What is the difference between Google Chromecast HDMI streaming media player and Google Nexus player? This is the question you’re probably asking.
Yes, why should you buy Google Nexus player and not Google Chromecast media player? This is truly one of the top five media streaming players that is tailored for your home entertainment.
This is the media streaming player that gives you favorite apps. Google Nexus player is bigger than Google Chromecast HDMI streaming media player but it is still a Chromecast.
Google Nexus player review. . . can Google continue the momentum of the Chromecast? You’re aware that Google is a leading company when it comes to search engine.
It is among the companies that are leading in technology. However, this doesn’t mean that Google always gets it right when it comes to creating new products. Some of its products have failed.
Google struggled to bring the brand to the TV space. Back in 2010, Google unveiled the Google TV platform, an Android-based platform that OEMs can integrate into their TVs and set-top boxes.
Unfortunately, the platform as a whole launched was half-baked and failed to attract content providers. Two years later, Google threw a curve ball and announced the Nexus Q which sported a unique orb-like look and solely focused on media streaming.
Despite the excellent YouTube streaming capabilities, the product failed to impress too because it was too expensive and confusing to use.
Then Google scored a win with the tiny Chromecast HDMI dongle. It couldn’t do everything that a $99 set-top box could but it was mighty useful for Chrome and Android lovers and it only costs $35 or sometimes even less.
This was a pretty big moment for Google as it helped repair its TV image and it allowed Google to push a new TV platform called Android TV with much fanfare.
Not wanting to make the same mistake twice, Google decided to partner with ASUS and make its own set-top box that can bring the Android TV platform to any display. And that is how Google Nexus player came to existence.
Android At Its Best for the TV
The Google Nexus player is faithful to the Nexus brand as it runs the latest and greatest Android version at the time of writing-Lollipop 5.0.
That should be enough to convince any Android fan that this set-top box should outperform Google TV which didn’t even get KitKat.
But you won’t see a bunch of icons on the TV after turning on the device.
Android TV takes more of a tiled approach where you can see nice previews of featured content on Google Play and YouTube.
Unlike the competing Smart TV platforms and set-top boxes, the Google Nexus player gives your TV access to the Play Store.
This means that you can install any Android apps and games that are compatible with Android TV and access all the music, movies and TV shows you purchased for immediate streaming.
Since Android has a pretty rich ecosystem of online streaming apps, Google Nexus player made a great first impression offering support for a plethora of services including Netflix, DailyMotion, TuneIn Radio, iHeartRadio, Food Network, MusixMatch, Crackle, Vevo, PBS Kids and many others.
Even big time apps like Plex can be installed in the Google Nexus player if you want to significantly expand its capabilities.
1.) Searching Extraordinaire
Controlling the Google Nexus player is pretty straightforward thanks to the simple interface that isn’t as overbearing as the ones featured in other Smart TV platforms.
The remote of Google Nexus player only has a few buttons and it is pretty responsive when it comes to scrolling tiles and picking items.
You can even link your Android Smartphone or tablet to the Google Nexus player and use the mobile device as a remote keyboard making text-entry a lot easier.
Entering text is in this manner is mighty useful since the Google Nexus player puts a lot of emphasis on search. On a basic level, you can look for just about anything present in your Google Nexus player or Google Play account whether it is an app you want to launch or a specific movie you bought.
But this search bar is a lot smarter and can understand natural queries quite well. If you want to find all the movies with Tom Cruise in it, you can simply type movies with Tom Cruise.
Unlike other media streaming players, Google Nexus player knows which movies won an Academy Award or can restrict the selection to movies made in the 90s. All of this is done through the search bar with no fancy drop-down boxes to deal with.
2.) A Voice-controlled Companion You Can Rely On
The Nexus player’s secret weapon is its voice recognition. Like other Google apps and services, you can see Google’s iconic blue button with a microphone suggesting that you won’t even need a keyboard to conduct these smart searches.
That small basic remote mentioned earlier? It has a built-in microphone and it works a lot better than all those other Smart TVs that come with gimmicky remotes with microphones.
You can conveniently activate the voice-search feature at any time by pressing the microphone button found on the remote. After that, you just utter those same queries and more often than not, the command is understood.
