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

By Edward Chester


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Review Price free/subscription

If you connect the Air to a wired network that uses DHCP you'll be able to start browsing your various shared folders and uPNP devices straight away, and if you need to manually set an IP address this can be done in the settings. Meanwhile, connecting to a wireless network is as simple as selecting the SSID from those detected and, if secured, entering the password using a reasonably responsive onscreen keyboard. It can take a little while to browse to the media you want as you can't set up network drives as you would on a computer – you must instead browse through Workgroup, Device, Folder, etc - but again we don't think this is too much of a problem. Also, there are no extra network functions like YouTube or last.fm access, or clients for bittorent and Nzb downloads as on some competing devices.

Zoom and pan functions are available when viewing videos and images and there are various slideshow effects available as well, so browsing your family photos is made as easy as possible. Brightness and contrast can also be adjusted for video playback and noise reduction can be set to on or off, though frankly we couldn't tell what difference it made. Also, we'd leave any such processing up to your TV or AV receiver, anyway, as that's what they specialise in.

Indeed, that's really the essence of these digital media players. They can be so simple because all they need to do is decode your video and pass out the digital signal to your other AV equipment. This essentially eliminates any questions of audio and video quality due to poor Digital to Analogue Converters as this part of the decoding process is handled further down the line. Obviously if you use the analogue connections, it's a different matter but then you're going to be far more limited by the poor abilities of composite video in general rather than the specifics of how this box handles the media it's decoding.

Nevertheless, it's worth noting that testing the Air on a Dell 2407 WFP monitor we found playback to be excellent with even Full HD video playing smoothly with nary a pause before starting. Image quality was also excellent with all the detail of HD video shown to full affect. Motion was also well handled and colours seemed accurate.


So, all told, the HDP-R3 is a capable if somewhat unsophisticated multimedia player. It certainly plays back all the files we'd hope for and with Wi-Fi, eSATA, USB, and memory card slots, it's plenty versatile enough in its connectivity. However, its menus are rather crude, its network support rather basic, and price a little high.

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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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