ASUS O!Play HD2 Review: It’s All About HD Media
The O!Play series of media players have traditionally been available in any colour you want as long as it is glossy black, and the O!Play HD2 carries on with this tradition. Of course, there is something to be said about the lack of choice, but one must also take into account that most devices sold for home theatre setups are also available in that color. At the very least, this helps to ensure that the O!Play HD2 does not stick out like a sore thumb when integrated into one’s home theatre setup.
The O!Play HD2 is a bit of a looker, thanks to the combination of both a simple, unassuming ‘boxy’ design and the shiny black plastic used for its construction. And we can assure you that it will become even more attention grabbing after sufficient fingerprints have been plastered over it. Not that it is a bad thing, of course.
Located at the rear are where the important AV output connectors are. The standard analogue video outputs (component and composite video) are both present, while sound can be transmitted either via coaxial or optical cable, as shown in the image below.
HDMI support is also present as exhibited by the inclusion of a HDMI-out port, while an Ethernet port (RJ-45) provides the O!Play HD2 with the network connectivity required to access and stream media files from online storage mediums. Last but not least, an additional USB 2.0 port is also located here, along with a hi-speed USB 3.0 PC-Link port for even faster data transfer.
Needless to say, ASUS’s move was very successful at frustrating our attempts to examine the chip used to provide the O!Play HD2′s A/V functionality. Fortunately, ASUS later informed us that the chipset used to power the HD2 is a Realtek 1073 C+. For those who really need to know, the 1073 C+ chipset hails from the Realtek RTD1073 family and shares most of the features listed in Realtek’s webpage, but with the added ability to support HD Audio (7.1 channels).
A Closer Look: Remote Control
Like most media players, the ASUS O!Play HD2 is designed to be purely remote control operated, a fact which more than speaks for itself thanks to the complete absence of any buttons on the main unit itself. As a result, the remote control’s design is critical, as it is the only device the user can rely on to interact with the O!Play HD2.
Asus clearly went for functionality over form in the remote control’s design; just about every single feature available in the O!Play HD2 has a dedicated button on the remote control, which is somewhat of a time saver should one decide not to navigate the media player’s menus with the directional buttons.