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AC Ryan Playon!HD Mini 2 Media Player (ACR-PV73800) Review

AC Ryan Playon!HD Mini 2 Media Player (ACR-PV73800) Review

AC Ryan PlayOn!HD Mini 2 Media Player Review

User Experience and Conclusion

As this is the second generation of products from AC Ryan it should be expected that the products would have any issues from the previous version fixed and the overall quality increased. That isn’t quite the case though as the originals were so good that in terms of the external appearance the new model looks near identical, a good thing in our opinion. The small black casing used by AC Ryan blends away into any environment and the minimalist front panel lets us know through the use of an LED whether the device is on or off. There are no issues with rough edges or low build quality, the Mini 2 feels well-built and on the back panel there are all the output connectors we could expect of a player such as this. If we were being really picky it could be said that a metal casing would be nice on the top and sides but that’s about it.

Moving to the internal components we find a good quality GB LAN controller and brand name NAND flash and DDR2. These sit beside the new, higher spec, Realtek processor and combine to give us a high performance streaming device. Added to this of course is the option for adding a PCIe card once we see what devices are approved by AC Ryan.

Looking next at the GUI we have an interface which is quick to navigate and arranged in a way which is intuitive. There have clearly been some optimisations performed since we used the Essential model as the interface is now much more responsive with no delays after button presses and we are sure that this is also aided by the more powerful processor in this device. That said, there are still a few minor blips to be ironed out in future revisions, for example to move between setup sections the display says to use fast forward or rewind and the actual button to use is skip forward/back. We also noted that in the social media section we were prompted to connect a keyboard and mouse, even if they were already connected.

Speaking of social media, this is an addition to the Playon! GUI which really does enhance the user experience. Basically what this section does is use our PC even less and use our media streamer for music, video, audio and many of the major sites on the net. It also opens up nice options such as those times when sitting with friends or family where you say "Did you see that video on YouTube?", should they say no it can be on the TV in seconds. The only minor issue we have with social media inclusion is that the Mini 2 could probably do with a couple of extra USB ports because adding a keyboard/mouse doesn’t leave much free for USB storage though we can daisy chain devices given the right choice of keyboard.

In terms of performance, again there is little to fault on the Mini 2. The device is responsive, plays back 1080p with 7.1 audio (even over a network) without issue and runs completely silent. Added to that is the fact it consumes only 8watts when playing back content, incredibly low considering most HTPCs are 10 times this.

So that brings us to value. At £84 we get a device which becomes our hub for all things video, audio, photo and social media related. It brings these to a TV (or any display) in any environment and comes bundled with an HDMI cable to get us up and running as quickly as possible. A Phono to 3.5mm cable may have been a nice extra too but isn’t essential. Finally, the 2-Year warranty and regular firmware updates gives peace of mind that the device has a decent lifespan.

Summary
Without doubt AC Ryan’s best device to date. It plays back pretty much everything and the new social media functions are a welcome addition that makes this a device to build our digital life around.

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Product Award
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SCAN – £83.58

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About Author

Stuart Davidson

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