Logitech Revue with Google TV evaluation
The Logitech Revue is in some ways the flagship Google TV launch gadget. Whereas Sony built-in Google’s new media platform into its line of Web TVs and the Web TV Blu-ray participant, the Revue is a devoted Google TV gadget, albeit with a number of further options like optionally available an elective video calling digital camera. It is also the most cost effective, at $299, and probably the simplest so as to add into an present A/V system, because it has Logitech’s Concord common distant know-how constructed-in. We have already coated Google TV as a platform, so let’s take a better take a look at the Revue to see if Logitech’s riff on the related TV is worthy of its lead-canine standing. Learn on for the complete… Revue evaluate!
This assessment is primarily of the Logitech Revue hardware — be sure to learn our full Google TV assessment to get a really feel for the platform itself!
- Constructed-in IR emitters
- Good keyboard
- Small, quiet
- Prolonged, complicated setup
- Video calling high quality not nice
- No Concord actions
Externally, the Revue is not a lot to take a look at: it is a flat black field with a shiny black prime that nearly inconceivable to maintain fingerprint-free as soon as you’ve got touched it for the primary time. There are IR emitters on the corners that permit the Revue’s Concord software program to regulate further A/V gear like a TV or receiver, and round again you will discover energy, optical audio out, Ethernet, two USB ports, HDMI out and in, a Bluetooth pairing button and two non-compulsory IR blaster ports in case your setup prevents the constructed-in emitters from reaching your different gear. (There is a wired blaster within the field, in case you want it.) The facility brick itself is comparatively unobtrusive, however we all the time favor our house theater gear to have built-in energy provides — it isn’t the top of the world, however the exterior brick provides little bit of muddle to an already wire-intensive product. We additionally want one of many USB ports was entrance-mounted for straightforward entry — getting again there to plug in a flash drive is not precisely enjoyable.
Inside, you will discover the identical 1.2GHz Intel CE4100 Atom-based mostly media chip that powers each launch Google TV gadget, 1GB of RAM, and 5GB of storage, though there is no consumer-dealing with objective for that area but. Connectivity is dealt with by way of Ethernet or 802.11n WiFi, however there is no 5GHz help, which is disappointing, since Intel chipsets usually deal with it simply high-quality.That is actually it so far as the primary hardware goes, however truthfully, you will spend little or no time interacting with the Revue itself — when you set it up, it is principally invisible aside from its small inexperienced LEDs.
However, you will spend virtually all of your time with the Revue’s full-measurement wi-fi keyboard in hand. We’ll hand it to Logitech, the keyboard is remarkably skinny and lightweight whereas nonetheless feeling strong, and we did not trigger it any critical hurt after a pair drops to our wooden flooring. To the fitting of the keyboard you will discover a smallish trackpad in addition to a D-pad, Android keys and primary transport controls; these represent the first navigation controls and wok fairly nicely — the trackpad even does two-finger scrolling. There are not any arrow keys, in fact, since there is a D-pad, however there are up / down arrow keys on the suitable edge which double as web page up and down should you maintain down the Fn button. Alongside the highest of the keyboard you will discover some primary common distant buttons — quantity, mute, information, and DVR — which let you management the fundamentals of your house theater, and map in another way relying in your setup. In our case, the DVR button acted because the TiVo button, which was helpful.
