When watching with an Android box, you need a special controller to navigate the menus and manage playback. The one being used for the TV itself won’t always work. That one typically uses an infrared red blaster while the boxes rely on 2.4GHz radio frequency. Some boxes are sold without one as the seller assumes that people already have their own. Others will let you bundle your preferred type of controller. Choices include the traditional remote control, the mini keyboard with trackpad, and a gamepad for better gaming performance.
The Traditional Remote Control
This looks very similar to what you would use for a television so there is less adjustment for first-time users. It is a long and thin stick with only a few buttons for the basic model. You will find power, standby, volume, and menu buttons as standard. There will be directional buttons as well for ease of navigation. Newer models might have special buttons for direct launches of popular streaming apps. There might also be a shortcut to activate voice controls, as well as a hidden microphone to listen to commands. Advanced models are available from third-party manufacturers with even more features.
The Mini Keyboard with Trackpad
The traditional remote setup works fine as long as you keep your activities to watching videos and listening to music. However, some TV box Android users also use the device for text-heavy activities such as browsing, searching, email, social media, and more. These require text input every now and then which would be cumbersome with the numeric keypad of regular remotes. A mini keyboard has a full QWERTY layout in a diminutive package. You can use directional buttons but you might find the included trackpad even better. It’s like using a small laptop keyboard for better productivity.
The Gamepad for Responsive Gaming
An Android box can also be used to play multiple games. Check out available titles from the app store and test them one by one to see what works well with a big screen in landscape mode. Then check the game controllers for ergonomics, response time, layout, and feel in your hands. These generally have grips for each hand, navigation buttons, home, start, function keys, joysticks, and special buttons. Many of these are compatible with Android phones, tablets, and TVs as well. Some can even be used with desktops, laptops, and certain gaming consoles.
Be sure to check compatibility before buying.