ASUS-Built Google Nexus Player: What Is It and Who Is It For?

There may be a lot of Android TV dongles and boxes out there, but none of them was really built with the official blessing of the big G. None of them except for the newly launched ASUS Nexus Player, that is.

Remember last year’s crazy rumors about Google launching a console? Well, it looks that they eventually came true, in the form of an Android TV box that’s named the Nexus Player. Mind you, this round device (btw, that’s a nice change from Apple and Amazon’s rectangular TV boxes) isn’t made just for gaming, even though that’s a nice bonus. The Nexus Player was built for running all sorts of Android apps, and can stream movies and music straight from Google’s Play Store.

One of the small details that will set the Nexus Player apart from not only its competition, but also similar Android TV boxes is the remote control. It has only a few buttons, so in this aspect it’s quite similar to the one that comes with the Apple TV. However, one of those buttons is exactly what makes the difference. The Nexus Player’s remote control features a voice search (or rather voice command) button, which means that the device itself works superbly in tandem with Google Now.

The Nexus Player line also includes a gaming controller that’s sold separately. As great as touchscreens may be on mobile devices, when it comes to gaming on a large screen, nothing beats a real hardware controller. Well, maybe a keyboard and mouse set is slightly better, but not in the Android world.

It’s nice that Google has considered making the Nexus Player compatible not only with Android devices, but also with iOS ones. When you want to stream content from the mobile device to the TV using the Player, it no longer matters what operating system you’re running.

Also, syncing content between Android devices is great, if you want to start watching a movie on the TV, but want to continue it on the sofa.

Connecting the Nexus Player to the TV is dead simple, as the Android TV box comes with an HDMI out port. In terms of technical specs, it’s equipped with 1.8GHz Quad Core, Intel Atom CPU and an Wi-Fi ac card.

At $99, the Nexus Player is a tad more expensive than Amazon’s Fire TV, but slightly cheaper than the Apple TV. The problem comes when wanting to play games, as the controller costs an additional $39.

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