We have been tepid on the unique when it was launched in 2015. Nvidia’s Android-based microconsole was extremely highly effective, and the primary -capable we examined, but it surely additionally was virtually as costly as a devoted recreation console. The present Defend TV prices simply as a lot and has the identical , however Nvidia has had two years to construct up its gaming options and actually separate it from the competitors. Even higher, it now has Google Assistant with help for hands-free voice instructions should you get the Defend Controller. It is an costly media streamer, however players will discover its options and processing energy very intriguing.
Storage and Design
The Defend TV is obtainable in two variations, each of which have 16GB of storage (a better capability Defend TV Professional with a 500GB onerous drive is now not out there). The $179.99 mannequin features a easy distant management, whereas the $199.99 model contains each the distant and Defend Controller gamepad, which is important for hands-free voice management with Google Assistant. The Defend Controller is $59.99 by itself, so we wholeheartedly suggest the $200 model of the Defend TV over the remote-only one.
Whereas the 11GB of area left after Android and the preinstalled Nvidia apps is tight, you may add further storage by way of the system’s two USB ports. If you wish to play loads of Android video games with the 16GB mannequin, that is important. We acquired a 2TB working with the Defend TV, and smaller (and cheaper) USB flash drives will work simply as properly.
The present Defend TV shares the angular aesthetic of the unique, however in a barely smaller and flatter Zero.5-by-6.Zero-by-Three.7-inch (HWD) package deal. It is a not-quite-rectangular field with barely uneven traces; the entrance and proper panels are rectangles, the left and again panels are trapezoids, and the oblong prime panel is roofed in triangles. The highest is usually matte black plastic with a couple of angular textured traces, surrounding a big shiny black triangle that sits elevated to point out the glowing inexperienced energy mild alongside its edge. The again panel holds an HDMI port, two USB Three.Zero ports, an Ethernet port, and a connector for the included energy adapter.
Whereas it is designed for use laying flat on a desk, you may stand the Defend TV vertically with an non-obligatory $20 vertical stand accent, identical to with the unique.
Nvidia drastically overhauled the feel and appear of the wi-fi gamepad from the primary Defend TV. The Defend Controller is far lighter at simply 9 ounces, with a Tron-like sample of triangles etched into its matte black plastic physique. The perimeters of the triangles aren’t sharp, and the controller feels comfy and pretty easy within the hand.
Moreover the triangle-covered shell, the controller has all the normal elements: two analog sticks (organized parallel to one another in a DualShock format), a path pad, 4 face buttons (A/B/X/Y, organized in an Xbox format), and two pairs of shoulder buttons. A silver panel in the course of the gamepad holds the Nvidia brand on a button that prompts the Defend’s voice search and voice management options, out there due to the pinhole microphone simply above the button. Again, Play, and Dwelling buttons sit on the underside fringe of the gamepad, beneath the analog sticks. A Three.5mm headset jack sits on the underside of the controller, dealing with down towards the consumer. A micro USB port on the highest allows you to cost the built-in battery or use the controller wired.
The microphone on the controller is probably an important change. It is designed to choose up voices when sitting on a desk in entrance of you, enabling fully hands-free voice management with Google Assistant, like a speaker. All different new options on the Defend TV have been added to the unique Defend TV with firmware and software program updates, however for hands-free voice management you will must buy the up to date Defend Controller for $60.
The unique Defend TV provided the Defend Distant as a $50 accesory, however the brand new Defend TV contains an up to date Distant proper within the field. Contemplating the system bears the identical value because the earlier model, that is a fairly vital boon to its viability as a media streamer.
The 5.6-inch distant is barely bigger than the unique, however is in any other case similar in design. It contains a four-way path pad close to the highest, Again and Dwelling buttons beneath it, and a big Voice Search button beneath them. A pinhole microphone sits close to the highest, although not like the gamepad’s mic it is not designed for hands-free use; you want to maintain it close to your mouth while you converse.
