The Nexus Player

Review , , , 3 Comments

2014-04-18 05.48.14

The Nexus Player is Google’s first Android TV device, it is a device that is like a large hockey puck. It is surprisingly small but very exciting when you actually play with it. There was a slight delay getting the devices out because of a lack of game pads, which is one of the best ways to use the player. The Nexus Player is Chromecast enabled but if you don’t have your device handy to stream to it you can launch an app directly from it.

The Nexus Player is intended to disappear into your home theatre. You are essentially supposed to set it up and forget it. The Player replaces your existing cast enabled devices so you can move them to other TVs if you like and will replace your PS3 as your favourite Netflix device. It is a very attractive device physically and will save you a lot of space if you intend to replace your HTPC or other Plex / Kodi machine.

2014-04-18 06.07.01

Hardware

The Player has some decent specs for a beefed up Chromecast, although looking at the RAM you would expect more than 1GB (2 would be nice), it doesn’t get terribly slow and apps are still fluid and responsive. You can definitely feel the 1.8GHz quad core Atom when launching games. The physical appearance of the device is matte black with a glossy ring around the edge of the device. There is a small LED indicator on the lower edge of the device. Over all the specs are more than enough for what the Nexus Player is intended to do.

Chipset
  • 1.8GHz Quad Core, Intel® Atom™
  • Imagination PowerVR Series 6 Graphics 2D/3D Engine
Memory
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB storage
Ports
  • 18W DC power
  • HDMI® out (1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz)
  • Micro-USB 2.0
Connectivity
  • 802.11ac 2×2 (MIMO)
  • Bluetooth 4.1
Weight 235g
Size 120mm x 120mm x 20mm
Remote 2 AAA batteries (included in box)

2014-04-18 05.58.55

Software

As soon as I turned the device on I was greeted by an update while Android 5.0 Lollipop was installed. After that I was able to log into Google and set up the Nexus Player. When logging into the device I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to pick up the installation on my Samsung Galaxy phone instead of typing out my email, password, and activation code with the Asus remote.

2014-04-18 06.10.33

The overall experience with Android TV is great, the UI is very optimized for the TV (as you would expect) and it is easy and quick to navigate. The UI gets a little weird once you get into the settings menu which is where you also find your apps (why?) that you side load into the device through ADB. Apps that have been developed using the latest SDK and optimized for Android TV will be available through the Play Store which is totally different on the TV, The entire UI feels like Netflix on the TV to me where everything is represented by a large card.

Experience

The first thing I always do when playing with a new Android device is immediately unlock developer tools and see what we can do. I hooked up a keyboard and mouse combo and side loaded some apps over via ADB. This ended up being mostly a disappointment. You can’t use the Asus remote or gamepad with these touch apps (obviously). I was hoping these games would have controller support but they don’t seem to work. I installed the Humble Bundle apps, which I was hoping would let me install all my games I have from them (it worked) but once the games were installed they couldn’t be played.

2014-04-18 06.17.42

Over all the experience with the device is good though, games are sweet, the cast support is the best and the TV apps are pretty good. I am interested to see if there will be custom ROMs and TWRP for this device? I know there is already methods to unlock fastboot on the Player but I don’t see a reason too yet.

Final Thoughts

I like the Nexus Player a lot, it is an interesting piece of hardware and it really is the best device for my home theatre right now. I was already in love with my Chromecast and right as I was thinking about getting another one, this device arrived. I recommend this device to anybody who is looking at a Chromecast right now. I think this is the perfect casual gaming device for people like me who don’t have time for AAA titles haha. Feel free to ask about this device

Photos

Here are some high res photos of the Nexus Player for your viewing pleasure.