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Asus O!Play Air HDP-R3 - Asus O!Play Air HDP-R3

By Edward Chester



Our Score:


On the left edge we find a combined eSATA and USB socket (all the USB ports are version 2.0), a pin-hole reset button and a further USB port. Meanwhile, the right edge adds in memory slots for CompactFlash, SD/SDHC/MMC, and MS/MS-Pro so you can play your videos or view your photos straight from your camera.

Once you've plugged in the cables you require and turned the O!Play on, there's little to differentiate it from its predecessor. The main menu is arranged in a circle, which you scroll through vertically. I've never been a fan of these rotating menus, as opposed to a grid or list, unless they're particularly well implemented, which this one isn't. The main problem is that non-selected icons lose their labels and shrink into the background making it hard to tell what feature is coming up next and so you often over shoot the option you're aiming for. It also leaves a lot to be desired on the aesthetics front. While we appreciate these devices are fairly simple and low cost, it would be nice to see a little more finesse ala Apple TV or Windows Media Center.

Each of the four multimedia sub-menus – movies, music, photos, all media – consists of a list of browsing options on the left with a preview or playback window on the right. Video, images, and all media can be browsed by folder, date, or recently played while music adds genre, album, and singer (i.e. artist) options to the mix. Sadly the indexing of mp3 tags that creates the artist and album list only works on USB devices and not memory cards or network locations.

When browsing video and images, the right panel shows a preview of the file, which is quite useful. We did, however, notice that there was a marked delay of a few seconds between selecting a file and being able to open it. We initially thought this was down to the preview mode but even when we turned this off, we still had to wait a moment for the device to have a think before it would respond to us pressing the play button. Like our other navigation complaints, it's not a deal breaker by any means but it's the sort of thing that, now these devices have been around for over a year, we'd hope to see ironed out.


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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