons could not be programmed to control my two particular TV. I can only assume that there are TVs that it’s compatible with, but it didn’t work for me. After selecting my TV brand from a list and then choosing to program the remote buttons, it would either display a message saying “Use an original remote to set this up” or “Something went wrong.” In one instance, trying to configure the TV buttons froze up both the Onn streamer and the remote, requiring the box to be unplugged and the remote buttons to be removed before everything started to work again.

Remote issues aside, the Onn streamer comes with a pretty standard version of Android TV. It uses the older Android TV interface, not the new Google TV interface found on the 2020 Chromecast. It also doesn’t use the re-skinned interface, which mixes elements of the new and old interface together, that some Android TV devices are getting. What it does have, unfortunately, is the addition of ads across the top of the old home screen, which is something that has recently been creeping into Android TV devices that are still running the older interface.

The device comes pre-installed with YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, HBO Max apps, and the usual assortment of Google Play apps. You can uninstall Hulu, Prime Video, and HBO Max apps, but not the other apps. There is also a “Movie Player” app which seems to be a very basic media player and file explorer app.

Lastly, there is a strange “UPDATE” app that almost seems like it was left over by Walmart’s software engineers. It has an “Online update” button that, when selected, displays the meaningless message “Check Failed! Check your OTA service agent.” The other buttons in the app are equally useless. Android TV does have its default update checker setting in place, which seems to be working, although my device reported no updates out of the box. This strange “UPDATE” app really doesn’t give me much faith in Walmart’s ability to support this device with updates.

At just $30, I can forgive TV control buttons that don’t work and weird system apps, but what is unforgivable is the bad video image coming out of this thing. The colors are simply not right and nothing I can change in the very limited display settings can correct it. The Onn streamer is permanently stuck in HDR output mode for everything. Regardless of whether you are in an app’s interface or playing SDR content, the device is outputting in the HDR color space, which I can only assume is the reason the image looks so bad. Update: See my new note below in the update section about why the colors are so messed up and impossible to fix. Note that the screenshots in this article are captured from the OS, so they bypass the video color output issue. The colors seen in the screenshots are vastly different from the colors seen on the TV.

Unless you must have 4K output and your budget can’t be a dollar over $30, I can’t say the Onn UHD Streaming Device from Walmart is worth getting. The hardware genuinely seems solid and is downright impressive for the price, but Walmart’s inexperience in software is showing through. Remote quirks, system freezes, strange system apps, and bad image quality with too few display options are all reasons to pass on this streamer for the time being.

Update

5/27/21

A few system app updates, which did not show up yesterday when I initially reviewed the Onn streamer, came in this morning through the Google Play Store. These updates changed the home screen to now use the reskinned version, seen in the image above, that mimics some of the aspects of the Google TV interface, such as the Discovery tab. Unfortunately, these new system app updates did not correct the video color issues or the remote issues I am having with the Onn streamer.

Regarding the video color issue I’m experiencing, I’ve figured out a bit more about it and it’s much more than just being on HDR all the time. The device is defaulting to an incorrect color space setting. Changing to the correct setting doesn’t actually correct the color unless the device is rebooted, even though it claims in the settings that the color space has changed. However, turning the TV off or changing inputs away from the Onn streamer causes the incorrect color space setting to be re-applied, even though the system setting still says the correct color space is set. So, there seems to be no way to use the correct color space setting unless you set the color space setting, reboot the device, and then never turn off the TV or change inputs, which is obviously a ridiculous process.

46 comments
  1. Darn, and I was ready for another toy…guess I will have to wait. Thanks for saving me my $30 and trip to Wally World. Guess I might just check online to see if it is in stock anyways.

    AGAIN, as always, thanks for all your hard work…

    PS..that UPDATE mess is the deal breaker…Dont want another dead weight even if only ounces…Will see what the software chaps come up with…or if there will be competition…

  2. John P Grabouski says:

    PS..no stock online (or in store?) at Wally World currently shown…

  3. John P Grabouski says:

    Correction: None in stock and cannot order but was found on Walmart.com

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/onn-Android-TV-UHD-Streaming-Device/636597403

    I do not work for walmar and never have…but I do buy toys there as well as groceries…and not in that order (usually)…

    Electronics/Walmart Exclusive Electronics/onn./All onn./onn. Accessories/onn. TV and Video Accessories/All onn. TV & Video Accessories

    FWIW, I have had decent luck with the few Onn devices I own including a couple 24″ Roku TVs…I have equal numbers of AMAZON FIRE and ROKU devices…

  4. Mjm says:

    Dolby Vision and Atmos on board?

  5. juzmafia says:

    What’s the Firmaware Build version for this box? Is it the same as Dynalink?

  6. Couple of things/questions.
    I’m assuming this is a re-badged, clone of the Dynalink device (with the a different remote)? A quick check with the Aida 64 app will show the manufacturer’s name – Askey for the Dynalink.
    Recently purchased the Mecool KM2, which uses the same Google G10 reference remote) and I also had a similar issue with trying to set up my TV buttons. I couldn’t even select TV brand before getting that same “Something went wrong error”. This issue on 2 TVs, one FHD and the other 4k…

  7. Nick says:

    I’m really surprised you didn’t mention any hardware specs about it. Thanks for the review though.

    • Maybe you missed it but there is this paragraph above:

      Under the hood of the Onn UHD Streaming Device is an Amlogic 1.8 GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU and Mali-G31 GPU. I suspect the Soc is either an Amlogic S905X2 or S905Y2, but I haven’t been able to confirm that yet. There is 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, of which only about half is available to use. It has 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac MIMO WiFi and Bluetooth 4. It’s running Android 10 with a slightly old security patch from January 2021. It supports HDR10, but not Dolby Vision or HDR10+. It supports Dolby surround sound audio, but not Dolby Atmos.

