Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Nexus Q in South Africa

I found a Nexus Q on a local auction site last week, after the initial shock passed of seeing one locally, I jumped into action and before long had a courier company at my door!

The local seller seems to have tested the device briefly as it's in a brand new condition and must have found out with a shock that it isn't supported in South Africa yet after paying thousands to import it....

I was however keen on getting it to work and getting it at a bargain price was all the more reason!

Before I could start playing I found myself at a nearby gadget store buying a micro HDMI to DVI converter (it comes with a branded micro HDMI to the usual larger HDMI plug - Type A - cable), a converter for the US plug the power supply (100 to 240 Volt) comes with and 4 banana plugs...

The feel of the device itself is amazing, it almost feels alien to hold it and it definitely has an unexpected weight to it!

I'm still however not to sure how well the volume control (the top half of the device can rotate a full 360 degrees while pushing it down mutes the sound) will survive general use and abuse, especially during a social event as mentioned in the intro video for the Nexus Q. Especially as everyone so far that finds the device between all the gadgets I have is immediately temped to pick it up by grasping the volume control part head-on...

The banana plugs were also a surprise as I haven't seen them much the last while. I only had stereo mini jacks and RCA connectors in my office (all my speakers are pretty much the same, not exactly an audiophile although I'm sure Vienna Acoustics speakers with banana plugs would have been great!). I'm pretty sure many users would have to go out and buy a cable to convert the banana's to something else...
Being a huge fan of Android (as you can see to the left, hehe) welcoming the Nexus Q to the family was a no-brainer!

Although the device has received many negative reviews (many with merit), the Nexus Q really has a nice design (if the volume control is solid...?) and has great hardware specs, especially for a media streamer...

The software side however really leaves one with this "what the heck is this" feeling, it's like watching a great movie only to find the budget ran out while they were working on the most important, to me in any case, end part!

I was expecting a proper Android device like layout with proper interface etc. boy was I in for a surprise!

When my uncle came close to the Nexus Q with his  Samsung Galaxy S3 it lit up and vibrated with joy, very cool indeed!

By not being in the US of course Google Play prevented the software from being installed on the first try, leaving the Q in it's welcome screen mode, effectively a paper weight!

Luckily getting past this problem involved a bit of crafty geek work after which setting up the Nexus Q was a breeze! Watching movies and music first uploaded to the cloud isn't much of a turn on for me, really sucks in fact as Google has assumed the world is well connected which always the case! Effectively leaving me with a YouTube streaming device with limited features, although I have a few plans to improve the device.

Cost wise - I would have been really upset if I paid the full price for this device... especially considering that I could whack my tablet or Android dongle into the same micro HDMI port and without effort connect the stereo mini jack for a great full featured multimedia experience without waiting for each item to stream and re-stream with each view...

Ideally the next step for me would be to get a proper working Android version on the device. Ultimately I would have appreciated a device from Google with a smartphone like Android on and additional apps for the media streaming parts. Hopefully once Google have improved the Nexus Q and start shipping it again the software on the device will give the power back to the user!

Google Nexus Q playing a YouTube video in South Africa


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