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As of late, a lot of smart TVs come with a bunch of apps (like the Vizio E3201-A0 which we reviewed Vizio E320i-A0 32-inch Smart TV Review and Giveaway Vizio E320i-A0 32-inch Smart TV Review and Giveaway To test out whether a TV can be feature-filled yet affordable, I bought myself a Vizio E320i-A0 32-inch 720p 60Hz LED Smart HDTV, which came in at $288 ($290 at retail price). I tested it... Read More ) that allow you to use services such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and more. If you don’t have one of those TVs, you can also resort to other devices in order to provide the same (or better) functionality, such as with the Chromecast (read our review Google Chromecast Review and Giveaway Google Chromecast Review and Giveaway We're giving away a Google Chromecast, so read through our review, then join the competition to win! Read More ), Apple TV (our review Apple TV Review and Giveaway Apple TV Review and Giveaway Apple introduced its set-top digital media player in 2007, and it's currently on its third generation of hardware. Read More ), or any Roku device (we reviewed that too Roku 3 Review and Giveaway Roku 3 Review and Giveaway As more content becomes available online, the need for a traditional television subscription may not be enough anymore to justify the costs. If you’re already subscribed to services like Netflix or Hulu Plus, now may... Read More ).

But none of these devices do is let you play games and they’re also restricted to apps designed specifically for the particular platform. The BiggiFi, which retails for around $60 on Amazon, tries to solve those two problems.

Keep reading this review to find out whether the BiggiFi is a good addition for your home. And at the end of this article, you’ll be able to enter our giveaway for a chance to win one!

About the BiggiFi

The BiggiFi advertises itself as a “family smart stick”, but in reality, it’s simply just a mini-computer crammed into a dongle form-factor that can run vanilla Android. Despite the perceived simplicity of this solution, it actually addresses the gripes we named above. Through a pure Android environment, you have access to any Android application, including games as well as apps that aren’t designed to run on the Roku or Chromecast.

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Competitors

The Biggify is an exclusive device, no other TV stick provide the same functionality that it does. If you broaden your search to media box-type devices, you’ll find a few. For example, there’s the G-Box Midnight MX2 ($88 on Amazon) which offers the exact same advertised software features as the BiggiFi.

There are also a few generic devices out there such as the “MX” Smart TV Box running Android ($65 on Amazon). The same software features apply here as well. However, unlike the BiggiFi, these two competitors are bulkier but they also offer more ports for connectivity. If you know that you’ll be solely connecting the device to your TV through HDMI, it’d probably be best to go with the BiggiFi as it’s the cheapest and most portable option.

Packaging

The packaging for the BiggiFi is extremely similar to that of the Chromecast. You get a nice little box, where you slip off the cover, flip over the covering flap, and you’ll have your device under the piece of paper welcoming you to the BiggiFi. Underneath the BiggiFi is a USB-to-micro-USB cable as well as a power supply.

Design

The BiggiFi is quite a bit larger than a Chromecast (I’d say roughly 50 percent bigger) with official dimensions of 4.8 x 1.6 x 4.8 inches and weighing 8 ounces. I suppose this is pretty reasonable, as it has to pack in an entire computer (or mobile device at least) along with the three ports that it offers.

Speaking of which, there’s a micro-USB port that is used to power the device, a USB port which can be used to plug in anything (but most commonly it’ll be a mouse or a USB flash drive), and a microSD slot so that you can add additional storage space or view media. The bottom is perforated to allow for better ventilation.

Setting It Up

Getting the BiggiFi set up for the first time is supposed to be easy. You plug it into the TV, make sure that the device is powered, download the BiggiFi app on your Android or iOS device, and then launch the app to connect to the BiggiFi. From the app, you can also choose whether you want to connect the BiggiFi to your WiFi network or just form a connection between your mobile device and the BiggiFi directly.

At this step, I had several issues. At first, I’d try to connect it to my WiFi network, and the app would not display the dropdown list of WiFi networks. So to work around this problem, I connected my USB mouse to it, exited the instructional screen telling me to use the BiggiFi app on my mobile device, and then go into the Android Settings app and connect to my WiFi network manually. However, later on, it wouldn’t even connect to my WiFi network nor would it allow my mobile device to connect to it. I was forced to use the BiggiFi without Internet access and with only a mouse.

Interaction Modes

If you do get it to work, whether it be via WiFi or a direct wireless connection, the BiggiFi app on your mobile device will act as a controlling device. With it, you’ll be able to use your mobile device’s screen to navigate the BiggiFi’s interface. There are two ways of interaction — touch mode and mouse mode.

Touch mode works just like on any mobile device, but applied to the BiggiFi. So in this mode, whenever you touch your mobile device’s screen, it relays the input to the BiggiFi’s screen and interacts with it. This, I’ve found is a terrible way to use the BiggiFi because it’s impossible to determine where exactly you need to touch on your mobile device in order to correspond to the right location on the BiggiFi.

