The Amlogics X96 MAX+ boxes are a decent buy for the price, however check the reviews and specification before you order as when I was doing my research I came across a few that were not as described and mainly had reviews pointing to a crap power supply unit (MyVolts for replacements, good kit and really good support) or had Ethernet that wasn’t gigabit capable.
In the end I went for the Odroid N2+ 4GB CoreELEC Edition with 32GB eMMC as I wanted something that “did a bit more” I still have a desire to add the satellite antenna and run as an NTP server with an LCD display somewhere.
My only regret is I didn’t at the time order the cheap Odroid IR Remote Controller and got stuffed for £5 carriage on a £5.99 remote.
N.B. If you do go for the eMMC option on anything do not forget to order a eMMC USB card reader.
USB Wifi will give you better performance than an internal cheap and buggy wifi chip. Advantage is that once you buy a decent usb wifi or bt or dvb you can still use it after you change your box. I won’t a specific box although SBC are better in build quality and easier to fix.
External USB Wi-Fi doesn’t really give you that much of an advantage unless your very distant from the access point and that’s only because of the larger antenna plus the chipsets in both internal and external devices are made to the same network standards.
IMHO using Wi-Fi on media players is just plain dumb as media playback quality and framerate is dependant on network speed (NAS or streaming media) always go for wired ethernet because why buy a decent TV and audio equipment and then sacrifice quality for Wi-Fi speed.
At best 5 GHz Wi-Fi will give you a theoretical 54 Mbps roughly 6.75MB/s and your never going to achieve that. Wired Ethernet on Cat 5e supports up to 1,000 Mbps roughly 125 MB/s (18.52 times faster)
Looking at the tech spec’s and if the quoted chipset information is right, then the older models ran on the FN-Link 6222B-SRB chips based on the venerable Realtek RTL8822BS architecture. However that model needed 2 external ferrite antennas the newer models upgrade that to the FN-Link 6222B-SRC chipset which (model dependant) add 2-3 internal antennae and Bluetooth 5.0 so essentially if you want a Amlogic box then go for the one with Bluetooth 5.0
I would skip the Tanix box the independent reviews say the Wi-Fi is awful so its the older chipset. @Ray is right the only way you could improve the Wi-Fi speed is drop it down a mineshaft.
The Huafeliz box is a clearance item as it looks like the manufacturer has gone belly up.
The Odroid N2+ is the best priced for the specification box at the moment.
N2+ might be a bit pricey for most people.
BTW. Something to consider: SM1 SoC is long term supported by amlogic. Same like gxl (S905X) is. That’s why we still have S905X support in 4.9 kernel but no S905 (gxbb). g12 is comparable to gxbb. They are full of hw bugs that got fixed by new revisions and eventually by gxl/sm1.
N2+ is rev c. But There are still issues that are fixed in sm1. I could imagine that sm1 will have a bigger support span than g12. We don’t know when or if ever mainline will be as good as AML vendor kernels,.