Hardware hasn’t been one of India’s strong points. There are very few hardware products that come to my mind which can be termed as good designs out of India. However, my shortlist certainly has a place for a small black box called the Amkette EvoTV. In fact, this is one of the few devices that I ended up buying soon after the review. Three years ago it solved two of the biggest problems in my life: How to watch YouTube and downloaded content on my flat, but not so smart, television.
Now there is a new version of the EvoTV. It is called the EvoTV 2, but is not really the second version as Amkette launched two specific use versions in between.
Amkette EvoTV 2
The EvoTV 2 box looks a lot like its predecessor though there is a dash of colour now in the form of orange stands for the box. The remote also has seen a bit of an upgrade, and there are now option to lock the mouse function when you don’t need it. But it is not a completely new device in anyway.
Price: Rs 6,449
I have used the Amkette EvoTV2 for a couple of days now, and these are my first impressions:
For a first time user, there is not much to learn thanks to the fact that this is Android at its core. So it is very similar to a tablet interface, and there won’t be much issues navigating. However, having used the first version, this seems like a plain vanilla UI compared to the features the first version had.
The air remote works well for being used with a smart screen. It works like a mouse and does not need a surface. But again, the first version had dedicated gaming keys and even voice controls. The new feature here is a button that locks the mouse on the screen, which is good. However, the fact that select is not always linked to the central button is a pain as you keep pressing the wrong one.
The last version of EvoTV had a variant with XBMC. It was great for people like me who have terrabytes of downloaded content. The software on its own segregated the content, and even pulled down additional data to add value. XBMC is now Kodi and works as the home theatre software hub on the EvoTV 2. If you ask me, this software version has some bugs like a dialog box that does not go away, and a library that does not seem to update itself.
The box comes preloaded with a bunch of apps, some very relevant like Netflix and YouTube. Having switched off live TV and switched on to YouTube and Netflix, I am more than happy that EvoTV 2 can play high definition content out of the box, removing the need to cast from my smartphone. But then there is the option to use the webcast feature on YouTube to play from your phone if needed.
It also plays almost all media formats easily, and this is a plus for those who are still downloading movies and songs the old fashioned way.
At the moment, the EvoTV 2 seems like a good option for those who are hooked to streaming content from the web, but are stuck with a screen that is not new enough to be able to do it natively. There are few bugs, but Amkette has been good with pushing software updates for earlier versions of this media box.
I am just a bit sad that Amkette has made it a bit less smarter than the first version so that it becomes affordable for more users. If you need just Netflix and YouTube, then the Google Chromecast might be a cheaper and more practical option. But for those who want to really make their TV smart with access to everything from apps to browsing, then Amkette EvoTV 2 has a significant advantage.