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Tech: Bring the power of Android to your TV

Play your favourite Android games, browse the Web, and watch free movies and TV shows with iRevo’s Smart TV and Smart PC Android boxes

  iRevo Smart TV and Smart PC

Though Google is gung-ho about its new Nexus smartphones, the company seems to have forgotten about the Nexus Player (Android TV OS), it launched a year ago for TV users. Unlike Roku TV, Amazon's Fire TV or Apple V, it seems Google wants to offer its smart TV OS (Android TV) only via TV manufacturers such as Sony, Philips and Onida, some of who have launched it in their high-end TVs.

iRevo Smart TV and Smart PC

But that has left non-smart LED/LCD TV owners who wish for the functionalities of Android, with no options but to make a run for the Roku or Apple TV, or buy a new set with Android TV OS. iRevo Multimedia, however, may have a better solution, and that too at an affordable price. The company recently unveiled two TV boxes, iRevo Smart TV and iRevo Smart PC) with Android Kitkat 4.2.2 OS. But how different are these from the low-cost Android sticks or boxes available in the market? Let’s find out:

What we like
The iRevo Smart TV and Smart PC look like any other standard Wi-Fi routers but in the inside, they pack more than a wireless radio. Available in black and white, the Smart TV and Smart PC come with a quad core ARM processor clocked at 1.4GHz, 1GB DDR3L RAM and 8GB internal flash memory. The devices comes with an RJ45 network port, Wi-Fi (b/g/n), two USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI 1.4 port, and analogue audio and video output to help connect with the older generation of TVs (480i and 576i). The device can support standard definition resolution of 720x480 to Full High Definition 1920x1080p (50/60Hz). There’s a Wi-Fi antenna at the back and LED indicators at the front.

There’s a 5V 2A power input at the back that connects with the supplied power adapter. Technically, iRevo Smart PC and TV are same internally; however, they are priced differently. While the Smart TV starts at R5,950, the Smart PC starts at R7,999. As with any Android phone or tablet, you can log in to the Google Play Store and download as many apps as possible. Users will give this a thumbs-up.

What’s the difference?
The hardware specs are same for both, the iRevo Smart PC as well as the Smart TV with the difference being in the iRevo propriety user interface, apps, and the freebies supplied with the two devices.

What it can do
iRevo Smart TV: It’s available in two models — QC1 W1R comes with an Infra Red remote controller, and QC1 W1A that comes with an air mouse, which works from anywhere in the room and doesn’t require you to stay in line of sight to pass
commands. The device runs on Android Kitkat 4.2.2 with iRevo Smart TV app, that starts automatically during start-up and offers access to all the free media curated by iRevo on the iRevo cloud. You can watch movies, TV shows as well as song videos without any extra charge. If you want to go back to the Android desktop (like in your phone), point the air mouse or remote to the home button. Apart from curated content, users can also install media centre apps like XBMC and access all their media files either stored on a USB drive attached to the device or other devices connected on the home network. The Smart TV also comes with Teleplay, a service that allows you to watch the same content on multiple devices using its  PlayCast app.

iREvo Smart PC: This device is available with  8GB and 16GB internal storage space, and comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse, the quality of which is good at this price. The Smart PC runs on Android Kitkat 4.2.2 with a proprietary user interface layered on top of it. However, unlike the Smart TV, we couldn’t go back to main Android desktop. The apps are grouped into categories such as Personal, Entertainment, Social and a special category called My Gov, where you can access various e-government services such as Aadhar, and education apps like eBasta, which makes digital copies of school textbooks available for free.

The device also comes with office apps such as Microsoft Word and Quick Office, file explorer to browse files and other storage devices, Web browsers and media players along with several Android games pre-installed, to offer complete PC experience. With this device, you also get access to education and e-learning tools available on Google Play Store.

What we don’t like
Both devices compulsorily require you to share your phone number to sign up for the device. IRevo says it needs to authenticate its users to make some of the services available to them, including the iRevo cloud services and Teleplay, But,
we think it could function equally well without seeking user phone numbers.

The Guide Verdict
Overall, both the iRevo Smart TV and PC are great buys for those looking to experience Android on their TV without spending money on a new TV set, or looking for the functionalities of PC at a low cost. The presence of multiple ports, including a LAN port, adds to the wow factor.

Specifications

Processor: 1.4 GHz Quad Core ARM processor
Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB ROM  
Connectivity:  Wi-Fi (b/g/n), 2xUSB 2.0, RJ45 network port, HDMI output,  AV output
Price: Rs 5,950 (IR remote) and Rs 6,960 (Air Mouse) for Smart TV; Rs 7,999 (8GB) and Rs 9,999 (16GB) for Smart PC


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