I also had concerns about the build quality. First impressions are good with a mac mini like cream white with silver edging design and finish. However, concerns were raised by the dodgy pattern effect surrounding the blue backlit LCD screen and the plastic feel of the buttons. This seems out of keeping with the rest of the product – they should be metal. Furthermore, the receiver for the infra-red remote control is placed behind the first ‘O’ in the Noxon logo, but it’s misaligned, adding to the poor build quality feel. Next, having both the Terratec and the Noxon logo on the front makes it look too busy. It’s all capped off by the rather cheap remote, which feels too lightweight and has wobbly rubbery buttons. Another issue I had was that at one point it randomly decided not to play music from my iPod anymore and instead switched to the FM Tuner, every time I decided to play a track. It sorted itself but it took two restarts. All in all it doesn’t look or feel like a £200 product, a price that many may baulk at.
That’s not to say the the Noxon 2 is not talented. It can give you access to your music from a impressive array of sources. You can get access to those internet radio stations via wired Ethernet or 802.11g Wi-Fi, the latter which supports both WEP and WPA encrypted routers. You can plonk an iPod down onto it and it can read external USB memory sticks. Once you’re browsing the network you can immediately see any Windows Media Connect shares, a feature built into Windows Media Player 11. I plugged in an Ethernet cable, turned it on and was playing music from my colleague Andy’s PC, in a matter of moments.
You can also pull music from your own music server. The device requires a UPnP enabled server and to that end Terratec has supplied the amusingly named TwonkyMusic server application on CD. It might have funny name but it installed and ran on Vista without issue, and it supports MacOS X and Linux too. Once this was running on my PC I was able to access my music and you can point the software to where you keep your music if it’s not in default locations. For Mac users, Elgato EyeConnect is supplied as well as TwonkyMusic.
The first time you turn on, a Wizard takes you through setting up your network connection, which is straightforward if you’re using a wired connection and are set-up for DHCP. If you’re using wireless and have a password, (you do have a password don’t you) then you will need to contend with the stodgy rubber buttons on the remote to enter the code – fiddly, but possible.