- Gorgeous design
- Extensive features and music playback options
- Rewarding sound quality
- FullSound a little overpowering
- Speaker design
- Fussy disc drive and some network teething troubles
Review Price £699.99
The MCI8080 is a component hi-fi system from Philips’ impressive range of Streamium products, which allows you to stream music wirelessly from the internet and devices on your home network. It’s how everyone will be listening to music in the future when physical formats have gone to the scrapheap in the sky, and the MCI8080 provides a convenient way of hopping on the streaming bandwagon. But you don’t have to throw out your discs just yet, as it also comes equipped with a disc drive that plays DVDs and CDs.
Incredibly, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The MCI8080 also comes with an external 160GB USB hard-disk drive, allowing you to upload up to 2000 music albums and create a local media library (with a wide range of supported digital formats on the spec sheet), plus there’s even support for an optional iPod/iPhone dock.
So with network and web streaming, FM and internet radio, iPod, HDD, USB, CD and DVD to choose from, the MCI8080 really does have all bases covered – the quintessential ‘one-stop shop’ for all your music playback requirements.
And like the good-looking kid at school who was also amazing at football, the super-talented MCI8080 is also blessed with chic styling that’ll make its classmates green with envy. It comes with two separate components that sit on top of each other – control unit on top, disc player below – both of which are fairly compact (251 x 216 x 274mm) with curved corners and a stunning brushed gunmetal grey finish all around the outside. Both units are literally topped off by a lustrous gloss black top panel.
Sitting atop the control unit is a small LCD touch screen, which is arguably the system’s coolest feature. It displays the range of functions using large icons and logical submenus. In front of the screen is a sloping lip that houses a row of physical buttons, controlling standby, volume and mute. Build quality of the two units is also excellent, both feeling solid and heavy in our hands.
There isn’t an abundance of sockets on the back, but it’s a case of quality over quantity. There’s a USB port for HDDs and flash drives, an HDMI port and composite output for connection to your TV, an Ethernet port in case the built-in Wi-Fi is of no use, analogue audio input and an iPod dock input. The FM aerial port and composite video output are found on the back of the disc player section, which connects to the control unit using a DVI connection.
If we’re being honest, the supplied ‘Clarisound’ speakers aren’t the sveltest or most elegant Philips has ever designed. They’re big and boxy, which might make them harder to accommodate than they should be, while the build quality and finish don’t live up to the standards of the other components. The grilles are detachable if you prefer the drivers to be on show.
They wouldn’t be Philips products without an interesting design quirk and sure enough the external tweeters embedded into the cabinets’ top edge is an unusual touch. The supplied cables are of a decent standard and attach to sturdy plastic binding posts on the speakers and clips on the back of the control unit.