I always wanted to try Google Chromecast. It’s Android and it’s probably one of the easiest ways to turn my TV to a Smart TV. Bad news though – it isn’t officially available in the Philippines. So, when I knew that PLDT is selling a TVolution, I thought of borrowing one to take it out for a spin.

The TVolution is basically a Huawei M3, an Android media player that you can conveniently connect to your TV via HDMI. This instantly turns your TV to an internet TV. Here’s a heartwarming video introduction about the device from Huawei.

TVolution is one of the fruits of PLDT’s partnership with Huawei. Our unboxing photos below simply state the obvious.

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Apart from the device, you will find good stuff inside the box. There is an HDMI extender, which allows you to easily attach the device if it does not directly fit into the TV.

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There is also remote so you can easily navigate the menus of device. It has standard internet TV/Android menus such as volume switches, navigational buttons, home/back key, play, menu and favorite.

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In my test, I found this very useful. Alternatively, if you will find the remote too difficult to use, you can simply connect a mouse and keyboard to the USB ports of the TVolution. This is highly recommended if you wish to view and edit some documents using the device. Remember, the TVolution isn’t just an Internet TV enabler, it’s a computer in a box. It is also possible to connect your Android  as remote to your device.

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Standard accessories may also be found inside the box like USB power cable, power supply, 2 AAA batteries for the remote and manuals.

As mentioned, the TVolution isn’t simply an Internet TV enabler. It’s a full fledged Android computer! It’s packed with standard ports so you can easily connect standard productivity peripherals such as mouse and keyboards, thanks to its USB OTG capability. The device only has 1 regular-sized USB port though. There is an easy solution to hook up 2 peripherals – buy a USB hub.

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There is also optical audio if you wish to extend its sound to powerful speakers.

The device has a 4GB internal memory, but you can conveniently increase this up to 32gb more thru its microSD slot.

Installation

Installation is very simple. It starts with pairing the device with the bluetooth remote control by pressing and holding the volume up and OK buttons (on the remote). This step is crucial as the internet device does not have any hard keys. This might be a bit of an issue for some, especially for those who easily lose or misplace remotes. So please: DO NOT LOSE THE REMOTE.

The succeeding steps are similar to setting up a new Android device. But it’s quite a painstaking step to use the bluetooth remote to enter characters for my username, password and home internet connection. It would have been an easier step had the remote come with integrated qwerty keypads.

There is also an additional step of installing the media companion (in the internal memory of the device) if you wish to use our PLDT TelPad or any Android device to control the device.

Performance and User Experience

The device is packed with a Hisilicon K3V2 quad-core cortex A9 processor. This is the device SoC found Huawei Ascend P6. It has 1GB ram, so multitasking and performing mid to slightly heavy tasks are quite a breeze.

During my tests, the device was able to play my 1080p Man of Steel video without suffering from “hiccups”. It also allowed me to easily stream videos from Youtube. Also I had plenty of time streaming Twitch videos using the device.

Gaming-wise, its Vivante GC4000 GPU is capable enough to let you play premium and specs-heavy games. There is a significant hurdle though – controlling your game will not be like a walk in the park because the device is not built for gaming. While the hardware is technically capable, playing games such as Modern Combat 4 will be quite a frivolous task to do unless you hook up your HID gamepad or keyboard + mouse to it. Still, the latter requires processes that TVolution subs wouldn’t actually do.

PLDT Goodies

TVolution is not spared of pre-istalled applications. You may call these apps either goodies or bloatwares. Nevertheless, these apps may very well serve your needs… if you’ve got money to spare and of course, a PLDT Home account.

With Clickplay, you can watch over 200 blockbuster movies on-demand streamed to your TV! You can enjoy free movies every month depending on your subscription. Head on to this link for more information.

If you’re into tv series, you can watch thousands of episodes of your well-loved TV series streamed to your TV thru MyPinoyTV. Owning a TVolution isn’t the only requirement to enjoy this though as you need to subscribe to either all access or packaged variants.

There are also PLDT/Smart apps, which are readily available on the device such as Knappsack, Spinnr and special-EA app for PLDT subcribers.

Verdict

PLDT TVolution is good alternative to Chromecast, and an easy way to turn your TV to a smart internet TV. At PhP3,999, it’s quite pricey, but that’s a far better price compared to paying PhP199 on top of your PLDT bill (at PhP999 a month). The device is packed with relatively good specifications, but it’s made to extend the use of your TV rather than natively using it for more purposes.

Those who dislike bloatwares will be utterly disgusted by the prevalence of such in this device. But these so-called “bloatwares” serve additional exciting purpose to beef-up your TVolution experience… at a price.

How to Avail

TVolution is available to all PLDT Home Fibr subscribers, and to all PLDT Home DSL subscribers who are at Plan 999 or higher. You may also opt to pay a one-time fee of P3,900 to avail of TVolution at any PLDT Business Office. You no longer have to pay the P199/month if you pay the one-time fee.

Click this for more information about the device.

Full Specifications of TVolution/Huawei M3

  • SoC – Hisilicon K3V2 Quad-core Cortex A9 processor with Vivante GC4000 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB Flash + microSD card slot
  • Video I/O – 1x HDMI In,1x HDMI Out
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, SPDIF, 3.5mm stereo jack, Mic mono
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 (1 extension from Y cable) + 1x micro USB
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n 2.4G/5G 2×2MIMO, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Dimensions (L×W×H) – 65mm × 65mm × 14mm
  • Power supply – 1x Micro USB for power DC 5V 2A

Read more: http://www.cnx-software.com/2013/08/09/huawei-mediaq-m310-is-now-available-for-purchase/

 

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Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of GadgetPilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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