Nexus Player Initial Thoughts

Dean was almost more excited than me
I gotta say, I was really excited for the Nexus Player.  My son and I love playing games on the phone and tablet, and he's been really bugging me to get an Xbox; I figured this would be a nice compromise.

Plus, my Google TV was starting to show its age, so I was hoping to retire it and get something new.

That was my mistake was those 2 expectations.  Sure, I had read all the reviews... I should know what to expect; yet, like when I had the Smart Watch, and went to Android Wear.  Just because I had something old, I expected similar behaviour in the new improved.

Bluetooth accessory to Android Wear, Google TV to Android TV.  They're almost 2 different worlds.

So, let me tell you how it fell short of my expectations before I tell you how much I love it.

Where it falls short of my hopes and dreams
Alright, so because I came from the world of Google TV I was hoping to be able to use my Player just like that.  Plug in my cable source, use a keyboard.  I was sure that I wouldn't get the same as regular Android for apps as the Google TV was a fair bit limited as well.  Then most of the games you'll want to add in are over $5 to play.

I really missed having a keyboard and easily switching between TV and Android... oh yeah, and not browsing is kind of a pain.

The other let down is it's slow.  Oh, not as slow as the Google TV, but definitely not as fast as even my Note 8 tablet.  Now, I could chalk some of that up to my internet as it's been dicey lately, but still the animations are fluid but often loading up youtube or the play store doesn't load any options or UI.  I'll have to go in and force stop that app and then re-open it.  It happens about a couple times a day.

Then there's the random reboots.  Nothing pisses me off more than making a wicked lap on Asphalt 8 and then just as I hit the finish line my set will reboot.

I have no idea what sets it off.  I've reset, loaded apps minimally, even flashed the factory image.  Doesn't seem to be any particular app... just every once in a while.  Again, it could be a bad unit and I'll wait to see about talking to Google about an RMA.

The last little bit I'm not a fan of is how you have to tie it to an account.  I've set up a 'family account' for the Google TV, but then we wont' get the games I've paid for on my personal.  There should be a way to be able to temporarily log in to an account for games when your phone or device is connected to it or something.

Why I still love it
Mainly... the gamepad.  You know how I love playing games on my phone with my Steelseries controller.

And when you play the games, the games themselves are not really slow at all... usually pretty responsive once you're playing.

I love that it still acts as a Chromecast.  So unplugging that and putting this in didn't mean I lost anything.  And the videos look better than on the Chromecast or Google TV (is it able to put out higher res, or draw a higher res signal?).

Controlling it with the phone app is neat (however it's kind of redundant as most things you'd use just the player itself for besides games you could just 'cast').

Essentially, I love the IDEA that is Android TV.  And sure, this is a first device, so there's bound to be bugs.  But I love being in this space.  I can't wait for the next version.