Top critical review
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Jury's Still Out...
on December 27, 2012
I received this as a gift for Christmas 2012. I threw it on my wishlist because it was cheap but it still seemed like a bit of a frivolous item to buy myself. In short, I'm glad I didn't buy it for myself, as it's a bit frustrating to use. At the same time, however, I'm glad I asked for it, as I might just manage to get some use out of it. To start, I'll go ahead and list the pros:
-Very competitive price.
-Pretty easy to set up (if you've got the right equipment to complement it).
-It comes rooted (that's right, a device that you can actually own).
-You can plug standard USB keyboard and mouse into this.
-Google Play Store access (I'm pretty sure they have to pay google for access to this).
Those are some serious pros, in my opinion. The price alone should make this worth buying for a lot of people. But for me, the cons are pretty substantial:
-It defaults to 720p at (I think) 60hz. This only worked on ONE of the displays I tried it on. Changing the display (so that I can actually use it) only lasts as long as the device is plugged in. If the device crashes (something it does often), the only way to reset it is to unplug and replug.
-Video streaming on YouTube and Netflix was extremely slow (I read somewhere that this might be because the antenna is just too insulated and the device is not getting a strong enough signal; a problem that can be solved with a little tweaking of the case).
-It crashed on me at least five times in an hour and a half.
-The device feels slow, all around, both doing online and offline activities. Even seemingly simple offline activities!
-It gets hot! People have said that it'll crash on them when it gets too hot.
-The male to female HDMI cable they give you is a bit frustrating. It's really short. I get why they did what they did, so that you would not need any additional cables to use this out of the box, but given that the device gets too hot for comfort, it would be better off running on a much longer cable. I could use one of the many 6' male to male cables in my house, IF only they had provided a female to female extension, or if they had just put a female jack in the device, but they did not. A minor gripe, but worth mentioning. If you want to buy this, and you don't want it jammed directly behind whatever tv/monitor you're going to use it with, get an appropriate extension cable!
-Support for this device appears to be pretty lame (although there is a co.uk forum that seems pretty active, but I don't know if there are substantial differences, if any, between my device and whatever they're shipping over to Britain).
While the pros are pretty sweet, the cons are pretty damning for this device, at least for the use I would give it. Some of the cons are kind of resolvable. I might be able to solve some of the speed issues by either tweaking the case or moving the device closer to my router. I might be able to reduce overheating by purchasing a longer M-F cable and using the device in a more ventilated space. It might also be that the speed issues I noticed were due to the device's start up procedures not being totally complete. I'm still investigating. I should probably investigate further and update my review, but right now, based on the brief use I have given this, I'd recommend it to people who don't mind monkeying around with what is a pretty forward-thinking device, but NOT to people who expect to just plug and go with absolutely no worries.