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Asus O!Play Air HDP-R3 review



Our Score



  • Great media support
  • Silent
  • Easy set up


  • Bulky
  • Average UI
  • No WiFi

Review Price free/subscription

Key Features: CF/SD/MS/MS Duo/SATA/USB support; Wide video and audio codec support; HDMI output; Accepts hard drives; 1080p support

Manufacturer: Asus

To those familiar with the latest technology but with limited budgets, the arrival over the last couple of years of simple and affordable HD multimedia players like the Western Digital WDTV, and the original Asus O!Play HDP-R1 will have brought joy to your hearts. For under £100 you could buy a single box that could playback just about any multimedia file you could think of. You just plugged it into your HDTV, popped in a USB stick and away you went. However, as always, progress marches on so today we're looking at the Asus O!Play Air HDP-R3, which adds inbuilt Wi-Fi and a memory card reader to the mix.

The Air arrives well protected in a simple but sturdy cardboard box and comes with a mains adapter with cables for UK and European sockets, a remote, a combined composite and stereo audio cable, and various manuals. Notably absent, however, is an HDMI cable, which is likely to be the primary choice of connection for anyone buying a device like this. Given that the price of HDMI cables has dropped significantly to just a few pounds, though, this is less of a worry than it was a couple of years ago.

Looking at the device itself, it's essentially identical to its predecessor (or, as both will continue to be on sale, its little brother) being around 18cm wide by 12cm deep and 4.5cm tall. It's made of very sturdy black plastic with a matt black finish to the top, bottom, and back while the front and sides have a clear/gloss panel that wraps around them. Overall it looks tidy, if a little bland and clearly it's not a premium device. Meanwhile, four rubber feet give the Air a good purchase on most flat surfaces.

Round the back are the main AV connections with three phono plugs for stereo audio and composite video, followed by optical digital audio, HDMI, an Ethernet port, and power. In an ideal world we would like to see component video as well, as it gives a better quality analogue signal than composite and has greater backwards compatibility than HDMI. However, considering most TVs of the last four to five years have HDMI sockets, we don't think it's too much of a problem.

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March 25, 2010, 1:05 pm

The price is going the wrong way on these things. I bought a Revo R3600 for £129 last week, far more usability with XBMC Live installed.


March 25, 2010, 4:51 pm

@Alan - Agree about the price, but there's always the A.C. Ryan Mini for nearly £50 less, if you can live without wireless/e-sata. The Revo R3600 sounds a good alternative to this box though, at this price.


March 25, 2010, 10:27 pm

No usb 3.0??? You gotta be kidding me! Think Ill wait for the Play On which is due out anytime WITH usb 3.0.


December 28, 2010, 3:31 am

'Overall it looks tidy, if a little bland and clearly it's not a premium device'

such as? Whilst usually containing reasonable product assessment, TR is becoming increasingly frustrating in it's lack of benchmarking and placement... It would have been nice to give an idea of the next product up a rung or two and the next one or two down... performance-wise, so you can see what you get for your money. This would make TR much more relevant as an aid for making informed choices without having to trawl the web first - or afterwards.


December 28, 2010, 7:38 pm

@damo: That quote is cleary referring directly to the build quality and design and doesn't need any further explanation given the context in which it sits - describing the plastic finish etc.

How can you benchmark such a device? It plays the files it says it can, job done. I appreciate the point about putting it in a wider context but there isn't really a linear scale with products of this type. There are numerous boxes like this that basically all do the same thing, with the differentiators being price connectivity etc, then there are alternatives like media centre PCs or the AppleTV, neither of which truly offer the same set of options.

Ultimately, I would hope it was clear from reading this that this is a device that happily plays most of your multimedia files and is easy enough to use but doesn't really set itself apart in anyway so the purchase decision really comes down to what price you can find it for.


January 16, 2011, 10:49 pm

It doesn't support audio playlists? So how does it play an album? Does it automatically play all the audio files in a given folder?

But more importantly - and I suspect the answer is yet again "no!" - does it play flac files GAPLESS?

Umar Azmat

November 16, 2013, 3:45 pm

what is the processor and ram details??

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