ASUS O!Play HD2 Review
- Excellent SD video up-scaling
- HD video playback is flawless
- Can hold a 3.5 inch HDD internally
- USB 3.0 capability makes it future ready
- Ability to download Torrents
- Remote app to control device from iPhone
- User interface needs a refresh
- Slight stutter visible in fast moving scenes
There is no denying this...the HD media player is a much needed device to feed HD content to our high definition televisions. At a price of Rs. 8,000, the HD2 offers an excellent HD video experience, the ability to hold a 3.5 inch hard drive internally and is fully capable with external USB 3.0 hard drives. It has the perfect match of performance, versatility and is also future ready to boot. Would have loved built-in wireless capabilities as well, which would have made it the complete package. Even now, it still comes pretty close.
It was back in 2008 when Western Digital dropped the high definition bombshell on us- the WD TV HD Media Player. Essentially, the WD TV HD got us hooked to the idea of up-scaling all standard definition videos to high definition and feeling good about buying those expensive high definition televisions!
The media players have now moved to a completely new level, with almost all audio and video formats being supported, pulling Internet content- You Tube, Flickr, Live365 etc., built-in slots to connect hard drives internally and even built-in hard drives to immediately start storing content on. The new ASUS O!Play HD2 Media Player walks the same path, of trying to offer a lot of features.
The O!Play HD2, for all its features, does not look very good. The glossy black body is a fingerprint and scratch magnet. The front panel has the memory card slot and a USB input, making it look a little shabby, but is undoubtedly very solidly built. Compare this to the sleek looks of the WD Live Hub and even the Iomega ScreenPlay Director- and both hold internal hard drives. At first glance, the HD2 does look big. It definitely looks much bigger than the WD Live Hub, which is unbelievably sleek. However, the HD2 is capable of holding a 3.5 inch hard drive (You need to buy it separately), as against the 1TB 2.5-inch which WD have preinstalled in the Live Hub. Even the Iomega Screenplay Director HD has a 3.5 inch hard drive pre-installed, but the fact that it can be placed vertically offers the user that extra bit of placement flexibility. How about a 2.5 inch internal HDD slot to reduce the size of the HD2, ASUS?
Fill up the content on the internal drive, and feel the freedom by not being dependent on external drives anymore. Speaking of which, the USB ports are capable of connecting to USB 3.0 hard drives. This makes it future proof as well. Video upscale goes all the way up to the full HD level (1920x1080) along with 7.1 channel audio. The LAN capabilities are integrated, with the wireless dongle being an optional accessory. And, did I mention that it has a built-in torrent downloader as well? Not only that, access YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, access to lots of internet radio stations and weather updates.
If you are using an iPhone or iPod, you may be able to control the HD2 media player via the dedicated app, when both devices are connected on the same network. This is a feature not offered by the rivals.
Read on know more about the performance, and our verdict, of the the ASUS O!Play HD2 media player...
Listed under tags :