Hands on: Sony NSZ-GS7 review

Sony's slick new Google TV box coming to the UK later in 2012

Sony NSZ GS7 review

Despite admitting that its Google TV products haven't sold well in the US since their launch, Sony is moving forward with its roll out of the service across Europe in 2012.

Sony told TechRadar in Tokyo this week that the service has new features, a new remote control, and will be coming to the UK in the form of the NSZ-GS7 media streamer and the NSZ-GP9 Blu-ray player.

Sony fully expects interest in Google TV to increase in 2012, with additions such as a new interface and the appearance of the Android Market - which brings with it the ability to install Android apps - key to winning the hearts and minds of particularly tech-savvy consumers.

sony google tv

First impressions are actually quite positive. What's becoming increasingly clear is that the service is extremely dependent on decent hardware, something Logitech perhaps forgot when it launched its widely despised Revue box.

sony google tv

While we're yet to be convinced that Google TV is a feature that would be sought out specifically, Sony is clearly determined to do it right for the European roll-out and has added its own spin to the updated platform.

sony google tv

The stand-out feature is the remote control. With one battery installed on each end it's very well balanced, and that's important because it contains a 3-axis accelerometer and a touchpad.

sony google tv

The idea is that you use the touchpad like a mouse to control your cursor, with selections being made simply by pressing the touchpad like you would the trackpad on a MacBook.

The accelerometer is a clever idea that's designed to give you the ability to interact with Android apps and games in the same way you can using a mobile phone - you could play a driving game and use the remote as a steering wheel, for example.

sony google tv

Any Android app that's designed to make use of the accelerometers in phones would be able to communicate with the remote control in the same way, making Google TV a much more compelling gaming platform.

sony google tv

It works, too, and Sony told us that it fully expects developers to start making games specifically for Sony's Google TV products, making use of large TV screens.

sony google tv

The remote also contains a microphone, which can be used to input voice search commands, but again, there's no reason you couldn't use it to make Skype calls.

sony google tv

We used it to run a search for TechRadar which didn't work first time - a regular problem with voice control - but we got there in the end and it did still save time, despite the delay.

sony google tv

And it has a fully backlit keyboard on its rear for easy operation in the dark.

sony google tv

Sony is keeping its Google TV line-up to just these two products for the European market, and the service replaces the Bravia Smart TV platform in those products.

sony google tv

But there is some form of integration between the services - if you were to plug the Sony NSZ-GS7 into one of the new Bravia TVs via HDMI, the Google TV content and apps will be detected and appear in the TV's cross media bar menu, allowing you to control and access your content quickly without having to change inputs or swap remote controls.

sony google tv

Google TV remains an interesting idea, and this new Sony kit is lovely - but can we envisage thousands of Brits going out and spending £200 on a media box just for the service? It still seems rather unlikely.

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