Dec 23 AT 11:19 AM Nick Gray 10 Comments

BiggiFi review: bringing the Android experience to your TV

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Android on your TV isn’t exactly a new concept, but BiggiFi is stepping into the space with a simple device that may change the way you and your family consume media. On the surface, BiggiFi and Chromecast are both HDMI dongles, but that’s where the similarities end. While Chromecast offers a hassle-free media streaming solution from Android and iOS devices, BiggiFi is itself an Android device that can be controlled by Android and iOS devices. Apple TV similar in functionality to Chromecast offers media streaming solution with traditional remote control as main way to interface the device.  BiggiFi runs Android 4.0.3 with an interface that’s very similar to the stock Android tablet layout. Users have the ability to customize the home screen with wallpapers, apps and widgets just like you would with any other Android device. Out of the box, BiggiFi comes with a dozen or so pre-installed games and media apps, which allow users to experience what BiggiFi is able to handle.

Setup

Getting BiggiFi up and running is extremely simple. Remove the BiggiFi HDMI dongle from the box, plug it into an HDMI port on your TV, connect the provided USB power cable and you’re ready to go. You will need to download the BiggiFi app from Google Play to complete the setup process and connect the device to your home WiFi network. If you own a Chromecast, the entire process will feel very intuitive. The BiggiFi app could use a few UI refinements, but it’s definitely usable.

Controls

Over the years, we have seen plenty of Android TV devices hit the market, but BiggiFi is the first to use your Android phone as a way to interface with the device. The BiggiFi Android app doesn’t do anything on its own when not paired with the BiggiFi dongle. Once paired, the app acts as the main interface, giving you touch, mouse and button control pad options.

Using the various control options can take a while to get used to. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single option that works best in every situation. Certain games and apps work better with the standard touch controls while others are easier to manipulate with the mouse option. I found that navigating the app launcher and the device’s settings was extremely easy when using the control pad.

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Apps and Games

Once you find the best way to control BiggiFi with your Android phone, we suggest jumping into the Google Play Store and downloading all of your favorite games and media apps. We wouldn’t recommend playing games like Jenga, fruit Ninja or any other title that requires quick or precise movements, but games like Ski Safari and Temple Run 2 definitely offer a satisfying user experience.

Gaming on BiggiFi can be fun, but the device really comes into its own when used for media consumption. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle and YouTube all work flawlessly when used with the control pad on the BiggiFi companion app.

Wrap-up

The good

Getting content from your Android phone to your TV is pretty simple these days, but BiggiFi solves much more than that. Media streaming, web browsing and Android games on your TV are right at your fingertips with the BiggiFi HDMI dongle and its companion Android app.

The not-so-good

As easy as it is to connect BiggiFi and get things up and running, something needs to be done to improve the control interface between the phone and the BiggiFi HDMI dongle. We understand the challenge that the BiggiFi team faces due to the various ways games and apps are designed to take advantage of smartphone hardware, but a little extra polish on the app could make BiggiFi a lot more enjoyable than it already is.

The Final word

If you purchased the $35 Chromecast but were disappointed with its limited functionality, $99 Apple TV with more choices for media consumption but still limited to streaming media, BiggiFi is a handy device that gives you the full power of Android on your TV. BiggiFi isn’t going to win any awards for it’s user interface, controls or performance, but at $89 most people will be satisfied with the functionality it has to offer.

If you would like to purchase BiggiFi or find out more about the product, visit biggifi.com.

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Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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