Review: Samsung HomeSync (GT-B9150)
Back in February in Barcelona at the MWC this year Samsung announced the Samsung Homesync cloud storage device, it’s a world first for Samsung in this product category. It’s a set-top box for your home theater system that runs on Android Jelly Bean. Samsung promises that any of your android phones or tablets will be able to take control and stream media to its glossy little home-cloud bridge that’s no bigger than a wireless router. Samsung’s aim to fill the gap covered by the Apple TV within the Apple ecosystem. If you are familiar with the Android OS will feel right at home with the Jelly Bean running media center.
Good time for us to find out if it is worthy to buy or just wait until these things will be merged with the Tv’s.
The device was slated for an April release but they took a little bit more time, now they released it in October. Let’s see if it was worthy to postpone the release date and if it is a great device.
The HomeSync Specifications are:
– 1.7 Ghz dual-core CPU
– Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean platform
– 2 GB RAM
– 8 GB internal storage (flash memory)
– 1 TB hard disk drive
– Bluetooth 4.0, Wireless LAN, Optical Audio, HDMI 1.4 connectivity
– Integrated Android TV (allows for uploading/downloading from multiple devices and also enables instant share).
At first glance the device itself looks like a Wireless router. It has an industrial and very sleek and modern design which Samsung is known for. It has a brushed aluminium front panel, which gives the device a very premium appearance. It looks very cool with the newer designed TV’s from Samsung. The front panel sports a single LED status indicator at the top right corner. The HomeSync has only 2 buttons a Power and a function(this one is used to pair devices without NFC capability) key and they are sitting on the right side of the device to keep the front as clean as possible.
On its backside we see a HDMI port for video output, a micro-USB port, an Ethernet jack, two USB 3.0 ports. The USB 3.0 ports can be used to expand storage or simply play media files from,and they opted finally for an optical audio out.
This device can be controlled with an application on your phone, which can be downloaded through Google’s Play Store. If you want the lite version of this application you need to go to Samsung’s own App Store. Yeah Samsung you make it your customers very confusing, why not all applications in one store??
So first we will be talking about the apps interface.
So the first time when you have it installed, it asks you to make a NFC connection to tap at the top side of the device, I opted to connect through WIFI, which works flawlessly. When connecting more phones loaded with the HomeSync app to the HomeSync, the first one that installed the app and paired with the device will be known as the Administrator. So he needs to give his improvement that you can use the HomeSync too, very nifty Samsung!
Than the first screen shows you all the content which is stored on your HomeSync. Namely: Photo, Music, Video, Documents, All files and Private. In the upper right corner there is an icon which is for the remote control. When you press on of the desired things, than on the next page it is possible to slide between the these things as well. Everything on the Note 3 is really smooth and there are no hiccups, but there is some delay between actions on the phone and what you actually see on you Tv.
When you for example go to videos and press on one of the videos that are stored on the HomeSync it will automatically start to play on your TV, so your phone is its remote control, kinda cool right?
When the Home Sync is activated, pictures and videos taken with the registered devices ( such as smart phones and cameras ) will be automatically uploaded to the HomeSync. It is also possible to connect a USB storage device to transfer your desired media files to your HomeSync.
The following file formats are supported ( depending on the app ):
• Music : mp3, m4a, 3ga, wma, ogg, oga, aac, flac and wav
• Picture: bmp, poison, jpg and png
• Video : avi, wmv, asf, flv, mkv, mp4, 3gp, and webm
• Document: doc, docx, dot, dotx, rtf, xls, xlsx, xlt, xltx, csv, ppt, pptx, pps, ppsx, pot, potx,
PDF, HWP, txt, asc and password protected MS Office files
We have used the Samsung Homesync for a few weeks with various smartphones and tablets, and we have to say it is not what we expected from this device. There are missing Apps in the market, we wanted to install Analytics so we needed to find a work around for this (side load it).
And you can’t watch a Youtube movies and browse through your files at the same time. Something you can do on your smartphone, as this has a some sort of interface from a smartphone you would expect it would be working here as well. Well think again, no such luck!. On the Smartphone app you are bound to use the softkeys, instead of the hardware keys which we Samsung users are so used to… Why Samsung Why?
The software side of this device leaves us behind with a very negative feeling. It feels unfinished and is very very buggy.
These little things need to be thought over better when you release thing like this.
All these things combined leaves us to say: “ You should better think twice before you spent a lot of money on this thing.”