Google Nexus Player Review

On November 25, 2014 by Mike Dobbs

My review of Google Nexus Player:  I got the player set up this last weekend, and have some opinions.

player-controller-767Setup:

Easy to get going, as advertised. It only took about 8 minutes to get it up and going. Putting batteries into the remote was most time consuming, a process that made me question the quality and design of the remote. What a disaster taking the plastic off the back.

Remote:
I give it a D-. Feels cheap, it is not solid, and it does not feel very good in your hand

Gamepad:

Very solid, and everything I’d hoped for, because I’m a casual gamer. That said, I’m not sure why it does not have a microphone for voice search, because I’d rather simply use it than the cheap remote and put that plastic toy in the trash.

Voice search:

Works great on my Phone’s remote app. However, the standard plastic remote does not seem to work, and is really frustrating. I’d say it works 5% of the time, so something seems wrong. The phone app works 99% of the time. i.e. if I say “movies with Ed Norton”, the phone app works like a gem, but the plastic remote does not seem to register most of the time.  Which had me wondering where the mic was located. Oddly, it seemed to work better when I spoke further away from the remote.. Started to wonder if the microphone was on the puck vs the remote.

Apps:
Netflix was really buggy, and it did not want to load at times. When it did, I was asked for my password, and you could not use the gamepad or remote to manually punch in the letters, I had to go to my paired phone app to enter the password. Why can’t I pick?

Downloads:
I had a few strange things happen while downloading, and had to uninstall “Asphalt” and re-install, because it got stuck on the load page.

Examples:
Netflix – I don’t love the layout. Too much visual crap and less options in the navigation..
Songza – I’ve yet to set up, as my mobile chrome browser on the nexus 5 would not resolve the pin entry URL displayed on the screen. Odd, owned by Google, figured this would just sync up and work??
YouTube: It’s a B-, and really feel they can do a lot better.
Google Music – I like it, feels good, but why can’t I buy songs in Google Play Shop, strange.

Streaming – In general, I feel like the speed of load on YouTube and Netflix is faster on the Chromecast.

Casting – I actually have not tested.

Gaming – Overall, I love the gaming part, and it’s kinda the reason I dropped money on this thing. The entertainment alone on a handful of games is good enough, but do hope developers get busy increasing the game options.  If somebody develops a nice Tiger Woods / PGA golf game, I’ll be happy with the Nexus Player purchase but also hope they work out some of the kinks in the software.

Overall:
I consider myself a Google fan boy, but I”m giving this a “C-” user experience at the moment. Frankly, I’m shocked Google launched this thing give their track record of backlash with Q and GTV. Why do anything less than an A? Perhaps it the saying “Don’t worry be crappy” and launch version 1.0.

I hope 1.1 has some upgrades.

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