Mouse mode enables the cursor in Android, so when you drag your finger around on your mobile device, you see the mouse cursor move but it won’t do anything until you tap on your mobile device to click. I found that the mouse mode works far better as you’ll at least be able to see the mouse cursor move around and therefore have a much better sense of where you are on the BiggiFi in relation to your mobile device’s screen. The only time touch mode was ever better was when I was playing certain games, such as Temple Run which is all about swiping in certain directions anywhere on the screen. But even for games like Angry Birds, mouse mode was the better choice. Perhaps what’s even better is if you use an actual mouse to control it instead of a mobile device.

Performance

Performance was quite good within applications, at least at 720p resolution. My TV doesn’t go any higher than that, so sadly I wasn’t able to try out 1080p. Apart from running apps, the performance wasn’t quite as good — there was a lot of stuttering while swiping around, which wasn’t a great experience. This, however, is probably a cause of my next big issue with the BiggiFi.

Old Android Version

While wandering around the Settings app, I discovered that the BiggiFi runs on Android 4.0. Yes, you read that right. I find that Android 4.0 is inexcusable for a current device. Since the release of Android 4.0, there have been so many improvements that probably would have fixed quite a number of things that were wrong with the BiggiFi.

I would have definitely preferred Android 4.4, but I would’ve let it slide even with Android 4.2. Worst of all, the system updater could not connect to an update server, so there is no way of upgrading to a newer version of Android. Saying that I wasn’t happy is an understatement.

Lack of Polish

Another gripe that I have is that the device feels extremely unpolished. Not only is the mobile device app of lackluster quality, but so is the software on the BiggiFi. I do understand that providing a vanilla Android experience allows people maximum freedom and lets them customize the device however they want.

However, since it’s already a bit harder to use than other entertainment devices, I would have liked to see an option between the vanilla Android interface and a customized interface that could have simplified the user experience. Even if it’s a (well-designed) list of installed applications, then users could just scroll through the list and pick the app they want to use. I understand that people may disagree with me and enjoy it just the way it is, but I just feel like something is needed to make it feel a bit more polished.

Conclusion

Ultimately, I feel like there’s a ton of potential in the BiggiFi. It certainly has the right idea, and it could go very far. But with the issues I encountered and the severe lack of overall polish, I cannot say that it’s ready. After there’s been more work put into the device to iron out the issues and to provide a great experience, then I’d highly recommend it if it met those milestones. But it has a long, long way to go until it gets to that point.

Our verdict of the BiggiFi Android TV Stick:
MakeUseOf recommends: Don’t buy — it’s buggy and very unpolished. Although the potential is there, it’s currently more of a hassle to use than a joy.
510

How Do I Win The BiggiFi?

BiggiFi Android TV Stick

For mobile users, click here to enter.

The winner will be selected at random and informed via email. View the list of winners here.

Send your products to be reviewed. Contact Jackson Chung for further details.

  1. raymond crisostomo
    October 11, 2014 at 11:25 am

    havent tried that one yet

    the like entries have issues,

  2. Paul Y.
    October 10, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Having similar functionality as an android phone or tablet for some thing in this class is great. The price point for these devices is gradually coming down at last

  3. Gülbahar D.
    October 8, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Custom UI.

  4. Gökhan G.
    October 8, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    I'd like stock Android.

  5. Osama Dakhissi
    October 7, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    This looks like something that i should have :D

  6. Jo-Anne Gabral
    October 7, 2014 at 2:53 am

    amazing,, i want this

  7. Gaurav Bhargava
    October 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I am all for customized interface...stock is passe'

  8. Sam Kar
    October 3, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Thanks, I prefer customized UI. BiggiFi looks promising.

  9. Valery Ramirez
    October 3, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    It gives the functionalitys of a smart tv to a simple tv with an hdmi input for a fraction of the price, its awsome. I prefer stock android

  10. Peter H
    October 3, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Stock Android so I don't have to learn any new tricks.
    Now everything I can do on my Android phone on the big screen with Biggifi.

  11. Druv Boodoo
    October 2, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    A custom interface for easy one click operation.

  12. Cat Quiambao
    October 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    i prefer a customized user interface... biggifi is so cool... :D

  13. Ahm3D
    October 2, 2014 at 10:14 am

    iLike stock

  14. jayjay
    October 2, 2014 at 8:45 am

    I prefer customised user interfaces. BiggiFi looks good

  15. Timmy
    October 2, 2014 at 2:20 am

    I really don't have an opinion about your question.

  16. dirk moser
    October 1, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    prefer usual android, 1 thing you/to know, not everywhere sth different

  17. sachin
    October 1, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    me

  18. Mesut Yaver
    October 1, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I prefer customised user interfaces.

  19. Theresa Cornwell
    October 1, 2014 at 5:14 am

    I prefer the customized interface. Overall, I like this product.