The Defend TV runs practically inventory Android TV on . The a number of Defend apps from the earlier Defend TV have been built-in right into a single Nvidia Video games app that tracks your video games throughout all three of Nvidia’s Defend gaming classes (described beneath). Moreover the Nvidia app, the interface is organized in a typical Android TV format, with apps and video games listed in their very own rows of huge tiles. All video games you play on the Defend TV will populate within the Video games row, together with in the event that they’re streamed domestically over GameStream or over the Web on GeForce Now, with the Nvidia Video games app all the time sitting on the left facet of the listing.
When it comes to , the present Defend TV is similar to the unique one, with the identical Nvidia Tegra X1 APU. Android TV prevents us from performing our customary Android benchmarks on the Defend TV as if it have been a smartphone or pill, however we ran implementations of 3DMark and GFXBench GL to pin down some numbers. The Defend TV scored Three,643 within the Sling Shot Excessive take a look at in 3DMark, outpacing each different cellular system out there, together with the (Three,526). The app even explicitly referred to as the Defend TV “one of the highly effective units out there” based mostly on the outcomes of the take a look at.
The Defend TV additionally blew all different Android units out of the water in GFX OpenGL, rendering 1,570 frames in essentially the most intensive Automotive Chase benchmark. Nevertheless, the iPad Professional beat out the Defend TV in essentially the most difficult Manhattan benchmark, rendering 2,075 frames to the Defend’s 1,574.
Android and Native Gaming
Nvidia constructed the Defend TV round three gaming pillars: Android video games with the Defend TV’s personal Tegra X1, native PC video games with GameStream, and streaming Web video games with GeForce Now.
For native Android video games, the Defend TV continues to be one of the highly effective units on the market. We performed the Android model of , and the motion was constantly easy. I may carry out parries that required exact timing, and gameplay appeared to remain near 30 frames per second beneath most situations. It is not as visually spectacular because the PC model of Revengeance, which has higher-resolution textures and may push a a lot larger variety of flying enemy chunks in Blade Mode, but it surely’s nonetheless a outstanding recreation to see on Android.
Moreover native Android video games, you may stream PC video games out of your laptop over your own home community due to Nvidia Gamestream. You want a stable with an Nvidia GeForce graphics card. I streamed Steel Gear Rising Revengeance and Mirror’s Edge to the Defend TV over our take a look at lab’s 5GHz Wi-Fi community with the Defend TV linked by way of Ethernet. Each video games have been quick and responsive, regardless of a couple of efficiency hiccups on the PC’s finish. Seeing Revengeance streamed from a PC additionally confirmed that the Android model makes a couple of graphical compromises.
Lastly, you may play streaming video games over the Web from Nvidia’s personal servers with GeForce Now. It is a $7.99 subscription service much like and GameFly Streaming, working video games off-side on Nvidia’s and streaming the video and audio to your system whereas receiving your instructions with little or no lag (relying in your Web connection). GeForce Now provides a library of over 100 video games, and newer titles like could be bought piecemeal for retail costs.
Nvidia has upgraded its GeForce Now servers with the corporate’s Pascal structure, which ought to present a efficiency increase on recreation rendering. After all, no server-side improve can repair community bottlenecks, so you will must control your bandwidth. Nvidia additionally introduced a partnership with Ubisoft to include the corporate’s UPlay retailer into GeForce Now. UPlay customers who buy PC variations of Ubisoft video games can play them over GeForce Now with out having to purchase them individually, with cloud saves carrying over between platforms. You continue to must subscribe to GeForce Now to play these video games, even should you already personal them on PC.
I performed over GeForce Now and it was a wonderful expertise. The sport felt responsive and I skilled not one of the jarring lag that early streaming recreation companies had. The video high quality was pretty poor over Wi-Fi, even with the Defend TV just a few ft away from the router, however utilizing an Ethernet connection the sport seemed very closed to the way in which it will if I ran it domestically on a PC.
