Google Nexus Q

The Good The Google Nexus Q features a truly unique, spherical design with glowing LEDs that respond to music that's playing. It streams content directly from Google Play Music, Google Play TV & Movies, and YouTube, using an Android phone or tablet as the controller. There's also a built-in 25-watt amp that can be used to power speakers.

The Bad The Nexus Q is very expensive and doesn't stream from any non-Google services like Netflix, Pandora, Spotify, MLB.TV, or Amazon Instant, nor can it stream content from your own PC or DLNA server. It also requires an Android smartphone or tablet to control it, as it doesn't include a remote or its own user interface.

The Bottom Line The Nexus Q's striking, orblike hardware can't outweigh the extreme limitations of this Android-only, Google-only media streamer.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 4.0
  • Performance 6.0
5.3 Overall

Compare

Google Nexus Q
Google Nexus Q
Amazon Fire TV (2017)
Amazon Fire TV (2017)
Roku Premiere+
Roku Premiere+
Google Chromecast
Google Chromecast
TiVo Bolt
TiVo Bolt
Price $299 MSRP $70 Amazon.com $60 Amazon.com $299 MSRP $150 Amazon.com
Design
7
8
9
8
8
Features
4
9
9
6
8
Performance
6
9
8
8
8

Review

Google Nexus Q

Editors' note: On July 31, Google announced that it was delaying the commercial release of the Nexus Q to "work on making it even better." We will update this review when Google releases the new software for the device. In the meantime, the review below is our impression of the Nexus Q as tested with its original software and feature set.

The $300 Nexus Q is Google's first stab at making its own living-room hardware, and it's doing it with style. Sitting on a TV cabinet, the Nexus Q looks like a mysterious, glowing black orb; more RPG power-up than home theater hardware. And as if just to flex its muscles, Google is manufacturing the Nexus Q entirely in the United States, which at least somewhat explains its lofty price.

Once you get past its looks, however, it's shocking how little the Nexus Q does. It can stream content from Google Play Music, Google Play TV & Movies, and YouTube -- that's it. Not even Netflix, which seems to be built into anything with an integrated circuit these days. And while its built-in amplifier can power a pair of speakers, that's not enough to justify its cost over much more functional competitors like the Apple TV ($100) and Roku LT ($50). Google seems to be reaching to create a counterpart to Apple's killer AirPlay and Apple TV combo, but the Nexus Q isn't even close yet.

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