Tech: Infinitec Pocket TV review

After a few months of thumb-twiddling, the long-awaited Infinitec Pocket TV finally arrived, handed over in a Fedex parcel.

Here’s a first look.

The box, the Pocket TV and the air keyboard.

You can’t see it in this picture, but the HDMI connector has a cap that’s attached to the unit with string, very nice touch for us absentminded folks.

Setup
Very easy. Plugged Pocket TV into one of the TV’s HDMI ports, connected the USB cable to power point with adapter. An Australian power adapter was not provided though, so I had to use one of my own.

Here’s a look at the Pocket TV’s UI running on a Sony Bravia LCD with 1080p output.

  • Big clock display with Wi-Fi strength indicator at the bottom right (along with notifications.) Connected to my Wi-Fi WPA2 encrypted network with no problems.
  • Back, Home, Recent apps at the bottom left.
  • Apps list on the Top right. Menu also appears on the top right (if available).

Overall, a pretty clean interface.

Air keyboard
It might be me and my long fingers, but the air keyboard< is too small to hold comfortably. It's about the size of an iPhone 5, maybe a little longer. Flimsy feel, probably because of the compact build and the thinness on the parts, which doesn't allow solid construction. One thing I didn't like: the keys are not very responsive, most especially the space bar. It would randomly repeat a keystroke at times, not certain if this was because of me hitting the key too hard.

Obviously for the air keyboard to work, there has to be a transmitter/receiver setup. The air keyboard's transmitter is hidden in the back of the air keyboard, with some finesse required to prise the lid open. Handle with care, the cover is delicate and very likely to break if too much force is exerted.

Google account removal
I had problems removing the first Google account I added, a dumb move if I might say so. I most certainly did not want my personal Google account (including emails) being accessible from the TV, so it had to be removed one way or the other. Gave it my very best shot and failed spectacularly, so I ended up doing a factory reset on the unit and setting up a new Google account for the Pocket TV.

Testing it out
I want this to replace the laptop I have hooked up to the TV at the moment, so the Pocket TV had to be able to do a few things:

  1. Watch YouTube (For Elly)
  2. Watch YouTube (For V)
  3. Watch NBA League Pass (For me and Stan)
  4. Stream videos from the living room desktop, which is a cheapo version of a home NAS right now.

YouTube performed excellently with no problems, even at high quality.

1. PASS. Cue checked box for Elly’s Mickey Mouse episodes

The catch here is the YouTube clips V watches are often embedded content on webpages. That means Flash on the browser, and Flash became an unofficial sort of thing after Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0).

So the next question begins: how the hell do I get Flash?

Using Flash on Pocket TV

  • Installing Adobe Flash, download from Archived Flash Player versions. I used version 11.1 for Android 4, seeing as the Pocket TV is running on 4.0.4.
  • Opera Mobile allows Flash content to be displayed, get it from the Google Play store.

Not too hard, but it took a bit of research for the answer to surface.

2. PASS. Ellen’s dramas were playing with no problems so that’s one box checked.

The next problem became obvious, right after I had the Flash licked.

Hardware
The hardware is slow due to it being a single core processor. Well too slow for NBA League Pass, which is apparently pretty hardware intensive even when streamed at 800kbps.

When run full-screen, the Esc key (used to exit full screen mode) did not respond no matter how I mashed the damn button. Workaround: hit Home to exit, then get back to Opera and pause the video when it was back to the normal browser window.

Video streaming from PC
Used VLC Direct to play videos from my living room desktop. It was a bit of a PITA while working out how the .hosts file was to be modified to allow LAN access; turned out the one thing I missed was restarting VLC after applying the changes.

After all the setup issues were ironed out, I did experience slight buffering issues while testing video playback on a 170 MB AVI file.

It could be due to Wi-Fi connectivity though, so I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt here.


Summary
It’s honestly not a bad unit (3.5 out of 5). Obviously with the low price tag a quad-core processor would have been out of the question, but I would have liked the processor to be beefed up to a dual core.

China appears to have the pocket TV market well in hand, with similar units being sold for about a heavily discounted price in Singapore. (USD$150 compared to SGD$90, quoted from NZ).

