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Asus O!Play HD2 review

Ardjuna Seghers




  • Recommended by TR

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Asus O!Play HD2 front
  • Asus O!Play HD2 front
  • Asus O!Play HD2 box
  • Asus O!Play HD2 back
  • Asus O!Play HD2 accessories
  • Asus O!Play HD2 open
  • Asus O!Play HD2 menu
  • Asus O!Play HD2 menu 2
  • Asus O!Play HD2 caddy
  • Asus O!Play HD2 bottom


Our Score:



  • Good value
  • Extensive card reader input
  • Audio connectivity


  • Uninspiring design
  • Unintuitive to install hard drive

Key Features

  • Remote control
  • Easy set-up
  • Network connectivity
  • Manufacturer: Asus
  • Review Price: free/subscription

With tiny, passively-cooled Atom-based nettops like the Acer Aspire Revo offering ever more features at ever lower price points, HD Media players are under increasing pressure to add features and services. However, considering Asus' previous effort, the Asus O!Play Air HDP-R3, was already stuffed to the brim with bells and whistles, what can its successor offer over and above the older model? USB 3.0, internal storage, analogue HD over component and a completely revamped interface are just some of the goodies, so let's check it out.

Asus O!Play HD2 front

As soon as you take it out of the box it's clear we're dealing with a completely altered beast. The main difference is in size, as rather than requiring external storage, the O!Play HD2 now has room for an internal 3.5in hard drive. Unfortunately, Asus has failed to trim the fat, and at 230 x 178 x 60.5mm, its latest device is the giganotosaurus of media players, even when compared to the A.C.Ryan Playon!HD's T-Rex. Despite this, it still uses an external power supply, though this is relatively small.

Its bulk doesn't help its looks, which - as we mentioned in our preview of the device - aren't exactly attractive to begin with. The O!Play Air was at worst unobtrusive, but only its designer could love the odd angles and cheap glossy finish of this new player. Asus has added a few distinct visual details though, and while the tadpole-like pattern on the top isn't particularly pleasing, a luminescent blue LED strip at the front does lend it a Tron-esque appeal and makes for a nice – if somewhat distracting – display in the dark.

Asus O!Play HD2 box

Connectivity has undergone a more welcome transformation. At the O!Play HD2's front we have three separate card readers for CF, SD/MMC and MS/Pro Duo memory cards. There are also two USB 2.0 ports, one of which doubles as an eSATA connector.

Around the back, there's a third USB 2.0 port, and the headline-grabbing USB3.0 port the HD2 uses to connect its internal drive to a computer. As long as your PC supports the new standard, this should make transferring your multimedia collection between it and the player very quick indeed.

Asus O!Play HD2 back

Audio is competently catered for with stereo phono and both optical and co-axial digital outputs, and of course is also carried through the HDMI 1.3 connector, which joins analogue component and composite in providing for video. The only absentee which we might have liked to see is a 3.5mm jack for connecting headphones or PC speakers without resorting to an adapter, but that's a rarity on media players.

Though a 100Mb Ethernet port supports networking and provides access to web-based services, the one casualty here compared to Asus' older O!Play Air is inbuilt Wi-Fi – though with USB ports to spare, using a wireless dongle is a more viable option than on many less well-endowed media players.


September 29, 2010, 6:02 pm

Have you tested streaming large blu-ray files (M2TS betwen 20 and 30Gb in size) from a PC or NAS to see how this box handles the video and audio, my WDTV Live is forever stuttering the video source or the audio is out of sync and it's getting very annoying. I am thinking of getting rid of it and this looks like it might be able to replace my WDTV Live box.

Also are you going to be reviewing the new Sony media player soon as well?


October 3, 2010, 3:27 pm

Does it have support for blue ray menus?


October 13, 2010, 9:25 pm

Having looked at a number of devices mainly by AC Ryan and WD, I'm thinking about giving this one a go with an internal drive. I'd like to buy a 2TB disk but not sure what specs to go for - any recommendations? Budget meets adequate but not excessive performance - no point going too expensive or even too hot!

Geoff Richards

October 13, 2010, 9:35 pm

@finklemiss - you can't really go wrong, so go with whomever has the best warranty and / or price. Looks like under £80 inc vat will get you 2TB from Samsung, WD or Seagate.

A quick read around suggests the Western Digital Caviar Green is the quietest. Hope that helps.


October 17, 2010, 3:07 pm

@Geoff Richards - thanks for your advice. The WD Caviar Green seems to be well reviewed for a less expensive drive, but {some} Amazon user comments suggest issues when using as NAS. Still, I'll probably give it a go.

PS Is there a way to be notified of new comments here?


December 30, 2010, 6:27 pm

I wish they had a smaller 'prettier' version without an internal harddrive. All I want is a media streamer - I have my house wired, a gigabit router and a NAS so I don't need an internal harddrive.


February 23, 2013, 5:34 pm

Don't touch this thing! Switches off with no warning, con't access hdd all the time. it sucks, worst tech I have ever paid for. No response from Asus - check out their forums for problems with this thing.

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