      Is there anything else you want to know?

  8. smithmal says:

    As others indicated this seems to be a Dynalink rebrand which originally could be had for $25. It also has the strange “Update” bottom that does not work and is permanently stuck in HDR mode without the ability to toggle it on/off. Is the remote a BT remote with some IR abilities?

    • Yes, the remote is BT and has IR capabilities. I couldn’t get the remote to control my particular TV, but I did select a random popular TV in order to program the buttons to verify that it is indeed blasting out IR and not just relying on HDMI-CEC for TV control.

  9. smithmal says:

    Here’s a good review of the Dynalink box. Dynalink actually sent out an update patch which improved some issues but also eliminated the ability to use external storage: https://troypoint.com/dynalink-android-tv-box/

  10. TechyChris says:

    Thanks for the review. I still can’t handle the mismatched white remote with the black box. Put that remote in any household with young kids and it will look like a peanut butter & jelly sandwich gone wrong within a week.

    • Haha, yeah, I’m surprised they didn’t go with the black/grey version of this remote, since it is available. My only thought is that they wanted to mimic the Google-ness of the Chromecast remote, so went with white.

  11. Jack says:

    Serious need for a working firmware update here, both the box and remote. Will it be supported??? What do you think Elias?

  12. Jack says:

    When you do your full testing, could you test the built-in Chromecast feature with say the Android version
    of localcast?

  13. Masterblaster says:

    My favorite Google/Android Tv list:

    #1 Nvidia Shield TV
    #2 Chromecast w/Google Tv
    #3 Tivo 4k streamer
    #4 everything else
    #5 Onn streamer

  14. hawkstead says:

    I saw you sneak into my youtube subscription feed last night and I thought that can’t be.
    You’ve got to do weekly or biweekly again.

    • I wish I could do more videos, but it’s really tough with two little kids that can be easily heard from every inch of my house. There was a small window of silence yesterday that lined up with purchasing this Onn box, so I figured I might as well take the opportunity and make an unboxing video. I *may* try to do some more casual unplanned videos in the near future with kid interruptions and all, but we’ll see.

  15. Rik Emmett says:

    No external storage is a deal breaker for me. The 3rd gen Fire Tv lite works great with a USB SSD drive and I got it for free with a $5 subscription to Discovery+.

  16. ricklar says:

    Elias Saba>>”It supports HDR10, but not Dolby Vision or HDR10+. It supports Dolby surround sound audio, but not Dolby Atmos.”

    Possible ADB fix for audio passthrough issues, seems to be working, have only tested/verified Atmos working on PrimeVideo. ADB Codes:

    settings put global digital_audio_format 3
    settings put global digital_audio_subformat 5,6,7,8,10,14,17,18,19
    settings put global encoded_surround_output 3
    settings put global encoded_surround_output_enabled_formats 5,6,7,8,10,14,17,18,19
    reboot

    To verify before changing and/or after reboot, enter ADB code:

    settings list global

    Possible fix for HDR, YMMV; I installed Dashboard app from PlayStore, which shows all apps that are installed, aka sideloaded and system apps, with the system app “Droid_Settings” then /Display/Screen_Resolution/ and the very first time I open that location there was a HDR setting at bottom that let me choose an Adaptive HDR setting which seemed to work, but after a reboot that setting has remained hidden. PrimeVideo will not switch out of HDR10+ until I toggle the /Display/Screen_Resolution/Color_Depth_Settings then Off/On.

  17. ricklar says:

    Software update got pushed yesterday with date code 20210519 and now I lost HDR10+ and device is now forced HDR10 always :(

  18. Joe says:

    Is there a way to sideload apps on this device?

  19. Billy johnston says:

    Does this work only on android tv? Will it work on TCM tv?

  20. Nimesh V Udani says:

    Strange little box. I have successfully paired the TV and Denon receiver but when I turn on and off….neither the TV or the Receiver turn off. Any ideas?

  21. Mauro says:

    Hi, which Micro USB Ethernet adapter did you test?

  22. mohamad says:

    hello, please make a video how to use Ethernet connection on this device.

  23. Lance S. says:

    There is option to add external storage eta and other on YouTube says a og adapter it a splitter that plugs into usb I beleave, they have link to buy from Amazon…it’s a box that turns your dumb tv to smart tv on an Android google platform I have a dynex 32″ 8+ yrs old from best buy, the casting game from cell to tv sucks not a good way best is to run extended HDMI to USB .been watching couple days now noticed freeze and dropped signal not too bad but all fairness haven’t hooked it to wifi ext yet some reason didn’t take the pw at first time so ef it lol I’d like to know what to download or sideload to get most from it like how can I retrieve my Norton 360 vpn from Amazon library I have? Or what to get free live channels

  24. Shane says:

    I have had a completely different experience than the person in the auricle had and so did my parents neither of us have the weird update button you have and the colors are just fine I used Samsung brand for my TV because mine wasn’t listed so I went through a few brands before I found the one that worked for my TV. It’s a great box better than the mi box which was around $60. I would highly recommend this box it is worth every penny spent and more!

  25. Joel says:

    I like the ONN streaming box better than my Firestick 2nd. gen as it does not buffer constantly as the Firestick does. There is one problem that I am seeing on certain Apps that the playback volume is far too low, I have been trying to find an app to increase volume and also trying to find a Mouse toggle app that works with Android 10. I have tried several apps for both but they do not work with the Onn device.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Joel

  26. Mark says:

    Just installed the latest update which included a security patch (August 2021) and a remote control update, among other things.
    What disappeared was Prime Video. It’s not available in the Play Store and even when I sideload it, it doesn’t show up. Seems petty to not offer it on a Walmart branded device.

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