HD media players are a hot product category these days. Everyone wants to jump on the HD bandwagon. Manufacturers of HD media players are keeping up with the hype and continuing to launch newer and advanced variants of their products. One of the features that most media player manufacturers miss out on is the inbuilt storage space. Customers who buy an HD media player typically need to shell out a bit on an external portable drive.
Iomega ScreenPlay MX - Nothing extraordinary
Iomega has been known for making media players and their Iomega ScreenPlay MX is no different. Like some of their previous models, it too comes built with an internal hard drive.
The Iomega ScreenPlay MX is as simple as it gets. The device comes with a 1 TB hard drive built into the device, but you have the option of the 2 TB version as well. If 1 TB is too little for your needs, then you can connect additional storage devices using the USB port at the front of the device. We personally would have liked more USB ports made available.
Lacking network capability
The usual HDMI port can be found at the back. There are component connects as well as a composite one for older televisions. The power switch is positioned at the back of the player and is really tiny. In fact, we almost missed it while we were examining the product. It could have been better placed. The player supports full HD playback for a number of formats and codecs including some not so commonly used ones such as WMV and RMVB. If you’re an audiophile, you’ll be disappointed to find no FLAC support or even a digital audio output connector for your high-end audio receiver or DAC unit.
There is no Ethernet or WiFi support, so you can’t really connect the ScreenPlay MX to a network PC or to an internet video streaming service if you wanted to. So in many ways, it’s closer to some of the early media players but with internal storage.
Design and Build
The player comes enclosed in a shell that’s half metal and half plastic. The sides and front panels are made of plastic whereas the top is solid metal and has a brushed finish to it. The metal surface acts like a heatsink to cool the player down.
Not the usual flimsy, tiny remote we see these days.
The interface on the ScreenPlay MX looks elegant and is really simple to use. Users are given the option to access types of media such as photos, videos, and music. You’re prompted to choose between the internal storage media or the external drive when you access any of these menus. The lack of any web features makes the ScreenPlay MX interface really minimalistic.
The bundled remote is light-weight and is powered by two AAA batteries. It’s not as tiny as some of the remotes from other manufacturers though. The controls work well with the simple interface onscreen. We’re not completely pleased with the layout of the buttons. While most of the buttons are placed in their ideal position, there are a few buttons such as the Play/Pause button which is placed away from the other primary playback buttons such as the Fast Forward and playlist control buttons. Things tend to get a little confusing at first.
Although the interface is very minimal and there are too many menus and features, the ScreenPlay MX interface is a bit of a drag. It doesn’t take a really long time to switch menus, but usually, you’ll have to wait a second or two at least before things start happening. The wait can get annoying.
There were some other things that caught our attention. The inability to fast forward music tracks for example was annoying. Since the music feature works in the player’s interface menu itself and not as a dedicated feature that uses the entire screen, one has to return back to the music menu to be able to pause or switch tracks.
Rock solid build quality
We faced no issues playing back videos though. Playback was smooth and all the formats we tried worked flawlessly. We were pleased with the performance of the video playback. Users can play videos from external drives but you can also copy them into the internal drive, which is pretty handy. You can also hook up the player to a PC and transfer data to it.
The metal top of the player does tend to get hot quickly. In a way, it’s good that heat dissipation takes place, but after a while, the player can get really hot.
The Iomega ScreenPlay MX isn’t the most unique HD players around today. These days, we recommend players that have network support and can stream video content from the web. The inbuilt hard drive is a good feature to have, but network support along with Bittorrent support for example would have made this player a winner especially with the large internal storage capacity.
The player has a few tiny flaws, but overall, if you’re the kind of person who dumps all of his content on an external hard drive and don’t care for internet streaming, an HD media player such as this, with its inbuilt 1 TB drive, for a price of Rs. 7,999 isn’t too bad a deal. If you want network support, there are similar options with that feature, but there’s a significant amount you’ll need to shell out extra for it.
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