I have always maintained that the Amkette EvoTV is one of the most innovative Indian products I have seen in my career. In fact, it is the only review unit I ended up buying within the first week.
The first generation EvoTVs tried to do a lot of things. It was a Media Centre, smart Internet box for dumb televisions and even a full fledged gaming centre. Almost a couple of years after I bought mine, I know that there are a lot of features that I never used on that smart little box. Now, Amkette is trying to fix this by bringing out two new versions — one for pure media junkies like me and another for those who would like to experience large screen gaming too.
I tested the new Media Centre version of the smart box, which now costs just Rs 5,500. The Android Central version with motion gaming and mic in the remote for video conferencing costs Rs 1,000 more.
What is new
The EvoTV box is almost identical. It still has the same number of ports at the exact same location as before. What is new, however, is the unique remote. It has become more compact and has dropped the clicker on the back that let you move the curser on the screen. Instead there is a rubbery trackpad on the rear of the remote that lets you bring the cursor to life. As easy as before, just neater. It has also got rid of the buttons that aided its life as motion gaming controller.
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The other big change is in the user interface. What used to look like an Android tablet screen has now become more like a smart TV screen. It actually reminded me a bit of Web OS which LG uses on its smart TVs. But the point is that this UI is much more conducive for use on a larger screen than pure Android. So the screen is divided between what should be important for a media centre — Music, Streaming Video, My Media and Others. The apps are segregated in these sections and that means the home screen is clean and there is no need to swipe here. There is a panel just under these folders to add your favourite apps, the ones you would need in a hurry.
The original EvoTv was a smooth performer, with the occasional stutter here and there. But I have come to expect that from anything Android. The new version seems more stable than the software version that replaced the original. The remote works smoothly and this was a bit of an issue with the last upgrade where the cursor seemed to get stuck at times.
It is really easy to play stuff from a USB drive or external drive and the box plays all file formats like before. Depending on the speed of your Internet streaming either video or music should be no trouble at all. I loved the fact that Amkette has preloaded a lot of relevant apps in the sections. So music has Saavn and video streaming comes with Daily Motion and BoxTv along with YouTube.
In MyMedia I was delighted to find the MX Player which I used to play media on all Android devices. So the apps have been thought through and the selection in spot on. Also, the box no longer comes with the preloaded YouTube channels and playlists, which is okay as you can find what you like on your own.
That does not mean these are the only apps you can use. You can add more apps from both the Evo TV apps store as well as Google Play. But I suggest you don’t load the box with unnecessary apps as it won’t take too long to fill up the 1GB storage it comes with.
The box can be a bit sluggish at times and I noticed a bit of lag when switching back to the home screen from certain apps.
The games take up quite a bit of real estate and storage on my, older, EvoTV. But I did not miss them one bit on the new version and I completely agree it was a good idea to separate the two functions. If you are they type who play a lot of games, then you just have to spend a grand more for the additional functionality. That shouldn’t be an issue at all.
I would have loved to see some new features, but this is still a good upgrade, one that makes a very innovative gadget more functional.
Processor: 1GHz Arm Cortex/ 400 Mali. Ram 1GB
Android: 4.0.4 Media Center