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When Good Enough Isn't... < Back to All

January 26, 2016

We sometimes have queries from members of the public asking about the difference in price you will find online between different retailers and manufacturers of TV set top boxes based on Android.

The query is natural enough, after all you would expect similar items to have similar prices and performance.
The key here is similar. When you see a device offered at a much lower price than other reputable retailers are offering, there has to be a difference somewhere along the line, otherwise the cheaper retailer wouldn't be making any money!


When you buy a device from DroidBOX®, the parts inside are all new. When you purchase a cheap device, you will often find the chips inside have been reclaimed and reused.

If we find a device is faulty in our tests, it is returned to the factory for them to analyse (in case something needs to be altered in the manufacturing process to reduce the likelihood of further troublesome devices). Other retailers will have similar systems.
Some factories will test the faulty device, and then scavenge parts from the device. If it was reported as having a voltage regulation fault, then the CPU, GPU, RAM, NAND storage chips, WiFi modules etc will be desoldered from the motherboard. These components are then recombined into new Frankenstein-style devices.


To be fair, factories we've dealt with do not try and pass these recycled devices as identical to those with proper new parts inside. Also, the images used here are just for illustration.
The factory offer these devices with second hand parts to the retailer at a discount. The short term benefits are clear - these retailers can either offer the product at a reduced price, or just have a larger profit margin. We at DroidBOX® decided from the start that our reputation was more important than a short term financial gain - we're in this for the long run!

That's why our parts are sourced from the best factories we can find, using only brand new components. See our post over at https://droidbox.co.uk/blog/good-enough-mccoy-or-con/ for what can happen when inferior parts are used. This dramatic sort of incident is thankfully less likely to happen simply because the memory or controller chips (as opposed to those related to voltage regulation) are second or third-hand, however failures can be difficult to track down without such an obvious visual clue. If you have previously purchased a cheap device, and find that stored documents are corrupted, total (rather than free) storage space is reducing in size, audio/visual artefacts appear or transfer speeds on your home network nosedive, I would definitely recommend buying something with higher quality standards next  time.

We'd prefer it if you chose us to purchase from, but wherever your next device comes from, if you trust the retailer to be honest, ask their staff if the devices are from a batch in the factory that used recycled instead of new components. If they don't understand (or worse, claim this doesn't occur anywhere), I'd recommend you swiftly move onto a different company.

As with a lot in life, you get what you pay for. You can buy something made on the cheap, and get lucky. Or you could find it fails very quickly, and you end up wasting time trying to sort out a replacement from the retailer, or worse having to purchase another one out of your own pocket.

a) Very cheap
b) Powerful
c) Well made

Choose two of those in exclusivity if you must, but understand the likely ramifications. Recycling is a great concept, responsible disposal of any waste is a must, but re-using components from a device that has already had hardware stopped working, will not lead to low failure rates in the bodged together device.