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Home > Hardware Reviews > Consumer Electronics

Monday, August 22, 2011
AC Ryan Playon!HD Mini 2 review

5. Final words

The AC Ryan PlayOnHD! Mini 2 i is a compact solution designed to fulfill for today's A/V playback needs. The player shares the same engine with the PlayOnHD2! model we recently reviewed, supporting the basics found at its bigger brother; video codec, audio codec, Full HD streaming, Gigabit Ethernet, GUI 2.0. Besides the smaller size, the AC Ryan has also removed some features as well as some outputs found at the PlayOnHD2!.

Using the the included HDMI cable will help get the highest possible visual quality from the player. We liked to see the Mini operate silently using passive cooling and also that it playbacked almost all of our Movies/series/HD content, with subtitles. Most users today need to playback demanding video formats (1080p x264) with DTS sound included . This is definitely not a problem for this player. It will display Blu-Ray ISO menus and HD movie files with Dolby Digital+ 7.1 & Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio tracks.

The subtitles have their own menu and you can configure them yourself according to your taste. They are also clear and easy to read, while the gorgeous-looking GUI 2.0 offers many settings and easy navigation through windows.

The YAMJ option is also useful and fun to play with although it requires a PC/MAC system to get the file names properly sorted.

The newer firmware fixes several issues we had identified in our PlayOnHD2! review. In addition, the Mini player "feels" faster more responsive, and can be setup in just a few minutes. Just plug it up (power, Ethernet and HDMI), turn it on, set up video and audio and start browsing your network to get into your NAS.

Listing some negatives, we found the network copying speeds to be low, but that's something we can live with.

The PlayOnHD! Mini 2 turned out to be our favorite media player for its tiny size and and its good/stable overall operation. Adding to that the frequent firmware updates released by AC Ryan, the PlayOnHD! Mini 2 wins hands down within it's category of media players. This is amongst the best x.264 media players your money can get you, reasonably priced at around €125.

 

Positive

- Full retail package - HDMI v1.3 cable included
- Supports playback of almost anything from mpeg1,2,4 ASP & AVC formats
- Supports playback of almost all audio formats (mp3, AAC, Flac, Ogg, WMA, RA)
- Supports playback of 1080p and DTS soundtracks
- Includes 2x USB2.0 ports
- Supports both Wifi and wired lan connection (with extra Wifi module)
- Stable playback for all video/audio formats
- Supports playback of DVD-Video and Blu-Ray ISOs with menu support
- Support for UPnP streaming
- Supports 1Gbit streaming which works very well
- Remote control layout seems improved
- Very good subtitle support for a variety of languages
- YAMJ works very good, provided that you use proper naming for your files
- Many Internet Widgets (Facebook, msn, twitter, etc..) and support for external USB keyboard/mouse

Negative

- Local LAN copying is slow
- USB copying speed is low
- Internet services aren't really so useable
- Wi-fi module costs extra bucks




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