Technophile

Airtel Xstream Stick: Expand your TV viewing

Kishore Bhargava | Updated on October 21, 2019 Published on October 21, 2019

The Airtel Xstream stick is essentially an Airtel branded Chromecast-like product with the additional benefit of a bundle of streaming services thrown in for free, at least initially. It does turn a normal TV into an Android smart TV, and that in itself is a good enough reason to buy.

The device looks fairly similar to Google’s Chromecast and is a basic puck rather than a stick. The build quality of both the puck and the remote are very good and look sturdy enough. While the puck has a short cable with an HDMI connector at one end, it is enough to connect to a TV and doesn’t pose any problems. One can use the USB cable and power supply to power the stick or plug that into the TV USB if available. The USB cable is also long enough to reach a socket further away from the TV.

Setting up the Xstream is actually quite easy. The stick is connected to a standard HDMI port on any TV. The good part is that the initial part of the setup is like setting up a Chromecast. Use a phone or tablet along with the Google app and just let it detect the device. A few steps later, it’s on your Wi-Fi network and ready to play.

 

Having the Airtel Xstream app installed is needed to activate the service and package. You get a month’s worth of free streaming from a variety of platforms.

Using the Xstream stick is very simple: you can use it via the physical remote that is provided or install the Android TV remote app on your phone or tablet. We did have to enable HDMI CEC to have the TV turn on the moment you switch on the stick but other than that no other changes were needed. The physical remote is relatively standard, and it has a four-way navigation control along with a select button. Curious that it does not have a button marked as “Home”, but you figure it out soon enough. It also has a Google Assistant button for voice commands and control, which is quite useful. The best part is a dedicated Netflix button for quick access to the streaming service.

Since the stick is based on Android 8, it is capable of installing apps from the Google Play store with some apps installed automatically at the time of setup, including TuneIn Radio, Spotify, YouTube etc.

Where it falls short is that it only supports full HD and not 4K as many other devices do now. And it does get a bit confusing to claim your streaming services packs especially if you are already subscribed to some. Between the landline number, the cellphone and email address, we were unable to activate one of the services. We are sure that this will improve over time. The device is also a little more expensive than others, e.g. the Fire Stick 4K is available at a lower price as is the Chromecast itself.

Price: ₹3,999/-

Pros: Easy setup, easy usage, app support, Netflix button and Google Assisstant.

Cons: A tad bit expensive, output volume as very low, confusing packs.

Published on October 21, 2019
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor