Sometimes a computer screen can be a bit too small if you want to video chat with a group of people, like your family. Now Mecool has introduced an add-on camera for your TV that will let you get the entire group into the frame when you chat. The Mecool Now KA2 is the latest Android TV video camera offering from Mecool, which has a range of home entertainment products, boxes, and sticks. It also offers a range of accessories, such as flash drives, keyboards, and remotes.
The Mecool Now KA2 smart camera sits on top of your TV and not only gives you a fully featured Android TV, but it also works as a webcam for your TV while giving you customizable privacy. But is it the best option if you want to take a video call from your couch? Let’s take a look.
About this review: This review was written after testing a Mecool Now KA2 smart camera with video calling. Mecool did not have any input in this article.
- Built-in video calling
- Android TV apps
- Privacy for camera and microphone
- Dimensions: 7.87 x 2.75 x 1.03 inches (200 x 70 x 25mm)
- Weight: 0.46 pounds (209g)
- Power input : 5V / 2A
- Super easy to set up
- Take hands-free calls from your couch
- Privacy features installed for mic and camera
- Only uses Google for calling
- On Netflix app
Mecool Now KA2 Android TV and video calling camera: Price and availability
- You can only purchase the set-top box on Mecool’s website for $124.99
The Mecool Now KA2 Android TV and camera is for sale at Mecool’s site for $124.99. Right now, you can get 15% off and free shipping on the site if you use the BLACK code. It was previously available on third-party retailers like Amazon but is currently out of stock.
Mecool Now KA2 camera: Hardware
- Adjustable buffers help the unit sit securely on top of the TV
- Manual sliding camera cover for privacy
- Slider switch to turn off the microphone
The Meecool Now KA2 Android TV and camera unit has a streamlined look, which you can see in the photos below. The front of the unit has the power switch, the IR receiver, and the one-click answer button. There are four LED lights that display a range of colors depending on the function. On the right-hand side, there is the camera itself with an LED display that shows when the camera is in use, on, or off.
If you’re worried about your camera pointing at you every time you’re in front of your TV, the unit also comes with a microphone privacy switch and a knurled wheel which, when turned, covers the camera lens with a physical cover.
Underneath the unit, there is a port for the power jack an HDMI in and out port, and a network port.
There are two adjustable legs that drop down to the rear of the unit to stop it from sliding forwards off the TV screen. There is also a rubber bumper that can be lifted to stop the unit from sliding forwards off the TV screen. These are easy to adjust, and although the legs are a little stiff, they can be adjusted to fit even the slimmest of TV sets. My TV is about 1cm thick and the Mecool sat snugly on the top of the set
Mecool Now KA2 Android TV and video calling camera: Software and installation
- Easy to pair with remote
- One-click access to Google Meet
- Simple to set up and use with the remote control
Installing the Mecool Now KA2 Android TV camera is just as simple as its design. All you need to do is attach the HDMI cable to the TV and the Mecool unit, plug in the power supply, and switch the unit on. Pair the remote control with the camera (after inserting two AAA batteries), log into your Google account, and start calling. The entire installation process took only a couple of minutes.
Then, all you need to do is log in and start calling people on your contact list. Note that this Android TV and camera will only work with Google Meet video calling software, so make sure you have a Google account ready before setup.
I found the Mecool Now KA2 smart camera software simple to pair with the remote control. Turn the camera on and place the batteries into the remote. When the screen appears, click the volume down and enter buttons simultaneously until the device flashes. It will then pair the remote to the Mecool Now KA2 set-top box.
Once the app is connected, click the Google Duo button on the remote to access the Google Meet screen. Just make sure you have the latest version of Google Duo — or Google Meet, as it is now known.
I was able to get the set-top box up quickly, although I ran into one issue. I followed the instructions in the user guide, clicked the Google Duo button on the remote, and quickly started Google Meet. However, I couldn’t see any contacts, nor could I create any groups on the screen. My contacts list was empty, which was puzzling. It took me quite a while to figure out the issue: I couldn’t call any of my connections without any Google Meet-enabled contacts showing in the list, and I couldn’t find out where to add them. Then. it all became clear. All of my existing contacts are synced to my Outlook accounts. I have never used Google contacts to save any names across any of my devices.
This is a huge issue for me. I want the right to choose where I save and sync my contacts, and my choice isn’t Google. Of course, if you have an Android device or exclusively use Gmail, then you won’t run into this problem. However, I bit the bullet on my Android, and I added a few names to Google’s contacts, so I could test this feature properly. As soon as I added contacts to my Google account, it all worked perfectly.
Mecool Now KA2 Android TV and video calling camera: Features
- Simple to make calls
- picture in picture mode
- remote control calling
Calls are simple to make from the device. Use the remote control to scroll down to the name you want and click call, either using a video or voice call. If the other party responds from their mobile device, you can start talking. You can receive calls too from the TV. If the device rings, you can touch the button on the top of the unit and answer the call. Make sure you have opened the sliding cover over the camera and the microphone slider too.
When you are not using the Mecool Now KA2 for video calling, you can take advantage of Android TV and use any of the built-in apps such as YouTube, Prime Video, Google Play, and TikTok. There is on Netflix, however, which might be a dealbreaker for some. You also get Google Assistant access for basic smart controls.
Unfortunately, while there are a lot of great filters you can use on a mobile device, you can’t use any with the Mecool Now KA2 Android TV and video camera end of the call. The only fancy effect you can use is to mirror the camera in the room. Picture in picture mode shows how much of the room is visible on the screen to the other party.
Calls work exactly as they do from mobile device to mobile device — apart from the lack of filters and effects. The only difference is that your TV becomes the screen. You can sit back on the sofa and chat with your friends without holding your mobile device or moving it around to fit everyone into the shot. Video calling is a far better experience with this gadget.
Calling a contact was easy, and receiving an incoming call on the device was simple. I also loved that you can turn off the microphone and slide a cover over the lens when you want to make certain that your privacy is guaranteed.
There are other TV cameras on the market, such as the Facebook Meta Portal, which is more expensive, or the Echo Show and blink Mini bundle from Amazon. The Meta camera is far more flexible in terms of calling platforms, but it doesn’t provide a full Android TV experience. With its built-in smart speaker, the Echo show will do so much more than simply make video calls, but the screen experience is far smaller.
Should you buy a Mecool Now KA2 Android TV and video calling camera?
You should buy a Mecool Now KA2 Android TV and video calling camera if:
- You use Google Duo (Meet) to video call your friends frequently
- You want to get your whole family on screen for calls
- You like your devices to be simple to set up
You shouldn’t buy a Mecool Now KA2 Android TV and video calling camera if:
- You don’t use Google Meet or other Google programs already
- If you already have the Mecool KA1 Android TV and smart speaker
- If you already have a Facebook Meta Portal device
If you already have the Mecool KA1 with Android TV with its smart speaker, you might not feel the need to upgrade to the KA2, especially if you don’t need video calling. While the Mecool Now KA2 Android TV gives you access to all your favorite multimedia apps and video calling, it doesn’t have a ton of other smart features.
However, the Mecool Now KA2 Android TV and video calling camera is a bargain at $129 and is super simple to set up and use. You just have to be a Google super fan to get the most out of it.
Mecool Now KA2
The Mecool Now KA2 Android TV is a great way to make and take video calls directly from your couch. All you need to do is put this set-top box on top of your TV, set it up, and you’re good to go.