Nokia Streaming Box 8000 Set Top Box Review - Even for analog TVs
Nokia competes with Amazon's FireTV family and Nvidia's Shield TV with the Streaming Box 8000, but has chosen a price point between the two established providers with 99 Euros (~$120): While the FireTV sticks are all significantly cheaper and only the FireTV Cube is in similar price regions, you have to pay at least 50 Euros (~$61) more for Nvidia's very fast Shield TV, and the Shield TV Pro even comes in at over 200 Euros (~$243).
However, the differences are also clear: While Amazon primarily targets its own customers and the software is clearly designed for the company's Prime Video, the Shield TV sees itself more as a "gaming console light" that allows playing all games from the Google Play Store on the big TV.
Nokia, on the other hand, wants to offer a high-quality set-top box for those who find the Shield TV too expensive and would rather have a pure Android TV than Amazon's sticks with advertisements.
|Maximum resolution||4K UltraHD|
|Audio Decoding||Dolby Digital Plus|
|Operating system||Android 10|
|GPU||ARM Mali-G31 MP2|
|RAM||2 GB DDR3|
|Memory||8 GB eMMC flash|
|Ports||HDMI, USB-A 3.0, optical audio, 3.5mm AV, USB-C, Ethernet, DC IN|
|WLAN||WiFi 4 2.4 GHz, WiFi 5 5 GHz|
|Power consumption||max. 12 watts|
|Dimensions and weight||112x112x24 mm, 250 grams|
|Included in delivery||Streaming Box, Bluetooth remote control, power supply, HDMI cable, batteries, installation guide|
|Price (RRP)||99,- EUR|
Design and first impression - Scandinavian purism
The box of the Finnish brand Nokia actually comes from Central Europe, America and the Far East: The Austrian company Streamview has the license for smart TVs under the brand and was accordingly responsible for the first set-top box under the Nokia name. The case was designed in California, as can be seen on the bottom of the streaming box, and the device was finally assembled in China.
The design of the global product is nevertheless Scandinavian, namely kept simple in black, with a square shape, matte upper side and glossy brand lettering.
We immediately noticed the comprehensive connectivity: There is an Ethernet port and even an optical audio output, so you can connect the Streaming Box 8000 directly to a sound system or even connect your own speakers. There is also a 3.5 mm AV output, which even allows older TVs without HDMI to be connected to the streaming box. Theoretically, a tube TV could be turned into a Smart TV.
When you turn on the box, a white LED on the front lights up. Personally, we found it too bright to have the streaming box right next to the screen.
Setup and interface - AndroidTV in its purest form
Those who have already seen the smart TV functions of an AndroidTV will quickly find their way around: Nokia or Streamview uses Android 10 for its set-top box. The initial setup is quite quick: After connecting the device to the TV, it only takes a few screens to set it up. A cell phone with a browser or a PC can be used if the on-screen keyboard is too complicated for you.
It is already noticeable here that the Nokia Streaming Box 8000 acts much more nimbly and smoothly compared to a FireTV Stick 4K. The box also starts quite quickly, but it takes a bit to re-establish a Wi-Fi connection when the device is completely turned off.
The fact that Android is used also means that you have access to thousands of apps from the Google Play Store. The most used ones are already preloaded: Netflix, Amazon, Disney+ and Google Play can be used for streaming ex-factory. The media libraries of the classic TV stations and other apps can also be set up quickly.
Operation - Illuminated remote control
Since the box has a Bluetooth remote control, you can also place it behind the TV or on a shelf without any problems; the wireless signals arrive without visual contact. Only when setting up the remote for the first time should you move a bit closer to the streaming box.
There are even number buttons on the remote control, which looks quite high-quality overall, but is much smaller than Amazon's remote control for FireTV. There are direct dial buttons for the most important streaming services and a dedicated button for Google Assistant. Great: The remote glows in the dark so that all buttons are easy to find.
Nice and annoying at the same time: In contrast to FireTV, where you can only turn the TV sound louder and softer via HDMI-CEC with the remote control, the Streaming Box 8000 has its own volume control, but it does not offer a very large range. If you use external speakers, this might be a good solution, but if you use the TV's speakers anyway, you will be annoyed that you need another remote control for the TV's volume.
Special features - Chromecast and external drives
The Nokia Streaming Box 8000 has a built-in Google Chromecast, so you can stream directly from your Android smartphone to the set-top box.
There is a USB port on the casing that can be used to connect external drives with media data. These can then be selected and played. A keyboard can also be connected here, but it can also be connected via Bluetooth. The USB-C port at the back can be used to charge a cell phone.
Google Assistant automatically searches for all content in the installed apps on voice command, looks for new apps, and can also answer questions that you ask it. If you do not like that Google constantly listens in, you can at least limit its possibilities in the options.
Conclusion - A lot on offer
Nokia's Streaming Box 8000 is a successful start into the world of set-top boxes for the Finnish brand and its partners. There are many set-top boxes with Android, but the snappy system and special features like the built-in Chromecast, the many ports, and the possibility to even turn analog TVs into smart TVs are something special.
99 Euros (~$120) is also a good pricing: The box is thus more expensive than Amazon's FireTV sticks, but you also get more flexibility in return and those who do not use Amazon Prime Video do not have to be constantly annoyed with ads. At the same time, the Streaming Box 8000 is significantly cheaper than Nvidia's Shield TV, which is more aimed at enthusiasts.
Overall, Nokia delivers a good set-top box that looks high-quality and offers reasonable performance and good features at a medium price
The Streaming Box 8000 ran stably in our test. We did not notice any crashes even after a few days of use. However, you should connect the box via Ethernet if possible, because we rarely had connection interruptions to the WLAN and the Wi-Fi needs a bit to connect when starting the device.
Price and availability
Nokia's Streaming Box 8000 is already available at many retailers, for example notebooksbilliger.de. The prices are still quite uniform around 99 Euros (~$120), but have also been 10 Euros (~$12) lower at times.