With the launch of the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, Google also quietly launched the Nexus Player. It’s a TV console designed to bring you a vaster ray of content and entertainment to your television. This is the said device and from a hardware standpoint, it’s very minimal and sort of best resembles a plastic hockey puck. The top and bottom is matted while the circular side is a glossy black. It’s not very heavy nor is it too lightweight to the point it can easily be slipped around.
The bottom is home to the AC power port, the microUSB cable port and the HDMI ports because that is really all you need to hook it up to a TV, just an HDMI connection. The other physical device associated with the Nexus Player is this remote. It’s pretty standard, kind of resembles the Apple TV remote and the Fire TV remotes specifically. There’s a Voice Speak button up top that can speak voice commands, there’s the directional pad and home, back and pause play buttons, and also the back is indented or curved inwards a little bit. It’s nothing really special, it just kind of feels lightweight, cheap, and simple because it is all of those things.
Once we hook up the Nexus Player to the TV, the setup is pretty straightforward. You’ll be presented with this screen once everything is functional and the system is on and ready to use. This is the main menu and it’s running Android 5.0 Lollipop, which you can see if we go to the settings and we go to About section. Yes, even the Nexus Player is running the latest version of Android 5.0 Lollipop, which I think is important to show you before we dive into the contents because you’ll quickly realize Material Design is definitely present here in this operating system.
If we go back to the home screen, at the top we have an option to search for movies, TV and more. If we click on that, we can use the Voice Search functionality from the remote where you can talk into your remote and it’ll search for whatever you like. And what’s cool is that you don’t have to search specifically for a TV show or a movie. You can search for various other info and it will present it to you just like Google Now. The only difference is that the search results will pretty much only be video results, mainly YouTube specifically.
Also, you can set reminders or alarms, like you could do in Google Now or anything like that really which would be pretty cool to see implemented here since it does link to your Google account. I feel like it would be possible and easy to implement but right now it’s pretty basic but the voice search functionality does work well.
If we go back home underneath that we’ll find a column of movies and TV shows along with YouTube videos thrown in there as well. All of which, will be displayed on this one column here. The content you see here only appears to be imported from playing movies and TV and YouTube. I haven’t noticed any Netflix recommendations appearing here, which is kind of unfortunate. What is cool though is that when you click on one of these YouTube suggestions, the video will still be playing when you search through the suggested videos and even when you go home to look for more content, it still remains playing in the background and doesn’t stop playing. I thought that was a really cool addition.
Underneath that column though, we have a column for all the installed apps. There’s YouTube, Google Play Music, Netflix, Hulu Plus, games and Songza. And then if we go into the Google Play Store, there are categories for entertainment apps, which has a pretty decent selection; some of the more popular ones are the Travel Channel, the NBA Game Time app, PBS and TED Talks. There’s also a category for music apps, which include Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn Radio among others. And then the last three categories are just primarily for games. There’s Pacman, Riptide GP2, Modern Combat 4, and Asphalt 8. I do actually like how they categorized games for the gamepad and for the remote separately so you can actually find the games for each input device of your choice.
But I was using the remote to play games and the system handled the games pretty well. It certainly no next gen console, the graphics really won’t wow you at all and the performance isn’t great. It’s not bad though, I didn’t notice any serious lag. It’s just not my preferred console for gaming that is for sure.
Just overall, the Nexus Player performs well for being such a new device. It shows off the new Android TV platform with no problems. I think Android TV really has potential since the platform has more time to mature and developers have more time to develop apps. There’s a decent selection of apps right now and it hasn’t really been out for very long at all.
Two additions that I do want to mention about the system that I really like is that it also acts as Chromecast so you can stream content to this device from your phone, laptop or tablet just like you would normally do with Chromecast. I found that really useful. Also, you can use your phone or tablet as your remote by downloading the Nexus Player remote app so I liked that a lot too.
For $100, I don’t think this is the best TV streaming console out there. Android is just a little bit late to the game. But if you’re an Android junkie and you don’t have Chromecast or you’re looking to buy a Chromecast but would like a visual interface to go along with your Chromecast, then the Google Nexus Player is probably the device for you.
I hope you guys enjoyed this video. If you guys have any questions at all, be sure to send them to me.