Google Nexus Q Media Players
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The Nexus Q is a streaming media player product that sees Google going heading into the living room with its own branded hardware. The Nexus Q is different than competing devices in that it only serves as a media router. It doesnt have a UI of its own, control of the Q is with your Android smartphone or tablet, and the Q then streams audio and video content from Google Play, it can also be used to stream YouTube content to your TV.

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Nexus Video
Specifications

SIZE

Diameter: 4.6 inches (116mm)

WEIGHT

2 pounds (923 grams)

FINISH

Die-cast, precision machined zinc bottom housing

Injection-molded, interactive balanced top dome with precision bearing and satin touch coating

HARDWARE CONTROLS

Rotating top dome volume control

Capacitive touch sensor for mute

LIGHTING

32 RGB perimeter LEDs

1 RGB LED for mute indicator

CPU

OMAP4460 (dual ARM Cortex-A9 CPUs and SGX540 GPU)

MEMORY

1GB LPDDR RAM

16GB NAND flash memory

OS

Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)

SUPPORTING APPLICATIONS

Google Play Music

Google Play Movies and TV

YouTube

CONNECTORS AND PORTS

Micro HDMI (Type D)

TOSLink Optical audio (S/PDIF)

10/100BASE-T Ethernet (RJ45)

Micro AB USB (for service and support)

Banana jack speaker outputs

WIRELESS

Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n

Bluetooth

NFC

AMPLIFIER

25W class D (12.5 watt per channel)

POWER

Integrated 35W switching power supply

World-ready 50/60Hz 85-265V AC input

Automatic shutdown for audio amp supply when not in use

 

Google Nexus Q: Review

Author: Steve Sanger - 11 Jan 2013

Pros


Looks nice on your shelf
16GB of storage included
25 Watt amplifier
   

Cons


Very high price tag
No user interface
Must be controlled with other devices
It's difficult to connect to multiple devices
Only intended for YouTube
Additional services cannot be reached without in android app
   

In this review


Introduction
Overview
Set Up
Usage
Other Media
Verdict

Quick Verdict


Google Nexus Q is a stylish media streamer that looks nice on your shelf but provides little functionality and has a very steep price tag.

 

Introduction

In appearance, the Google Nexus Q automatically stands out from similar products on the market. Most of these similar products are square in shape, but the Google Nexus Q is a sphere that is sectioned off at a 45 angle by 32 LED lights. The entire upper section of this device is actually the volume knob. In the front of the sphere you will notice a single blue LED light that is a mute button. The amount of storage included with the Google Nexus Q includes 1 GB or ram and 16 GB of flash storage. Additionally, there are a number of ports located in the back. These include Micro HDMI and optical audio outs, an Ethernet jack, and a USB port. They have also included connectors (banana connectors) that allow users to connect external speakers directly to the system and make use of the included 25 Watt amplifier.

Overview

Unfortunately, many users will discover the audio output included with the Google Nexus Q is narrower than the cables most commonly used for other devices. Therefore, the additional banana connectors included to connect external speakers will come in handy. Furthermore, since this device has chosen to use a Micro HDMI rather than a standard HDMI port that might cause some difficulties as well. Perhaps, these were choices based on their desire to keep the stylish appearance of the system. Speaking of style, while the system does look very stylish sitting on your entertainment center, it is very easily smudged. Perhaps this should not have been a deciding point for choosing what type of connections it would provide their users.

Set Up

Although the Google Nexis Q could have been easier to hook up, it was far more difficult to set up. This system does not provide users with the interface to follow instructions. In fact, it cannot be set up at all unless the user happens to own an Android device to manage media streaming. Unfortunately, this is not something they make clear; the Google Nexus Q does not have its own interface and cannot be setup on its own. When a user finally reaches the point where Google Nexus Q provides them with a screen, they will be asked to choose which room the system is located in and the password for their WiFi network to continue. Once this has been accomplished it may seem as if all is well. However, that may not be the case. Some users may experience problems with connectivity for multiple devices if more than one Nexus Q unit is in play. This may be an issue with Wi-Fi interference or it could be a hardware issue. In any case, users will find difficulty connecting multiple devices.

Usage

With no available interface most of the settings can only be changed with external devices. However, it is possible to adjust the brightness on the unit itself. Additionally, settings will need to be adjusted if multiple devices are in play and in some situations; some of the output jacks will need to be turned off the music is playing. The performance is okay, but it is a little inconvenient to change settings with an external device. This causes additional problems with playback and video services. Once more, with no user interface available, its only possible to access video YouTube apps or via the Play Movies app; this system provides no video playback on its own.

Other Media

Unfortunately, this disappointment continues with music and personal videos. Of course a user must understand that this system is only intended for video viewing of YouTube content; it is not a full multimedia streamer as with other systems. Therefore, it is very difficult to view many video subscription services such as Netflix or Amazon prime with this system unless there are apps for these services included on your Android device. Finally, there is no possibility of viewing pictures with this unit. Actually, we were disappointed with the large number of things we were not able to do with this unit. No outside channels were available. We found that to be very limiting and enouhg to choose another system.

Verdict

Overall, we were thoroughly disappointed with the Google Nexus Q. There are many bugs within the unit and much functionality was not available. This is unfortunate considering there are other systems available that provide support for multiple services, file formats, and multimedia capabilities all at a lower price. While the design of this unit is very stylish and looks extremely attractive sitting on a shelf, the lack of functions provided with this system does not justify a $300 price tag. In fact, we walked away wondering why this unit was created to begin with. This system was released with the intention of being a multimedia streaming device. However, it does not deliver much value in that arena to a user who has just spent $300.

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