Sadly, the keyboard is not backlit, which makes utilizing it in a darkish residence theater room considerably troublesome. You’ll be able to all the time purchase the $129 Mini Controller (a variant of the DiNovo Mini) or use Logitech’s smartphone app, in fact, however for $300 out of the gate we might have wish to see some LEDs underneath the packed-in keyboard, particularly since most of the keys have two features relying on context. You’ve got additionally obtained to think about whether or not you need a full-measurement wi-fi keyboard completely dwelling in your espresso desk — we’re high quality with it, however we have got a sense Logitech will do brisk gross sales of that Mini Controller, which has the added bonus of being usable with two arms whereas standing up or mendacity down, not simply whereas seated.Setup and Concord
Though the method is essentially the identical, we discovered establishing the Revue took about half-hour, in comparison with 10-15 for Sony’s Google TV units. The distinction is essentially made up of restarting time; you will hit about 4 totally different restart factors through the guided setup. As we stated in our common Google TV evaluate, getting issues put collectively is not troublesome, however relying in your association, you will find yourself connecting between three and 6 wires: energy and HDMI in / out, after which Ethernet, USB for the digital camera and an IR blaster cable for those who want them. We have now suffered by means of HDMI / HDCP points with three totally different Revue bins and Time Warner Cable, so be warned there. You will additionally should step by means of Logitech’s 4-half display measurement adjustment, which struck us as unnecessarily wonky.
In fact, the most important benefit the Revue has over its Sony platform-mates is its built-in Concord distant know-how, which makes establishing the keyboard to regulate your TV, DVR, and receiver a snap. Identical to a daily Concord, all it’s a must to do is sort in your gear’s mannequin numbers throughout setup and every part is mechanically programmed. It labored nice with all the things we tried it with, together with numerous cable bins, TVs, and receivers, and we had no complaints concerning the numerous button mappings.
Sadly, the Concord integration does not transcend hitting the database for programming information in any means. Remotes just like the Concord One are extremely in style as a result of they supply macros for various actions like “Watch TV” and “Watch Blu-ray,” however the Revue lacks any type of exercise help. Logitech informed us that the perfect expertise would include each a standard Concord distant and the Revue — a stance underlined by the “Begin Google TV” exercise that is might be added to your present Concord setup from the Revue. We doubt many individuals are going to seize the Revue considering the keyboard can function their on a regular basis distant, however even nonetheless, it’s kind of disingenuous for Logitech to say it has “Concord” when it is missing the important thing element of the Concord system.Efficiency and video high quality
It is considerably arduous to guage the relative efficiency of the launch Google TV units, since all of them share the identical hardware and the software program continues to be clearly so early and unoptimized, however the Revue particularly has been dogged by complaints of stuttery video playback because it launched. Logitech’s since issued a software program replace to unravel the issue, and it seems to have achieved the trick — we’ve not observed any points since. We have additionally observed that Revue tends to decelerate each every so often for no obvious cause, however we’re chalking that as much as the early software program on these system.
The Revue does have one notably annoying challenge, although — relying on how properly you line up that preliminary display measurement calibration, the Google TV overlay may be wildly off-middle. What’s extra, the display measurement adjustment does not appear to line up precisely with the place the overlay seems, so there’s some trial and error to get it precisely proper. It isn’t an enormous deal, nevertheless it’s annoying, and it is simply one more reason for Logitech to type out a greater approach to tweak the picture measurement.Video calling and Vid HD
Making easy video calls to family and friends from the sofa is infinitely preferable to making an attempt to get everybody huddled across the PC, however when it comes to worth and high quality, the Revue is not fairly a positive-hearth winner in comparison with a PC with an excellent webcam. For starters, you will want the optionally available $149 TV Cam, which sits on prime of your show and appears like a comically outsized model of Logitech’s personal just lately-launched C910, which is promoting for nicely beneath its $ninety nine MSRP. Each seem to have similar lens parts, however the C910 goes all the best way as much as 1080p in comparison with the TV Cam’s 720p and, in our testing, delivered superior footage.
Positive, having greater than twice the pixels will do this, however extra necessary was the digital camera’s capacity to deal with low-mild conditions, and the C910 was a transparent winner in that regard. It did a a lot better at balancing publicity settings to make sure that the individuals making the decision have been correctly lit, even when it meant over-exposing the background. Should you’re questioning what occurs if you plug the cheaper however higher performing C910 into the Revue, we’re sorry to report that it merely does not work. The TV Cam will work with a PC, however we weren’t capable of get an HD sign from it.
