Should you wish to use the M110 as a regular PC, you can close down Media Center and enter the Vista operating system, and this presents all the usual stuff you’d find on a PC such as Internet/e-mail access and word processing. It’s fairly fast at carrying out these tasks, and when using these features you need to use the supplied Keysonic wireless keyboard, which feels a little flimsy but works well.
As for performance, the MM110 does a decent enough job at displaying DVDs from disc, reproducing the bold colours of ”Star Wars Episode III” with eye-popping vibrancy and handling the elaborate CG detail with reasonable sharpness on our Toshiba test TV. But the picture is far from perfect – edges show unmistakeable signs of jaggies, and the overall image has a slight gauziness that compromises the clarity of the picture, which is hard to fathom given John’s overwhelmingly positive impressions of the MM200’s picture. It’s by no means unwatchable, but doesn’t measure up to the quality of the best DVD upscalers. Ripped DVDs look identical to disc playback, which is testament to some excellent video encoding but they exhibit the same picture artefacts.
Sound quality gets a much cleaner bill of health. CDs and MP3/WMA files sound crisp and dynamic, with no distortion or harshness at the top end, while decoded analogue Dolby Digital signals sound fantastic when channelled through our Pioneer test receiver.
The lack of PVR recording functionality and smaller hard-disk make the MM110 a slightly less appealing proposition than the MM200, and the absence of Blu-ray support is still a shame, but despite that the MM110 is still an impressive product that offers decent value for money. It’s a slick, easy-to-use and flexible hub for your media content, all packaged up in a beautiful living room-friendly box.
Score in detail
Sound Quality 8