Why I bought this...
I have a DVD player, but that requires me to get up and put a disk in the player. It’s like the dark ages before the TV remote was invented and you had to get out of the chair to change channel. Back then it didn’t matter because there were only 3 channels, but once we had the remote there was no going back.
My time is precious and if I have 10 minutes to spare I don’t want to waste 4 of those minutes trying to find the right DVD and then the empty box for the disc that was in the player and waiting then for the drawer to open and read the disc and watch the FBI warning and then the … oh come on! I want to watch it now!
Of course you could argue that obtaining written permission of the original copyright owner of the DVD you’ve “backed-up” to the drive takes much longer. The documentation points out; “It may be a criminal offense under applicable copyright laws to make unauthorized copies of copyright protected material” a notice which I would echo myself. You wouldn’t steal a Policeman’s hat now would you?
Generally I don’t care what the device looks like. I care what the remote control looks like. There are plenty of pictures of this thing on the net and I discuss the remote later on. As external hard disks go, it looks pretty normal. If you want the exact specifications, you should check the online manual.
Connecting to PC.
The power cable plugs into the wall socket and the other end into the drive. Check.
The USB cable connects the drive to the computer. Check.
We’re no stranger these days to the “marketing” capacity of hard drives. It comes as no surprise when a drive with a marketing capacity of 300Gb is actually 292Gb once you plug it in.
This same trickery of mathematics (where 1 kb is 1,000 and not 1,024 bytes) still applies to terabytes. The 1 TB disk is actually 1,000,000,000 Mb which in reality is only 931 Gb. (1 Mb is still 1,048,576 bytes though.)
I feel tarnished by this unnecessary need for embellishment of capacity and don’t want to get into a rant. Needless to say, the capacity of the disk is big. Very big. This drive can store about 2,700 hours of video. That’s 116 days or nearly 4 months of continuous video playback. (Assuming 1 Gb equates to 3 hours)
Connecting to the TV.
I connected using the Scart and also tried the Composite video/audio output (Red/White/Yellow). Both worked without issue. In the device settings I changed the TV output to 16:9. “Setup” on the remote, then on-screen “Video settings” “TV Display”. This obvious simplicity appears to be a recurring theme throughout the device.
This is the point where you might expect that half your files don’t play properly. For me, anecdotally, this was not the case. From the specification the drive supports; “MPEG-4, XviD, DivX 5.0, DivX 4.0, MPEG-2, MPEG-1, DivX 3.11, AVI, VOB” I didn’t try playing music yet. Fast forwarding through the playback was impressive, with x2, x4 and x8 speeds skipping through an hour of playback in 30 seconds.
Who cares what the device looks like, when it’s the ugly remote control that we come to loath? Not here. The remote is about the thickness of two credit cards. The buttons are nice to the touch and the layout and action is obvious. Another example of simplicity is that you only need to pull out a plastic tag to engage the battery for first time use.
Navigation is simple. When the device is switched on, it will show you the root of the drive folder which you can then browse through using the arrow keys. The play, pause, fast forward etc all work as expected. Another nice touch is when you turning on from stand-by places you in the file system where you left off.
Power cycle and noise.
After turning the drive on from being completely off, it's functional in the time it takes to walk back to the sofa and find the remote from the other chair. Turning it off completely seems intuitive by pressing and holding the power key. Anything with a fan will produce a little fan noise. The fans on the drive are audible but quiet. It’s practically in-audible when you have any sort or minor background noise in the room.
Well, the 1Tb = 931Gb thing is a little annoying but considering the effort taken to just fill it to 180Gb I wont loose sleep over it.
The graphical interface isn’t flashy, but I would not want to pay for the extra processing power required for animated smoke backgrounds like my PS3.
It's hard to fault really :-)
It’s simple to use and gave me a pleasant “out of the box” experience. I expect that my 4 year old could quickly learn how to turn it on and sedate herself with cartoons.
It functions, connects and performs as I would expect. No surprises. No tweaks or exceptions.
Even the price I paid for it was remarkably good value.