With the increasing demand for smart TV and online content in India, Airtel recently launched its own converted digital entertainment platform tel Airtel Xstream in the country. With this, two devices came – it Airtel Xstream Stick ‘and X Airtel Xstream Box two. Both come with the ability to convert their standard TVs to smart TVs using HDMI cable and Internet connection.
The Airtel Xstream Stick is priced at Rs 3,999, and the company is selling it through Flipkart. It is also available through Airtel retail stores, and retail chains such as Croma and Vijay Sales in the offline market.
Airtel claims that it offers the most comprehensive entertainment catalog with hundreds of satellite TV channels, OTT apps, thousands of movies, songs and shows in English, Hindi and many Indian languages. But is it worth the purchase? Find out in our full review.
Airtel Xstream Stick Setup and Box Contents
The Airtel Extreme Stick is essentially a plug-and-play device that you can connect to your TV’s HDMI port. It essentially turns it into a smart TV with an internet connection and OTT apps. Airtel provides a micro-USB cable and a two-pin adapter to power the device.
The company insists on using direct power instead of USB Type-A, but in my usage, it only worked with the TV’s USB port. According to the contents of the box, the Airtel XStream stick box gets a 5W power adapter, a 1.5-meter-long Micro-USB cable, two AAA batteries, a pair of user manuals, a voice-enabled remote control, and an Xtream Stick device.
Airtel Xstream Stick: Performance and UI
The Xtream Stick user interface and functionality is quite similar to that of Android TV, which is easy to use and understand. It is an Android 8.0 Oreo-based OTT dongle device designed for plug and play experience on any TV screen. It comes with a built-in Chromecast, and is supported by a 1.6GHz processor.
I found the interface to be quite zippy with minimal lag when switching apps. Voice search also worked very well, and there was no problem inserting content through my phone.
For convenience, you dedicate Google Assistant Voice Search and Netflix hotkeys on the remote itself. In addition, Airtel has its own XStream app for users to stream and search for more content using their phones. I used an Android phone during my review time, but the app is also available for iOS devices.
Materials and Plans
Users will get preinstalled on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, ZEE5 XStream Stick and for rest of the apps there is Google Play Store to download any app. It is worth noting that customers get free access to all premium content on Airtel XStream for the first 30 days. But it does not include Netflix and Prime video content. In short, customers will need to subscribe to related OTT apps to access the services even if they are Airtel or non-Airtel users.
Airtel postpaid mobile customers on Infinity plans and prepaid customers on unlimited recharge packs of Rs 119 and above are eligible for AirtelTank.
These benefits vary from Silver to Gold and Platinum depending on the plan. Airtel says that postpaid customers who are on the Rs 499 or above plan, and using the Airtel Home Broadband plan of Rs 1099 or above, can avail Netflix for up to three months with tel Airtel Thanks’ benefits. Similarly, Airtel Extreme Fiber Plans are now served in some areas.
These combo broadband plans offer complimentary three months with Airtel Xstream services based on Netflix, one year Amazon Prime Video and more monthly plan value. In my area, these plans start from Rs 799 a month and go up to Rs 3,999 a month.
Verdict: Should You Buy
In my opinion, the Airtel XStream Stick is a bit expensive, but it can still be purchased for its Android TV-like feel and smooth interface. For Rs 3,999, the Airtel XStream Stick competes directly with Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.
Both have their advantage over the other, and can convert their standard non-smart TVs to smart TVs. That said, Airtel’s Smart XStream stick has an edge over Amazon’s Fire TV stick with the Google Play store. Also, its user interface is quite fast and I liked it on the Fire TV Stick.
As I have already mentioned above, Airtel includes free access to all content on the Airtel XStream app content for the first 30 days. It includes various movies, shows from top OTT content partners such as ZEE5, Hooq, Hoi Choi, Eros Now, HungamaPlay, ShemarooMe, Ultra and Curiosity Stream.
After supplemental testing, you have the option of purchasing an annual plan to enjoy the XStream app content, but honestly, nothing too exciting and so you better understand using your premium subscription for related OTT apps.