The Asus built Nexus Player goes on-sale next week at JB Hifi and Dick Smith. While Google hasn’t mentioned whether the Android TV box will be available on Google Play, if you want a Nexus Player on day one, the time to order the unit is now. But do you want the Nexus Player?
Both JB Hifi and Dick Smith have added the Nexus Player to their websites offering pre-orders at $129. JB Hifi mentions that the pre-orders are available now online, with stock due in store from the 28th of April. While you can grab a Nexus Player from both sites, neither site makes mention of the $49 Nexus Player controller, which you’ll need to take advantage of the gaming capabilities of Android TV.
The specs on the Nexus Player are pretty decent, but it’s a bare bones release with no ethernet port, a slightly slower Intel based processor, but overall, it’s a pretty good package.
|Chipset||1.8GHz Quad Core, Intel® Atom™
Imagination PowerVR Series 6 Graphics 2D/3D Engine
|Ports||18W DC power
HDMI out (1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz)
|Connectivity||802.11ac 2×2 (MIMO)
|Size||120mm x 120mm x 20mm|
|Remote||2 AAA batteries (included in box)
40g (excluding batteries)
37mm x 140mm x 16mm
If you’re not taken by the Nexus Player, what are the other options on the market? There’s a couple, starting with the Razer Forge, there’s the Shield Console, and very soon there’ll be Sony televisions with Android TV built right in. Let’s take a look at the choices.
The Razer Forge is coming soon, Razer has announced an official Australian release and it’s available to pre-order from EB Games and Harvey Norman. The Razer Forge sports higher end Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, double the Nexus Players RAM and storage, as well as the coveted ethernet port which has been an oft requested feature for Android TV – but at a higher price :
- Console – $158
- Console + Controller – $238
- Console – $159
- Console + Controller – $239.95
The Razer Forge TV offers a fairly high-end hardware specification, including :
- 2.5GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 Krait 450 CPU with Adreno 420 GPU
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB Storage
- Bluetooth 4.1 + HS, Wifi 802.11 AC 2×2 + Gigabit Ethernet
- HDMI 1.4, USB 3.0 and DC in
- Android 5.0 (Lollipop)
The dark horse is the NVidia Shield Console which again has that ethernet port, as well as the latest Nvidia X1 processor and even more RAM at 3GB and a microSD Card slot to expand the 16GB storage. The downside is that there isn’t any guarantee that Nvidia is going to sell it in Australia – despite their claims to be attempting to bring it in. If NVidia don’t sell the Shield Console in Australia then you’ll have to jump through the old import hoops of shipping forwarders. But it’s an option.
Hardware wise, the Shield console is a beast:
- NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor
with 3 GB RAM
- 256-core NVIDIA Maxwell™ GPU
- 3GB RAM
- 16GB on-board storage with microSD Card Slot
- 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
- Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, Two USB 3.0 (Type A), Micro-USB 2.0, IR receiver (compatible with Logitech Harmony)
- 4K Ultra-HD ready with 4K playback and capture up to 60 fps (VP9, H265, H264)
- 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound pass through over HDMI
- High-resolution audio up-sample to 24-bit/192 kHz over USB
- High-resolution audio playback up to 24-bit/192 kHz over HDMI and USB
- 130x210x25mm @ 645 grams
- Android TV™, Google Cast™ Ready
- Includes Plex pre-installed
- 40W power adapter
Pricing wise, there’s the issue of no availability here so there’s no AU price, but in the US you’ll pay US$199.95 + shipping to a shipping forwarder and then whatever price on top of that to get it to our fair shores.
At CES this year, one of the biggest names in the TV world – Sony – announced their new line up of TV’s which would be powered by Android TV. The TV’s range from 2K to 4K resolution and come in a vast array of models. While buying a whole new TV set to get into Android TV is a big step, if you’re in need of a new TV then this will be a good option to consider as Sony make pretty good hardware and with Google doing the software it’s a pretty good match.
Pricing and availablity wise, Sony hasn’t announced plans for the Australian market, but we do know that they will be releasing Sony TV’s running Android TV in Australia this year. Sony recently announced pricing and availability for the US market, so while the pricing below is in US dollars, it does give you an idea of what to expect.
4K Ultra HD TV series
|X830C||$1,299.99, $1,599.99||43” class (42.5” diag),49” class (48.5” diag)|
|X850C||$2,199.99, $3,499.99, $4,999.99||55” class (54.6” diag) , 65” class (64.5” diag), 75” class (74.5” diag)|
|X900C||TBA||55” class (54.6” diag) , 65” class (64.5” diag)|
|X910C||TBA||75” class (74.5” diag)|
|X930C||$4,499.99||65” class (64.5” diag)|
|X940C||$7,999.99||75” class (74.5” diag)|
2K HD TV series
|R510C||$479.99, $529.99||40” diag.48” class (47.6” diag.)|
|W800C||$999.99, $1,299.99||50” diag.,55” class (54.6” diag)** 55” class pre-sale begins in June|
|W850C||$1,899.99, $2,999.99||65” class (64.5” diag), 75” class (74.5” diag)|
Android TV is still fairly new, but thanks to being available in the US for a while there’s some apps out there. There’s not been a massive take-up for it from game manufacturers, though big name app developers have come on board pretty quickly. To help you look at what content is available, Google has made two focuses for Android TV Games and Apps on Google Play which will let you peruse your options before purchasing.
Note that found out this week, that there has been almost no interest so far from Australian broadcasters for the Nexus Player or Android TV. But as a new platform, it’s going to be a wait and see – if there’s massive sales, you can bet that broadcasters will change their tune.
So. The big question is – Will you buy a Nexus Player on Tuesday?
Feel Free to discuss in the comments – but let’s keep it nice ;).