The Design Quotient
We would like to start off by saying that the the Veolo has a refreshing design to match its bold move of using a new OS to power its media player. Stepping away from the tired and tested ‘black box’ design favored by the majority of media players, including A.C. Ryan's Playon! series, the Veolo's arched construct on its top is instantly identifiable. However, it maintains the black of its media player brethren to maintain its class and not doing anything outlandish. Of course the glossy black surface does attract its fair share of fingerprints, so we're sure the Veolo will be subject to a lot of wipes to maintain its sheen.
And with the focus on making devices and gadgets smaller, media players are heading this direction too. The Veolo occupies a smaller footprint than some of the earlier offerings like the ASUS O!Play HD. But smaller dimensions also mean less space for I/O ports. This is evident as the Veolo sheds off legacy connections like composite and component video outputs, reaffirming the fact that the Veolo is a full HD media center.
With the Google Android as its user-interface (UI), the Veolo will definitely need a remote that can navigate an OS that's usually accessed via touch. In this case, the Veolo’s remote resembles the D-Link’s Boxee Box’s remote, with both remotes featuring a QWERTY keypad on one side with more controls on the other side to handle the cursor-based navigation of the user interface. Like any other media player, it's an integral portion of the player's usability.
However, if you have read our Boxee Box review, there were some issues with the minimalist design of the remote. But the Veolo has bypassed these issues with an increased number of buttons, though the number of control buttons is still considered fairly minimal.
The mouse pointer button will bring up the mouse cursor onscreen, and pressing it twice again will make it disappear. This will help if you intend to use the QWERTY keypad on the flip side of the remote, but don’t want the cursor moving around unnecessarily. The middle button on the top row is the "select" button, while the right one is the "back" button which will return you to the previous screen.
And similar to Android phones, the remote has menu, home and volume adjustment buttons. The QWERTY keypad works reasonably well, though we have to mention that the “ALT” button will only fulfill its function if you hold it down for a second or two; just pressing it won’t register your command. Another quibble was that we found the buttons to be a tad too recessed on the remote; they aren't raised out much, so typing or even just pressing a button may require a bit more conscious effort on your part.