To quote David Tan from Infinitec’s Facebook page:

i think by the time you receive this pocket tv, you would be disappointed that it’s a singlecore and not quadcore that’s most likely will be mass produced by the time you this arrives at your doorstep. what they’ve shown you are simple stuffs that doesnt require multiple cores, but after seeing demos on the same chip they(infinitec) used which were used by many previous gen (refer http://tvbox.geekbuying.com/ ) you will see the difference. Im not against this company in any way, but just against the idea of such crowdsourcing a product which is widely available now. what they did is just a redesign of the case, the internals are practically the same, but last generation. You and many others, are paying a premium high price for the sexy case, waiting time, and such. Oh and The airmouse aint new just so you know, it resembles too much of what was already existing few years ago.

I pretty much agree with what he said, but that’s the way things roll. You can never expect to win against China’s copy-and-mass-produce tactics if the specs are widely available. With the huge price leverage commanded from mass manufacturing, it’s always a struggle for startups to produce something unique and affordable, especially on a tech product that relies on open-source software (read: Android). Infinitec chose to crowdsource, and this is but a natural consequence.

I still think they have a good product here though, the advantage being if they continue to improve on the firmware and make their own implementation of the Android UI better progressively. Otherwise, it will slowly but surely end up becoming just another generic Android device out there.

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8 thoughts on “Tech: Infinitec Pocket TV review

  1. I found the performance quite bad. This thing is practically unusable for any serious media watching or even any androidesque use cases. The browsers lag, the media players lag, the UI is nowhere near smooth. Oddly enough, my smartphone with half the specs performs far better running a JB ROM. I am beginning to think I’ve been had.

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  2. Do you honestly recommend the Pocket TV to other users?
    Obviously, my initial expectations were a bit higher than yours. I was let down by the poor performance, lack of support, Android apps compatibility, and even the company’s integrity.

    Here is my review for the PTV:
    1-Video Streaming: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video either does not work or work with poor performance. (1/5)
    2-Gaming: The GPU fix helped a lot but it is still really bad even compared to some of the 3 years old devices. [Before the GPU fix (which is removed and no longer supported): (1/5) After the GPU fix: (2/5)]=(1.5/5)
    3-performance and User Experience: they should have customized the UI to work with big screens and both input methods (IR remote which is useless with current UI and AIr remote). (2.5/5)
    4- Customer support: 2 weeks after receiving my unit, the Air remote stopped working properly, I contacted them using 3 different methods and it took them 10 days to respond and over a month to address the issue which many users have been complaining about for weeks. The forum which is the most efficient way to communicate with the company and other customers get spammed constantly and they take a couple of days to clean it up. (1.5/5)
    5- Features and compatibility: Most webcams and many bluetooth sticks are not supported. They claim to support Logitech webcams but many users including me reported that even our Logitech webcams does not work. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video are still listed among the features when in fact they do not work. Apps compatibility is embarrassing since many don’t work while other work with poor performance. Talk about business ethics and integrity. The Air Remote was supposed to be an advanced hardware designed by the company itself, which is what they said in a comment in Kickstarter, turned out to be a cheap Chinese knockoff with a sticker of the company’s logo on the back of it to hide holes of removed buttons. They did not even bother to produce a back cover to the remote. In fact, the whole device turned out to be just another cheap Chinese HDMI Android stick. (1/5)

    Overall: 1.5/5

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    1. Aman: I do not live in the US, so point 1 was moot for me. I would agree on points 2, 3 and 4, without having any experience on 5. But yes, I was rather disappointed even after the firmware upgrade, and I’ve given up on using the product as a bad idea altogether. The hype surrounding the product led us all to believe and hope for something much better, which did not turn out to be all that true.

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  3. This product was one of those things that looked good on paper but the poor implementation made it a failure. I was actually looking forward to customize my games to work with the PocketTv. I am waiting for my next try with another kickstarter project named Gamestick which is appears to be much better in terms of specifications, user experience, and overall more mature product. I am not getting my hopes up but I know that it will be a better product anyway.

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