11:40 AM

Google's 'Q' Ball Is Pocketed - Better Products Already Exist

Google's Nexus Q "media streaming" device costs $299, requires speakers and a TV although it does have a small amplifier, better products already exist.

Sonos sells a compact $299 wireless speaker, the Play:3 that can play your iTunes library and stream from any music service. It can blast any room with loud sound through 3 high quality speakers, each with its own custom-tuned digital amp.

[I reviewed the Play:5, essentaily the same as the Play:3 but with two extra speakers.]

The Sonos doesn't stream video but will do whatever else the "Q" does only a lot better and louder. And you don't need to connect your own speakers, which is a pain, especially if they are already connected to your main HiFi.

And if you have computer speakers, well, they are already connected to your computer and can stream whatever, no need for the "Q."

Google will sell you a pair of speakers for $399 plus silver plated (not gold) speaker cables for $49. That's a total of at least $698.

You could get the $399 Play:5 from Sonos, which, by the way, just has one cord, the power cord hanging out the back, not a jumble of wires like the 'Q." Here's Wired Magazine:

...a fully appointed Q will be positively bristling with cables. The back of the device sports banana jacks for direct speaker connections, a Toslink/optical port for connection to a home entertainment system, an HDMI port for connecting an HDTV, and even a MicroUSB port for "future accessories and hackability."

All this wiring plus a power cable makes for a busy back panel...

Also: The "Q" requires an Android device, either tablet or smartphone to control it.

The Sonos devices allow you to use your computer to control the system, or as an option, any iOS or Android device but don't require it, unlike the "Q."

Or, for $99 you can get an Apple TV unit, that'll stream video and audio to your TV and HiFi.

GOOG clearly doesn't understand hardware. There's nothing original or unusual about this product except for its round shape, which makes it tough to place next to the TV without partially blocking the view.

I can't see this device appealing to anyone that hasn't already Googled this category to see what's available, and that has been available for a long time.

A poor effort from Google, imho. The "Q" ball is pocketed on the first break.