Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV – overview
Smart TVs are fast becoming the standard hub of living room entertainment setups and with the Olympics right around the corner, clever tellies are increasing in demand. Sony is the first to offer a Google TV-infused set top box in the UK and hopes to entice owners who aren't willing to drop the cash for a new TV – but does it justify the £200 price tag?
Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV – connectivity and setup
The Sony Internet Player doesn't have a built-in tuner, so your programmes and EPG are taken care of by your existing set top box or TV. Connectivity-wise, you'll find a HDMI in and out port, an ethernet port and two USB ports, as well as in-built Wi-Fi for hassle-free connectivity. You can also add an IR blaster receiver for more flexible remote-wielding, if you so wish. Built in Bluetooth also means that you can connect up a proper keyboard and mouse for more serious surfing, which is a nice bonus.
Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV – OS and power
Sony's little black box is running a modified version of Android Honeycomb and its dual-core processor combined with 8GB of storage for apps meant that games, browsing and media streaming were taken care of smoothly. Pressing the remote's home button brings up the navigation bar without disrupting the on-screen action, from which you can access your apps, YouTube and the Chrome browser.
Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV – remote
The bundled remote is Sony's Ace in the hole and could very well set it apart from its competitors' Google TV offerings. The dual-sided remote features a full QWERTY keyboard on one side and a touchpad on the other, providing all the tools you'll need for surfing the web and searching for content.
They keyboard was more than adequate for churning out URLs, and while you obviously wouldn't want to type out an essay on it, it will more than meet the needs for some light browsing. An automatic backlight controlled by an accelerometer will also come in handy for dimly lit movie nights.
The touchpad is equally as impressive, offering a nice tactile click and smooth scrolling, and we found it very natural to use.
Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV – browsing
Google has described the modified version of its Chrome browser as the best browser available on the big screen, and we were impressed with its ease of use and snappy speeds – largely helped by Sony's Swiss Army knife-like remote. Full flash support is another added bonus, allowing you unrestricted access to the full fruits of the internet.
Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV – YouTube
A few button presses is all it takes to transport you from EastEnders to the world's largest collection of cat videos, and searching the plethora of user-made content on YouTube is easy, thanks to the Sony's wonder-remote. Just start typing during any video and the YouTube search bar pops up for action.
Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV – apps
The Google Play Store is a little more limited than the usual Android app-fest. Due to the lack of touchscreen interaction, titles like Angry Birds aren't available on the Play Store, although we're hoping that developers will take advantage of the remote in future titles.
Media streaming apps are all accounted for however, and there's even a useful interactive story-telling app for distracting small children while you recuperate.
Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV – first impressions
If you've already got a Smart TV then you might find it hard to justify forking out £200 for Sony's Internet Player, despite its solid browser and useful remote. If however you want the smarts without the price tag of a shiny new telly, or if you just want to inject some Google goodness into your TV, then Sony's first foray into the Google TV arena is a solid bet which has set the bar at a respectable height for competitors to follow.
Google Cloud coming this week?