Smart TVs are one of the most interesting developments of the Android-iPhone wars—set top boxes that turn a dull screen into a high end computing machine, with more options arriving every day.
Everyone’s heard about Apple TV, which is expected to reach India soon—but there are already a number of Android set top boxes in the market. We’re looking at the Woxi Smartpod—a small white box which is barely noticeable under the TV, it adds a lot of functionality from the moment you plug it in.
It connects to the TV using an HDMI cable, and can connect to the Internet over both WiFi or ethernet connections. Once you’re plugged in, you use a remote which is just a little wider than a typical TV remote, but comes with a full qwerty keyboard, so you can use it to type.
It’s running a heavily skinned version of Android, to give you quick access to YouTube, the browser, games and apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Gmail, or even Polaris Office or Documents to Go, so you can actually use the remote to work on your presentation, between watching videos.
The setup is very simple, but it works effectively—you’re surfing the web and watching content from your PC in minutes, on any old TV, even a decade old CRT screen. At Rs9,540, it’s not too expensive either.
The only downside is in the remote—it’s a little too sensitive as a pointing device to use comfortably, and it’s also fairly heavy considering that you need to use it precisely to get it to work as a mouse.
Making matters worse, typing on the keyboard is a painful exercice, as the keys are spongy and it’s hard to record presses accurately. Despite these shortcomings, it’s worth checking out as a robust budget option, though if you have the choice, look at the Evo TV from Amkette, which is much more polished, but costs over Rs2,000 more.