Performance and Conclusion
The Mini 2 takes quite awhile to boot up at just over half a minute. And if you connecting a external hard drive, the wait is even longer as the player indexes the files. Once it's done, playback is a breeze. Music files are not a problem, in fact no media player worth its salt should even have a hiccup with regards to music files. Of course for video files, we have had experiences of players freezing up, or refusing to play a file.
The Mini 2 experienced no such problems. From old, crappy video files we had from a few years back to the current H264-encoded high definition files, the Mini 2 did not freeze up on us nor did it stutter. Video playback was smooth and we were surprised it upscaled videos pretty well. Fast forwarding large video files did not stress the player, though we noticed it took a second or two for the video to catch up with the audio after we resumed playback. We did not manage to find a format that the Mini 2 did not like; a trait similar to the Playon! HD2 due to the Realtek chipset they share.
The Mini 2 is every bit as capable as the HD2 except it harbor an internal hard drive. But then again, it costs less and also takes up less space as well. With regards to I/O ports, you will be missing a coaxial audio port and a USB 3 slave port. The HD2 costs S$269, and so if you can forgo the aforementioned ports and the option to install a HDD within, the Mini 2 is a good deal at S$199. If you think it still sounds a bit pricey, it certainly won't be once you check out other more basic media players/hubs that cost less like the Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link MX HD, Patriot Box Office and ASUS O!Play Mini HD. Cheaper options like these are certainly abound, but you pay for what you get and as such, you won't find some of the more premium functions nor ports on those media hubs. As such, the PlayOn! HD Mini 2 is one of the better compact media hubs around if you're willing to spend more for added functionality.
It had no problems with any video format we tested and the well-designed remote only served to sweeten the deal. Of course the annoying time it took to index the files in our portable HDD did make us impatient, but then again it was a 1TB drive we attached to the player. The small size also made it easier to slip it among our A/V setup. If you're still undecided, you might want to check out our HD2 review before making a decision.