Android TV and PC games streamed to your living room
Right at the beginning of CES 2015 Razer, known primarily for its PC gaming products, launched its first Android TV device. The Forge TV is headed our way in Q1 for $99 on its own or $149 as part of a bundle with a game controller.
We stopped by the Razer booth to check it out, and one thing becomes pretty clear almost immediately. It's likely this is the Android TV box you're going to want to buy,
For that $99, which is the same price as the Google Nexus Player, remember, you're getting a Snapdragon 805 CPU, 16GB of on-board storage, 2GB of RAM, an Adreno 420 GPU, 802.11ac Wifi and Gigabit Ethernet. So you're getting more storage and Ethernet for the same money.
The box itself is pretty unassuming. It's just a small, square, black box that sits next to your TV. Oh, and it has an awesome green light glowing underneath. But it's essentially a similar size and form factor to Amazon's Fire TV. The Serval game controller is optional, but you get a decent discount by buying it with the box. It's comfortable to use and reminds a lot of the Xbox 360 controller. It's a similar size and a similar shape, so it'll feel familiar instantly to anyone who's ever used the Microsoft console.
The software is Android TV as we've seen on the Nexus Player and more recently introduced by Sony on its line of Bravia televisions. There's more than enough horsepower in the Forge to provide a smooth experience navigating through the UI. If you're not feeling the controller, Razer will be releasing a remote app for Android and iOS to use instead, though obviously you'll not be using it for any gaming.
Speaking of gaming, Razer will also be allowing PC game streaming to the Forge using its Cortex app for Windows. This will be available for free to Forge owners when it arrives in Q2 and will give you the chance to run PC and Steam games on your TV at 1080p/60fps. Since it isn't ready yet it's not being demonstrated at CES, so we'll reserve judgment until we get some actual hands on time.
In tandem with Cortex is the Turret, a keyboard and mouse combination for the gamer who prefers them as a control method. The keyboard has a fold out magnetic panel that stops the mouse from sliding off if you're resting it on your lap and adds the feeling of a more weighty gaming mouse when in actual fact its sized like a travel mouse. The keyboard also comes with dedicated Android keys alongside the more common Windows PC keys.
The Turret will run for $129 and supports Bluetooth LE or Wireless 2.4GHz. You don't need it to play PC games on the Forge, but it's a great option for those that want it. But even after just a short time with it, it's clear that the Forge TV is going to be one of the top Android TV devices out there as we go into a new year.