News Nexus Q in review: futuristic media streamer with potential...

Nexus Q in review: futuristic media streamer with potential but not much more


With the Nexus Q dares Google the next attack on the living room and home theater in the world. And indeed with style: on the TV cabinet looks more like a Q to the nexus of the subject sprung from Diablo 3 – and less for home theater hardware. While also at the Google I / O provided tablets presented Nexus 7 with an extremely low price of vortices, the search giant reached down with his strong media streamer: $ 300 will cost the gadget. Whether it is worth the purchase price, the test reveals.

Responsible for the high acquisition costs should distinguish among other things, the fact that Google finished the Nexus Q rather than in the Far East, but in the U.S. homeland can. Presumably, to the glowing sphere in different colors also tend not to target the general mass, but developers and geeks alike give a good indication of what you are in Mountain View, California presents the future living room. One thing is certain: it looks stylish in any case, this future.

If you look behind the facade, however, is alarmingly quickly realized how little can the Nexus Q actually. The Google-ball streaming content from Play Music, Play TV & Movies on YouTube and – and that’s it. Support for Netflix, Pandora, Spotify, etc. One looks in vain. Nevertheless: Also on board is an integrated amplifier, which drives a pair of speakers. But even so, it would be very difficult to justify to Apple TV (100 €) & Co. significantly higher acquisition costs.


But piece by piece to the first: As I said, the Nexus Q looks absolutely fantastic. The black ball is only slightly flattened at the bottom, so as not to roll off the shelf. The case makes a strong impression processed, which also fits with the approximately one kilogram final weight. The matte black finish is also fairly insensitive to fingerprints – but very often they will not take the device already in hand. After switching to show a diagonal to the Sphere pulling LED ring and a tiny LED in the middle, that something happened. With the look of the gadget is definitely one of those where guests will be curious to ask, ‘What is this please’

By a tap on the single LED, the sound is muted. Turning to the upper hemisphere controls the volume up or down. The bottom line is gratifying work practically and intuitively. Mostly you will use the gadget anyway on an Android device.

Communication with the outside world largely done wirelessly. Here Q is the nexus of both dual-band WLAN supports IEEE 802.11n, Bluetooth and NFC (Near Field Communication). For computing line in the house is a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM available to the side. The operating system Android 4.0 is used, also has 16 GB of integrated flash memory.

On the back of the Nexus Q are the connections. This brings to the manufacturer with a Micro-HDMI output and an optical audio connection. There is also an Ethernet socket for WLAN-free households, and a microUSB port for general ‘hack ability’ – a few hours after its launch in the U.S. so have the first developer has brought Android games on the media streamer up and running . Finally, sit on the back of four banana jacks, two integrated speakers to the amplifier.

In terms of connections is the bottom line as well Nexus Q. However the sockets are surprisingly difficult to achieve. They are all slightly recessed into the housing. There is even a bit fiddly for example, to buchsieren the included mini-HDMI adapter into the appropriate port. The plug in the Ethernet cable is slightly out of hand, the removal is due to the recessed jack, but also connected with fumbling. After all: Once again, everything is set up, you will have hardly handle daily with the ports.


When you first unpack we were a little surprised: is included inside the box, no remote control. Instead, the user either a smartphone or tablet with Android operating system, version 2.3 or higher is required. Even if Google restricts the potential audience that, yes, there is nothing that the manufacturer has released an app in the future for IOS and Windows Phone.

Also somewhat surprising is that the Nexus Q Although a micro-HDMI output, but does not have a user interface in OSD form. While displays of media streamer videos, song title, cover and verspulte music visualizations, a menu-like navigation or get on TV but never seen. The control system runs completely on the screen of the Android device.

. After a long trial and error tech tests but miserable was the connection, but the unit refused to play music or videos. We have finally performed a reset and reset the device to factory settings, low and behold, five minutes later, everything works. Whether the initial difficulties, our test environment, or the fellow who had coupled the Nexus Q yesterday with another smartphone, were responsible, can in retrospect say. One thing is certain: You may find everything is not quite as smoothly.

Without smartphone or tablet is not – included with the Nexus Q no remote is included.

What is streaming the Nexus Q

For the Nexus Q only three different media sources are: Google Play Music, Play TV & Movies Google and YouTube. To use one of the three services, the user simply opens the appropriate of the three apps on its Android smartphone and press on the icon that looks like a play button with sound waves. Bottom line, it feels pretty to AirPlay, but only works with three apps. Just like the Google Q is not yet available in Germany, is also the Google services and Google Play Play Music & Movies TV in this country are not available. Our colleagues at already had the opportunity to try out the features overseas.

Google is best suited to play Music Nexus Q – after the ball a little amplifier built. Here is all the music available to the user who uploaded or bought – and directly enjoyable and hassle free. Here is Google’s solution to those of Sonos or Apple in anything. If there are multiple Android devices in the home network, can help any user to a single universal playlist. Similarly, it is also possible to stream the music to multiple Qs Nexus in a house or play different content in different rooms. How time synchronization works well on several Qs, we could not find a single device, unfortunately.

Google Play TV & Movies provides access to Google’s video content. Here users buy or rent movies and series of films. The selection is currently in the U.S. quite well, but still does not match the offer from Amazon or iTunes. Thus, in Google, for example, lack of blockbuster Avatar, and many episodes of Mad Men, one looks in vain. When the whole family sitting in the living room and chooses a movie, it would also be nice to be able to do that on television. Currently, we are unfortunately limited to the smartphone or tablet display to open the rally then zwangsläufigerweise all need.

Watching YouTube videos on TV’s with the Nexus Q as fast and easy, as we have yet seen anywhere. The Android YouTube app makes finding videos of excellent services, and the videos run without any noticeable delay on the telly. Once the clips are streamed directly from YouTube to the Nexus Q and save yourself the bother on the phone, the picture quality is excellent. Anyone who regularly Cat Face Plant Videos and enjoy on your HD TV in the living room is like, here are his delight.

What the Nexus Q streams

That’s it then, but even with the largely functional. We were certainly very disappointed when we found that the 300-dollar miracle ball can not get much. In addition to the three previously mentioned Google services of Nexus Q streams namely: nothing. Nada. Niente. Who are videos, photos or music stored on a DLNA server, can not allude them. Music that is on the phone, but not uploaded to Google’s Play Music? Not applicable. And third-party streaming services à la Napster, Spotify and Amazon instant you look here in vain. Even within the Google universe, there are limitations: This is how the Nexus Q any photos from Picasa or Google accounts + to. Thus the 300-dollar media sphere less than Apple’s bottom line can rival product that costs just a third.

And that’s also the big crow on Nexus Q. Actually, we could end the review here. For up to the Google media streamer in terms of functionality makes a big leap forward, he would probably pose little someone a real alternative to the expensive competitors.

Built-in amplifier

The Nexus Q has a built-in amplifier, the Google ‘audiophile quality’ attributes. So the media streamer capable of speakers is to fire with music, without requiring a separate AV receiver or amplifier would be required. The principle is somewhat similar to Sonos’ Connect: amp, the 450 € (as of now in Germany) more expensive, but it’s also in a much more flexible.

We tried the Nexus Q in the test with a pair of bookshelf speakers Sony SS-B1000 Type in a medium sized rooms. The amp sounds good and even at full volume without distortion free music. At full power the Google ball makes noise while neat, but unfortunately, no records broken. Ie: you can at maximum volume still maintain fairly normal, without yelling. For a wild house party, the force is not enough. If we substitute the Sony Speaker stand by Aperion Intimus speaker type, the sound is noticeably better and louder. It is therefore also depends on how effectively the speaker work.

A full-blown AV receiver can therefore replace the Nexus Q, however. The device has no input on that is. And if you do not plan just to use Google’s services exclusively in the living room, you need just have a separate amplifier to TV receivers, game console, etc. to provide.


For most consumers, the Nexus Q is not a particularly attractive product. But he’s just too expensive and far too little can – it can not even shake the ingenious design. The very fact that it requires an Android phone into a remote control, limits the usefulness of the device in the home theater is limited considerably. What if the family member with the Android phone just is not at home?

The bottom line is to say: The Nexus Q definitely has potential. The same is also true for another product – Google TV. Thus, the search giant now has two ‘solutions’ for home theater in the program, both of which are not really into the slippers, and work together even beyond. Of the two projects, the Nexus Q looks more promising now. Which does not mean that the road to real competitiveness is not very long and hard would be.

Nexus Q in review: futuristic media streamer with potential but not much more
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.

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