EvoTV review: Android-power in your TV


NEW DELHI: Amkette, the company best known for its floppies in the bronze age of computers, has rolled out a device that it is touting as the 'smart TV box'. The device in question is EvoTV, a small black coloured box that can be connected to your standard TV. It can boost the features of even contemporary LCD and LED TVs in order to make the idiot box more interactive. 

The hardware
EvoTV is powered by Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and runs on a 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor with 512MB RAM and 4GB of internal storage. It features four USB ports, one HDMI port, SD/MMC slot, Ethernet port, A/V jack and SPDIF slot and comes with Wi-Fi compatibility. With these options, you can easily link to a TV, keyboard, mouse, hard disk, broadband connection, which will enhance your TV viewing experience beyond its capabilities. The best part of the Amkette EvoTV is that it supports HD video playback at 1080p due to its in-built codec, thus bringing the HD experience to the standard television. 

Amkette has included a remote called Evo Touch with the device, which is a bundle of surprise. It has the buttons that every other remote has and also functions as a mouse, mic and motion control device. Users can click the button on the underside of the remote when they want to perform a function, like they would do with a desktop mouse. Due to the in-built mic, users can speak conveniently while hosting video calls on Skype, Google+ Hangouts etc. And it works flawlessly when we sift through the contents on the TV screen. 

Adding peripheral devices on the EvoTV was a breeze and we encountered no issues when we connected a hard disk, 3G dongle, webcam and wireless keyboard to it. Internet access was also smooth as the device easily detected 3G, Wi-Fi and Ethernet-based connections without much ado. 

Android power
While operating the Android 2.3-powered Amkette EvoTV, we were pleased with the amount of digital content that could be accessed on the wide screen of a television. However, a dampener was the slightly sluggish experience that the device gave us. May be the company could have used more RAM or upgraded the processor to make the experience smoother and more enjoyable. 

We easily connected to the Google Play store for apps and downloaded a few games and apps to test the worthiness of the EvoTV. All apps performed as expected, though the sluggish response took the fun out of the Angry Birds and motion gaming experience. Along with the marketplace apps, Amkette has its own EvoTV Store, which has more than 500 exclusive apps. The manufacturer is also working on upgrading the operating system of the device. 

The Mali 400 GPU rendered the graphics well and the viewing experience was enjoyable. Using the Amkette EvoTV, we could watch YouTube videos without any issues and the 1080p movies on our hard drive played smoothly as well. This device also has Adobe Flash support and, thus, opened all websites flawlessly. YouTube has been customised in the EvoTV, so that users can enjoy their favourite TV shows in chronological order. 

Productivity and fun
Now, if you want to write it off as a big-screen entertainment gadget, you would be wrong. The EvoTV supports MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint formats among others, which means that after all the years of wasting time in front of the tube, you can finally perform some actual work while in front of the TV. Along with work, you can remain connected to the world by flipping over to Twitter, Facebook etc any time. 

Amkette EvoTV has sections where apps can be clubbed together, namely YouTube Viewer, Applications, Web, Media Center, TV Shows and Games. Some of the pre-loaded apps on the device are YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, TuneIn, Saavn, OfficeSuite Pro and many others. Free movie streaming, stock updates, Dropbox access, videos on several topics, banking apps will attract many users as well. Of course, they can access Evo Discover to find more interesting content on the world wide web. 

The problems
Despite its praiseworthy features, the EvoTV is not without its own set of problems. The biggest problem we feel is the absence of an off button, which means that most users will resort to unplugging it. Then they will encounter another frustrating problem, the boot time. The device takes at least 2 minutes to start, which is ironic since Android-powered phones and tablets are relatively quick to boot. 

The EvoTV heats up very quickly and we found no way to resolve this issue. So the manufacturer has to do something to rectify this issue and soon. The remote lacks a mute button, which is not a big problem, but is still a noticeable omission. 

Last, but not the least, is the price of the Amkette EvoTV, and this may be called the biggest issue. The gadget carries an MRP of Rs 12,995 and is available at approximately Rs 10,000 in the market. This seems a bit hefty to us, as Indian buyers are not known for their loose purse strings and would much rather a pay a far lesser price for the device. A tag of say Rs 7,000 would have been apt in our opinion. 

The alternative
The chief competitor of the EvoTV is the Portronics Limebox, which costs Rs 8,499 in India. This gadget also has the same features and also has built-in vents that solve the problem of heating. Its processor is clocked at 1.2GHz, which puts it slightly ahead of the EvoTV. 

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