ASUS Dice Google TV evaluate
The previous yr has been a busy one for Google TV — in truth, with the large I/O convention proper across the nook, we’re sitting right down to evaluation our fifth such system prior to now 12 months. The ASUS Dice naturally does all the things one would anticipate from a Google TV set-prime field, nevertheless it additionally has a number of tips of its personal, like a mic for voice search and a singular “Dice” important menu interface. At $139, it is priced simply above the Vizio Co-Star and much under the Sony NSZ-G57. So how does it stack up? Let’s examine.
- Mic constructed into the distant for voice search
- Good implementation of Google TV
- Strong trackpad on the distant
- A Dice does not match properly in a house theater
- Restricted audio and video outputs
- The Dice consumer interface is not nice
It is the most effective Google TV set-prime field but, at an inexpensive worth.
Clearly, whenever you identify your system after its form, your intent is to attract consideration to what you consider is a singular differentiator, so let’s begin there. The ASUS Dice is in fact a dice, with each edge measuring slightly below 5 inches. Judging by the truth that it’s backside-heavy, we suspect the highest half of the gadget is empty and marvel why the additional area wasn’t used to deal with an inner energy provide — however we do recognize the choice to go together with an influence-brick type over a wall wart.
Like each Google TV, there are two HDMI ports so you possibly can cross by means of your cable or satellite tv for pc supplier’s set-prime field and share the coveted enter-one. That is the one audio or video output, although; there are not any for older TVs or perhaps a digital audio out for these with no free HDMI port on their AV receiver. There’s additionally a USB port on the entrance and one round again, which you should use for exterior storage or to shortly watch content material off a flash drive. The ten/one hundred Ethernet port is available for these fortunate sufficient to have a wired connection close to the TV, whereas 802.11b/g/n ought to handily suffice for everyone else. The final port to talk of is for connecting an IR emitter, which comes within the field and is required in the event you want to management your TV or AV receiver by way of IR utilizing the Dice’s distant, which does not emit IR by itself. That is helpful, little question, however we do want the Dice included inner IR emitters too, particularly after seeing how properly the Logitech Revue’s built-in IR system works.
Inside, the Dice shares the identical Marvell Armada 1500 chipset as its newer Google TV rivals. Though there’s technically 4GB of flash storage, solely 2GB are literally out there to be used. The HDMI port helps nearly each HD decision and body price you may want, however there is no point out of 4K. It is also capable of natively cross the Dolby Digital Plus sign from the likes of Netflix and Vudu in case your AV receiver can settle for it. The final trick the HDMI port options, that we’re all the time happy to see, is the inclusion of HDMI-CEC. Principally, this permits the TV and receiver to routinely activate or off when the Dice does with extra reliability than IR can present, however quantity management by way of CEC wasn’t one thing we have been capable of check.Distant
In distinction to most residence theater gear, the place you do not even put batteries within the included distant and use a common distant as an alternative, the distant that comes bundled with a Google TV field is not simply replaceable. We’re glad to report, although, that the Dice’s distant makes the field stand out in a great way. The general match and end is strong because of a grippy texture, strong really feel and nicely-positioned buttons. The spotlight, nevertheless, is the trackpad situated on the other aspect. It performs reliably as a pointing system and you may shortly toggle it right into a push-button d-pad (by way of an accessible button on the aspect) for normal up-down-proper-left navigation. The excellent news, in the event you can name it that, is that the trackpad works so properly that you simply actually miss it in apps that do not help level-and-click on, like Netflix. The opposite miss right here is the shortage of a backlight, which you will discover on a minimum of one different Google TV field.
The distant does stand out in one other approach that ASUS is completely happy to level out — no, not movement-management gaming, the Vizio Co-Star has that as properly — it encompasses a mic and buttons to activate Google’s Voice Search. The Hisense Pulse additionally contains a mic, however beforehand solely the LG G2 Google TVs might use the distant’s mic for Voice Search. This labored as you may anticipate — so no, not good — besides that we needed to have the distant somewhat nearer to our mouth than we’d usually favor.
General the distant is a cause to purchase the Dice, and except for some vary issues we had when making an attempt to make use of the keyboard, we actually prefer it. That stated, it is not the be-all, finish-all distant and the shortage of macros will imply you will in all probability maintain your programmable distant round.Software program
The Dice is a strong Google TV set-prime field nevertheless it is not going to vary anybody’s thoughts about Google TV.
The Dice’s identify does not solely describe the field’s form; it additionally covers the design of the primary menu. The consumer interface is a 3-dimensional hexahedron with solely two sides uncovered. The left aspect is used to point which of the eleven primary sections is at present chosen (Favourite, Photograph, Schooling, Information, Music, Sports activities, Social, Video games, TV & Film and Residence) and the suitable presents up six sub-menus to drill into. We suppose this shall be a matter of private choice, however this specific editor is not a fan. General, you are left with a bunch of white area and a much less-than-awe-inspiring impact. Fortunately, although, you’ll be able to simply choose the All Apps tile from the Residence menu and nonetheless have entry to the acquainted Google TV grid of purposes. At the very least the field has the facility to tug off the flamboyant menus with none noticeable slowdowns, although.
Talking of purposes, the standard choices from Google are right here, together with HBO Go, Netflix, Chrome, Google Play, Google Music and PrimeTime. However ASUS does add a couple of of its personal to differentiate the Dice. The 2 most notable, and maybe distinctive, are the Whiteboard to show your TV into an enormous collaboration system, and ASUS Net Storage, which comes with a free 50GB account for simply accessing your content material within the cloud. A few of your media might be nonetheless hanging round the home and so ASUS additionally included apps for accessing your films, music and photographs. These can seize content material by way of DLNA, FTP, SMB or an exterior, USB-hooked up onerous drive — commonest codecs and containers are supported, however examine the complete record on the help website to make certain your favourite is there. The final app you will not need to hunt for on the Play retailer for is a process killer, as one is included too.
ASUS has achieved a superb job of setting the Dice aside from its Google TV rivals with its software program — once more, decide the Dice consumer interface your self — however on the finish of the day it is nonetheless Google TV three.2. So all the great (and dangerous) issues we have stated about it beforehand nonetheless apply right here. The one different bit we might add is that there must be a display saver or dimmer function for these with shows vulnerable to burn-in. Additionally, different Google TV bins have accomplished a greater job including menu overlays to facilitate multi-tasking whereas in apps (the Vizio Co-Star’s App tray involves thoughts).Wrap-up
From the very starting, Google TV has provided the most effective browser expertise for televisions, however an excellent browser expertise alone cannot win over mainstream shoppers. In virtually three years, Google has continued to iterate its TV providing via each software program and hardware (by way of companions). The Dice has a robust place in that lineup, bringing new options and a aggressive worth. Positive, the Vizio Co-Star continues to be inexpensive, however the Dice’s distant is nearer to that of the far more costly Sony NSZ-G57’s in each ergonomics and usefulness. The added software program from ASUS will certainly assist set this gadget aside from the competitors, however the Dice interface? Not a lot. In the long run, the Dice is a strong Google TV set-prime field however it is not going to vary anybody’s thoughts about Google TV. Greater than something, although, our largest hesitation in recommending the Dice is a matter of timing. With Google I/O proper across the nook, we will not assist however fear that the time to purchase a brand new Google TV is not now.