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.

Mike Dobbs

Mike is responsible for overseeing strategic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) initiatives for 360i's clients. Since joining 360i in 2000, Mike has successfully managed large-scale search marketing campaigns for leading Fortune 500 marketers, implementing strategies that leverage the changing natural search landscape and its emerging opportunities to propel 360i clients to the top of the SERPs.

A nationally recognized search marketing expert, Mike has been quoted as a search engine expert in leading publications and regularly contributes to 360i’s blog, Digital Connections. Mike holds a BS in Business Administration from The College of Charleston. For more on Mike, follow him on Twitter at @mikedobbs.