What is the Best Device to Run Kodi? – Best Kodi Devices 2017

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Whether you’re a long-time Kodi user, or just getting started out using the multi-media platform, there’s probably one question that you may already have asked: What is the best device to run Kodi? Here at AddonHQ, we regularly put a variety of devices to the test. Our specialty here is not just in the addons that give life to your Kodi app, but also the different devices where you may choose to run Kodi. We’ve written extensively about how to install and run Kodi on a large number of different devices, from iPhones to thumb drives.

To that end, we’ve discovered that there are some devices that are better than others when it comes to running Kodi. Below, we’ve put our addon and device experience together to help you better understand what really is the best device to run Kodi, as well as which devices are simply not ones you’ll want to turn to if you’re really looking to get a good Kodi experience.

To determine which device is the best, we’ve explored devices using the following criteria:

  •     Ease of installation
  •     Ease of installing addons
  •     Compatibility with other services (VPNs, app stores, etc)
  •     Compatibility with Kodi versions
  •     Popularity

We would also like to note that our list is by no way definitive. There are many other ways to determine whether a device is good or bad when using Kodi. Additionally, many Kodi users may have a preference for particular devices for different reasons. For example, some Kodi users may prefer to use an Apple TV as their device of choice, despite the circuitous installation requirements, while others may decide a simple Android-based mobile phone is the best. Ultimately, there’s no accounting for individual preferences. This run-down is primarily for newcomers who may be looking for the easiest, most hassle-free Kodi device.

Before you proceed

Regardless of which device you use, Kodi is an excellent application to stream both live and on-demand content. In the past, however, some Kodi users have received copyright infringement notifications from their ISPs. While this is not common, it does happen on occasion. To secure your anonymity online and while using Kodi to stream content, we suggest you use a virtual private network or VPN service. Our suggestion for the best VPN service to use with Kodi is IPVanish.

IPVanish places users’ anonymity as a priority. The company keeps no user logs while maintaining high-level encryption standards, hundreds of servers and dozens of server locations. This also means you can stream a lot of geographically-locked content onto your device. We’ve reviewed several popular Kodi VPN services, finding that IPVanish met or exceeded most of our review criteria in comparison to other VPN services. You’ll also find IPVanish works with a very wide variety of devices, making it a good option for anyone using Kodi.

kodi security



Best Device to Run Kodi – Kodi Streaming Devices Ranked

Below you will find the top 3 devices that we consider among the best to run Kodi. While we recommend each of these devices as a good option, we’ve also ranked them in the order that we believe best fits our criteria. After this section, we’ve also laid out a list of devices that we don’t recommend you try to use for various reasons.

# 1 Windows or Mac Desktop/Laptop

Windows Kodi

Your laptop or desktop is likely going to be your best streaming device. This should surprise no one, so we’ll be brief in describing the benefits of simply using the machine you have to do all of your Kodi streaming.

Ease of Installation: 9

Ease of Installing Addons: 10

Compatibility with Other Services: 10

Compatibility with Kodi Versions: 10

Popularity: 10

Total: 9.8

Ease of Installation

It takes only seconds to install Kodi on a Mac or Windows machine. This section doesn’t get a perfect score, however, as it’s actually far easier to download and install Kodi on an Android device, given there are fewer steps involved.

Ease of Installing Addons

There’s no substitute for installing addons onto a dedicated laptop or desktop. Indeed, most guides you’ll find for installing addons are for Windows or Mac machines. Additionally, you can install Kodi builds with pre-installed addons on Mac and Windows machines far easier than on other devices.

Compatibility with Other Services

Most services that make Kodi streaming better are primarily designed to work on desktop or laptop computers. That includes most VPN services as well as some special services that integrate with Kodi.

Compatibility with Kodi Versions

Some Kodi versions are better than others. If you have a preferred older version, or simply want to test out older versions to see what Kodi development history looks like first hand, you are more likely to find a working version of it for Windows, Mac, or Linux. Older versions do exist for Android, which you can download as an APK, but version support usually starts with Windows and Mac first, especially with newer builds.

Popularity

Most Kodi users start out running the program on their regular laptop or desktop computer. You can easily hook up a laptop to your TV using an HDMI cable, so long as you have a newer laptop, so this can make any laptop a good device for streaming Kodi onto a TV. With a Bluetooth or wireless keyboard, or a Kodi remote, it also makes it easier to navigate the menu while your laptop is across the room.

#2 Android Mobile Devices

Android devices kodi

Most of the reasons Android mobile phones or tablets work well to run Kodi are similar to Android TV boxes. Generally speaking, the easy installation of both apps and addons is critical, as is the ability to install and access partner apps, such as high-quality VPNs.

Ease of Installation: 10

Ease of Installing Addons: 9

Compatibility with Other Services: 10

Compatibility with Kodi Versions: 8

Popularity: 10

Total: 9.4

Ease of Installation

Kodi is easy to install on an Android mobile device. Simply install the app from the Google Play Store (takes seconds) and you’re good to go.