Why does the TV Cam value a lot however carry out worse? Logitech inform us there’s hardware encoding onboard to take the load off of the Revue’s netbooky specs. Additionally, there’s an LED on the entrance that lights as much as let you recognize you’ve got missed a name, although it is a tiny pale blue factor and it hardly stands out — one thing harsh and purple would have been far preferable.
When it comes to the software program, Logitech Vid HD is extremely straightforward to make use of and calling individuals who use the PC shopper is usually so simple as getting into their e-mail handle. Calls take a number of seconds to barter and, assuming the connection is strong and you do not tax the bitrate by shifting round an excessive amount of, picture high quality is sort of good. Nevertheless, we could not assist however discover the lag, which principally makes it inconceivable to have common conversations. It isn’t a serious deal-breaker nevertheless it’s one thing that is moderately much less troublesome in competing apps like Skype. We’re being a bit optimistic right here, however since Logitech’s cams are a few of the few approved to work with Skype HD, hopefully we’ll be seeing that app’s icon make an look on the Revue before later.
We might additionally like to the touch on value right here, since an finish-to-finish Revue videoconferencing setup ain’t low cost: at $299 per field and $149 for the digital camera, you are taking a look at $900 simply to name Gran from the lounge. You possibly can undoubtedly decide up a pair low cost nettops and C910s for lower than that, whereas nonetheless utilizing Logitech’s Vid HD software program, in addition to different providers like Skype. Sure, it is extra difficult, however it’s one thing to consider — particularly since NBC, ABC, CBS, Hulu, and Fancast cannot be blocked from a nettop browser.DLNA, media playback, and smartphone apps
There is a fairly primary DLNA shopper constructed into the Revue — we tried it with Home windows 7, Twonky on our iMac, a MyTouch 4G and a Droid X with no main points. We might have prefer it to work quicker and extra easily — clicking via the interface is not precisely nice or environment friendly — however hey, it really works. We additionally had respectable success enjoying again MKV, DivX, and MOV information, though as with all streamers we had the occasional file that simply would not play. (Verify the entire codec record right here.) You may as well plug in a USB drive as much as 895GB and play content material regionally utilizing the identical interface. General it really works, however we would not decide up a Revue only for this functionality — it is extra of a “good to have” function.
Similar with the Concord smartphone app for iOS and Android — it is good to have, however it’s so restricted it isn’t a very killer function. For starters, we could not get the Android app to acknowledge the bodily keyboard on our Droid — it solely labored with the digital keys. It is also a reasonably web page-intensive, with a lot of swiping to get to the buttons you need, and a number of the layouts bury generally-wanted buttons just like the ABCD keys for some DVRs. We additionally had repeated points with disconnects on each platforms, and we additionally suffered an entire lack of settings whereas turning Bluetooth on and off on Android that required one other full journey via setup. And, as anticipated with the restricted Concord help of the Revue normally, you can also’t arrange another Concord actions or management some other units — the one choice is Watch Google TV.Wrap-up
General, the Revue is the field you need in the event you’re enthusiastic about placing Google TV in your front room. It isn’t good, nevertheless it’s strong, though we might wish to see the price go down: at $300 with a sophisticated and prolonged setup, the Revue could be very a lot an fanatic’s system, and we expect most lovers within the options of Google TV are higher served with an affordable PC related to their HDTVs in the intervening time. Drop issues down a worth bracket and it is an entire totally different story, nevertheless — the Revue seems like no-brainer for Dish Community clients at $179, even with the $four month-to-month “integration payment.”
We’re additionally curious to see what the lengthy-time period future holds for units just like the Revue — the one possible way for Google TV to succeed is for the platform to be built-in into set-tops and DVRs, and in that context the Revue is absolutely only a bridge between two incompatible worlds. If Dish or Verizon provided us a single-field Google TV DVR tomorrow, we might throw the Revue out in a heartbeat, and meaning Logitech has to construct out ancillary options like video calling, DLNA help, and Concord integration sufficient to make them tempting sufficient to withstand the inevitable path of the platform itself.
Tim Stevens and Ben Drawbaugh contributed to this assessment.
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