This feature only works for Google apps so you won’t be able to use it on other third-party apps.
3.) Ready for Gaming
No, the Google Nexus player isn’t going to do battle against the Xbox One, PS4 and Wii but for a set-top box, it is a pretty capable gaming machine.
Some of the famous titles in Google Play like Riptide GP2, Soul Calibur and even the Final Fantasy games are present and if you bought them on your Smartphone, you can play them right on your TV.
Heavy games like Modern Combat 4 have moments of lag but most 3D games play beautifully on the Intel Atom-powered Nexus player.
Since Android TV isn’t optimized for touch, the games selection isn’t very vast although that can easily change if the developer wishes to add support.
There are guidelines to follow but it doesn’t involve submitting to a different app store like the OUYA. Installed games appear right below the apps strip so you don’t have to organize them like you would on a regular Android device.
The only catch is that you have to buy a $40 gamepad that looks like an Xbox controller. It doesn’t feel as good as an Xbox controller but it offers a complete set of buttons including two analog sticks and the usual top buttons.
It uses Bluetooth to connect to the Nexus player since the player itself lacks a full-size USB port but if you happen to have a USB OTG cable, you can connect a wired Xbox 360 controller to the player and enjoy compatibility with most games.
The Bluetooth controller can still join the fun too if you’re playing a 2-player game. Even if you prefer the Bluetooth controller, that same USB OTG cable can be used for extra storage so you can, for instance, add a 32 GB flash drive to greatly expand the Nexus player’s paltry 8 GB internal storage.
4.) Bigger Than Google Chromecast Media Player, But Still a Chromecast
The Google Nexus player comes with all the functionality of a Chromecast which should be awesome for anyone who was on the fence in getting a Google Chromecast media player (although the Chromecast is a lot more travel-friendly).
Google calls this feature Google Cast and it allows Windows, Mac, Android and Chrome OS devices to beam the Chrome browser and other supported apps to the Google Nexus player.
Google Chromecast media player still lags behind AirPlay but it continues to be improved as more developers add Chromecast support to their apps.
Benefits, Features and Specifications
- Equipped with 1 microUSB port (with OTG support), HDMI port, 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1.
- Powered by a 1.8 GHz Quad-core Intel Atom processor with 1 GB RAM and 8 GB onboard storage.
- Google Cast (Chromecast) Ready.
- Runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop with Play Store access.
- Comes with remote control with voice search. Gamepad sold separately for $39.99.
Google Nexus Player Review and Scores from Customers
Reception on Amazon was mixed with a 3.7 out of 5-star average rating by 36 customers. Most of the customers praised it particularly liking how simple and snappy the interface was.
Most customers liked the built-in Chromecast support as it added a great degree of flexibility. Screen mirroring is a huge hit according to the customer reviews.
Opinions on the remote control were divided with some claiming that it was simple and that the voice search was highly accurate while others billed it as cheaply made.
The common negative point revolved around the lack of apps and games. Fortunately, the Nexus player runs on Android so it is possible to install APKs.
Some people expected a USB 3.0 port while others were annoyed by the minor bugs ranging from audio dropping to occasional freezing. Most of the problems are software-related so you can expect the player to only get better when updates rollout.
As evidenced by the mixed reviews from customers, Google Nexus player is not by any means a perfect product. But Android TV is miles better than Google TV and you have to remember that you’re essentially getting a Chromecast too which was widely praised by critics and customers alike.
But the best thing about the Nexus player is the vision that it represents. Google has a better shot at the living room this time around and it has special weapons like the Google Play ecosystem and voice search.
Since this set-top box is under the Nexus banner, you can also expect major updates to hit the Nexus player giving it even more capabilities. There is no waiting for OEMs to release updates which quite frankly, don’t add significant features.
The Nexus player is pretty strong on the hardware-side so now Google has to iron out the bugs, beef up the Play Store and encourage developers to code for Android TV to improve the selection of apps and games.
On top of that, the Google Nexus player can instantly upgrade any dumb TV to a very Smart and polished one that any Android fan should love.
- Read Also: Google Chromecast Media Player Review