Ease of Installing Addons

The lack of a traditional keyboard on a mobile device makes installing some new apps a bit of a more tedious process. However, this can be made easier if you install popular addon repositories. The process for adding these on an Android mobile device may also be easier than adding them on an Android TV box if you don’t have a dedicated remote or keyboard for your TV box.

Compatibility with Other Services

You’ll find that your Android device has a lot of options for additional services that make using your device with Kodi better. This particularly includes using a VPN. Most VPN services have dedicated VPNs, IPVanish included.

Compatibility with Kodi Versions

Older Kodi versions may be difficult to find for your Android mobile device. That said, current versions for which Kodi is available for Android are not only excellent but popular for a good reason. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to install a Kodi build, you may have a harder time doing so on an Android mobile phone or tablet.

Popularity

Using Kodi on Android mobile phones and tablets is extremely popular. Many people keep a version of Kodi on their mobile alongside having one on their laptop. This makes it easy to take your Kodi streaming on-the-go.

#3 Android TV Boxes

Android what is the best device to run kodi

An Android TV box is a device that connects to your TV, much like a Roku, Apple TV, or Chromecast, but utilizes Android as the operating system. Android TV boxes come in many shapes, sizes and price ranges, with a variety of options for those seeking more or less operating system power.

Note: Because Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick utilize a version of Android, we consider it an Android TV box, and have not included it as a separate device. That said, installing Kodi and VPNs on Amazon Fire TV requires a separate process, as this device does not have access to the Google Play Store. You provide guides on how to install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV/Stick and how to install a VPN on Amazon Fire TV/Stick.

Ease of Installation: 10

Ease of Installing Addons: 7

Compatibility with Other Services: 10

Compatibility with Kodi Versions: 8

Popularity: 7

Total: 8.4

Ease of Use

Hands down, an Android-based device is one of the easiest to install Kodi onto, outside of a dedicated laptop or desktop computer. This is because the Google Play Store allows the Kodi app onto its store (unlike Apple, which we will get into later). Installing Kodi onto your device takes just seconds. Once that’s done, you can go about loading new addons. This is where some of the difficulty comes in.

Ease of Installing Addons

Installing addons on your Android TV box can be a hassle — if you don’t have a separate Bluetooth or IR keyboard. While you can easily find and install addons from the official Kodi Repository, the best addons are third-party, which often require you to type in the web address in the settings to add the separate repos or plugins. When you’re using a remote with no keyboard, this can be time-consuming and frustrating. We suggest adding a Kodi remote and keyboard, which will help make this process easier.

Compatibility with Other Services

Because Android is a very open operating system, you’ll find an Android TV box works with a lot of different services and programs. Google’s app store has a large set of apps that you can download to get the most out of your device, including a number of Kodi remotes that work with a smartphone. You’ll also find that most VPN services, including IPVanish, have a dedicated app that works for Android devices.

Compatibility with Kodi Versions

Beyond 16.1 Jarvis and the new version 17 Krypton, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a good, stable version of Kodi for Android. That said, there’s also little reason to use an older version, so don’t consider this a particularly weighty point downgrade. You’ll find working versions for current and future versions of Kodi for Android, including current development builds.

Popularity

As a whole, Android TV boxes are not the most popular option for one simple reason: far too many of them are cheap as hell and just don’t work well at all. If you’re considering buying one of these, we suggest you check out our guide on the best Android TV boxes. This should help you avoid the cheap, poorly functioning devices. While you’re at it, you may also want to pick up a good Kodi remote or keyboard to make using your TV box simpler. With a Kodi remote and keyboard, an Android TV box becomes your single best device to run Kodi.

Worst Devices to Run Kodi

Given there’s a best, you can be sure that there are some devices that are not a joy to run Kodi. The worst devices include:

For Chromecast, the reason for this is due to the version of Android that Google chose to utilize. While Chromecast does use Android, it uses a version of Android that has no access to the Google Play Store and that does not allow you to download and install APK files. Unlike most Android devices, you cannot set it to install apps from unknown sources. Why did Google choose to do that? We have no idea. But this makes installing anything onto the device, including Kodi, a hassle.

For iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, the reasons relate specifically to a conflict between Apple and applications that operate under a General Public License, such as Kodi. To put it simply, Apple does not allow apps into its app store that use non-unique code. As Kodi openly publishes its code, and many other developers can use it, Kodi appears to violate Apple’s terms of use for its app store apps. You can still install Kodi onto apple’s iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, both jailbroken and non-jailbroken, but the installation process for this is laborious, and if you’re sideloading Kodi without using a free developer ID, you’ll have to repeat the process every 7 days. Not fun. You can read more about that conflict on our guide for how to install Kodi on iPhones.