Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV review

£200
Price when reviewed

In use the box is simple to operate and that’s mostly due to its ingenious double-sided remote control, which connects via Bluetooth. On one side is a backlit, five-row Qwerty keyboard – handy for tapping in searches, URLs and short tweets. On the other is a clickable touchpad for mousing around web pages and clicking links, surrounded by a D-pad and a handful of other navigation controls.

These controls include the familiar Android home, menu and back shortcut buttons, which make navigating the system quick and simple. The rest of the buttons are universal controls that allow you to use the remote to control your TV or other set-top box via the IR blaster included in the box, and there’s even a three-axis motion sensor for playing games, although we couldn’t find anything supporting it in the Play store.

Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV - remote (keyboard)

The app model opens up all sorts of extra capabilities. You can add DLNA media streaming via an app, allowing video to be streamed from a compatible NAS drive; there are games to play and even an app that will display tweets at the top of the screen while you’re watching live TV – you have to set the search criteria manually, though.

It sounds good, but the box isn’t without its foibles. For starters, you don’t get the full selection of Play store apps to choose from, only a subset approved for use on Google TV devices. There’s no access to Google’s movie downloads and rentals – the only integration on this front is the Sony Entertainment stuff and Netflix. At the time of writing there was no BBC iPlayer app available for install either, although this is less of an issue since streaming from the website works well enough.

Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV - interface

If you were thinking this would be the ideal appliance for browsing the web on your TV, you’ll need to be aware that Chrome on this browser feels extremely sluggish. Scrolling up and down is painfully slow on many websites, especially on the sort of hefty video-centric pages you’re likely to be accessing. We ran the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark on it, which finished with an average result of 4,222ms – much slower than your average Android tablet. Even the simplest games installed from Google Play, meanwhile, stuttered and stalled.

Google TV is certainly a nice idea, and in some ways it works very well. The remote control is excellent, it plays streaming Full HD content and compatible USB-connected content smoothly, and the apps provide the opportunity to expand the features of the box over time. For now, however, the price at £199 inc VAT is way too high for a device with this many rough edges.

Display

Display typeN/A
Screen sizeN/A
ResolutionN/A

Software and OS support

Software suppliedN/A

Physical

Dimensions width204
Dimensions depth130
Dimensions height35
Dimensions204 x 130 x 35mm (WDH)

Audio format support

MP3 supportyes
WMA supportyes
AAC supportyes
OGG supportyes
FLAC supportno
WAV supportyes
ASF supportyes

Video format support

DivX supportyes
XviD supportyes
H.264 supportyes
WMV-HD supportyes
WMV supportyes
AVI supportyes
MP4 supportyes

Ports and communications

Remote control?yes
UPnP media server?yes
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportno
802.11g supportno
802.11 draft-n supportno
Ethernet interfaceyes
Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
RCA (phono) outputs0
3.5mm audio jacks0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0

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