Razor Forge TV Preview – Console and media player with Android TV




We know the Ouya yet? In 2013 it was made public enthusiasm for this small console using a Kickstart campaign. The concept was simple: a simple game consoles where you can play games on Android for less money than an Xbox or Playstation: about 100 euros.

Although the small console around his introduction could count on a lot of attention, he soon disappeared from the radar again. The biggest reason for the failure was meager game offerings. Games had to be specially made because compatible with the included controller and be put into the Ouya app store. What did not help was that the hardware used, a Tegra 3 SOC Nvidia, at the time of its release was not entirely new, and he was soon overtaken by developments in hardware field.

Razer Forge TV

Game hardware manufacturer Razer is now trying roughly two years later actually doing exactly the same as Ouya time. At CES presented the manufacturer has a small console with Android, for gaming and to play your media. The big difference? The Razer Forge TV running Android TV, the version of Google’s operating system that was created specifically for televisions and set-top boxes. Because we are going to see this version of Android this year on many more devices, and developers do not need to take into account the special Forge TV Razers cabinet has a good chance of success.

Small but powerful

Razer has kept simple design Forge TV. It is a small, square, black box at the back with connections for USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet and HDMI. Inside resides a Snapdragon 805 soc. That is a souped Snapdragon 801, we know from the HTC One, Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z3, but with a more powerful GPU.

Qualcomm has these soc designed with quad-HD phones in mind, but the Forge TV goes to full-HD, which means that the 805 so relatively few pixels need to control and that games are a lot of GPU power at their disposal . The games that we could test the waters, including Asphalt 8 and the shooter Modern Combat, turned quickly and without problems. For the interface is that certainly, that runs like a charm and the Android TV format tiles in horizontal rows intuitive.

The Snapdragon 805 is coupled to 2GB RAM and 16GB of storage memory available. That’s not a huge amount if you plan to install many big games and we hope that the USB port can be used to attach extra storage. In the wireless area is also support for Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi ac, with a 2×2 antenna array. Both wired and wireless Forge TV seems to stand his ground.

Razer Forge TV

As a small game console

Because the software under the hood is equal to the smartphone and tabetversies Android, run existing games without problems, as long as they support controllers. Developers need to upload it to the Play Store only to indicate that their app is Android TV compatible. Therefore, there is already a decent library of games available, though of course no games of “real” console quality. However you spend on the Android games just a few euros and not 50 to 60 euros, as in ‘real’ consoles.

To control these games Razer has developed its own wireless controller, called Serval. This bluetooth controller follows the design that we have seen before. Right down four face buttons, a rear bumper and trigger finger, and placed under the left and right thumb are thumbsticks and a d-pad. In the middle are two Android-specific buttons ‘previous’ and ‘home’. The whole feels familiar and good, but the price of 50 euros, we find on the high side, especially when you consider that the box itself will cost only 99 euros.

Razer Forge TV

According to Razer, it is not possible to link the system to other controllers, but that claim does not seem very credible. Namely Android has native support for USB and bluetooth controllers, and we can hardly believe that Google would allow Razer disable this support. Hopefully it will be possible at the time of release to buy the Forge TV ankle and attach an existing controller.

As a media player

Has to the multimedia side of Google Android TV much attention and that makes sense. This software, after all, will also be used in television sets include Sony, Philips, and Sharp. So you have nothing to do with gaming, then the TV Forge potentially interesting as a media player.

You can download it from the built-in Google apps and rent movies through a simple interface, which is also associated with the search function. The search function also supports voice recognition, so you can ask for example to ‘Batman Movies, “and to get an overview of all the Batman movies that you can download or rent through the apps that are installed on the Forge TV. By default, only Google Play Movies & TV, but did you run for example Netflix, then sought in there.

Razer Forge TV

Because Forge TV running Android, you can also apk files outside the Play Store to install and that opens more doors. The popular media player XBMC example, nowadays known as Kodi, there is an Android version offers you access via a nice interface to all the media you have on your NAS.

Preliminary conclusion

The Razer Forge TV seems a good solution for people who occasionally want to play a game on a big screen. More interestingly, we find perhaps him as a media player; For 99 euros you get a nice little box with fast wifi and ethernet, which you can play local media through example Kodi or Plex and through a variety of cloud services also can purchase movies and series. He also doubles as another Chromecast receiver. Those interested need if it is good to wait very long, because Razer aims at a European release in the first quarter of this year.


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