  20. Andreia L
    October 1, 2014 at 2:48 am

    I like both the Android, customised like the stock version so that I can't give a proper answer because I would have to try it first. I don't know at all Biggifi but kinda got interested =D

  21. Bruno M
    October 1, 2014 at 2:27 am

    Don't know at all about Biggifi but the costumised Android looks nice :) Would love to try it out for myself

  22. Marco L
    October 1, 2014 at 1:53 am

    I just want to have something that I can rely on, that is really good looking and not bugged. If this Biggifi matches this specs, then it's perfect for me =)

  23. Alan T
    October 1, 2014 at 1:11 am

    Both options would be nice to have, a customised user interface and a stock Android interface. Just gives the user more freedom. I like the potential of theBiggifi, but you pointed out a lot of problems that can be easily fixed. Thanks for the review! my first time hearing about Biggifi

  24. Lindy Brennan
    October 1, 2014 at 12:11 am

    I t doesn't look too bad to me. If I won one, makeusof would 'make my day'.

  25. Jimmy Naidoo
    September 30, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Prefer stock Android. BiggiFi looks interesting...

  26. Philip Austin
    September 30, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Seems To Me It Needs A Little More Refinement

    But That Can Be Done -

    For Now Stock Android Will Do

  27. Francesco Fiorino
    September 30, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I prefer the BiggiFi :D It's very interesting and I'd like to test it!

  28. Mary M
    September 30, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    You're assuming I know what the heck you are talking about.

  29. Rick
    September 30, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Im used to android so that would be my preference.

  30. Eric R
    September 30, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Stock Android. Neat gadget but don't think I would spend the money on it.

  31. Alfred Chan
    September 30, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    With stock android will be better I guess. No doubt it's a great gadget.

  32. Greg Haddow
    September 30, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I went to their website and they say Android 4.2 Jelly Bean in the specs, and in the FAQs they state they will provide Android updates. This giveaway one on 4.0 should update to 4.2.

  33. Bjørnar B
    September 30, 2014 at 11:35 am

    i like it

  34. Antonio I
    September 30, 2014 at 10:19 am

    i would try the customized one!

  35. paulie
    September 30, 2014 at 9:47 am

    im thinking stock android

  36. lostgen
    September 30, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Stock Android

  37. Edmund
    September 30, 2014 at 5:49 am

    It depends on how nicely done the interface is. If it is half-assed, then I rather have stock Android UI so I can customize it myself.

  38. kim
    September 30, 2014 at 5:34 am

    I prefer stock android.

  39. Julian
    September 30, 2014 at 5:30 am

    Stock for sure!

  40. Alexandru S
    September 30, 2014 at 5:24 am

    I'd go with stock Android.

  41. andres perez
    September 30, 2014 at 5:08 am

    The chromecast its bether i Think

  42. Alexander G
    September 30, 2014 at 4:14 am

    I like the BiggiFi

  43. Don Balboa
    September 30, 2014 at 4:09 am

    BiggiFi Advantage DigiLink Software's patented BiggiFi™ platform overcomes today's smartphone limitations by seamlessly extending the application and user ...

  44. Sean
    September 30, 2014 at 2:02 am

    Stock is better!

  45. Torvic T
    September 30, 2014 at 1:52 am

    Its ok to have a customized interface as long as it is usable, less of bugs. If not, I will go to stock android...

  46. Dorothy H
    September 30, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Stock Android because reviewers seem to get upset when their android is a little different from the last android product they used and have to learn something different.
    BiggiFi looks like it can get netflicks on your tv and a few other unnecessary tricks.

  47. Edward S.
    September 29, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    A customized interface would be a nice option, but I'd always like to fallback to a regular Android interface too. It will be interesting to see how things change with Android TV.

  48. ptrix
    September 29, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    why not ship it with the stock interface, but include the option to easily customize it for each user?

  49. Doc
    September 29, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Perhaps a CyanogenMod upgrade to 4.4 would fix the problems with this...

  50. Anant S
    September 29, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    don't know

  51. ?????? ?
    September 29, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Stock Android.

  52. Denis K
    September 29, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Sure I prefer customized one. Great device.

  53. isabelo
    September 29, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    i like stock android

  54. ??????? ?
    September 29, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Looks interesting! Thanks!

  55. Andrew
    September 29, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    From your experience, and because it seems to me that a stock Android interface is designed primarily for mobile devices, I think that I'd prefer a customized interface on devices like BiggiFi.

  56. Dmitriy S
    September 29, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Stock Android!

  57. Michael
    September 29, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Should work well with my Android setup

  58. Jared Turner
    September 29, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    custom because android generally is touch friendly, not remote friendly

  59. Daniel R
    September 29, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    awesome device? i think.

  60. moorandro
    September 29, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    BiggiFi looks interesting for me

  61. Michael K
    September 29, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    A modified UI

  62. Serg
    September 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Like!!

  63. Dany B
    September 29, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I always prefer stock android.

  64. Mieczys?aw S
    September 29, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I have never heard about someting like BiggiFi. Looks interesting! Thanks!

  65. Miguel
    September 29, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Give me stock android any day of the week!

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