I had a chance to try out the Magic Pro iGoGo TV (MP-188), which is a simple box that brings Android 2.3 to your television. This shouldn’t be misunderstood with Google TV. Google TV is a completely different interface designed for TV’s whereas the iGoGo brings the full Android experience to your TV. It behaves much like Android does on your phone, and somewhat on your tablet minus the touchscreen. If your looking to add internet capabilities to your TV this is an option, but how does is fare for $179.99? Hit the break to find out more.
The iGoGo is a compact rectangular box that is designed to be placed on top of your TV rather than below it like most internet boxes or media players. It’s because it has webcam in the front along with a microphone so you can use it for video chatting. It’s made of plastic and feels durable. It’s also rather compact if you ever want to take it to a friend’s house or on trips. It measures 9 5/8 long X 1 3/4 wide X 1 1/16 tall (at the tallest point).
Along the front you will find the 2MP webcam, speaker, and micro SD slot. The backside has (from left to right) an analog AV out, OTG USB, HDMI, power jack, reset/recover buttons, and the power button.
It comes with a bracket that’s adjustable so you can place it on top of your TV. It also gives you the ability to angle it so you can set the webcam where you want depending on how far you sit.
The remote control is very nice. It’s actually an air mouse so you can navigate easily through the menus and choose apps. The full keyboard is easy to use and there is a decent number of shortcuts. All in all I was very happy with the remote control except it does take a little getting used to. Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to navigate pretty easily and even play games like Angry Birds.
The iGoGo TV features an ARM Cortex A8 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of storage, MicroSD slot, support for USB External HDD or flash drive, 2MP front webcam with mic, a 2.4 GHz wireless air mouse keyboard remote control, 1080P video decoding and output, HDMI 1.3, analog av out, audio output video HDMI only, Bluetooth, Ethernet, and WiFi
I found the iGoGo TV to perform adequately. There were some hesitations at times, but if you’re looking for a full Android experience on your TV, the iGoGo does a pretty good job. I wasn’t about to run a benchmark on this thing. Most of you know I’m not a believer in them, and especially for a device such as this. Overall it operates very nicely with minor hesitations. How it will operate after 6 months of heavy use is a good question, but I think most people looking for something like this will be happy.
The remote control works very well and is designed well. It’s just the right size and typing on the keyboard was a breeze. You can connect another keyboard via Bluetooth, but I never tried it nor did I feel the need to do it. As to controlling the cursor and navigating, that takes some practice. I’ve never used an air mouse, and it definitely took a little getting used to. I did feel better about it after I got the hang of it, but I still found many times where I was annoyed and trying to simply click something. One negative is the ability to use your phone to control the device like the Google TV, but all in all I think they did a really good job with their remote.
Android 2.3 is onboard and I know a lot of you are probably already turned off with no Ice Cream Sandwich. I honestly don’t see a big deal in this. All you need is a launcher and a homescreen(s) and you’re in business. Having ICS instead of Gingerbread gives you nothing more and nothing less.
The full blown Android experience is here that include widgets, customizing what apps you want on your homescreen, and the Google Play Store. The launcher is to the right since TVs are in landscape mode. You add and delete widgets the same way you would on your phone or tablet. I was only able to see one homescreen so that is a downer. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t include multiple homescreens, but it is what it is.
Most apps works the way it would on your phone or tablet, but not always. Certain apps that deal with GPS won’t work and I also found apps like Twonky for playing videos from my media server didn’t works as well. I actually thought Twonky would work since it was part of my network. I was able to play videos from the microSD card, but the stock video player didn’t fill the screen. I tried MX Video and that worked.
Games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope work very well although I really don’t have much desire to play them on my TV. I didn’t try something more elaborate, but I imagine just about every game can be played on this thing other than the ones that require dual-core processors and higher.
Skype comes pre-installed, but after reading some other user reviews I deleted it and re-installed it. I was able to get it to work after a couple of tries, but the quality of the camera wasn’t great, so I was told. I also tried doing a Google Hangout and the video worked, but no audio. I’m sure it can probably work somehow, but I just didn’t spend too much time with it.
Here’s a hands on look of the iGoGo in action.
The iGoGo TV is a nice device, but at $179.99 it seems a little high. When doing my video I mentioned a cheaper version without the webcam, but apparently it’s not available in the U.S. It’s available in Hong Kong and is model MP-168. For whatever reason it seems to sell for the same price as the one I tested, the MP-188. The MP-188 can be bought on Amazon for $179.99 and the MP-168 can be had for $178.00 on eBay. That doesn’t make sense. Give me the iGoGo without the webcam for $99 and I might be able to recommend it. I just don’t see anyone getting much use out of the webcam. As it is, I don’t see a lot of people utilizing the front-facing cameras on their phones and tablets let alone their TV. There’s already competition with the Pocket TV on Kickstarter, which costs $99 and does gives you ICS. There is also the iPPea TV, which only costs $50 without the remote control. Neither of these devices offer a webcam so if you really feel you need one, I would wait until the prices come down.