With Christmas coming there are tons of new devices vying for your money and one is the new Nexus Player. You may be asking questions like: Should I buy the Nexus Player? Should you take out a new mortgage or sell off my kids to pay for it? Well, that is for you to decide! On the second question, you may need to revisit your parental training but, valid question, at $100 you should be able to keep your kids.
Google has really stepped up to the plate with their Nexus products packaging. Every time you get a Nexus device, it is like opening a Christmas present. Google makes sure to put little flairs throughout. This box has an embossed "P" on the inner white box. These subtle little touches make you feel like an explorer who just discovered a new bird species. Quality packaging always makes the product feel more polished. Apple has been doing these little tricks for years and now others are starting to see the benefits.
The Nexus Player is an incredibly well built piece of hardware. Its understated design works well for the intended use, sit in your entertainment center and draw little attention to itself. My black entertainment center almost makes it disappear. Correctly described as a “Puck” across the internets. The Player is a bit larger in diameter then a hockey puck and has a nice dense heft that is reminiscent of a hockey puck. The topside has very clean lines without any seams which flow nicely to the underside. When flipped over there is an understated LED that shows when the device is powered and gives a nice low glow. A section carved out on the underside allows for the power and HDMI cable insertion. There should be no reasonable expectation of this but, it would have been cool if when placing the Nexus Player on its “rim” it would balance so that the cable inputs would point straight up instead of at an angle.
The Remote is light weight, almost to the point of feeling hollow. However, the buttons feel nice and have a satisfying click. A nifty LED/Microphone combo decision placed an LED in a circle with the Microphone hole in the center. Very cool design! The remote is Bluetooth so you don’t need line of sight. This should allow you to tuck the player deep inside your entertainment center without a problem. Funny side note, even though you know it is Bluetooth, you still find yourself pointing it in the direction of the TV.
Heads up for those who would like to use the OTG (On The Go) USB Cable, be sure not to get one with the right angle plug as it will not fit. The user experience is extremely good, smooth, no lag, and fluid animations. There is currently a lack of apps/games you can access through the Play Store on the console. This is good… and sad. It is good because the apps that are not listed may not completely work with the D-pad (I side-loaded some to see) but, sad because Android’s ecosystem is so vibrant and all you get is this puny selection… TIP: Some apps can be installed through the Play Store on your computer's web browser. It is kind of hit and miss, so you will have to look at each app. If you plan on this, I would highly recommend getting a mouse. Another negative is the storage, at 8 GB this is tiny! I can only hope that an update to the Nexus Player is for external storage. Luckily the gameplay experience is superb! Playing games on the Nexus Player is fantastic and as more apps implement full controller support this will only get better. I used the Game Stop Red Samurai Android controller and it worked perfectly. We weren't able to purchase the Nexus Players Game controller for this test, hopefully we will be able to cover that in the future.
The Nexus Player was an amazing experience with the available apps/games and a great design. It also works well as a Chromecast.
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