YugaTech Christmas Gadget Guide 2014: Media Players
As the final installment to complete our Christmas Gadget Guide 2014, here’s a lineup of digital media players for those who enjoy all things media – whether it be streaming online or locally playing videos, photos, or music. So if you know people who simply enjoy sitting on the sofa and watching a good movie, scroll past the break for our list of recommendations!
For this guide, we’ll start with the affordable ones and inch our way up to those on the higher end of the spectrum.
One of the simplest media players out in the market today is the NBOX Multimedia Player which can be bought at CD-R King. The N31 model of NBOX retails at only Php880 and features one USB 2.0 port where you can plug your hard drive. It also has a memory card slot which altogether outputs HD resolution via RCA and component video. If you want a player with a little bit more functionality you can try the N51 variant that already has 2GB memory capacity as well as support for microSD up to 64GB. It sells for Php1,180 and plays all the commonly used file formats. Although if you’ll only settle for no less than Full HD movies and you’re tight on budget, you can opt to check out the N33 NBOX portable media player. At Php1,880, it’s got the previously-mentioned features but on a 1080p resolution so you get to enjoy your movies better.
Want something from a known brand but still watching your funds? The Google Chromecast is one device that should definitely be on your list. It’s a simple gadget that goes to your TV through USB connection and lets you stream online videos navigated from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Unfortunately, it’s not yet officially available here but you can get it over at Lazada for Php2,629.
MediaGate also has its own offering in the form of the MG-25 Portable Multimedia Player. It already supports digital 5.1 audio output, displays Full HD video, and boasts a 2.5-inch HDD aluminum enclosure. The MG-25 is available at Villman for Php3,000 with the optional bundle of a 160GB HDD, priced at Php5,988. This is a good buy if you’re always on-the-go, but computing-centric ASUS won’t easily be one-upped. The company’s O! Play Mini tags along with it a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Channel output, a 4-in-1 card reader for instant viewing of photos, and a 175-gram weight — something you can surely bring around. Considering its wide array of support for necessary features, it’s still reasonably-priced at Php3,288 (Villman).
Western Digital’s name is also synonymous to personal computing and storage. At Php3,999, the WD TV Mini portable media player automatically upscales non-HD files to Full HD in addition to playing videos without the need to transcode it. This plug-and-play device is available at Asianic.
Moving over to those above the Php4K price tag, we have the MediaGate MG-35 which offers to house a bigger 3.5-inch HDD storage up to 750GB. Not only that, you can also download files from your PC to the device through its USB 2.0 slave port. The MG-35 retails at Php4,488 (Villman) without an included HDD. If you have a complete playlist on your iTunes and want to play them for the whole family to enjoy, the Apple TV might just be what you’re looking for. It gives you access to YouTube, Vimeo, iCloud, as well as your iOS devices through AirPlay — all done just by simply sharing a Wi-Fi connection. You can snag one from Villman at Php4,899.
Gaining access to a NAS network storage isn’t something all media players can do, but it’s definitely one that the Apacer AL670 specializes on. After having access to a larger storage, enjoy your media with the AL670’s 1080p playback that comes with high-resolution audio thanks to its DTS Surround Sound technology seen in movie houses and BluRay discs. This stylish-looking media player is up for grabs at Asianic for Php5,495. Otherwise, if you want something that could do more, you can opt to go for the ASUS O! Play Mini Plus. It retails just slightly more expensive at Php5,688 (Villman) and comes with lots of online entertainment such as access to Acetrax, Dailymotion, and thousands of Internet channels. It also has O! Direct that streams media from your desktop PC or notebook straight to the television.
Another device to check out is the Xtreamer Internet Streamer and Media Player. As the name suggests, it can both play movies from a source or stream videos online. It supports the latest high bitrate video formats while being able to render Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD so you only get top-notch picture and sound quality. Available at Asianic for Php6,499, it comes with a free USB Wi-Fi antenna bundled with the package.
We now move to some of the high-end players in the market. Dubbed as the player that does everything, the Php10K-worth ASUS O! Play Gallery boasts features that fit well for its somewhat steep asking price. For starters, it utilizes a USB 3.0 port that cuts transfer time from PC to the media player by more than half when compared to a USB 2.0 port. The Gallery also works like an Apple TV in a way that all your iOS-powered devices can mirror and stream on your TV in the simplest way. In addition, you can get yourself a 3,5-inch HDD so you can store more media that are ready to be accessed anytime. Available at Villman for Php9,588, the Gallery supports all kinds of audio files with a 7.1 surround system to make your movie-watching experience a memorable one.
With almost the same price point, the iXtreamer with Apple dock offers the functionalities that a media freak would demand plus the option of sharing and viewing iOS files through its dock. It comes with a Realtek 1283X DD+ chipset, a 256MB DDR 2 SDRAM, and internal SATA 2 to give you a responsive menu with fluid navigation. Accompanying a plethora of supported video and audio formats is a price tag of Php9,888 from Villman.
The last entry in this guide is something that we have spent time with. The Popcorn Hour A-410 is one of the most competitive media players out in the market today. Not only does it sport most (if not all) of the features mentioned in this article, but it also improves the quality of your media. For example, it sports a VXP image processor that effectively enhances the quality of the movies during our time with it. It also has a built-in DAC (digital to analogue converter) that, well, converts digital samples to analogue which outputs a better sound quality than its original form. Accompanying its dual-core processor is 1GB RAM that ensures only the best performance. We should remember, though, that almost all devices with impressive features come with a not-so-friendly price tag. This “Popcorn Hour on steroids” sells for Php13,500 and comes with a free Wi-Fi dongle worth Php1,500.
That’s it for our gadget guide on media players! For reference, you can read through the rest of our Christmas Guide for all your tech needs!