There are smartphones, there are full-blown home consoles, and then there are the hordes of other streaming media products that occupy that hazy middle section. That may be what the new Google Nexus Player might be from a cursory look, a puck shaped media streaming device powered by Google’s brand new Android TV platform (based on Android 5.0 Lollipop), but the company wants it to be just more than that – especially considering that its Chromecast is one formidable media streaming gadget on its own. Specifically, the Nexus Player not only caters to the usual set of functionality akin to every media streamer, but it’s also being pegged as a gaming console as well.
The package contains:
Remote with voice search
2 AAA batteries
Warranty, safety and regulatory booklet
Quick start guide
In a way, it’s generic looking, but it’s the kind of the thing that doesn’t need to take precedence amongst the other things in your home entertainment center.
From the looks of it all, Google loves to keep its products simple looking – and that’s exactly what we’re presented with the Nexus Player, which interestingly enough, is made by Asus. This puck shaped, all-plastic body screams minimalism and simplicity to the tooth, which isn’t a bad thing per se, considering that it keeps a discrete figure amongst the other things cluttering up your home entertainment center. With its diminutive diameter of 4.7-inches, it’s undoubtedly a lot more compact than say, your cable box, home gaming console, and cable modems.
Most of the body consists of plastic, one that doesn’t necessarily scream sturdiness with its construction, but it doesn’t have to because it’s something that’s meant to be stationary when it’s finally set up. Around the sides, it’s adorned with a glossy plastic accent, which gives it a pleasant contrast. On its underside, we have Asus’ name brandished across it – with a recessed button that does nothing but place the Nexus Player into its Bluetooth searching mode. Yeah, we don’t get why it functions as that, but it is what it is. Lastly, the cutout on the back accommodates the unit’s power jack, microUSB port, and HDMI port.
Remote with voice search
Included with the purchase is an elongated, pill-shaped Bluetooth enable remote, which is the tool that we use to interact with the Nexus Player. Like the Player itself, the remote is as barebones and generic looking as it can get. Essentially, it features a circular directional pad, and dedicated home, back, and pause/play buttons. Plopped at the top, though, is another button to launch its voice search function – a useful and handy feature that searches media content.
An optional accessory, the gamepad controller will set you back another $39.99 to pick up – on top of the $99.99 cost of the Nexus Player by itself. Visually, it very much looks like the XBOX 360 controller, so it’s pretty nice to have a versatile gamepad that works appropriately for certain gaming titles. Right away, it’s a pretty polished offering, seeing that its layout similarly follows the popular Xbox gamepad. From its dual-analog sticks, to its shoulder bumpers, and analog triggers, gamers will appreciate the easy adjustment in using it.