About a year ago I replaced our aging Roku 2 XS in our bedroom with a Nexus Player, the device would be used mostly by my kids before bedtime. My Roku 2 XS was having issues with connectivity, living in a two-story house can make things difficult for wireless devices which wouldn’t be the case with the Nexus Player and it’s 802.11ac 2×2(MIMO) wireless. Resolving the connection issue wasn’t the only thing that sold me it was also the performance of the Nexus Player over my Roku 2 XS; Nexus Player comes equip with a 1.8GHz Quad Core Intel Atom Processor with 1GB of memory and a IMG PowerVR Series 6 Graphics 2D/3D Engine.
Getting around in the Nexus Player was quite familiar as I and my family only own Android devices, I found that it’s user interface was so easy to use that my parents could use it which was a great selling point for my wife. One draw back to the Nexus Player was that it didn’t allow you to use Amazon Video, unless of course you side load it which might not be easy for the average consumer. There was one issue I had that to this day I’m not sure if it’s the TV or the Nexus Player but every so often when you’d turn on the TV there was no signal from the Nexus Player and to fix it I’d need to power cycle the device; I tried everything from different HDMI cables, just unplugging the HDMI, trying a different HDMI port, pressing buttons on the Nexus remote, the only thing that worked was power cycling it. Of course this issue could be just my TV but it frustrated me as it’s not an easy task to power cycle something hidden behind your wall mounted TV.
The remote is entirely plastic and reminded me of the Amazon Fire TV remote only cheaper and it doesn’t include a headphone jack like the Roku 3/4/etc. I never purchased a gamepad as I felt I’d rather just use my PC or my Xbox One if I was going to play games and for that reason never could justify the additional $30-50 purchase. As for the Nexus Player device it’s fairly light, shaped in a circle with a cut out on the bottom for you to plug-in the power, HDMI and micro USB. It’s small shape 120 x 120 x 20 mm made it easy to hide behind the wall mounted TV or elsewhere.
The Nexus Player was released on November 4th, 2014 for $100 and for that same price you can buy one today even though there hasn’t been any upgrades to its hardware. That being said, the Roku 4 came out last month (October 2015) with a quad-core processor, 0.5GB more memory and the ability to stream 4K which except for the additional memory and 4K streaming brings it up to par with the Nexus Player almost a year later.
My review of the Nexus Player is long overdue but shockingly the Nexus Player still holds ground in the battle of media streaming devices, you just might want to score it at a discounted price as I’m guessing a new model is on the horizon.
Nexus Player Specs:
Processor: 1.8GHz Intel Atom SoC (quad-core)
Graphics: IMG PowerVR Series 6 Graphics 2D/3D Engine
Memory: 1GB LPDDR3
Storage: 8GB eMMC storage
Connectivity: 2×2 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system: Android TV (Android 5.0 Lollipop)
Ports: 18W power, 1 x HDMI out, 1 x micro-USB 2.0
Size: 120 x 120 x 20 mm (L x W x H)
Weight: 8.29 ounces (235g)
Accessories: Remote with 2 AAA batteries
Android TV OS
Easy to set up and use
802.11ac 2×2 MIMI wireless
Unable to use Amazon TV app without side-loading app
TV couldn’t find Nexus Player signal