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Asus O!Play Air HDP-R3 Review

The O!Play arrives in a subtle box with an image of the product taking centerstage, on the sides is a complete listing of what is supplied.

Inside the box is a comprehensive bundle of items. A UK and European plug interchangeable into the power supply, a remote control, an RCA Cable, quick start guide and a CD with the user manual and connection utility. We would have liked to see an HDMI cable included as competitors such as A.C. Ryan offer this as standard with all their players. A decent HDMI cable can cost in excess of £10 so we are a little miffed Asus didn’t decide to bundle one with the player.

The O!Play is protected on all sides by thick cardboard which offers good shipping protection. Our unit had been to several publications before us as it had clearly sustained rough handling.

The player itself is a subtle, understated design which is ideal for a position in a living room environment. It is plain to look at with a curved front fascia, which is highly reflective. There is a row of three hidden LED’s and labels.

The rear is home to the connectivity support – 3 composite outputs, S/PDIF, HDMI, RJ45 and the DC power connection. As well as a missing HDMI cable we are disappointed to see that there isn’t support for component output.

On the left side there is an eSATA port, a reset button and a USB 2.0 connection. The eSATA port really tickles my fancy as you can hook in lightning quick hard drives for direct access media playback. The reset button is used in emergency situations to revert to factory defaults. Rest assured we never had to touch it over several weeks of testing.

Moving to the right we see a memory card reader which accepts the majority of sizes. Above this is a small air vent to aid with ambient cooling. The product produces very little heat however and is passively cooled. As with the A.C Ryan products, by the time we got around to photographs there were fingerprints clearly visible all over it. Keeping a duster handy is a prerequisite.

The remote controller is a dumpy little unit which I didn’t find that comfortable to use, especially after using the longer A.C. Ryan product which fits into the hand much better. To be fair to Asus however the button positions are slightly better as the pause is next to play, unlike the A.C. Ryan remote which has them in the weirdest of places. Small details, but things you begin to notice after a few days of use.

All in all the product is rather plain which is ideal for a living room. It can sit next to the cable box without looking out of place.

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