Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV review
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.
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.
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.
Software and OS support
|Dimensions||204 x 130 x 35mm (WDH)|
Audio format support
Video format support
Ports and communications
|UPnP media server?||yes|
|802.11 draft-n support||no|
|Wired adapter speed||100Mbits/sec|
|RCA (phono) outputs||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||1|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|