Google Nexus Q review – hands on

Google's black orb is looking to invade living rooms with its Android media streaming capability. Do our first impressions justify its price tag? Read on to find out
Google Nexus Q

The living room is without a doubt the next most lucrative battleground in the techosphere, and with the frankly bizarre Nexus Q, Google has shown that there is still no clear winner in the battle for the coveted space beneath your telly.

Google Nexus Q – design, build and connectivity

Google Nexus Q

The Google Nexus Q is an odd, plain black sphere which is a bit larger than pictures would suggest. It features only one hidden control – the ability to twist it to change volume – with everything else taken care of via an app on your Android smartphone or tablet.

Setup is simple on the Google Nexus Q – simply plug in your TV and Hi-Fi through connectors on the back, and you're good to go, although you'll need a mini HDMI cable if you're not already packing one away in your cable arsenal.

Google Nexus Q - video streaming

Google Nexus Q

Streaming music or video requires you to pair up your Android tablet or smartphone to the Google Nexus Q via Bluetooth, after which you can use Android Jellybean's built-in media apps to choose films. Annoyingly, we found no third party apps that worked with this feature, although that could change by launch.

To display video on the Google Nexus Q, you simply select the beam icon at the top of your Android device's screen. After a little bit of buffering your content appears on the TV in what Google says is full 1080p resolution. This definitely isn't instant however, and we found that we were waiting a good few seconds for the latest Transformers movie to fire up and get started. Once it got going however, playback was perfect and stutter free.

Google Nexus Q - initial verdict

Google Nexus Q

The Google Nexus Q works as expected, but it's still hard to see its purpose - with firms like Sonos offering audio solutions that are far slicker, and Apple offering the Apple TV (which does everything the Q can do and more for a third of the price), it seems hard to see where it fits into the home.

Had Google included Google TV functionality in the Q (as seen in the £200 Sony Internet Player) it would have been an interesting device with a real chance of success.

But as it stands the Google Q's US$300 (£190) price tag is vastly overpriced, and while the addition of apps in the future could improve it radically, it seems to be a bit of a dud, for now at least.