EZCast MiniBox – device agnostic audio and video casting (review)

EZCast MiniBox
9
For the tech savvy user

EZCast minibox is a [email protected], protocol agnostic, cast device. There is quite a lot more to it, so this mini-review will explore some of those hidden use cases.

Why do you need an EZCast MiniBox?

And that is the real question because as much as consumers can use a ‘casting’ device, they are far better off with Google TV (Android) or Apple TV (iOS). These devices are purpose-built to find and cast content from a smartphone or tablet to a TV.

Not to say that EXCast MiniBox can’t do that (well not all of it) because it is more of a device-agnostic cast. It supports EZCast, Miracast, screen mirror, EZAir and more casting protocols. It works with Android iPhone, Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Cloud, DLNA, and Google Assistant and Alexa.

No, this is more of an education, business and prosumer device.

Australian Review: EZCast MiniBox

  • Website here
  • Product page here  
  • Manual here
  • Sale: From Amazon US A$106.33 plus about $20 freight or EZCast direct at US$99.99 plus shipping
  • Price:

We set it up on a Windows Surface Pro 7 and a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G.

MiniBox setup

  • Power is via a 1.2m USB-A to a plug. You need 5V/2A either from a wall charger or later model USB-C 3.1 laptops can provide it.
  • The home network connection can be 2.4 or 5Gh and either by Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi. Once connected it bridges the Home Network to use your Wi-Fi on your casting devices.
  • You need to connect an HDMI 2.0 or later cable to a suitable TV or monitor. It can cast from 1024×788 (4:3), [email protected]/60p to 3480×[email protected]
  • It has a USB 2.0 port as well for music or audio
EZCast MiniBox

Windows (and Mac)

  • Download the app
  • Connect to the MiniBox SSID with the onscreen password
  • That is it

Widows can screen mirror. The Surface has a 3:2, 2736×1824 resolution and we had to change that to 1920 x 1080 to mirror. This is a limitation of any cast device, and you won’t get the full screen unless you have a cast screen and monitor match.

Android (or iOS)

Download the app from Google Play or Apple Store

We had a little more trouble with Android setup until we realised that MiniBox could only wirelessly connect to one device at a time. Disconnect from Windows (MiniBox Wi-Fi SSID) and connect to the smartphone. And as you will see, it supports a lot more screencast protocols. It will stream in portrait or landscape to match a monitor orientation.

Mirror Connect

  • Scan a barcode on the TV screen.
  • Select mirroring. Android will not cast audio in this mode

EZMirror

  • Select mirroring and then EZMirror that does support audio. This is similar to Chrome mirror

Miracast

Samsung SmartView or OPPO Screen Mirroring or Apple via EZAir.

DeX

It also supports Samsung DeX wirelessly

MiraPlug (Android app) – should be similar to Apple Lightning

You can plug a USB-A connector (to the USB-A port on treh MiniBox) and a USB-C connector to your phone and install MiraPlug app (works with most OTG devices) to mirror your screen. The MiniBox supplies 5V/.5A so it will slow charge a phone.

Privacy Policy

It also flashes up a warning about privacy that everything you cast will be visible to whatever casting protocol you use.

EZCast clarifies that as a Chinese company, it is subject to Chinese law. We have reviewed EZCast products before and find it a reputable, long-term company.

Overall, it is no more intrusive than Google or Facebook – at least it will limit any advertisements to its products. If you have sensitive information, it may be best to use Google TV or Apple TV devices.

 Other EZCast services

We did not test these fully; some are for Asian markets.

  • EZChannel will search videos across media sites
  • Video/Photo/Music stream and playback from the casting device
  • DLNA – cast from a DLNA network storage device – works flawlessly
  • Cloud – cast from a cloud server – works flawlessly
  • Voice control – Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa (with access to all the content sources above)
  • Digital photo frame

Limitations

It uses either Gigabit Ethernet (best) or 2.4 or 5Ghz Wi-Fi 2T/2R MIMO to connect to the router and the casting device. Maximum distance from the router is about 10 metres although it can lose frames after 6m if there is a lot of Wi-Fi congestion.

It may have issues casting DRM (digital rights management) copyright material. Miracast gets over that.

Maximum is [email protected] While that is fine for 24/30p movies, high frame rate games get jaggies. And we found that movies could drop out if you did not have a strong signal.

Voice assistance setup is quite complex and comes via the EZChannel feature. Manual here.

GadgetGuy’s take

The more you explore the EZCast MiniBox, the more goodies you find. I really like the portrait mode for smartphone mirroring.

We can’t recommend it as a simple consumer device. Why? While the setup it intuitive it is not as simple as it looks with several options. But once you master it, then it works as advertised.

And we get the feeling that anyone looking to buy a casting device will be savvy enough to know what they want – this seems to tick all boxes.

EZCast MiniBox
EZCast MiniBox – device agnostic audio and video casting (review)
Features
9.5
Value for money
9.5
Performance
9
Ease of use
8
Design
9
Once set up its flawless
Offers several cating options outside Chromecast
Love the portrait cast for smartphones
Need to understand casting and what you want to achieve
9
For the tech savvy user