|ASUS CUBE Google TV Media Streamer|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 02 May 2013|
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ASUS CUBE Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
Beginning with performance, the ASUS CUBE with Google TV functioned smoothly during all tests and produced fluid audio or video without chop or stutter. Media files played on CUBE seldom ever suffered any frame loss, which is impressive for any portable device. The powerful Marvell ARMADA 1500 SoC is perfectly suited to CUBE, which is why nearly all Google TV systems include it. ASUS includes 2GB of built-in storage space on CUBE, which can be expanded to 50GB using their free ASUS WebStorage service. Although system memory was never any issue, it seems that CUBE offer not more than 1GB of RAM, and would occasionally creep into single-digit availability.
In terms of product appearance, most will agree that ASUS has done as much as possible to make a cube look sexy. CUBE's larger profile makes it stand tall, thereby excluding wall-mounted positions or other hidden locations, so the simple yet elegant boxed shape is going to be seen, and hopefully appreciated.
ASUS is well known for building durable products. The up-side to constructing a device in the shape of cube is that it's going to have plenty of protection from rough handling and accidental impacts with the floor. Likewise with the multifunction remote control, which has a rigid frame and heavy-duty buttons. The ASUS CUBE won't be falling apart on you, that much is for certain.
CUBE's functionality offers both good and bad points to discuss. First, the bad news: CUBE, nor any other Google TV device, support DTS audio streams. This means that any digital files with DTS audio tracks simply won't open or play, which becomes a major problem for multimedia enthusiasts who might have made digital backups of their movie library over the past ten years. Next, the B00CBYYKKY kit contains only one IR Blaster, which means you'll have to choose only one other device to control through CUBE. The only other 'problem' is that some third-party apps (YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, and Chrome for Android) retain log-in credentials while others (HBO GO) do not... but this has nothing to do with ASUS or CUBE. Otherwise, everything else seemed to work splendidly and made sorting through multiple media sources much easier. I encourage visitors to read the previous section of this review for an in-depth look at functionality.
As of May 2013, the ASUS CUBE with Google TV is listed online for $139.00 (Amazon | Newegg). This price puts ASUS CUBE in the same range as other devices, most of which are merely media players and not Google TV buddy boxes. While the going price is very reasonable, I believe most hold-outs would leap at CUBE if it were closer to $119.
Overall I like the ASUS CUBE with Google TV as it performed extremely well, although it's not without some limitations. The remote control offers a myriad of functions and features, the most impressive being a QWERTY keyboard, touch pad, and Voice Search. The Google TV platform looks promising, but it's disappointing that none of their devices support DTS audio or implement a simple stereo fallback to preserve playback functionality. Still, ASUS CUBE with Google TV combines many great platforms and sources into one convenient device, which earns the Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
+ Universal multi-function remote control
- Google TV devices do not support DTS audio
Final Score: 8.75 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: What do you like most about Google TV as a platform?