google-nexus-q-closeThe design of the Nexus Q is an anomaly: it resembles  something between an 18th century cannonball and Blade Runner kitchenware, but it stands out as a premium gadget that's cool in concept. But what about in practice?

Note: The Nexus Q was originally priced at $299, but has since been taken off the market. Google still has a product page up for the device, though it's currently not for sale.

What is the What?

The Nexus Q is a media-streaming globe that promises to act as a living room HUB for Android users. Google Play is home to tons of great media — movies, TV shows and music — so it's only natural for the search giant to offer hardware that makes consuming content more enjoyable. It's dead simple to use, and a perfect solution for the legions of Android owners who consider owning an Apple TV to be sacrilege.

Tired of streaming movies on your tiny Galaxy Nexus screen? Ping it through the Q and watch it on your TV. Same goes with music and YouTube, which is a perfect option for both small and large gatherings.

nexus-q-review-001Who Might Buy It?

Anyone with a robust library of content from the Google Play store, or anyone looking to escape the grasp of cable companies by cutting the cord would be perfected suited for the Nexus Q. The Nexus Q's features are very explicit: it's built to stream media. Period. But there's also the potential for hacking, which Google openly encouraged at its I/O conference in June. Unlocking the potential for additional features  is what makes this gadget so enticing.

What's Good

Setup was easy, and streaming content was just as simple. I didn't have a problem getting music, movies or YouTube videos to play, so I'd imagine using the Q will be just as easy for other folks, too.

The device does a relatively good job at what it's designed to do, and videos from Google Play (we used a Nexus 7, which came with Transformers: Dark of the Moon) looked excellent — picture quality is crisp. The same can be said for audio, which sounded great blasting out of our TV's speakers.

What's Bad

While the video and audio quality are good, you can only enjoy them while the stream works. Pulling from the Play tore requires some serious bandwidth chops, so it'll work only as well as your connection. To be fair, we didn't come across too many instances where our streamed buffered, but it did happen.

This product is squarely aimed at those who have invested money into Google's ecosystem. It's also an obvious tool to try and entice users to gravitate toward its content mall. Most folks likely already have their audio setups of choice, so the Q's music aspect isn't that big of a draw. And, at least for now, there are no apps (Netflix, Hulu Plus) to be found for the Q, which is big stinking deal.

Does it Belong in the Herd?

For now, no. Google has explained that the Q is basically an experiment, so we can't quite give it a definitive verdict. The search giant obviously wants its limited developer user base to come up with killer features (the company also gave the device away to those who preordered), so its potential remains up in the air. It certainly speaks volumes about where the product stands after indefinitely being pulled from the Play store, but progress as been made in unlocking a brighter future.

Let's say this one is To Be Continued…

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Nexus Q Specs:

  • Release Date: Ships in 2-3 weeks
  • Price: $299
  • OS: Android 4.0
  • Dimensions: 4.6-inch diameter
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Battery: N/A
  • Processor: OMAP 4460
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Internal Storage: 16GB
  • Network: Wi-Fi only
  • Notes: Streams content from Google Play Store and YouTube, No third party app support like Netflix or Pandora, You need an Android device to control it (No remote included), Google Sells Triad Bookshelf speakers for $399 and speaker cables for $49.