Google's 'Q' ball is pocketed from the first break

Google's 'Q' ball is pocketed from the first break

Summary: The Nexus Q media streaming device is not a category leader but a laggard - better products already exist.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Google
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Google's Nexus Q "media streaming" device costs $299, requires speakers and a TV although it does have a small amplifier, better products already exist.

Sonos sells a compact $299 wireless speaker, the Play:3 that can play your iTunes library and stream from any music service. It can blast any room with loud sound through 3 high quality speakers, each with its own custom-tuned digital amp.

[I reviewed the Play:5, essentaily the same as the Play:3 but with two extra speakers.]

The Sonos doesn't stream video but will do whatever else the "Q" does only a lot better and louder. And you don't need to connect your own speakers, which is a pain, especially if they are already connected to your main HiFi.

And if you have computer speakers, well, they are already connected to your computer and can stream whatever, no need for the "Q."

Google will sell you a pair of speakers for $399 plus silver plated (not gold) speaker cables for $49. That's a total of at least $698.

You could get the $399 Play:5 from Sonos, which, by the way, just has one cord, the power cord hanging out the back, not the ugly jumble of wires like the 'Q."Here's Wired Magazine:

...a fully appointed Q will be positively bristling with cables. The back of the device sports banana jacks for direct speaker connections, a Toslink/optical port for connection to a home entertainment system, an HDMI port for connecting an HDTV, and even a MicroUSB port for “future accessories and hackability.”

All this wiring plus a power cable makes for a busy back panel...

Also: The "Q" requires an Android device, either tablet or smartphone to control it.

The Sonos devices allow you to use your computer to control the system, or as an option, any iOS or Android device but don't require it, unlike the "Q."

Or, for $99 you can get an Apple TV unit, that'll stream video and audio to your TV and HiFi.

GOOG clearly doesn't understand hardware. There's nothing original or unusual about this product except for its round shape, which makes it tough to place next to the TV without partially blocking the view.

I can't see this device appealing to anyone that hasn't already Googled this category to see what's available, and that has been available for a long time.

A poor effort from Google, imho. The "Q" ball is pocketed on the first break.


Topics: Hardware, Google

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12 comments
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  • Banana plugs?

    Silver plated connectors?

    Seriously?
    msalzberg
  • or

    just buy an Xbox 360 arcade for around $170?

    I can get a second hand one here in the UK for about ??70
    danjames2012
    • Yes

      Bought a used barely 360 Arcade for $100 and it does way more than this thing will.
      AnalogJoystick
    • Agreed

      Not sure why everyone wants to compare this to Apple TV. Especially since that indicates that the Apple TV is a success. The Xbox 360 has a far larger install base than the Apple TV and can do far, far more than either device. Sure, you need to count the $50/year subscription to Gold but that still puts it cheaper than this device and it's far more capable.

      Why not give MS credit where credit is due?
      LiquidLearner
      • Good point...

        Xbox 360 has a lot of momentum in this space.
        Tom Foremski
  • Oddly, I give Google an A for effort.

    Google is way out of thier comfort zone on this thing and it does show some good design (but Silver contacts? Oxidation will be killer) but missed te price point. NFC? Why? 25W Amp? Few people will use it so dump it.

    But they are trying a new business model (that is the big thing) where they actually will make customers out of the end user of thier product and not products out of the end users of thier services.

    So no, this is not oing to be a rocking hit but it is an interesting step to a better Google that does not see everything as an extension of selling advertisements.
    Bruizer
    • A for effort...

      It should be a better effort... It should leave the hardware business to others and stay with what it knows.
      Tom Foremski
      • Not it wants to grow.

        Plain and simple. Google needs more than 1 product. They need a new customer base.
        Bruizer
  • Wrong comparison

    The comparison is wrong. The Google Q resembles the 'Sonos CONNECT:AMP' most. That one is 499 dollar.

    It is not a question of just comparing features (speakers/no speakers), but also comparing sound quality. And comparing price / target group / ecosystem / openness / and features.
    michielwittkampf
  • DOA

    I agree there is nothing special about this device....and the price are you kidding me.
    Right now Xbox installed base is unmatched...simply get an Xbox. Although the Apple TV does not have the installed base on the Xbox, but at 5 million+ sold, it certainly is not a failure.
    johnsuarez10
  • Better than Apple TV

    The new VIZIO Co-Star might beat everything else out there.
    K-UNIT
    • Are you serious??

      Goggle TV is garbage. If you don't want to ask Logitech why, how about asking Samsung why they quietly stop installing Google TV on their new models. Ever wonder why you don't see the "with Google TV" logo anymore?
      wackoae