Monday, February 23, 2015

Convert your non-smart TV into a smart TV with the Fukuda Smart Box

We have a two-year old flat TV. It's served our needs all these time since we are not voracious TV watchers except for the news channels and some TV shows and movies that are of interest. But with the advent of smart TVs and the convenience of going on the internet and watching TV on the same screen, the hubby was already wondering whether it was high time to get one. It seemed like a good way to Skype with relatives since we were doing this via laptop only and had to crowd around the tiny screen.

Before we could decide to spend on a smart TV, I was able to test a Fukuda Smart Box which is a small device that is supposed to transform your non-smart TV into a smart TV.

The smart box comes with the following specs:
* OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
* Processor: 1.8GHz Quad Core
* Front camera: 2MP
* Memory card slot: Up to 32GB
* Bluetooth: Built-in 2.0
* Internal storage: 16GB
* RAM: 2GB DDR3
* Has Miracast (lets 2 devices that have Wifi in them to talk to each other without going through the internet network)

Fukuda Smart Box unit (photo taken from the hood of our car for better lighting)


The main unit has four USB ports (2 on the left, 2 on the right), enough room to connect other devices. The left side also has a slot for the memory card. The front panel is where the microphone and camera are located.

Front panel

Left side

Right side
Back view


The smart box also comes with the following accessories:
* Remote control
* Power cord
* HDMI cable
* USB cable
* User manual
* Warranty card





The setup is quite straightforward. Just plug in the power and HDMI cables, turn the Smart box on, set your TV to receive reception from HDMI, and you get this homepage. Of course you had to set up the wifi network and a Google account before anything else so that it would work with Google Play. Luckily, all these were done by my techie son and daughter.


TV setting is HDMI

I also had the wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. Both devices run on two AAA batteries each. What I like is that the keyboard has a full-size key layout including function keys. Typing is noiseless and the soft keys make fast typing a breeze.




In the compartment for the mouse's battery, there is also a mini dongle. This should be inserted into one of the four USB ports on the side of the Smart Box so you can use both as input and navigational devices.

Full-sized keyboard, complete with function keys

With that out of the way, we were ready for the test. Here's what we did.

Downloading apps
(+) There was no problem downloading apps. It works exactly the way it would on a smartphone. We easily downloaded media apps like Skype, YouTube and Spotify as well as social media apps like Twitter and Facebook.

Installing Twitter


Playing YouTube videos
(+) The TV's screen resolution makes watching YouTube videos (and movies) so enjoyable. I think this is one big reason to get the Fukuda Smart Box for your non-smart TV.

 

Engaging on Twitter and Facebook
(+) I logged into both these social media accounts the usual way. They both looked just like they do on my smartphone, just much larger. The only issue I had (and it is not with the Fukuda Smart Box but with Facebook) is that I had to also install Messenger in order to see private messages.

Blogging
(+) Blogging is possible as long as you buy the wireless keyboard. Don't even try blogging without a wireless keyboard.
(-) This is one area where the Fukuda team can improve the smart box. There should be a way to shrink the size of the on-screen keyboard, especially if the user bought the wireless keyboard and mouse. Based on my experience, the pop-up keyboard occupied half of the screen. Blogging space was reduced to just a few lines and that really makes it hard to see a bigger picture of what you had been writing. I wish there was a setting to hide the screen's pop-up keyboard when the wireless keyboard is active.



Keyboard Use
(+) No problem!  The wireless keyboard and mouse worked even from a distance of around 8 feet (see video below). I also noted that the mouse, for example, did not need to be in line of sight. Even when I'd position the mouse lower or higher than the sensor of the smart box, the cursor on the screen still moved whenever I moved the mouse.

Here's the video. Sorry for the shaking but my hands were full!




The Fukuda Smart Box, bundled with the wireless keyboard and mouse retails at PhP 5,999. This already includes free shipping. Customers can order via email, text or phone call and the full bundle will be shipped nationwide after payment is received.

Some users, though, opt not to get the wireless keyboard and mouse. These users are given a discount of PhP 1,000 from the SRP stated above. Free shipping is also available for this option.

So there! I'm quite happy with the Fukuda Smart Box because it means that people like us who may still be thinking of taking the smart TV plunge can have the same experience for less. It's a very practical alternative for those on a tight budget and its plug and play convenience is straightforward for most non-techies.

*  *  *  *  *

Fukuda Smart Box is available at Fukuda's factory outlets:

Cubao: Ground floor, Session Apartment, Session Road, Araneta Center, Cubao. Tel. (02) 7109245
Sucat: 6A Dama de Noche St., UPS4, Barangay Marcelo Green, West Service Road, Sucat Paranaque City. Tel. (02) 836944

To order, you may also contact Fukuda via -
Hotline: (02) 836-9440)
Email: pinoycare@fukuda-asia.com
Facebook Page: Send a private message to facebook.com/fukudaoutletandservice

Payments are accepted via credit card at factory outlets. Fukuda is also working on a PayPal account so that they could accept credit card payments online in the near future.





7 comments:

  1. Is it still working good until now? I'm planning to have this kind of device soonest but I'm a little bit hesitant to buy one because I had some doubts with its quality & durability. Your immediate comment about my inquiry will be greatly appreciated... Have a nice day Jane!! :-)

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  2. Hi Regie. Thanks for writing. My Fukuda Smart Box is still working though to be honest, we don't use it daily since I hardly watch TV these days due to work. I would suggest this if your budget is too tight to invest in a Smart TV model because it will give your existing TV access to the internet. But I strongly recommend that you buy the bluetooth keyboard along with the Fukuda Smart Box. Without the keyboard, you will just be frustrated trying to manipulate the cursor. Do check my pros and cons in the article above. If you can live with the cons, then this can work for you. If you decide to call them, do ask if they have a newer software version that may already address some of the cons since this post is a few months old. Good luck!

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    1. Okay,such a relief on my part to know that it's still working though you don't use it daily and considering the pros & cons you've mentioned above I think this could work just fine... By the way, can it handle hd games like my favorite racing game asphalt 8? I'm trying to search hands-on reviews of this device on You Tube but to no avail. Thank you so much for sparing your precious time to reply Jane...

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    2. Regie, this is one question I can't answer. I'm not a gamer! :-)

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    3. Oh...I asked my techie son and he doesn't think it can handle that racing game.

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  3. Jane here is the answer to your keyboard problem....
    http://www.guidingtech.com/19202/hide-on-screen-keyboard-android-external/

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    Replies
    1. Wow, thanks for this link, Charlie! I appreciate it and so will my readers.

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