I recently purchased a Google Nexus Player – for those that don’t know it’s a digital media player similar to the Apple TV. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. I owned an Apple TV but wanted to experience the Google product; I guess that’s what us geeks do!
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting with the Nexus Player, and I tried to like it, I gave it ample opportunity to redeem itself, but it just did not make the cut. I have to say I am disappointed. It’s a device that I felt was not polished. It seems like a continuous work in progress.
Three things stood out for me that, that when compared to the Apple TV show that the Nexus player is slightly inferior.
How do you navigate your way around
At first, the interface was something that I liked, I am a fan of the material design that Google uses. I liked how relevant the videos were at the top of the screen. I also like the hands-free navigation, where you could just speak to the controller and like magic your show would display. I have to say that the voice recognition was about 98% accurate that did not surprise me but was nice to see.
I am not a fan of the endless scrolling, and at times I felt like navigating left and right went on forever. I had a hard time finding video podcasts, unlike the Apple TV that has a podcast app – I found I had to take 3-7 steps to get to what I wanted. That could just be my inexperience, but I was able to pick up the Apple TV and navigate very quickly. I would score the Interface a C+.
Voice controls seem to work just fine
The controls had me confused at times; I had a tendency always to use the back button anytime I wanted to get out of an area. I typically pressed it several times to bounce to the home screen. I know there is a home screen button, but I seldom used it.
As mentioned earlier I did leverage the voice recognition piece often, as it seems to work the best. But there were times when I had tried to use the voice control and the controller who have a white light flashing on top and be unresponsive. That’s when I removed the batteries and sometimes reset the device. I would score the controls C+.
Where are the apps that I want?
This was one area I did not like, now it might not be the fault of the player but rather the apps designed for it, or maybe I am so used to the Apple TV apps that anything different just seems unusable. One of the oddest things I’ve seen is when the device wakes up from daydream mode – yes screensaver mode is called Daydream mode.
Once the Nexus woke up, some of the apps were unresponsive, for example, YouTube – I would click YouTube, and the menu and videos would be blank. I would force stop the app, which I found in the settings area and if that did not work I would reboot and/or unplug the device to get the application to start again – very annoying.
There was also a limited selection of apps, and again I could not find a dedicated podcast app so that I could watch video podcasts, like on Apple TV. I give the apps a C+.
Maybe I am just an Apple Fanboy; I will be buying a new Apple TV soon, it’s just disappointing that they had to raise the price on that device. In the end, I may just use my Nexus player as a Chromecast device – well see. I would score the Nexus player C+ overall. It’s a good-looking device, but I think I’m going to stay with my Apple TV.
Do you have a Nexus Player? What has your experience been? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading