WASHINGTON DC: The Nexus Player, though, has a tougher road to hoe. It debuts with even fewer apps and games than the Fire TV did, and it does so very late in the game. The holidays are right around the corner, and the Nexus Player is not ready to light up people’s faces with smiles when unwrapped. That could be a very big problem.
Out of the box, the Nexus Player lacks the Fire TV’s premium feel. While the Fire TV has that soft, sleek, almost rubbery silicone coating on both the box and its included remote, the Nexus Player and its remote are covered in rather pedestrian matte black plastic. On the plus side, the Nexus Player’s base is coated in anti-skid rubber, and the puck feels pretty solid. The bundled remote, however, feels flimsy. We can’t help but worry it will have a tough time taking more than just a couple of spills off a table onto a hard floor (a regular occurrence at this reviewer’s home).
Both the Nexus Player and game controller come with batteries, and there’s a typically blocky Asus power brick for the Player, but that’s all you get. No cables are included, and instructions are limited to a single card with two pictures on it. We suppose Google thinks everyone’s got this whole set-top box setup thing figured out.
Google has one last shot at becoming a major player in a highly competitive game involving such heavy-hitters as Apple, Roku and Amazon, and it’s swinging big with the Asus-made Nexus Player. However, if we give Google time to develop Android TV’s app offerings, and strengthen the system’s search abilities, we may wind up liking it more than our Fire TV.
In its present form, the Nexus Player is too much of a disappointment to rush out and buy right away, but it has potential, which is more than could ever have been said about Google TV or the Nexus Q.