With the introduction of the Shield Android TV from NVIDIA, the previously-available Nexus Player and Razer Forge TV have new competition. Each of these three boxes is making a play for a spot in your entertainment center, and covering a wide range of prices and feature sets, each one is offering up a different value proposition. Here's how each of the available Android TV boxes stack up.
Aligned nicely with the announcement of the new Shield Android TV at $199 (or $299 for extra storage), the Nexus Player has received a significant price drop to $79. Splitting the difference is the Forge TV, which costs $99 without any remote (you'll use your phone instead), or $149 with a game controller.
|Category||Shield Android TV||Nexus Player||Razer Forge TV|
|Processor||Tegra X1 quad-core||Intel Atom quad-core||Snapdragon 805 quad-core|
|GPU||256-core Maxwell architecture||PowerVR Series 6||Adreno 420|
|Storage||16GB / 500GB|
|Basic remote included|
|None included (basic)|
Controller included (bundle)
|Video output||4K (UHD)|
HDMI 2.0, HDMI-CEC
|Connectivity||802.11ac 2x2 (MIMO)|
|802.11ac 2x2 (MIMO)|
|802.11ac 2x2 (MIMO)|
|USB ports||2x USB 3.0|
Micro USB 2.0
|Micro USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|Surround sound||Dolby 7.1||No||No|
Grid game streaming
GameStream remote play
|Android titles||Android titles|
Razer Cortex game streaming (soon)
|Dimensions||130mm x 210mm x 25mm||120mm x 120mm x 20mm||105mm x 105mm x 17mm|
|Pricing||$199 / $299||$79||$99 / $149|
The specs and features align well with the pricing, with the newest box — the Shield Android TV — having the point-by-point advantage in processor, memory and storage. The Forge TV with its Snapdragon 805 processor and 2GB of RAM matches up with flagship phones from earlier this year, while the Atom processor, just 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage on the Nexus Player bring up the bottom of the table.
When it comes to connectivity and features, all of the boxes feature the base level of 802.11ac Wifi, Bluetooth 4.1, and the ability to output 1080p video over HDMI. The Forge TV adds to that with a USB 3.0 port for external devices, and a gigabit ethernet jack for those who want it. Going yet another step up, the Shield Android TV has two USB 3.0 ports, an infrared port for remote control, HDMI 2.0 for 4K video output, and Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound output.
So which box is right for you? Well, only you can answer that question. The Shield Android TV checks pretty much every box you'd want, while the Nexus Player is a surprisingly affordable option and the Forge TV lies somewhere in the middle. Between these three Android TV boxes, there's something to be said for each one considering the specs, features and particularly price.
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Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.