The NP3700 can stream a healthy range of music formats over its Wi-Fi network connection, including MP3, WMA, AAC (non-DRM), eAAC, FLAC and Ogg Vorbis. You can even stream JPEG photos and view them on the LCD screen!
The NP3700 also boasts internet radio support, which is always a bonus as it caters for a broader range of tastes than DAB or FM. You can access thousands of stations through the Philips’ smart, logical user interface, which helps you find a specific station or lets you scroll through long, long lists (not recommended).
If for any reason you don’t get on with the NP3700’s supplied remote (which is unlikely as it’s a well laid out and intuitive zapper) you can use an iPod Touch, iPhone or Android to control the unit; just download Philips’ free MyRemote app and away you go. It lets you control several networked Philips devices, switching between them on your phone.
Those with a Napster account can access the service through the NP3700, and if not you can use the voucher code for a 30-day trial to see if you like it. After downloading the software needed to run it, which took a good ten minutes, we delved into Napster and found the interface a joy to use. It boasts a colossal music library of over 10 million tracks, and being able to access it so quickly and conveniently without a PC in sight is a huge boon. That said, it’s slightly disappointing that you don’t get Spotify into the bargain, which is found on the MCI8080.
Operating the NP3700 is a piece of cake, thanks largely to the brilliant LCD touch screen. Its user-friendly menu structure, instant responsiveness and gorgeous, full colour graphics make it easy to navigate from the very first time you use it.
Content lists are clear and straightforward, and when playing back music from any source the LCD displays album art and all available metadata. Setup is equally hassle-free, particularly the network connection which can be a real pain on some network streamers. The unit searches for all Wi-Fi routers automatically, displays the results in a list and allows you to enter your password using a surprisingly intuitive onscreen keyboard (or using the alphanumeric buttons on the remote).
Within the setup menu there’s a ‘Sound’ section, which allows you to activate Incredible Surround and FullSound, both of which are designed to add a bit of spice to your music, as well as adjust the bass and treble levels. You’ll also find a wealth of other small but significant features, like play modes (shuffle being a crucial one), a buzzer/music alarm and sleep timer, which effectively makes this a decent clock radio too.
We didn’t encounter any of the initial streaming hesitancy of the MCI8080 – the stable connection ensures a smooth, consistent streaming experience. And it’s testament to the NP3700’s Wi-Fi stability that we were able to stream from a garden office a fair distance from the router in the house, with fewer drop-outs than expected.