- Consumer Electronics & Personal Gadgets
Cheap Android Stick
An Intro to Android Sticks
When I first heard about the Chromecast, a device that lets you turn your tv into something you can use to watch things like Hulu and other sources of streaming media, I thought it sounded very cool. But when I started searching for it on Amazon in the search results some things called "Android sticks" were coming up. Described in the most simplest way they are a device that looks kind of like a flash drive, but you can plug it into a tv that has an hdmi port and it will "magically" turn your tv into a giant Android tablet. To me that sounded even cooler than a Chromecast.
Now, obviously there are some things that you can't do with a tv that you would with a tablet. You don't touch the screen to click and zoom and such. You instead have to use something like a keyboard and/or mouse to control it (wireless ones are best in this instance)...and they have mini keyboard / touchpad combos that are quite nice for this purpose.
There is also no accelerometer in a tv so you can't tilt it for playing games like Temple Run (plus, a tv would be too big and awkward to do that with anyway).
But you can put apps like Netflix and Huluplus on it to watch tv shows and movies on. You can use it for email if you want. And although some games won't work there are many other games you can play with it. Basically, almost anything you do on an Android tablet you can do with an Android stick and a modern tv. Many people use it as a "smart tv." Some people who only need basic computer things such as email or Internet are using them instead of a laptop or desktop.
My Cheap Android Stick
So although I thought they were cool, I thought I'd wait until technology progressed and they were a little cheaper (when I first learned about them they all cost more than the Chromecast).
But the other day I was on Amazon.com and I saw that they had an Android stick for $20. Uhm...isn't that way too cheap, when the others "lower priced ones" I saw cost $50 to $80...and went up from there?
It is not the best Android stick. It can be slow and the interface isn't so great. But what did you expect for $20? I still like it better than the Android tablet my mom bought a couple years ago for around $80.
Overall, for my first Android stick...I love it!
It took me a little bit of time to first set it up, but with some patience it wasn't too bad. It's pretty fun and I quite enjoy using it.
Keeping It Cool
A wireless mouse and/or keyboard is great to have.
Tips for the Stick
If you get this particular Android stick it is well worth reading all the reviews to pick up tips to improve its use. I'll try to list some here, but since more reviews with useful tips are bound to be added or provide more detail I'd still recommend reading them. (Some of these tips may be useful for other sticks too?)
- This Android stick gets hot. A few reviewers suggesting buying stick on heat sinks (like the kind your computer's cpu has) and place them on. I found some mini ones and just peeled off the backing and stuck them on.
Because it gets hot I unplug the usb power source when it's not in use.
- Consider getting a wireless mouse or keyboard with touchpad to control the device. Or I just found out about something called an "air mouse" and that might be more convenient...depending on what you use your Android stick for.
- As mentioned before, the interface is not the greatest. One reviewer recommended an Android app called Button Savior to add buttons to the screen that can act as Home, Menu and other buttons that are on tablets and phones, but not on this.
A couple other reviewers suggested adding a launcher app to customize the screens and app drawers more to your liking. I used Nova Launcher, but there are many others such as Go Launcher that you might want to try.
- You may want to have an app such as Clean Master to help clear up space on your device.
- It only has one usb port, so if you need more than that you should get a usb hub.
- When you first set it up you absolutely have to have a mouse to set it up. There is no way around that, so make sure you have one around.