The NP3700 hails from the same Streamium family as Philips’ MCI8080 music system, which we reviewed recently. It’s designed as a partner for the MCI8080 in a multiroom system (they’re sold together as a bundle in some countries), so if you’re blasting a track stored on the MCI8080 downstairs, you can stream it to the NP3700 upstairs.
But the NP3700 is a decent little music centre in its own right. There’s no CD/DVD drive like the MCI8080, but thanks to its built-in Wi-Fi connection (802.11b/g/n) it can stream music from other uPnP devices on your network (PCs, MACs, NAS drives and the like) as well as providing access to internet radio and Napster’s music streaming service. Wireless music streaming is all the rage, so if you’re not already on the bandwagon this compact, convenient unit provides an excellent introduction.
It’s equipped with built-in stereo speakers with 2 x 5W amplification, which doesn’t sound like much but is absolutely fine for the bedroom or kitchen where it’s likely to live. Design-wise it’s cute but classy, sharing similar but inferior styling to the MCI8080’s control unit without the brushed metal finish.
Build quality is of the highest order – there’s an eye-catching gloss black panel on top, embedded into which is an LCD touch screen. This not only allows up-close control of all of the NP3700’s functions but also reduces clutter on the unit itself. The few functions that aren’t incorporated into the touch screen – standby, volume and mute – are given physical buttons on a lip just in front of the screen.
The rear panel is fairly sparse, but it has no real need for extensive connections. There’s an Ethernet port for those who don’t do wireless, a 3.5mm stereo line in (which Philips calls MP3 Link as it’s handy for MP3 players) and a port for the optional DCK3060 iPod/iPhone dock. It’s a shame Philips couldn’t stretch to a USB port though, which would have offered another convenient way of playing digital media.