Roku 2 XS Streaming Player Gadget Review

Roklu 2 XS Streaming Player

With the advent of this fourth generation Roku, quite a few sites were singing praises.  However, beneath the new smaller, sexier exterior lies some faulty electronics.

Roku 2 XS Device

The Roku 2 XS is about one-third the size of the original Roku and has an ethernet port, HDMI port, A/V port, microSD card slot (for expanding available channels) and a power cord slot.  It consumes less than 2 Watts when streaming HD video.  The footprint of the device is accommodating to all entertainment centers.  The device is accommodating to all universal remotes via infrared.  The device comes with free full edition of Angry Birds, the casual game on seemingly every motion-driven device from smartphones to tablets.

Remote Control

The remote control has a Bluetooth motion sensor like the Wii.  It is easier to switch channels with the D-pad and has A and B buttons on the bottom of the remote for games.  The remote also has a seven-second replay feature for streaming movies and television shows.

Review

Although most sites have been singing praises for this new streaming player, this new device gave me problems.  Although it took less than ten minutes to connect the device in its entirety from linking to Roku directly and my channels that include MLB TV, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and NHL Gamecenter, soon afterwards, it had problems remaining connected to my wireless router no matter what.  I kept on disconnecting and reconnecting the power supply to no avail.  For a short time, I did play Angry Birds on the device, and it played fine, although it lacked the finesse compared to playing on the my Samsung Epic smartphone. Gradually, after the short fun with Angry Birds, the Roku soon failed to recognize my wireless router, despite it being less than 15 feet away.  Compared to my original Roku, which only disconnected every four or five months, this new Roku had severe disconnection issues as it continuously kept on failing to recognize my router.  Looking upon the Roku support forums and elsewhere, this is seemingly more commonplace than expected with this new generation of smaller Roku streaming players.  Overall, this device has been a great disappointment.  I expected a lot more out of this company to produce better products, and now, not so much.

Update

My second unit arrived, believing that the first unit must have simply been a lemon perhaps.  This second unit remained connected to my wireless router for a short time.  Then the same problems resurfaced — it could not remain connected to the router no matter what.  Unfortunately, I will be returning this unit as well and asking for the appropriate refund.   That being said, it appears that the Roku 2 XS unit, as well as similar units in the series, have serious electronic problems that need to be resolved.  Otherwise, new customers may become dismayed at a malfunctioning device.  After contending with the second device for several rounds, I gave up and resorted to my older generation Roku player without the Bluetooth remote and Angry Birds.  On the bright side, it remains connected…

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