Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart is best known for selling all kinds of products from a variety of brands, but also has a vast catalogue of products under its own brands. One of these is MarQ by Flipkart, which is used to market its televisions and home appliances. Taking its experience in the television space further, MarQ has now launched its first media streaming device, the Turbostream.
Priced at Rs. 3,499, the MarQ by Flipkart Turbostream is a palm-sized streaming device that connects to your TV's HDMI port. It runs on Android TV and gives you access to various streaming services and other features, much like what you'd get on a smart television. Is the Turbostream worth the price? Find out in our review.
Some streaming devices are meant to sit on a table-top, such as the Apple TV and the Nvidia Shield TV Pro. Others, such as the Turbostream, are small and light enough to remain anchored to the HDMI port at the back of the TV, out of sight. Once plugged in and set up, you won't need to look at the device again.
The Turbostream is diamond-shaped with a permanently attached HDMI plug sticking out of one end, and Micro-USB port at the other end. A special cable is included in the package, which has a USB Type-A plug on one end, with the second side splitting into a Micro-USB plug for power and an IR receiver module. The USB plug can be connected to the included wall power adapter or into your TV's USB port if it can deliver enough power. Also included in the box are a Bluetooth remote to control the Turbostream, and batteries for the remote.
The Turbostream runs on Android TV and is powered by a quad-core ARM-based processor with integrated Mali 450 GPU, 1GB RAM, and 8GB of internal storage for apps. There is dual-band Wi-Fi for connectivity, and support for Dolby Audio. Streaming at up to full-HD (1920x1080-pixel) resolution at 60fps is supported on all major apps on the MarQ Turbostream. You can use Bluetooth 4.0 to connect audio accessories such as headphones or speakers directly to the MarQ TurboStream for sound.
The MarQ TurboStream comes with a remote which has both IR and Bluetooth; the IR emitter can be used to control power and volume on the device as well as supported televisions through HDMI-CEC, while Bluetooth connectivity lets the remote communicate with the Turbostream device even when there is no direct line-of-sight between the two. The remote works with two AAA batteries, and is small and light.
Buttons on the remote include a D-pad for navigation; a Google Assistant button; keys for home, back, and the app drawer; and buttons to adjust or mute the volume. There are also hotkeys for YouTube and Netflix, and the power button. There is a microphone on the remote to give voice commands to Google Assistant.
The Turbostream runs on Android TV 9 Pie, with the stock launcher serving as the user interface. This makes for a familiar experience that we quite liked; content and apps are well laid out and it's easy to access your favourite apps. Having access to the Google Play Store for Android TV also means that it's possible to install a wide variety of apps, many of which are specially developed for use on TVs.
We used the MarQ by Flipkart Turbostream with a TV from the same brand - the MarQ by Flipkart 43SAFHD, which is about a year old and was running Android TV (Oreo). The TV's UI has some limitations in terms of supported apps, most notably Netflix, so the Turbostream did give us an improved software experience and was easier to use as well.
The homescreen shows your favourite apps on top, and recommendations from various installed apps below, which can be customised. If you have a non-smart TV, the Turbostream entirely transforms your viewing capabilities, with Internet connectivity and well-designed apps for useful content. There is also a built-in Chromecast receiver, allowing you to directly cast content from a compatible device.
The list of apps on the MarQ by Flipkart Turbostream is long, and includes major streaming services for video and audio, sports and educational content providers, useful tools, and more. Netflix and YouTube come preinstalled, and you can download other apps such as Spotify, Hotstar, Zee5, Jio Cinema, Facebook Watch, and more. There are even some oddball apps which we enjoyed using, such as Realistic Fireplace (which puts an animated fireplace on screen).
While most key streaming services have a good app available to download, a notable omission on the MarQ TurboStream is Amazon Prime Video. This is for somewhat obvious reasons - Flipkart and Amazon are bitter rivals in the e-commerce space in India, and Turbostream users won't have any way to access Amazon's streaming service. It isn't possible to bypass this using Chromecast either; attempting to mirror our smartphone's screen when using Amazon Prime Video resulted in only a black screen on the TV, although we could hear sound and see subtitles.
The MarQ by Flipkart 43SAFHD Android TV that we used is a full-HD TV, so we were able to properly test the capabilities of the Turbostream. The streaming device was fast and usage was hassle-free during our time with it; we didn't experience any crashes or major issues. Streaming was smooth as well, and with a fast Internet connection we had no trouble streaming content from various services including YouTube, Hotstar, and Netflix.
Netflix and YouTube worked best for us, thanks to the official apps for both of these services coming preinstalled and working flawlessly. We also had a good time watching content on Hotstar, and all these services played to the TV's capabilities, streaming content at the highest available resolution.
Dolby Audio support means it was able to play back compatible content with better sound on our Dolby Audio supported TV. The differences were audible, and it certainly helped to have Dolby Audio certification on the Turbostream.
We did have a small issue with volume adjustment when HDMI-CEC was activated on the MarQ TurboStream; adjusting the volume with the Turbostream's remote would occasionally change both the device and TV's volume, leading to non-uniform level changes. Switching off HDMI-CEC through the Turbostream's settings fixed this, but this also meant that we would have to control the TV and streaming device through their individual remotes.
We found it easier to leave the TV's volume at a fixed level while only adjusting the Turbostream's volume, and also avoided powering it off too often, switching only the TV off while leaving the streaming device on but inactive.
The MarQ by Flipkart Turbostream is an affordable, capable device that does its job well. It would be most useful to users who have a non-smart TV, letting them access online streaming content without having to replace their TV. It will also come in handy if you have a smart TV with an interface you don't really like, or one that hasn't been updated in a while and is short on supported apps.
The device is simple, easy to use, functional, and gets the job done. However, the lack of support for Amazon Prime Video is a significant flaw, and indeed this will be a dealbreaker for a lot of people considering that Prime Video has an excellent catalogue of content and affordable subscription pricing.
It's also worth pointing out here that if you have a 4K television or subscribe to any streaming services that offer 4K content, the MarQ Turbostream won't tap the full potential of its resolution. In that case, you're better off buying a 4K-capable streaming device such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.
Also worth considering is the Airtel Xstream Stick, which is a bit more expensive but has more to offer in terms of content and apps.
Buying a budget TV online? We discussed how you can pick the best one, on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.