The Defend TV was the primary streaming media system we examined able to displaying 4K content material, and presently helps excessive dynamic vary () video within the HDR10 format (however not Dolby Imaginative and prescient; if you would like Dolby Imaginative and prescient you will want a Chromecast Extremely or an ). The 4K media participant market has been rising quickly, with a number of selections out there for beneath $100, however few are as highly effective or boast the identical options because the Defend TV.
The Defend TV is as succesful and full-featured as any Android TV system, with loads of big-name streaming media apps together with Amazon, Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix, and Sling. It additionally gives entry to Google Play’s full library of music and video content material. The Defend TV helps Google Forged, so you may stream video to it out of your cellular system identical to a .
For those who get a Defend TV, you merely will not want another media streamer. After all, comparable 4K-capable media streamers, just like the , value lower than half the value; you are paying a premium for the intensive gaming features greater than any media characteristic, together with the brand new good thing about hands-free voice controls with Google Assistant.
A current firmware replace has enabled full use of the Google Assistant voice assistant on the Defend TV. As soon as the system and controller are each up to date, you may simply arrange hands-free voice management by way of the gamepad’s microphone by choosing the microphone icon on the prime of the house display and following the prompts.
As soon as Google Assistant is about up, you may deal with the Defend TV identical to a Google Dwelling, with the additional advantage of on-screen info. For those who say “OK Google, what is the climate?” you will get each an audible climate report and a visible show of the present climate and forecast for the approaching days. For those who ask, “OK Google, how tall is Jeff Goldblum?” you will each hear the reply and see it in textual content (and in case you are questioning, he is six ft, 4 inches).
The Defend TV allows you to open apps with Google Assistant. Simply saying “OK Google, open Netflix” will load the streaming app, and “OK Google, open The Witness” will load the puzzle recreation. You may even inform the Defend TV to regulate the amount, however this solely impacts the system’s outputting quantity ranges; it would not change the TV’s quantity setting.
Google Assistant additionally helps dwelling automation, with an inventory of suitable comparable with Amazon’s Alexa. After linking a Philips Hue account to my Google Assistant account, I used to be ready to make use of the Defend TV to manage linked Hue lights with my voice by saying “OK Google, flip off/activate Workplace.” It is a very useful characteristic, particularly with the hands-free help supplied by the Defend Controller. Amazon Fireplace TV and Apple TV units additionally help good dwelling controls by way of the Alexa and Siri voice assistants, however they are not hands-free; you want to press a button on a distant and converse into it.
The Defend Controller picked up my voice surprisingly properly in testing. Even with colleagues speaking close by, the Defend TV discerned my requests shortly and supplied correct responses. It turned confused when those self same colleagues acquired nearer to the system as I used to be testing, selecting up the phrases of an ongoing dialog going down the identical distance from the controller as I used to be. After I wasn’t making an attempt to speak in opposition to individuals who have been proper subsequent to the system, nonetheless, the hands-free voice instructions labored very properly.
If you do not need the Defend Controller to always hearken to you for a wake-up command, or should you get the remote-only model of the Defend TV, you may nonetheless use Google Assistant. It simply will not be hands-free, and requires you to carry down the microphone button on the distant and converse into it. And, after all, you may disable hands-free voice assistant options manually and nonetheless use the Defend Controller.
We first seemed on the Defend TV with uncertainty, however the microconsole has actually grown on us since its launch, and the addition of Google Assistant makes it much more compelling. Whereas its is about two years outdated now, it is nonetheless one of the highly effective Android units out there by way of gaming. These options are largely restricted to the Android recreation library, however GeForce Now and GameStream supply surprisingly purposeful, compelling recreation streaming on a tool that prices lower than a . The Defend TV is not a media streamer for customers who merely need to watch movies on-line, however for players on the lookout for 4K streaming options or a microconsole for a second TV, or who need to add hands-free Google Assistant options to their dwelling theater, it is fairly a powerful system.