- Review Price: £900.05
Best Home Audio Product(/centre)
We’re no strangers to high-priced, high-end streaming-audio systems (or to love), but there’s no denying that the Philips Streamium Wi-Fi component Hi-Fi system MCi900, to give it its full name for the first and last time, is about as far from cheap as watching the X Factor is from a good time. Even being able to find it online for nearer £900 than its £999 MSRP doesn’t exactly make the MCi900 the bargain of the century – that’s still over £100 more than a Sonos BU250 bundle; which makes up for its comparative lack of bundled speakers by offering multi-room streaming capabilities.
If you’re still wondering what the Philips MCi900 could possibly offer to justify its £900 price tag you clearly haven’t seen the system because, well, “wow” just about covers it, to be frank. The MCi900 is available in either a silver or titanium finish; the latter being our favourite. Of the two central units what isn’t aluminium is glossy black plastic – which manages to look elegant, not cheap – whereas the speakers use matt plastic at their base. It’s a massive improvement over the MCi500 system we’ve previously looked at – and that was hardly a disappointment.
The non-speaker component of the MCi900 is split into two parts, joined by a proprietary connector which is too short to allow these segments to be anything but stacked atop one another. The lower half has a CD/DVD tray at its front and the upper half a set of on-device controls up top, in front of a 3.5in colour LCD. We’re not so sure the fixed display is good idea – we’d have liked this to be foldable to both hide and protect it when not in use – but it does its job.
At the rear is a particularly comprehensive set of inputs and outputs, along side the MCi900’s Wi-Fi antenna. The top segment houses the power input, a phono audio input, a USB port and an Ethernet port alongside the speaker connection points. Gaining another mark in its favour, the MCi900 uses cinch connectors for attaching the speaker cables, rather than the nasty, cheap spring-clips we so loathe the presence of on lesser audio kit.
The lower half of the MCi900 is home to HDMI, Composite and Component video outputs, an FM antenna connector, and a coaxial digital audio output for connecting the MCi900 to a separate speaker system – although this only works for disc playback, not audio streaming. Aside from a headphone output and an aux-in we can’t think of anything that’s missing. If you’re not going to need these outputs, and don’t care for disc playback, it’s possible to disconnect the lower segment of the MCi900 and use the streaming-capable top section by itself, saving a little space.