The Unu, running Snakebyte's custom ten-foot interface on Android, and showing an affection for Fritz Lang
With the rise of the Google Play Store on Android and the rapidly-improving hardware that supports them, the traditional game console manufacturers have suddenly found many more rivals than just each other. Companies like Archos are sticking gaming-centric buttons on tablets, while set-top devices like the Ouya have found support through crowd-funding campaigns.
Now, a German company going by the name of Snakebyte is aiming to offer users the best – or so it hopes – of both worlds. The tablet, dubbed Unu, boasts a dock in the box for HDMI connection to your TV and a $50 wireless game controller, among other accessories. It's also otherwise reasonably portable, with a 7” screen.
The controller and Airmouse
Actually, that game controller comes by default in the $250 “Gaming Edition” set, which otherwise includes everything in the $50-cheaper “Media Edition” - a dock for HDMI output and charging, a half light gun half QWERTY remote dubbed Airmouse, and the Unu itself.
Snakebyte is clearly trying out a game console-esque marketing technique here, and while a similar amount of money will get you a Google Nexus 7... well, it'll do just that: get you just the Nexus, without any potentially useful extras. Snakebyte wants to differ.
Gaming on the big screen
Corners have to be cut, though, to keep such a low price. The Unu tablet contains a 1280x800-pixel screen, 1.6Ghz quad-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. The Nexus 7 offers a 1920x1200-pixel resolution, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage minimum – and a 1.5Ghz quad-core CPU, which might still be faster due to architectural tweaks too lengthy to be discussed here.
Still, the Unu has a MicroSD memory card slot, something the Nexus doesn't have, and ultimately should be able to decently handle all of the Netflix/Hulu+/YouTube watching, 3D gaming, social networking, internet surfing, and whatever else one might want to do on a 7” screen.
The Premium Dock
Meanwhile, Snakebyte has a couple of extra stuff available for Unu users, including car cigarette lighter chargers and screen protectors. Perhaps the most interesting is the Premium Dock, which adds two USB ports, a wired LAN connection, and a 3.5mm headphone jack to the base dock. Not everyone has a speedy WiFi connection for streaming, after all, and things like beefy external drives and camera memory cards in a card reader can be connected through this dock if desired.
Anyway, November 8th marks the release date of the Snakebyte Unu and its friends. Newegg already has them listed, as does GameStop. Will you buy?