Picture quality is a game of two halves – there’s the quality of the built in screen and the quality on an external screen. First up the 7in TFT screen in the Cube is surprisingly good, and actually quite watchable in a casual manner. Basically, you wouldn’t want to settle down in a comfy chair with a bucket of popcorn and watch Lord of the Rings, but you’d be happy to have the TV or a movie playing while you occasionally glance at it.
It’s that casual watching model that makes the Cube a killer product in the right environment. Stick one in your kitchen and you’ve got a whole AV entertainment centre for when you’re cooking up a big meal for a dinner party, or shove one in the kids’ room to keep them happy. The Cube is just as attractive for students living in halls or digs, where space is a premium.
Alternatively, you could use the Cube as a stereo system in your living room, that can also pump your DVD movies and DivX/Xvid content to your main TV. In this scenario the Cube produced reasonable pictures when hooked up to a 40in Toshiba full HD LCD TV. DVD playback is OK, but not up to the standard of a good, stand alone player. Xvid playback on the other hand is surprisingly good, and if you’re looking for something that will playback all your Xvid content from a USB key or external hard drive, you could do a lot worse than the LNX Cube.
Like many products sourced from the Far East, the presentation and ease of use isn’t everything that it could be. Basic stuff like the auto-tuning of the digital and analogue TV tuners is fine, but the file browser when searching a USB device is woeful. Whether viewing on the internal screen or an external TV, the USB browsing interface looks like a 1993 DOS menu. In its defence, it is at least easy to navigate.
The remote control is also disappointing, with a plethora of small buttons that make things very unintuitive at first. Once you’re accustomed to where the important buttons are though, you can work your way around the Cube’s features pretty quickly. Most important is a dedicated button for switching the TFT display on and off. Another slight niggle is the placement of the USB port. Having it at the front is handy for plugging in a memory key, but if you wanted to keep a USB hard disk plugged in, a port at the rear would be far more convenient.
So, the LNX Cube is stacked full of features, but both picture and sound quality are average. But what swings things in the Cube’s favour is price. You can pick the LNX Cube up for as little as £129, which makes it something of a bargain when you consider all the things it can do. Looking for something affordable for your kitchen, kid’s bedroom, spare bedroom or student digs – the Cube fits the bill perfectly. This is an incredibly versatile media system at a truly amazing price – it looks like Elonex has risen from the ashes with aplomb.
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Once again Elonex has raised the bar when it comes to the amount of features you can squeeze into one box. The level of media functionality in the LNX Cube is simply staggering. Yes the remote is horrible and the USB browser unpleasant, but you’re just getting so much for so little. I expect that Santa could be delivering a lot of these to good children everywhere!
Score in detail