SmartStick - convert any HTDV into a Smart TV for less than $50

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SmartStick is a thumb drive sized device that turns your cinema TV into a smart TV with the power of Android behind it. Merely plug it into the HDMI port of your television and voilà … you’ve a linked TELEVISION that can download apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, HBO GO, Pandora and more. Is this the supreme companion for the living room? Learn more in this testimonial!

Price: $49.99 4GB WiFi, $79.99 8GB WiFi

Pros & Cons:

Pros

  • Transform an HDTV into a Smart Internet connected TV!
  • Run apps and play Android games on the tv!
  • Small & Inexpensive!

Cons

  • Lacks pure tv experience, might utilize even more polish.
  • Doesn’t blend live television/cable with wise TV user interface, these are separate video sources.
  • Difficult to navigate.

Features

SmartStick brings the power of the web and Android to your television in a pint sized plan. This indicates you can enjoy from streaming video providers such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, HBO GO, and YouTube. Pay attention to music sources like Pandora, Google Play Songs, and Spotify. Because it’s complete access to the Google Play store, you can download practically any app or game, though it’s not suggested as some do not operate well on a television. Conversely it comes with an App Installer so if you get your hands on an APK (Android App Package Installer) you can side-load them yourself.

Design

I love that it’s so small, it looks like a bigger USB thumb drive but inserts into the HDMI port of a tv. It measures 1.3 ″ w x 3.6″ h x 0.6″ d. It can get a little large in the back with cords as you need to add peripherals to it such as power adapter, IR blaster and/or USB nub for Bluetooth keyboard, and optional SD card. Even with all of that it’s still uses up less space as a set leading box and stashed behind the TV.

Interface

First time setup is quite uncomplicated. The gadget guides you through a wizard to set the language, screen size, link to WiFi, etc. When completed, you exist with an individual friendly house display that’s tabs for Apps, Web browser, Video, Music, Picture, Settings. On the home screen you can pin approximately 6 apps and 2 widget plus tailor the background with images or even live wallpapers. Under the Music, Videos, and Photos tabs are those saved locally on the device or SD card. As mentioned it can be found in 4GB or 8GB models and has a slot for micro SD card- my assumption it expands up to 32GB more space.: D Other advanced highlighted permits shared media from gadgets on the exact same WiFi network via the Plex app (note: you need to have an account and the media server set up on your pcs to do this). So in essence you can stream a film you might’ve on your house PC or NAS to the SmartStick.

This little gadget is fantastic however I discovered some user experience problems particularly with the web browser. It’s very challenging to browse pages effectively. Getting real ‘Internet TV’ right has been an accomplishment lots of business attempted and still have actually not refined. Nevertheless, the very best experience thus far is Google TELEVISION. I reference that platform because SmartStick makes use of the same core, yet it doesn’t incorporate live TELEVISION or cable with the clever TV user interface like Google TV does. If you wish to see live or cable television networks you’ll have to switch over video sources. Which is no biggie … however you can not browse SmartStick for TV listings or search all-in-one media like GTV.

Remote Controls

It includes a simple remote that’s the standard direction pad and faster way buttons for Power, House, Paging Up/Down, Search, Menu, Back, Play/Pause and Next/Forward. It gets the fundamental job done, however, the disadvantage there’s when you’ve to kind something- it means a lot of navigating around the on-screen keyboard for keying in.

Enter the Favi Bluetooth keyboard …

Personally love and hate this doohickey due to the fact that it provides a full QWERTY keyboard, number row, unique characters, tons of faster ways for previously mentioned Home, Paging, Menu, plus Left/Right mouse click, Ctrl/Tab/Caps / Shift/Space Bar, and so on yet I mightn’t discover the Power button shortcut. It goes further with track-pad (very practical for mouse pointing however can be a bit more exact) and includes an infrared laser pointer. The keyboard is rechargeable through mini USB (the larger dated USB, not the like your smartphone).

Target Market

I’d recommend this to intermediate and innovative individuals savvy enough to see the capacity of the inexpensive and small device that which can convert an HDTV into a linked TV. The reason why I’d not advise to newbies is due to the fact that it lacks a pure tv experience as it relies on many other 3rd party services to finish the experience. It’s a method to go to equal that of Google TELEVISION but not far off. Users more experienced with Android can find out the SmartStick’s brief coming and turn it into an experience.