What is it?
In the box
- The Nexus Player
- Smart remote with voice search
- Batteries for the remote
- Power adapter (110 in this case but has world power functionality 110-230).
I have managed to get a hold of the Nexus Player, the device is yet to be officially released in Norway but some selected stores are selling the American version. Here is a short review after my first couple of days with the unit.
What is it?
Apple TV and Roku have for a long time dominated the media player market. Google has been able to bring competition to this market with their Cheap Chromecast, read more about the Chromecast here. The Chromecast is small simple and cheap but it is dependent on your smartphone, PC or Tablet for giving it content to play. The Android Nexus Player produced by Asus is Androids first media player after the developer hardware kit released earlier this year. The player runs on Android 5 Lollipop in the Android TV segment. Lollipop as you probably already know runs adapted versions of the operating system according to the device it is installed on, whether it be a car, phone, tablet, tv etc. Android TV lets you use the Android operating system in a new way on the big screen. It is able to install adapted apps, stream video from known services, play games and browse content. The remote has a built in microphone allowing you to use the Android voice recognition engine to search for content or as an assistant. The voice engine utilizes the Google Now functionality so it is able to produce information on just about anything.
In the box
The contents of the box is as follows:
The setup was very straight forward. Connect your HDMI and power cord to the Nexus player.
As the unit boots up the first screen which appears is the remote connection to the box. You can press a button for it to recognize the remote although it will also find it automatically. After that you are presented with the language selection menu.
Next setup is to choose the network you want to connect to. The device does not support a wired connection although this seems to be an option with a dongle or similar because it is an option in the user interface. You can connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks.
Enter your password. Next you will be promoted with your google account. You can go through this process manually on the Nexus Player with the remote or you can set it up by navigating to g.co/AndroidTV and inputting a pin displayed on the screen to link to a Google account. This process is much like the Plex setup process for those of you who are familiar with that. After this you are ready to start!
Material design is the key in all Android Lollipop versions, icons and colors are flat and simple. The Android TV is a bit more "glory" than the Phone and tablet versions though. The animations are similar but the content pops more out and is properly suited for the big screen environment of your livingroom. The menu items outside of the media part is more like the Android L we are used to, clean and simple.
Navigation is simple and intuitive. The voice search works the same way as on your phone so you can expect similar results. You do however need to be able to speak proper english or your results will vary. The remote works fine but the quality is not the best, it feels a bit cheap. Especially if you compare it to the Apple TV remote. The buttons are a bit too loose and lack precision. They work every time you hit them but the feel of them could have been better.
The Nexus player is controllable in many ways though. You can buy a dedicated gaming pad to be able to play supported games. You can also add the Nexus Player to the Harmony remote controls as a computer controlled over bluetooth.
Other options are controlling it either by a dedicated Android TV app on your smartphone or by your android wear watch.
There is not an awful lot of content to choose from in the play store for the Nexus player, but i guess this is not going to be a problem in the future. Android TV is going to be present a lot of places and i think it will take the place of a lot of the existing "smart TV" portals we see built in to the units today. I am really pleased to see that Plex is supported already and it works very well. It does not have all the functionality of the Plex Home Theater versions for Windows and Mac but it does what it needs to do, and it does so beautifully.
Although there is a lack off supported apps at this stage it does not matter because as with Chromecast the Nexus Player also has Google cast support. And supported casting apps are very common these days.
Chromecast has been my favorite for a long time, but not being able to navigate with a physical remote has been annoying. Android TV and the Nexus Player fixes this. The player does what it promises and the experience is exiting allowing you to navigate and explore by voice. The only disappointing feature is the remote, it does not quite meet the spec and the build quality of the Player itself. Other than that the product is great and something i would recommend buying both for Android and Apple users.
Where to buy:
Tech surrounding me